In baseball, I’m not a huge fan of sabermetrics. Certainly, there are some statistics that give a true indication of player performance. But one stat that evaluates both pitcher and hitter performance is the stat “BABIP” which evaluates a hitter’s batting average on balls in play. Those who adhere to the sabermetrics bible believe that BABIP is mostly predicated upon luck. So, in theory, if a guy is hitting .320, but his BABIP is extraordinarily high, his numbers aren’t nearly as good as they appear. This season, Cliff Lee’s BABIP demonstrates that he, in theory, has been unlucky–not that he’s left fat pitches in the middle of the plate that have allowed hitters to hurt him.
Sure, luck dictates quite a bit in sports, particularly in football. A batted pass, a gust of wind, an inch here, an inch there can each drastically alter how a game or season unfolds.
So it’s interesting to hear ESPN’s K.C. Joyner, the football equivalent of Bill James, talk about how Michael Vick’s subpar performance in 2011 was due much in part to, yeah, you guessed it, bad luck. Joyner believes that both Vick’s luck and the luck of his team are about to change in 2012.
The aforementioned article touting the Giants as 2011 NFC East favorites detailed how Vick was due for a drop-off, in part because he was one of the most fortunate passers in the league in 2010.
This fall, the tables are completely turned. Vick still had a penchant for risk-taking last season (3.4 percent bad decision rate (BDR), ranked 26th), but he also had a lot of unlucky breaks, as 48.3 percent of the possible interception chances he had were turned into picks by the opposing team. If Vick gets back to a standard level of fortune (which is roughly 40 percent of potential picks turning into interceptions) and improves his BDR by a slight amount, he could remove at least three to five turnovers from his 2011 statistical résumé.
And, because of that, Joyner believes the Eagles will win the NFC East in 2012. Here’s hoping, brother.