In the newest installment in how luck may have played a role in a hitter’s fortune/misfortune, let’s take a look at Khalil Greene’s precipitous fall in 2008. Is there any hope for him going forward? I will once again refer you to Chris Dutton and Peter Bendix’s great work on xBABIP which will be referenced. Additionally, BABIP in these posts is defined (H-HR)/(PA-HR-K-BB-HBP) and xBABIp is the outcome you’d expect in a “luck-neutral environment.”
2008 did not treat Khalil Greene kindly. Hampered by injury and limited to only 105 games, Greene had his worst year as a Padre. He posted a slash-line of .219/.260/.339. In his four previous full seasons of work, he’d never posted an OPS below .725. Greene’s HR-output also took a significant hit: only 10 in 105 games. His k-rate was the highest of his career, as well. All in all it was a terrible year for Greene, but it might have been a little better with a little more luck.
Greene also posted the lowest BABIP of his career (.255), which was a pretty decent departure from his xBABIP of .276 and his career BABIP of .285. Obviously with his peripheral statistics down (along with his power), it makes sense that Greene’s xBABIP would expect him to perform at a lower level than his career norms. If we adjust his stat-line for the hits he seemed to lose to bad luck it would be a little more respectable .229/.274/.359. Those numbers are still pretty bad and likely someone you would not even sniff in a fantasy draft. Fortunately for Greene, he’s moving out of cavernous Petco Park and into the new Busch Stadium. While Busch Stadium is not Coors Field it should be at least a slight upgrade to Petco.
Below is his adjusted stat-line in four scenarios: the first is his actual 2008 numbers, followed by his numbers in Petco with “luck” stripped out, then those numbers in a neutral field, and finally his production using the new Busch Stadium’s park factors.
As you can see he isn’t setting the world on fire, but his numbers definitely improve. If Greene can also get his talent level back to where it was before 2008, then he would be due for a big resurgence. Greene also plays shortstop which is generally a pretty weak spot for hitters especially in deeper leagues. I would consider Greene as a late-round pickup or a guy to keep your eye on the first month of the season.