This morning (I mean early morning), SBN's own Peter Bendix and Chris Dutton (though I'm not sure he's one of SBN's own), posted one of the most comprehensive updates and inquires into BABIP I've seen in awhile at The Hardball Times.
Their method was to breakout some BPro metrics that measure skills that batters possess and create a new regression model to determine the correlation coefficients of various skills (batter's eye, hitting to all fields, LD%, etc.) and determine which factors influence a hitter's BABIP. They then derived a new formula for xBABIP which offers more predictive and analytical power than the previous xBABIP of LD% + .120. Their preliminary findings were pretty fascinating and convincing of the fact that they're on to something much better than the simplistic estimation of LD% + .120. This article is definitely worth a read if BABIP puzzles you, angers you, or fascinates you.
Graciously enough, they attached a massive Excel file with all the data on hitters going back to 2005 for nerds like me to play with at 3:30 AM. I went through and looked at the Astros data, (Carlos Lee: due for a regression; Hunter Pence: pretty much what we saw aggregately this year is what we should expect next year; Michael Bourn: also due for a regression...some how). While the data is fresh, and it is a data set that requires a minimum amount of PA to qualify -- therefore, in some instances, doesn't provide player history to seek out trends in a player's performance -- there was something that jumped out at me: Ty Wigginton's xBABIP, either the old xBABIP or the new xBABIP according to Bendix and Dutton's calculations.
Looking at Wigginton's raw BABIP, I would have instinctively said that he's probably due for a slight up tick next season because he's just below the .290-.300 range, but then I saw how his hitting components broke out into an xBABIP that suggests he was already getting lucky if this is all he's bringing to the plate. That's scary because this was his career year. So if I'm the Astros, I'm working the phones to unload Wiggy for a SP prospect or two.
Again, this needs the qualifier of: new data and no other data points on Wigginton; but it's definitely some food for thought as we wait for the arbitration announcements.