KC Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando is hitting a team leading .334 after going 4 for 5 with 2 singles, 1 triple, and 1 home run against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night. Is Paulo Orlando really this good, or is his success a mirage destined to collide with reality?
This question has been percolating in the mind of Kansas City Royals fans across the country, especially after Sunday’s game in which he fell just a double short of hitting for the cycle. Royals Review even wrote a long analysis of this question on August 9, concluding that Orlando is really nothing more than a fourth outfielder.
One major source of skepticism about Paulo Orlando is that he was a 29-year-old rookie. Players who take so long to reach the major-leagues rarely become dominant players over the long term. Second the 30-year-old second year player boasts a Batting Average Balls In Play (BABIP) of .412, which is unusually high. That number generally hovers around .300 for most major-league veterans.
Consequently, most sabermetrically-inclined analysts believe that Orlando’s recent success is not sustainable and that he’ll fall back to earth sooner or later.
Paulo Orlando is a fast runner who was a track star in his native Brazil before he took up baseball. Players who run fast often post high BABIPs because of their ability to beat out ground balls for infield hits. Yet, a .412 BABIP exceeds any bump that you’d expect a player to get just from his foot speed.
However, players with high career batting averages also tend to have unusually high BABIPs over their careers. Could it be that Paulo Orlando is a late-blooming hitter will consistently put up high batting averages over the next few years?
Next: Can Paulo Orlando Sustain A High BABIP?