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February 18, 2009

Did Bradley Protect Hamilton?

Jamey Newberg says:

There’s probably a way to create splits that will show what Hamilton’s output was in the 114 games that Milton Bradley hit fourth, as opposed to the 48 games he didn’t.  I bet the disparity was significant. 

Quite so:

Category Hamilton batting 3rd, Bradley 4th Hamilton batting 3rd without Bradley or batting elsewhere
Appearances 497 207
AVG .317 .275
OBP .376 .357
SLG .550 .484
BB% 8.7% 10.1%
IBB% 0.8% 2.4%

The disparity is significant; however, it doesn't prove much by itself. Correlation isn't causation. For example, Hamilton hit .341 on contact and .350 on balls in play with Bradley behind him, versus .298 and .311 without. Did Bradley's absence cause Hamilton to hit more balls directly into fielder's gloves? Doubtful. Having Bradley batting 4th probably helped Hamilton some, but it doesn't fully explain the disparity in the table.

Posted by Lucas at February 18, 2009 01:01 PM