For my post today over at MASNSports.com, I take a look at yesterday's hero, Laynce Nix. I've been meaning to analyze his success this season, but just hadn't gotten around to it. After hitting a home run off Roy Oswalt and making the game-saving catch in the Nats 2-1 win, I figured now would be the perfect time.
Nix is a good story for the Nats so far. He's far outplaying his projections and career averages. But a look into some pretty simple advanced statistics reveals he's living on luck and an elevated HR-per-fly ball ratio. Once his BABiP reverts to mean and that HR:FB ratio flattens out, he's going to be the same old Laynce Nix who owns a lifetime .248/.290/.437 slash line. His K/9 is way up and BB/9 is way down in relation to career norms as well, another bad harbinger.
His line drive, ground out and fly out rates are all steady with career norms, so it's really just the case of a few extra fly balls turning into home runs and balls falling in for hits. Nats fans should enjoy his success for what it is, but have a realistic idea that as the summer wears on Nix will probably return to his career rates. Is it possible he's enjoying a career year at age 30? Sure, but he's doing so with the benefit of some pretty extreme luck right now.
I don't write this to be a killjoy. I want the Nats to succeed and have players that are legitimately good. But I also want Nats fans to be educated about what's going on behind the boxbar numbers so that if (when) Nix returns to earth they aren't shocked.
It's like that old conundrum: Would you rather be optimistic and disappointed or realistic and pleasantly surprised?