Walk/strikeout ratio. The exception is that he does look at the ratio of walks to strikeouts. Elite hitters in high school shouldn’t be striking out a lot. No more than 7 strikeout in 100 at bats in high school. For example, 12 walks and 88 strikeouts is NOT what they want to see. On the other hand, more walks than strikeouts is very promising. Orioles scout Jim Thrift knows that this stat shows a lot about a player’s discipline, hand/eye coordination and knowledge of the strike zone.
"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.
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.
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.
It waters down bad play of many and you are more willing to use players despite their weakness as a player are one-sided arguments made to favor BA. Doesn’t batting average reward hits and dismiss players that walk. And since when is drawing walks considered bad play, it’s a basic fundamental taught throughout the minors and is a sign of a patient hitter. The weak hitters are the ones that can’t draw walks, and those players can be seen hacking away with a sub-par batting average when then get close to or in their 30’s.
If the swing is on-plane early and the player is a little bit late on a fastball, he will still be able to hit a line-drive to the opposite field instead of either popping up or swinging and missing completely. If the bat is on-plane through the swing as well, a player that is fooled on a curveball will still be able to shoot the baseball somewhere instead of either rolling over or striking out.
Slugging percentage (SLG), the preferred statistic of Jim Leyland, is simply the number of total bases, again not counting walks, divided by the number of at bats. Four bases for a homer, three for a triple, two for a double, and one for a single. Slugging percentage has been around at least since I was a kid, and there was a regular column for SLG in the stat charts listed in the Detroit News every Sunday. The problems with SLG are that a triple isn’t really three times as valuable as a single, and a base on balls is treated like it never even happened. If you want to "just knock em in," that’s fine, but a triple doesn’t put three guys on base to knock in. They have to get on base or you can’t knock em in.
To show an example on this comparison of statistics, two ballplayers who play the same position but have drastically different approaches will be examined: Robinson Cano (Yankees 2B) and BJ Upton (Devil Rays 2B/CF). Both have somewhat similar batting averages this season - despite a slow start, Cano is hitting .263 while Upton is at a clip of .271. The difference between batting averages is less than 1 hit per 100 at bats, so they are nearly the same. When comparing their on base percentages, though, a huge difference is discovered. Cano, who almost never walks, has an on base percentage of just .298, way below the major league average of .330. Upton, on the other hand, carries a .381 on base percentage. So although the two reach base almost exactly the same amount on hits, Upton reaches base nearly 1 more time every 10 at bats than Cano simply because he is willing to take a few strikes in order to draw monumentally more walks.
The best way I can explain “Hitting for Average” is that this tool is not just solely focused on a person’s batting average. This tool is more about having the ability to have a consistent swing, the ability to keep the bat on-plane for a long period of time, and the ability to square up baseballs on a regular basis. I wrote another article about having the ability to “Repeat Your Best Swing.”