Compared to catching a hard-hit line drive on the run, it would seem that catching the pop-up fly would be simple. But it isn't. It may be that, given enough time, the room for error in estimation of flight path actually increases; a player may think himself into an error. This is like trying to draw a straight line freehand. If you look where you want to draw the line and then just draw it there without concentrating, you will probably succeed in drawing a fairly straight line. If, on the other hand, you worry about how straight the line is, millimeter by millimeter, the task becomes impossible. Catching a ball may be easier when there's no time to think.
Since the beginning of baseball, one stat has reigned supreme over all others:  the batting average.  Simply put, the best hitters are always considered to be those who possess the highest.  Every year, the best hitter in the game is generally considered to be the person who retained the highest batting average.  This brings about a question:  Is batting average really as important as it is made out to be?  Or is it actually less important than another similar stat, On base percentage?
How do these players create such a powerful swing? Rule number one; do not confuse POWER with strength. These are two very different dynamics. Power is an explosive movement. It is created through a combination of speed, and strength. Strength is created through maximal force. This is the biggest learning lesson here; you do not create power for hitting by lifting maximum weight. Power lifting like bodybuilders and muscle heads do, does not translate into softball power hitting. Power lifting is mostly all for show and not athletic performance. If you have the biggest arms, traps, and chest in the world, how are you going to swing the bat? Power lifting and Power hitting are two totally different things.

Since the beginning of baseball, one stat has reigned supreme over all others:  the batting average.  Simply put, the best hitters are always considered to be those who possess the highest.  Every year, the best hitter in the game is generally considered to be the person who retained the highest batting average.  This brings about a question:  Is batting average really as important as it is made out to be?  Or is it actually less important than another similar stat, On base percentage?

Back in the day when fantasy baseball was in its infancy, the standard 5×5 categories many leagues still use today seemed like a good thing.  Well times they are a changing.  Stats have evolved over the years, especially with the introduction and advanced use of sabermetrics throughout our real and fake teams.  So if things have come this far, then why are we still using the same archaic scoring methods that were instituted by our founding fathers? 
Equal power and equal run scoring abilities, yet using batting average, Dozier is inferior.  It doesn’t seem fair that two players of equal skills are ranked so far apart in fantasy, but player X had 31 more hits while Dozier had 31 more walks with the same results.  If you’re a numbers guy you might have guess who player X is, but for those that haven’t figured it out, it’s Anthony Rendon.  Rendon is shooting up draft boards while Dozier is left waiting until the mid-early rounds.  If there was a poster boy for using OBP over BA, it’s Dozier. 
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.
Carter came to the Astros from Oakland as a player with a reputation for excellent power, but a scary tendency to swing and miss. In his first full season in the majors last year he did nothing to shake that reputation. Carter hit 29 home runs in 2013, but also struck out 212 times coming with in striking distance of Mark Reynolds single-season record of 223. In the last two years (among hitters with at least 800 PA) Chris Carter has been at the top of the leaderboards in all of the statistics related to failing to make contact with baseballs. The following chart shows his numbers in K%, Contact% and Swinging Strike % and where he ranks among the 190 batters with 800+ PA over the last two seasons:

First compare the names on the left to the ones on the right.  Notice anything?  With the exception of Buster Posey, did you draft any player from the left side before any player on the right?  OK there is Dexter Fowler, but there are always a few exceptions with any example.  The players on the right are the superior players, Matt Carpenter included.  While he didn’t live up to expectations, Carpenter did score 99 runs.  The only players to score more runs from either list all come from the right side, Bautista and Trout.  Denard Span was 10th in the league in scoring runs (like I said, an exception to every rule) but the next highest player from the left side is Howie Kendrick down at #30.  Everyone else on the left had 81 or fewer runs scored where everyone on the right scored more than 81 times except Hanley and Fowler (who both had under 450 at bats due to injuries).

Lanky build and weak muscles are not going to cut it if you dream of hitting home runs in a baseball game. You need to build your upper body and muscles, so the most basic thing to do is regularly bring these muscles into action, exercise and toughen them up. Try to do such exercises on a daily basis which involve your entire upper body. This will give you the requisite strength to hit a baseball farther.
"Graham," you're probably thinking, "I know the rules of baseball. Why is this relevant?" Well, teams that are better at avoiding outs score more runs than teams that make outs frequently. This is intuitive when you think about it. For one, when a player doesn't make an out, he reaches base. At the simplest level, scoring runs is a function of reaching base and advancing runners. A player who reaches bases also hasn't used one of those precious 27 outs, thus giving batters behind him the opportunity to advance him and others around the bases. This is why sacrifice bunts do not make sense in several situations. It is rarely a good idea to attempt to use an out. We look at OBP in order to determine which hitters and teams reach base with regularity, and thus preserve a team's outs.

Barry Bonds, who set the record for the most home runs in a season than any other player in Major League Baseball history, is often cited as a power hitter. His career was later bogged down by issues regarding performance enhancing drugs. However, he managed a total of 762 home runs while also earning a comparatively high ISO compared to his rivals, with the publication Business Insider labeling him #3 in a list of the greatest power hitters of all time.[2]
But there are other, better methods for predicting team runs scored. Statistics like weighted on-base average (wOBA) and runs created assign different weights to different events (e.g., a home run and a walk), and correlate even better with team offense. What about individual performance? Maybe gOBP does a better job of predicting a batter's true talent level, and thus is less random from one year to the next.
Well, if you go to Fangraphs.com, go to the player stats page and you click on "Advanced" (which is code for sabermetrics), you’ll see that there are several statistical categories after each player, but they are sorted according to wOBA, by default. So, perhaps wOBA is to sabermetrics what batting average once was to statisticians of the 1950s and 60s. Probably the most important measure of a player’s offensive value.
A Strong Core is essential to a softball player. So why do so many players have a weak abdominals? Good question. This is another exercise routine that can get lost in translation.  You’re not training your core to look good in your bathing suit, you’re training your core to be functional; to rotate when you swing, open up and rotate when you throw, stabilize your hips and create balance.  Your goal is to mimic your core work in a fashion that transforms power onto the field. Here is a favorite exercise of mine to create rotational core power; rotational medicine ball throws. Start in your hitting stance and hold onto a medicine ball then rotate into a swing. Sounds pretty simple but super effective. My second favorite is bear crawls with bands. The key to this exercise is doing it correctly. Your butt should not be up in the air, back stays flat and your feet should move forward outside of your hips. This is a definite twofer. This exercise hits the hips and core in one movement.

To stay connected to the body's rotational energy, it is very important that the first movement of the hands is not directed toward the pitcher - or inline with the incoming pitch. The batter should keep his hands back and allow the rotation of the body against the lead arm to accelerate the hands. The first movement of the hands will then be propelled more perpendicular to the flight of the incoming ball. This will induce the greatest amount of angular displacement to the bat and propel the hands into the most productive path.
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).

This is often overlooked but feeling torque in your front side is important. Work on this by trying to hit a ball as far as you can off a tee. Feel the hands back as your bottom half starts your swing. The torque created from separation is extremely important if you want to hit the ball further.  Click here for more tips on how to achieve good separation in your baseball swing.


In terms of detailed analysis, looking at a player's ability as a power hitter often involves using statistics such as someone's 'slugging percentage' (a function that's calculated by evaluating someone's number of moments at bat in relation to the nature of their hits and strikes). 'Isolated Power' (ISO), a measure showing the number of extra bases earned per time at bat that's calculated by subtracting someone's batting average from his slugging percentage, is another statistic used.[2]

IFH% – This stands for infield hit percentage, which is the percentage of ground balls a player hits that end up being infield hits. It actually ties right into the fact I mentioned earlier about speedy players beating out grounders, and IFH% is the stat we use to measure that skill. Players with a GB% and IFH% that were both above-league average put up a .315 BABIP last year, as opposed to their counterparts, whose BABIP was just .300.
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.

A Strong Core is essential to a softball player. So why do so many players have a weak abdominals? Good question. This is another exercise routine that can get lost in translation.  You’re not training your core to look good in your bathing suit, you’re training your core to be functional; to rotate when you swing, open up and rotate when you throw, stabilize your hips and create balance.  Your goal is to mimic your core work in a fashion that transforms power onto the field. Here is a favorite exercise of mine to create rotational core power; rotational medicine ball throws. Start in your hitting stance and hold onto a medicine ball then rotate into a swing. Sounds pretty simple but super effective. My second favorite is bear crawls with bands. The key to this exercise is doing it correctly. Your butt should not be up in the air, back stays flat and your feet should move forward outside of your hips. This is a definite twofer. This exercise hits the hips and core in one movement.


In the final iteration of the "MLB's Worst Tools" awards, today we will discuss hitting for average. Right off the bat I have a problem with describing "hitting for average" as a tool because batting average is a statistic not an innate ability. Additionally, at a blog that champions sabermetrics it probably isn't worth talking about batting average a great deal. In fact, I'm pretty sure the higher ups wouldn't let me. [Editor's Note: He's right] I know that if I mention RBI's in a non satirical way I will be shot on sight. Partly because of my personal distaste for describing the fifth tool in this series as "hitting for average" and partly because I fear the violent wrath of Beyond the Box Score's cruel overlords, from this point on the tool discussed today will be referred to as "hitting for contact".
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