In Praise of Loney

Like I said in the mid-season review, I’ve been hating on James Loney a bit, but it’s time to give him some recognition.

James Loney leads the majors this year in line drive percentage. Hitting line drives is a great skill and can sometimes be misleading–some players, like Chone Figgins, David Wright or Todd Helton, have made great careers out of a high LD% while others like Garrett Atkins or Freddy Sanchez can have one great season because their LD% skyrocketed for one year and dropped down to career rates again.

Loney’s year so far has been decent and he’s seen only a reasonable spike in his BABIP, as opposed to Austin Jackson‘s dizzying high .422 BABIP. Big Game James’ career average for LD% is 22.5, so likely he’s benefiting from a little bit of luck, but 22.5% is still a very high, praise-worthy LD%.

LD% also explains, to an extent, why Loney has struggled with home runs at Dodger Stadium. Line drive hitters’ home run numbers are usually heavily influenced by park factors (remember the David Wright article?) and when you see Dodger Stadium’s park factor is still in the bottom of the league, it’s not a real wonder why.

Well, here’s to Loney, anyway. Cheers, James.

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

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