Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is defined as the player's batting average when they are not striking out or hitting a home run. It is a measure of luck, as it shows how often the fielders were able to turn his batted balls into outs. A lower than expected BABIP could indicate that the hitter was just unfortunate to hit it at the fielders too often. Conversely, a higher than expected BABIP could mean he had a lot of seeing eye singles and his bloopers found the outfield grass.
So which batters were the luckiest and unluckiest in terms of BABIP during the 2010 season?
There were 270 batters who received 300 or more PA this year. These guys had far more hits than they should have based on their career BABIP. Justin Morneau led the way, hitting .389 on balls in play, 89 points higher than his career .300 mark. Most players with a significant number of at bats have a career BABIP between .290 and .320, so his career mark is fairly typical. Morneau hit .345/.437/.618, good for a 1.055 OPS. If his balls in play had fallen in at his career .300 rate, his line would have been something like .280/.382/.534, for an OPS 139 points lower at .916.
Also of note in the top ten luckiest list:
Josh Hamilton, who rode a .394 BABIP to the AL MVP award.
Omar Infante, whose .357 BABIP led to his first All-Star appearance.
Jay Bruce, who can partially thank a .339 BABIP for the 6-year, $51 million contract extension he signed after the season.
Adrian Beltre, whose .336 BABIP could also mean big bucks as he is currently fielding free agent offers.