I think it's just a question of semantics, though. Kinda like how some people hate when the term "luck" is used. The fact is that pitchers still have much less control over balls in play than other outcomes. It's really common sense if you think about it. Even weak grounders can be misplayed by the defense. Game 3 of the Series last year was won on a 45-foot dribbler down the third base line with a five-man infield, in part because Longoria made an awful throw to the plate.
I also took issue with this paragraph:
That's a logical fallacy if I've ever heard one. Fielders experience variation in their performance just like anyone else. Some games they make great plays, some games they botch routine ones. And since the article is dated 2003, it was written before McCracken's findings were expanded and built on by other researchers with things like eBABIP.To account for the effects of park and defense, I also computed the in-play average for each team-season in the period from 1913 to 2002. If McCracken is correct when he says that pitchers have virtually no influence over these outcomes, every pitcher on a given team should have roughly the same IPAvg. After all, those pitchers share a common park and a common defense.