- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Perhaps no hitter illustrates how wildly unpredictable Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) can be more than St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta. A year ago with the Detroit Tigers, Peralta hit .303 with a .374 BABIP, including a ridiculous .482 mark versus left-handed pitching. In 2012, his BABIP was .275. This year, through three weeks and way too small a sample size, Peralta entered Monday with a lowly .152 BABIP. It’s never wise to spend much time looking at individual batting averages in April, because it’s just not enough at-bats to tell us much, but one look at the BABIP leaders can tell us who has been a bit unlucky, and vice versa.
It’s important to note that luck doesn’t always even out, with Peralta a great example. Still, if you’re trying to figure out whether to keep a hitter on your roster, it is worth it to look at the statistic before making those fateful clicks. The league average for BABIP is just below .300, and while some speedy hitters can create a baseline well above this mark -- Ichiro Suzuki's career BABIP is .344 -- in general if your guy is generating a sub-.200 BABIP, then better days are ahead. Peralta is one of those guys.