Over at The Hardball Times, Chris Dutton and Peter Bendix have come up with a new model for establishing xBABIP. It goes beyond just line drive rate to include speed, general location of hit, plate discipline, contact rate, park, handedness, and more. You can read the article for all the thrilling details. I wonder how it compares with the work done by our own ZeppelinDZ here and here.
There's also a download of all the data they ran from the last four seasons and comparison with the Studeman's older (and still useful) LD% + .12 model. For those of you have have lives, I'll list some of the Royals 2008 "luck rates" here. Positive numbers indicate they were lucky, negative, unlucky. I guess that Callaspo, German, TPJ, and MITCH didn't make the cutoff point.
Not too many surprises here. Aviles shows up as lucky on every "luck neutralizer" I've seen. Gordon is a bit of a surprise, but when you realize that's 3.73%, it's not that different (and keep in mind this has little to do with power hitting). If you buy this model, then Olivo's speed doesn't explain his greater BABIP success than Buck this year -- I'm still betting that given equal playing time next year (wherever they end up), Buck has a better offensive season. This is Gathright when he's lucky? He, Aviles, and perhaps Olivo are the only ones who really stand out as exceptionally lucky this past season to me.