Nady’s improving numbers against righties

Nady, Marte short-term pieces of the long-term Tabata puzzle
The Hughes and Pavano rehab clocks are soon to tick

Is Xavier Nady in the midst of a career year? Most people would say yes.

His batting average, .330, is .050 above his career high. Meanwhile, his IsoD — that is, the difference between his batting average and on base perentage — is exactly the same as last year, and is relatively consistent with his earlier career. Anyone who reads Baseball Prospectus can tell you that spikes in batting average without a corresponding spike in relative OBP (that is, IsoD) raises a red flag.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn the mistake in making a broad generalization for a single player. Just because a sacrifice bunt statistically doesn’t work out doesn’t mean that we should abolish it from the strategy book. Just because the hit and run fails often doesn’t mean we should kill the manager when he calls for one. Just because we’ve found that OBP and SLG are more important than BA doesn’t mean we should go out and get a team of Adam Dunns (though having one would be awful nice).

In 2005, when he hit .261/.321/.439, Nady showed some pretty hefty splits. He hit .223/.270/.431 against righties, while shellacking lefties to the tune of .323/.400/.452. In 2006, the season he split between the Mets and Pirates, he hit .280/.337/.453. His splits were even more drastic: .263/.312/.424 against righties, .336/.418/.551 against lefties. Considering how many more righties the typical player faces than lefties — Nady’s plate appearances were split 390 to 122 — he wasn’t looking like a guy you wanted in the lineup every day.

In 2007, things took a turn for the better. His overall numbers were along the same lines as 2006: .278/.330/.476. Yet his splits were much more even. Against lefties he hit .295/.356/.463. Against righties he hit .274/.322/.479. While those aren’t ideal numbers against righties, it is still an OPS over .800. More importantly, it was an improvement.

This year, he’s showing a pattern similar to 2007, though the tide has risen. Overall, he’s at .330/.383/.535. Against lefties, that’s .313/.434/.522, and against righties it’s .335/.368/.538 — a .956 OPS vs. a .907 OPS.

Will Nady maintain these stellar numbers? We can’t be certain. But over the last two years, as he has entered his prime, he has shown a greater competency against right-handed pitchers. That could be what turns him from a fringe starter into a solid one.

Nady, Marte short-term pieces of the long-term Tabata puzzle
The Hughes and Pavano rehab clocks are soon to tick
  • A.D.

    Plus we know the guy can play in NYC (for half a season at least), and he’s got a solid nickname: X-man.

    Figure Nady should be more protected than he was in Pitt, and one thing for certain, he crushes lefties, something we need.

    • Mike A.

      He’s been going by X for some time now, since his minor league days with the Pads.

    • whozat

      Not in the 7-hole he won’t be :-)

  • dan

    Don’t look at IsoD, it doesn’t really make sense.

    He’s walking in 7.1% of his plate appearances, compared to 5.1% last year and 6.1% career.

  • DP

    Are they going to be ready for the game?

    • DP

      I guess so. ESPNews just said his plane was due to land at 1:25

  • A.D.

    Nady also is hitting .318 w/RISP this year, and hit .315 last year….another stat we could use

  • Jamal G.

    “Just because we’ve found that OBP and SLG are more important than BA doesn’t mean we should go out and get a team of Adam Dunns (though having one would be awful nice).”

    The ‘Stache is angry.

  • Old Ranger

    Until this past Thursday I didn’t even know who this guy was (Nady). He was not one of the players I would have gone after, so I checked out his play with a couple of old guys in Pit.
    The word from them is; “You will like this guy, has improved almost every year.” “Good team player and guy in the club house, will take what the pitcher gives him.” These are two guys with stellar instincts and a great deal of knowledge…like most old guys. After checking out his stats (as has Joseph P), it looks as if my faith in Cash has payed off. Two good players for AA, AAA prospects looks good to me…although Ohly may have been a bit much. 27/08?

    • Joltin’ Joe

      Other than Tabata there’s absolutely nothing of any value to NY in this trade. He’s so far away and has a lot of development left, I think Cashman made a great gamble on this one. Besides, we have so much young pitching right now (without even counting Brackman and Cole). I wonder if we could see a deal for a good starting pitcher who’s more above Washburn in the coming days.

  • r.w.g.

    He gets better every year because he just plain sees more right-handed pitching and he isn’t playing in San Diego.

    He’s probably not a true .330 hitter, but I don’t see any reason why he can’t continue to hit close to .300 with double digit homers for the next few seasons. He hits really well with RISP and the guy in front of him – Cano – is red hot and hits a shit load of doubles. I think the X-Man has a chance to do some damage.

  • Matthew Cohen

    It’s luck. Check out his BABIP this year.

    2008 non08 Career
    AB 327 1674
    BB 25 104
    K 55 340
    PA 352 1778
    Hits 108 455
    Single 68 301
    Double 26 87
    Triple 1 5
    HR 13 62
    TB 175 738

    BA 0.330 0.272
    OBP 0.378 0.314
    SLG 0.535 0.441
    OPS 0.913 0.755
    ISOP 0.205 0.169
    BIP 259 1,272
    nonHR Hits 95 393
    BABIP 0.367 0.309
    K/PA 16% 19%
    BB/PA 7% 6%
    HR/AB 4% 4%

    • jeff

      Nady’s BABIP is actually lower than it should be based on his ridiculous 26.5 line drive percentage. So he probably hasn’t been lucky with balls falling in, but he probably has been lucky with hitting more line drives than he can sustain.

      For LD% reference, Pujols is around 20 for his career, Cano around 19 and ARod around 18.

      So yeah, he’s more than likely not really a .330 hitter. But he has improved over the last few years and is right about at his peek. I think we can expect something like .300/.350/.500. In other words, miles better than Gardner/Sexson and quite a bit better than Abreu’s likely line next year.

  • Matthew Cohen

    Pujols career BABIP is .322, A-Rod is .327 (Nady is .319)

    Nady’s peripherals have not changed much over the course of his career. If his K/PA dropped or his BB/PA increased or his HR/AB increased, I’d agree. But BABIP has a lot of luck in small sample sizes so maybe I grant you that his BABIP will be a bit higher but .367 way high and is almost certainly luck.

    Most likely is
    .270 AVG (his career average with his enhanced .319 BABIP – which is higher than .300, the norm in the majors)
    .315 OBP (doesn’t walk much)
    ISOP .180
    SLG .450
    OPS .765

    ok but not great.

    • jeff

      I think it’s possible you’re misunderstanding BABIP a little. The major league average has nothing to do with Nady. BABIP for hitters is usually LD% + .120. So good hitters have a higher BABIP than bad hitters. It’s not like pitchers where everyone is pretty much the same. Nady hits lots of line drives so his BABIP should be higher than the league average.

      This year’s extremely high BABIP is caused by his absurd LD%, which is sure to regress, not by a bunch of bloop singles falling in. So there probably has been some real improvement in his ability to hit. Just not enough to make him a .330 hitter. Probably.

      All that aside, I don’t understand why you think his most likely numbers are significantly worse than his career numbers. He’s just reaching his peek so if anything he should be better than his career numbers.

  • Matthew Cohen

    I agree he is an improvement over Gardner btw.

  • Matthew Cohen
    As a general formula, BABIP equals the percent of batted balls that are line drives (LD%) plus .120.

    So .265 plus .120 equals .385 so Jeff is right (that he has not been lucky in terms of balls falling in).

    So why has he been hitting line drives like crazy? Is this an aberration? Time will tell. That’s why they play the games, I guess.

    Anyone have year by year LD% for Nady?

  • Matthew Cohen

    Nady is making significantly more contact (16.8% K%, 19.7% career) and better contact (26.5% LD%, 20.9% career) so far this year. When you hit the ball hard and more often, a significant increase in batting average naturally follows. Whether Nady can sustain a 26.5% LD% is questionable, but let’s not confuse his early season performance with luck. He really has hit the tar out of the baseball this year.

    • jeff

      OK, I should have read your last two posts before I replied. It looks like we pretty much agree.

      • jeff

        haha, I didn’t realize you were quoting from fangraphs there. I was getting stats from there but I didn’t even notice the article on the front page.

  • Matthew Cohen

    where can I get career and year by year ld% by player?

    • jeff and both have LD% on the player cards.