Playing With Numbers: The trouble with BABIP

Statistics. Fantasy players expect a lot from them, and perhaps we expect too much. We're always looking for that perfect statistic that not only tells us exactly how well a player has been performing to date but also can accurately predict how that player will perform in the future. That's quite a tall order, and probably unattainable. Yet there are some sabermetric devotees who believe they have found their Rosetta stone. It's called BABIP, and some feel this single number helps them to accurately deduce which players are due for a rebound, and which players are performing well over their heads, and are therefore headed for a slump.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Some people are cavalierly tossing BABIP around as casually as a Frisbee on the beach, having no idea that the way they are using the statistic is all set to blow up in their faces. Let's examine where these people are going wrong.