Line-drive rate represents the percentage of balls hit into the field of play that are characterized as line drives. Each ball that is hit into the field of play is characterized as a line drive, a fly ball, a ground ball or a pop-up.
Line-drive rate can be used as a metric to evaluate both hitters and pitchers, although it's more frequently used to evaluate pitchers (as we can generally tell the type of contact that hitters are making by the more traditional stats like batting average and OPS.)
With pitchers, however, line-drive rate can be very telling. Obviously, more than anything, pitchers are trying to avoid hard-hit baseballs, because they most frequently result in hits. As a result, pitchers who allow high line-drive rates typically struggle.
Watch: Kyle Hendricks allows a line drive, increasing his line-drive rate.
As line drives tend to fall for hits more often than ground balls and fly balls, fantasy owners seeking batting-average help may wish to choose hitters who post high line-drive rates. Batting averages can fluctuate due to BABIP volatility, but those who rip liners with great frequency tend to maintain a higher BABIP than the average hitter.
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