Brent Rooker: A sabermetrical look

MSU first baseman Brent Rooker
By: 
COLLIN BRISTER
Staff Writer

When the lines cross across the screen for a hitter coming to the plate you normally see three things:

Batting average, home runs and runs batted in.

While all three of those tell you some generic things about the person coming to the plate, there are much more advanced metrics that can tell you how the player is performing.

This year for Mississippi State’s Brent Rooker, while advanced in all three of those metrics, put up unbelievable numbers in some sabermetrics.

His numbers beyond just the generic slash line show just how incredible the Bulldog slugger was in what will likely be his final year in Starkville.

SLUGGING PERCENTAGE

Slugging percentage tells us how many bases a hitter acquires per at bat.

Rooker’s numbers there doing the 2017 season were outrageous.

The Tennessee native slugged over .800 both in conference and non-conference play, and showed the ability to hit the ball over the fence consistently.

His .836 slugging percentage in conference play is one of the highest in SEC history, and it compares to some historic MLB player seasons.

Barry Bonds slugged .853 during his run to setting the single-season home run record for contest.

ISOLATED POWER

Isolated power can tell us what the hitter is doing from a strictly power perspective. It’s measured by simply subtracting one’s batting average from their slugging percentage, showing how often a player got
an extra base hit within their slugging percentage.

With Rooker’s abnormally high slugging percentage, it stands to reason that he’d have an insane isolated power number, and he does.

Rooker’s isolated power number overall came in at .423, and he had an isolated power number of .445 in SEC play. What does that mean? He slugged over .810 overall and .836 in SEC play.

That means that over half of his hits were extra base hits in both conference and non-conference play.

That’s abnormal, but it shows just the type of power numbers that he put up.

BATTING AVERAGE ON BALL IN PLAY (BABIP)

This stat tells us what the batting average is of balls that can be fielded. It’s calculated by subtracting home runs from hits, and then dividing by at-bats minus strikeouts minus
home runs and adding sacrifice flies.

Rooker’s BABIP was over .400.

Usually no matter how successful one is at the plate, a substantially high BAPIP is around .350.

The fact that over the 66 games Rooker was able to post a .426 BABIP means that every single thing was getting hit hard. If you’re hitting the ball softly into play, you’re most likely going to post a lower
BABIP, where as to have that high of a BABIP it takes hitting the ball with extremely strong exit velocities.

ON BASE PERCENTAGE PLUS SLUGGING PERCENTAGE (OPS)

OPS is a metric that’s simply calculated by adding one’s slugging percentage and their on-base percentage (the number of times a batter reaches base by hit, walk and hit by pitch divided by total at-bats).

A solid OPS would come in around .800 and an all-star level would be any OPS of 1.00 and higher.

Rooker posted an OPS of 1.300 for the season, meaning that his average bases per at-bat was over one.

That means that every time he came to the plate the junior averaged at least getting to first base, and that’s downright silly.

CONCLUSION

Rooker posted a historic season from a generic stand point with hitting .387 for the season and 23 home runs, but a deeper look into his stats show that he was dominant in almost every aspect.

To hit like he did you have to be able to drive pitches when you get them. Teams toward the end of the year started pitching him more carefully and even walking him intentionally.

That meant that during the year he started getting less and less opportunities, but when he did get them he was able to take advantage

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