Don’t Free Scott Sizemore


Or: At Least Know What You’re Getting Into if You Do.

Scott Sizemore is killing the ball right now in AAA. Through 17 games and 66 plate appearances, he’s hitting .411/.500/.554 (AVG/OBP/SLG). So it’s no wonder that, with Will Rhymes struggling mightily at the dish, and Ryan Raburn‘s inconsistent performance both in the field and at the plate, Tigers fans are calling for Sizemore. Because who doesn’t want a second baseman that sports a 1.000 OPS?

But can we really expect this type of performance from Sizemore in the big leagues? Can we even expect anything close to this from him going forward in AAA?

I really don’t think so. Because all of his success so far has been largely contingent on a .524 BABIP. It’s a similar situation to the one that John pointed out with respect to Alex Avila. Because while it’s true that hitters have a good deal of control over their BABIP (when compared to pitchers), they don’t have that much control. We should expect that Sizemore’s BABIP from here on out will be much closer to his career average — somewhere in the .350-.370 range.

If we adjust Sizemore’s batting line by reducing his .534 BABIP to .368 (his combined AA and AAA average), the numbers look a lot less impressive. We get an expected loss of 6 singles and 1.5 doubles. This adjustment brings his slash line from .411/.500/.554 to .276/.386/.389. That’s an expected .279 change in OPS (from 1.054 to .775) due to BABIP regression.

Not that a .775 OPS in AAA is bad (especially for a middle infielder), it’s just that it’s no where near what we all think he’s hitting.

The big point here is that even though he is currently seeing a 1.054 OPS, he’s probably not actually hitting the ball better than he has in his entire minor league career. Nothing about his K%, BB% or HR% indicate some major improvement. If he cut down on his strikeouts, or saw a jump in his walk rate or home run rate, then I’d be singing a different tune, but they’re all pretty much in line with his career numbers.

Contrary to the implication of my post title, I do think he should get called up and given a chance to hit in the big leagues again (because Will Rhymes isn’t), but I don’t think we should be surprised at all when he falls well short of this year’s minor league stats.

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