The other day I took a look at Soriano's splits with men on base and with the bases empty. If you want to follow along with this, it's advised that you read that piece first.
You back? Good.
This is seven years of data, 2000-2007. (1999 isn't available from Retrosheet, and so I decided that made a reasonable cutoff point for the time being.) First, let's take a look at the average over that timespan:
Overall: .301 BABIP, 14.9% LD
Men On: .306 BABIP, 14.7% LD
Bases Empty: .298 BABIP, 15.1% LD
Line drive rate and BABIP seem to be very consistent between the two states - there's a small variance, but nothing extraordinary.
Overall: .317 BABIP, 16.8% LD
Men On: .307 BABIP, 16.0% LD
Bases Empty: .322 BABIP, 17.2% LD
The line drive rate swings seem a bit more pronounced than the average, but the shape of the distribution is about the same. The BABIP shift, while tracking the LD% pretty well, is counter to the league norms. In fact, with men on base Soriano's BABIP is essentially league average, despite a much better LD% and (presumably) better speed than the average hitter.
It seems like Soriano has been very unlucky with runners ahead of him during his career. I don't see any reason to think that BABIP differential is sustainable other than the fact that he's sustained it this long; I can't say for certain but I'm pretty confident it's not an issue for him to hit with runners on base ahead of him.
Which is why it's really too bad that Lou is committing to bat him behind the team's worst hitter.
UPDATE: I plan on seeing what other little nuggets the data contains at some later point; that said, I have a lot of plans for different things to look into at a later date, and time is a finite resource. In the meantime, my toys are your toys. The file is too large for EditGrid, so it's provided as an Excel spreadsheet. Enjoy.