The main application of slugging percentage is to go beyond just being able to tell how good a player is at getting hits, but how good they are at getting quality hits. For example, Robinson Cano and Andrew McCutchen both had a batting average of .314 last year; however Cano slugged just .454 opposed to McCutchen who finished with a .542 mark. While both players got hits just as often, McCutchen got the more valuable kinds of hits more often (he had more doubles, triples, and homers than Cano), so he was the better hitter in 2014.
It is important to remember that there will almost certainly be some “bleeding” of the phases. As much as a hitter might train, their will always be tiny little timing and mechanical mistakes leading to some of the “bleeding effect” of the phases. The most important thing to remember as a hitter is really to be great at preparing to swing properly followed by being great into Phase 1. If the the transition from your load into Phase 1 is executed at a high level, then Phase 2 and 3 will require very little attention. Eliminate early mistakes and prepare to feel effortless power.
Great article! Your explanation of what it means to “relax” is definitely something all hitters struggle with, including myself. I’ve always been a “power-hitter”, but I didn’t really start hitting HRs consitently until I started putting backspin on the ball. For me at least, focusing on my swing and trying to have a backspin-promoting cut helped me RELAX and take the focus off of trying to kill the ball. I would grip the bat way too tight and pull everything, which was really frustrating. Another thing that helped me keep my hands relaxed was I started using that Pro-Hitter thumb ring that I saw pro’s like A-Gon and J Hamilton using… Again, great article! Thanks for providing more insight on something that all of us wish we could do at every at-bat haha! One can only dream…
Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier
A few reactions are fast because they skip the brain altogether--the knee-jerk reflex, for example, requiring only a few nerve-cell-to-nerve-cell interconnections, and thus happens in "the blink of an eye." The neural pathway makes a short loop from sensory cells through interneurons to motor nerve cells, which control the appropriate muscle groups. A message is sent to the brain at the same time it is sent to the muscles, so we actually become aware of the knee jerk as it happens.
Other factors that affect the batter's swing are the effective length and weight of the bat. The farther up the handle the hitter holds the bat, the less time it takes to swing at the ball, for the simple reason that there is less mass to move through space, and therefore less inertia to overcome with sheer muscle power. But consequently, less mass hits the ball. Power is the trade-off for speed and precision, hence the maxim that the more powerful the swing, the less likely the hit.
Don't swing down on the ball. The backspin you gain from doing so does not outweigh the exit velocity loss that occurs as a result. The best way to get distance is to swing up through the ball. If you slightly undercut the ball that way, you get backspin while achieving a better launch angle and maintaining as much exit velocity as possible. Advanced analytics show that the most effective way to hit home runs is to swing with an attack angle that's slightly less than the ideal launch angle. The following article explains this in more depth.
On an individual level, I'm partial to OPS+ because it's a clear upgrade over traditional measures and, unlike oWAR (which I think is more accurate in a vacuum), it's not quite as off-putting to the uninitiated. I'll happily lean on oWAR when appropriate, though, as it contains a base-running component. On a team level, I tend to stick to runs scored and OPS with on-the-fly adjustments made for ballpark effects.
These six drills are designed to generate more power for hitters across the games of softball and baseball. Working on a good path to the ball and through the zone is immediately one of the most important factors in driving the ball. Once that is worked, then can work on several drills to improve hip and lower half rotation, then work into weight transfer from the back leg through the zone, and put it all together with the crossover drill. For more drills to improve power for softball hitters, check out the hitting drills in The Hitting Vault.
Durocher, a 17-year major league vet and Hall of Fame manager, sums up the game of baseball quite brilliantly in the above quote, and it’s pretty ridiculous how much fans really don’t understand about the game of baseball that they watch so much. This holds especially true when you start talking about baseball stats. Sure, most people can tell you what a home run is and that batting average is important, but once you get past the basic stats, the rest is really uncharted territory for most fans.
I'm an agnostic when it comes to a silver bullet statistic. Sure, it might exist somewhere, but I haven't seen evidence to support that. Instead, I think the sheer number and variety of statistics we have show just how much beauty and nuance there is in the game, and why it's the greatest game that's ever been. That said, I like OPS+ because it incorporates many different things -- getting on base (i.e. not making outs) and slugging, while also putting those performances into the context of a time (the season) and place (ballaparks). I also like the simplicity of 100 being average -- so if you see something like Barry Bonds' run of four years with a 230 or better OPS+ is simply superhuman (or some may say, unnatural).
Whereas with resistance bands, the force profile applies more force to your bat the further and further you swing it in front of your body– meaning, you are at maximum resistance during the follow-through of the swing. So not only does the weight affect central nervous system motor patterns, but the force profile of the bands does not positively benefit the swing either.
That's a difference of about one error every two games. This seems insignificant, but we can use Tom Tango's run environment generation program to see what kind of effect those extra errors would have on offense. Plug in the 2013 MLB batting statistics (counting HBP as BB and ROE as hits) and the program estimates a run environment of 4.8 R/G*. But double the amount of errors, and that number jumps by half a run to 5.3 R/G.
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Below is an overhead view of a good rotational swing. We have plotted the path of the hands and bat-head. Although the video discusses plate coverage, note that: (1) the bat-head accelerates rearward (back toward the catcher) about 140 degrees before it swings around toward the pitcher (2) the first movement of the hands are more away than toward the pitcher.
Watching a player in batting practice will tell you whether or not he can square up a baseball. If he is hitting one-hoppers through the infield that land in the dirt to line drives that are short-hopping the wall, he is squaring up the baseball. If he is consistently hitting balls that land within 45 feet of the plate or are high pop flies, his swing plane is not right and he will not be able to hit at a high level.