the reason i think XBH is the perfect stat is for the same reason you dismissed it, because it does not consider HRs more important than doubles and triples… One problem with the traditional 5×5 is that we count HRs 3 times, Power is not the only important stat… and using XBH gives speed guys a little more value because now they can contribute well in the same amount of categories a power hitter can…
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?
"Look at it like this: If you have a team with average offense, average defense, average pitching, it should get about 81 wins," Correa says. "What that average means is different, depending on the context. There are lots of theories as to why offense is down, but the reality is that somebody hitting .260 with a .320 on-base percentage and .400 slugging is actually an above-average player today.
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.
At the hitting vault, we use two basic drills focused specifically on unlocking the lower half and hitting with more power. The half turns drill is essential to begin learning and mastering the movements to the point of contact with the lower half. It is incredibly important to be in a good, strong position with your hips and legs to drive the ball. To do this drill, you are going to want the hitter to pin the barrel of the bat against the back leg, and the handle/knob of the bat against the back shoulder, demonstrated in the picture. Working from this position is going to keep the front shoulder closed, preventing flying open and rolling over.
Leyland’s reference to "moneyball" when the topic of on base percentage came up (and he actually brought it up) might give us a sense of how one that is resistant to the "new way of thinking" looks at sabermetrics. To some, moneyball and sabermetrics are one in the same. Leyland did make reference to "the guys that make the money" when referring to sluggers. No doubt this is true. Players with big home run and RBI totals get paid more as free agents than players with only a high on base percentage or guys that play solid defense. The movie "Moneyball" features Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, who tries to field a winner by assembling players that cost less money but have high on base percentages, run the bases well, and play solid defense. So it’s easy to see where Leyland, and no doubt many others, get the idea that "moneyball" and sabermetrics are all about "on base, on base, on base."Actually, that is a gross over simplification of what sabermetrics is all about.
By the time the ball has traveled a dozen feet from the pitcher's mound, the batter has a good visual fix on it. In a thought process much too quick for deliberation, he has decided whether the pitch is a fastball, curveball, slider, knuckleball, screwball, or whatever -- yet a good deal of data has gone into this instantaneous and non-verbal decision.
As stated, to hit a baseball with power, the batter's swing must stay connected to the powerful muscle groups. However, far too many batters are taught mechanics that use the arms rather than rotation to initiate the acceleration of the hands and bat. Using the arms to fire the hands ahead of rotation disconnects the swing from the larger muscles and hitting with maximum power is lost.
Mark Trumbo led the majors in home runs (47) last season with the Baltimore Orioles yet could only parlay that into a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the club to return for 2017. Trumbo produced 2.2 fWAR in 2016, but was a liability in the field (his minus-11 defensive runs saved ranked him 170th out of 185 outfielders) and on the base paths (cost the Orioles two runs in 2016 due to his stolen bases, caught stealings and other base running plays).
Probably very few of you except a few Cincinnati residents saw this one coming. Yes, Michael Lorenzen is the current hitting pitcher batting king, according to OPS. The lion's share of the 25-year-old's at-bats (36) came in his rookie season in 2015 when he tallied 9 hits including a triple. Now that he's moved to the bullpen, the opporunties will be fewer. Last year he homered once in five at-bats and this year he's had just three at-bats so far, but he added another home run as a pinch hitter!! So Lorenzen has joined the holy club of pinch-hitting relief pitchers. Tip of the cap!
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).
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.
Psychologists have observed that human babies as early as eight months of age already have expectations about the movements of objects within their field of view, which they cannot possibly have learned from experience, and which therefore must have been wired into their brains by the processes of evolution. And by the age of one year, human babies already have acquired some ability to catch and throw objects, an ability which improves with practice and neurological development.
If you take a batting average and multiply it by 100 (or slide the decimal point over two spots to the right), it will give you a raw percentage of how often a player gets a hit. So using Mike Trout’s batting average as an example, he accumulated 172 hits in 602 at bats last year for a batting average of .287 (172/602). Multiplying .287 by 100 gives you 28.7 which tells you that in 2014, Mike Trout averaged a hit in 28.7% of his at bats.
Here's how to practice the proper weight shift going back. Set up with your driver, but take a narrow stance, about 12 inches wide. Then make a slow-motion swing, stepping out with your right foot as you start the club away (above). This side step will get your weight shifting to the right. With your weight in your right instep, you're in position to drive your body toward the target as you swing down. That's how you hit the ball with power.
Keep your hands in. Whether you are dealing with an inside swing or an outside swing, it is important to keep your hands close to your body. Most of your swing is generated in your hands and wrists. If your hands are extended your bat speed will slow and your power will drop. The palm of your dominant (top) hand should remain facing upwards through contact in order to drive through the ball.
Why should we use OBP? What advantage does it possess over batting average? The primary benefit of OBP is that it measures a player's performance with regards to avoiding outs. Baseball does not have a clock like so many other sports. Rather, baseball teams operate under the constraint of 27 outs. Once a team has used all 27 of its outs, then the game is over.
The Power Drive Performance Sled trains Baseball players to initiate their power from the ground up for Pitching, Hitting, Position Throwing and Fielding. It is a baseball and softball training aid for developing skills and also is a conditioning aid for adding functional strength. The PPD Sled can be used while performing baseball and softball skill movements while practicing pitching, hitting, position throwing and fielding making player more athletic. It is ergonomically designed for baseball and softball training. Sled training package includes 3 separate products, a Power Sled, TurfCordz Waist Belt and Turfcordz 10′ Tether Pull Strap with 2 Caribinas. All three products in sled training package are made 100% in the USA. Owners have access to web based training site with workout drills for pitching, hitting and fielding.
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.
The human ability to estimate trajectories of moving objects is difficult to explain. Good fielders begin their movement just as the ball is hit, without wasting even half a step. An outfielder instantly begins running toward the spot where he thinks the ball will fall. Sometimes, he will make a running catch without losing a stride, thrusting his glove into position at the last second.
The longest delays probably involve the nerve cells that make the decision to swing. These decision-making cells receive their input from the eye by way of the brain's visual cortex. It takes at least 43 thousandths of a second for information about the velocity and trajectory of the baseball to be sent from the retina to the higher visual cortex. What happens during the actual "decision" is a neurological mystery — but once the decision is made, a signal is sent to the cerebellum initiating a series of pre-programmed, reflex-like actions (for a practiced batter).
As the hitter has recognized pitch height, they will then use the separation between their pelvis and shoulders and much like a rubber band, “snap” into a violent rotation of their body. This immediate energy creation will transfer up the body and into the arms and hands which will then allow the barrel to flail or turn around the hands and knob. Whatever the hitter’s top barrel speed is, the goal should always be to get there as soon as possible. Just like a sprinter off the blocks, gaining top speed in the shortest amount of time is crucial to facing faster pitching.
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.
We all know that a .260 batting average is about average while a mark of .200 is quite poor. We know that .300 is a good figure and that .340 will often win the batting title. However, the values of an average, good, or bad OBP are not so ingrained in us. In 2013, the major league OBP was .318. Among players who qualified for the batting title, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera had the highest OBP with a mark of .442. Kansas City's Alcides Escobar posted the lowest figure at .259. Below, I have included a table that shows OBP for various percentiles in 2013. For example, Matt Holliday's OBP of .389 was better than that of 90% of qualified batters in 2013.
The other statistic I wanted to mention that sort of goes hand-in-hand with slugging percentage is isolated power, or ISO for short. This is calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage (SLG-AVG) to give you how many extra bases a player averaged per at bat. ISO is important because it removes singles from the equation to give you a better idea of a player’s true power capability.
Head to the gym. You won't be able to drive a ball over the batter's eye in center field just be reading articles online at home. You'll need to get into the gym and work on building up and reinforcing the most important key to your swing - your body. While a massive chest, broad shoulders, and bulging biceps look impressive, a powerful swing actually requires other muscles.
Should your head stay perfectly still on the backswing? Actually, it should move a little to the right. This is not a conscious thing. If the shoulders turn behind the ball, as they should, the head swivels and shifts slightly to the right (right). A lot of golfers try to keep their head frozen in place, and that can be a killer. It causes tension, blocks the front shoulder from turning back, and promotes a reverse pivot (see main tip). So let your head move naturally as you swing to the top.
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: