The only reason Carter's swinging strike rate isn't the highest in the league is that he's a relatively patient guy who sees a lot of pitches, otherwise he'd have the clean sweep. Although Chris Carter's actual career batting average is not unfathomably low at .220, it's pretty clear that his ability to make contact is the worst around. Additionally, Carter may have enjoyed more than his fair share of luck on balls in play because his career.294 BABIP seems a little steep for a guy with a batted ball profile like the one shown below:
Players who hit 40 or more home runs produced 3.4 fWAR on average, the lowest rate since 2008 (1.8) and the third-lowest average on record since expansion, slightly behind the 1984 campaign (2.8 average fWAR from a batter with at least 40 home runs). Compare that with the average fWAR from batters with between 20 and 29 home runs (3.1 in 2016) and it is easy to see where the value lies.
Hudson came back from Tommy John surgery in '14 as a relief pitcher so all his batting stats (minus one K in '15) come from his first six seasons. Nevertheless, they're good numbers. In 2011 he won the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers thanks to his .277 batting average with three doubles, one home run and 14 RBI in 65 at-bats, plus three walks. He's now a reliever for the Pirates so probably won't get many at-bats this season.
What better time than now to delve into what exactly are the best offensive stats upon which to judge a baseball player? The Eye on Baseball staff -- Matt Snyder, C. Trent Rosecrans and Dayn Perry -- will do the heavy lifting and then let our readers argue among themselves. We'll make our picks, too, so you can call us idiots, as is standard in the Internet community.
In the major leagues, .300 always has been regarded as a special number. Like a 20-point-a-game scorer in basketball or a 1,000-yards-a-season rusher in football, it is a benchmark for excellence. A .300 season will get you a pay raise, which is why so many players through the years have asked off on the last day of a season. They wanted to preserve their precious .300.
The first of those numbers represents batting average. While most fans know about this stat, I’ll touch on it briefly just to make sure that I have all of my bases covered (baseball pun intended). Batting average is calculated by dividing a player’s total number of hits by their total number of at bats, which gives you a number that tells you how often (on average) that player gets a hit.
First of all, what is on base percentage?  In the simplest terms, on base percentage (OBP) calculates how many times a batter reaches base excluding instances such as fielder’s choice and errors.  This means, unlike with batting average, walks are calculated into the equation.  Walks are an important part of baseball.  The more walks you accumulate the more times you’re on base.  This means added run scoring potential as well as stolen base opportunities, both of which are standard scoring categories in basic 5×5 leagues.  In fantasy, we count those runs and stolen bases regardless of who that person reached base, so why should the batter get credit for how he got on base as well?
OBP was a big leap forward ten or twenty years ago because it gave credit to hitters who reached base via walk or HBP when batting average ignored those things. Any time you don’t make an out, you’re contributing positively to the run scoring process and OBP captures that better than batting average because it incorporates a big slice of offensive activity that batting average doesn’t consider. Getting on base via walk doesn’t help your team quite as much as getting a hit, but it’s certainly valuable enough to warrant inclusion in even the most simplistic metrics.
OPS stands for on base plus slugging and is exactly what it sounds like. You take a player’s OBP and add it to their SLG to get OPS. This stat is often used to measure a player’s overall ability as a hitter, combining their skill at getting on base (OBP) with their aptitude to hit for power (SLG). Sometimes it will be included at the end of a typical slash line, so if you see a slash with four different numbers in it, then OPS is what the fourth one represents.
To do this drill, you stride over the outside stick, and while completing the swing, work on getting the back foot over the back stick, really focusing on weight transfer. Note how in the pictures, she has stepped past the stick and to the tee, and in the next frame, began shifting her weight from her back leg to the ball. This drill is excellent for weight transfer and using the lower half to drive the ball.
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.

While I don’t feel hitting coaches should try to “clone or cookie-cut” their hitters. I do believe we should strive to build on the strengths of every hitter. However, every good hitter, (past, present, and future), performs a series of sequential moves (working from the ground-up), that enables the barrel to enter the back of the strike zone, accelerating through contact. 


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.
Hudson came back from Tommy John surgery in '14 as a relief pitcher so all his batting stats (minus one K in '15) come from his first six seasons. Nevertheless, they're good numbers. In 2011 he won the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers thanks to his .277 batting average with three doubles, one home run and 14 RBI in 65 at-bats, plus three walks. He's now a reliever for the Pirates so probably won't get many at-bats this season.
You can make similar cases for mid-range average guys like Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward who had averages in the .270 but on base percentages in the .350’s because they could draw walks.  I know, you could just add walks as a category but in doing so you would be penalizing players like Jones along with some of the players from the BA leaders above like Lorenzo Cain, Ben Revere and Josh Harrison.  Now you’re still gonna have those high empty OBP guys just like you would empty BA guys; nothing you can do about that, no system is perfect.  The difference is the right players are being rewarded.  If your hits and walks are equal you are getting on base at an equal clip, right?  Getting on base helps your team, just ask Billy Beane. 

To compare the performance of OBP and gOBP, we compute a weighted mean squared error (WMSE) to quantify the difference between the expected and actual statistic for the set of batter/pitcher matchups in each bin. The number of plate appearances is used to weight each bin, so that more common pairings affected the final score more than rarer ones. We collected all matchups between batters and pitchers with at least 50 total PAs in a season from 2010 through 2013, a sample of more than 750,000 PAs. The WMSE (along with the unweighted mean squared error) for both OBP and gOBP are given below.
Through Phase 2 the hitter can start to also make adjustments to inside or outside pitches. If the pitch it outside, Phase 2 will be significantly shorter so that they can start to enter Phase 3, the “release”. If however the pitch is inside, the hitter should continue in Phase 2 longer so that there is zero loss of force. Hitters that stop their shoulder rotation too soon are almost always going to compensate with the pushing of their arms.  
Not only that, every baseball player in any situation would benefit from improving their hitting power. This has to be a focus of yours. Technique and power development can be trained simultaneously in the same training program and not overlap one another. So go to hitting practice, hit the gym, and be the guy the other team doesn’t want to see in the warm-up area.
OBP has become synonymous with the book “Moneyball” because at in the early 2000s, teams weren’t properly valuing players with high OBPs and the Oakland A’s could swipe talented players for cheap because they were one of the few teams paying attention to walk rate. These days, every team has come to accept how vitally important OBP is to their success, and that particular “market inefficiency” has been closed.
GB% – This stands for ground ball percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as ground balls. The league average on grounders last year was just .239, which means that only about 24% of ground balls end up as hits. So, because of that, you would expect players who hit a lot of grounders to have a lower BABIP, right? This is not necessarily true, however, because most ground ball hitters end up being the speedsters that are more likely to beat out grounders than your average player. In general, you can expect players with a high GB% to have a slightly higher BABIP, but you definitely want to take a look at their speed before making that assumption.

These types of movements encourage poor technique and motor patterns. I have talked about the central nervous systems relationship with movement patterns in the past with speed development and in baseball youth athletes, the same rules apply here. This type of training negatively affects your body’s motor/muscle recruitment patterns during a game setting.
Setting up the drill, you want to have the bucket behind the back foot of the hitter. The purpose is to work on the transfer of weight from the back leg. In order to do that, we cannot simply rotate our back leg while our foot is anchored. This is why this drill is so helpful, the bucket will give you immediate feedback for incorrect or correct weight transfer.

Batters actually hold a decent level of influence on their BABIP, which is something that not a lot of people realize. Because there are different types of hitters (mainly speed, power, and contact hitters), not everyone should be expected to have the same “30% outcome” for balls in play. The main source of this influence comes from what is known as a player’s “batted ball profile,” which consists of the following stats:
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.
Batting Average (AVG): In the beginning. If you google the term "batting champion," you will come up with the hitter in each league that has the highest batting average, and has at least 502 plate appearances for the season. That player will be declared the "batting champion" in each league. Miguel Cabrera is the batting champion in the American League, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the league’s most productive hitter. Batting average measures the percentage of time that a hitter gets a base hit. Walks don’t count, and home runs count the same as an infield single. By the way, Cabrera also led the league in on base, on base, on base.
GB% – This stands for ground ball percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as ground balls. The league average on grounders last year was just .239, which means that only about 24% of ground balls end up as hits. So, because of that, you would expect players who hit a lot of grounders to have a lower BABIP, right? This is not necessarily true, however, because most ground ball hitters end up being the speedsters that are more likely to beat out grounders than your average player. In general, you can expect players with a high GB% to have a slightly higher BABIP, but you definitely want to take a look at their speed before making that assumption.
So now going back to the original example of Mike Trout’s 2014 slash line (.287/.377/.561), you should be able to look at it and know not only what statistic each number represents, but what it means in regards to Trout’s value as a player. Before we move on to the next section, however, I also want to mention two stats that are commonly associated (and sometimes included) with the slash line, the first of which is OPS.
In baseball statistics, on-base percentage (OBP) is a measure of how often a batter reaches base for any reason other than a fielding error, fielder's choice, dropped or uncaught third strike, fielder's obstruction, or catcher's interference. OBP is calculated in Major League Baseball (MLB) by dividing the sum of hits, walks, and times hit by a pitch by the sum of at-bats, walks, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies.[1] A hitter with a .400 on-base percentage is considered to be great[2] and rare;[3] only 55 players in MLB history with at least 3,000 career plate appearances (PA) have maintained such an OBP. Left fielder Ted Williams, who played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox, has the highest career on-base percentage, .4817, in MLB history.[4] Williams led the American League (AL) in on-base percentage in twelve seasons, the most such seasons for any player in the major leagues.[4][5] Barry Bonds led the National League (NL) in ten seasons, a NL record.[5][6] Williams also posted the then-highest single-season on-base percentage of .5528 in 1941, a record that stood for 61 years until Bonds broke it with a .5817 OBP in 2002.[7] Bonds broke his own record in 2004, setting the current single-season mark of .6094.[7]
Last season, the average hitter who belted between 20 and 24 home runs provided 2.9 wins above replacement, similar to what Asdrubal Cabrera (.280 average with 23 home runs and .810 OPS) gave the New York Mets in 2016, for which he was paid $8.25 million. A 40-home run hitter, like Nelson Cruz (.287 average with 43 home runs and a .915 OPS), averaged 4.5 fWAR but was paid $14.25 million. In other words, you could have two Cabrera-type hitters for a little more than it would cost to sign one like Cruz and get slightly more value overall.
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Batting Average (AVG): In the beginning. If you google the term "batting champion," you will come up with the hitter in each league that has the highest batting average, and has at least 502 plate appearances for the season. That player will be declared the "batting champion" in each league. Miguel Cabrera is the batting champion in the American League, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the league’s most productive hitter. Batting average measures the percentage of time that a hitter gets a base hit. Walks don’t count, and home runs count the same as an infield single. By the way, Cabrera also led the league in on base, on base, on base.
Exactly how humans are able to estimate the expected position of a quickly moving ball is unknown. Obviously, this remarkable skill is learned through long practice. Eye-brain-body coordination is acquired only by going through the motions over and over; even so, the batter misses most of the time. Getting a hit three times out of ten at bat is considered an excellent average. It's interesting that George Schaller and other ethologists have observed that lions and cheetahs are also successful only about a third of the time in capturing their prey.
Prior to 2010 we only listed the top 100 and monitored those who made and slipped off the list. Here is that original fast fact preserved and now useless due to the list including 1000 names: Modern superstars are making the list as they meet the one-thousand minimum games played threshold: In 2001 Jeff Cirillo & Manny Ramirez met the requirements and joined the top one-hundred. In 2002 Cirillo slipped off the chart and Jason Giambi made it while Chipper Jones & Alex Rodriguez missed the cutoff by less than 2/1000 of a point. In 2003 Jason Giambi slipped off the chart, Chipper Jones just missed it once again (his career average is .30870), and Vladimir Guerrero vaulted onto the list at forty-first — higher than any other active player, that is until 2004 when Todd Helton launched into the top 20 all-time.
Those three stats (K%, BB%, BB/K) are the bulk of what is used to determine a player’s plate discipline, but there are actually quite a few more advanced stats that can be used get a much deeper look into a player’s approach at the plate. It’s really not necessary to get very in-depth with these stats, but a simple description and league context is really all you need to be able to apply them.
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