Michael Morse Is On Fire (And Also Incredibly Lucky) At The Plate

The hot streak Michael Morse is currently on is the stuff of legends. Since May 1, he is hitting .429 with an OPS of 1.229. If Morse somehow kept up that pace for an entire season, it might very well be the best season of all time. For this stretch, he is thanking hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Via Mark Zuckerman:

"We've had some loud talks, mostly on his side and me listening. He cares a lot about me, and I appreciate all the hard work and the sweat he's put in to help me be a better player, and to show me to prove to myself I'm a good enough player to play here. He knows what it takes, and he knows what it takes mentally to be a good hitter."    

That's one explanation for his incredible hitting. Here's another: he's getting really lucky.

Morse's Batting Average on Balls In Play, or BABIP for short, was .442 in May, according to Dave Nichols of Nats News Network. In two games in June, it's .625. The thing about BABIP is that, in large samples, it tends to drift back to .300 for every hitter. Why? Given how fast a pitch arrives at the plate, the players don't have a ton of control over where it goes once they hit it. No hitter can perfectly deposit a hit between a hole or in the perfect spot in front of an outfielder. Most of the time, it's plain ol' dumb luck.

So yeah, Morse's BABIP of .442 is not going to hold up. Once it goes down towards .300, so to will his torrid hitting start to fall off. The good news is that Morse will still be pretty good even when this happens, so there's that.

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