It's easy for me here if I'm judging a player or team in any given season, because OBP is essentially measuring the amount of times a player doesn't make an out. If no one ever makes an out, I'm pretty sure the team would find a way to do just fine on the scoreboard, right? As for judging players in a historical context, I'll go with OPS+ because it lumps in on-base ability with power and adjusts for all eras, from the steroid era to dead-ball era and everything in between.
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".
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.

#### On base percentage (OBP) or on base average (OBA) is an important component in a sabermetrics styled view of offensive productivity, but it is by no means the ultimate statistic to measure a hitter’s value. Unlike AVG and SLG, OBP does take walks into account, but it gives the same weight to a home run as it does to a single or a walk. Obviously, those are events in a baseball game that don’t have the same value in terms of producing runs. Billy Beane was quoted once as saying that OBA is three times as important as SLG. Well, is it? Not from a sabermetrics view point. Sabermetrics isn’t based on money at all. Bill James and the folks that blazed the trail for the development of sabermetrics certainly know that a home run has more value than a walk. It just so happens that players that had an ability to get on base were not paid as well as some of those who racked up RBIs. Obviously, the players who do it all get paid the most.

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Like any stat, OBP is not without its flaws. For one, OBP does not tell us how a player reached base. A home run and a walk count the same when computing OBP. Obviously, a home run is far more valuable than a walk. In addition, OBP is context neutral, meaning that a single with the bases empty and no outs counts the same as a single with the bases loaded and two outs.
“These results show that batting is a sequence of coordinated muscle activity, beginning with the hip, followed by the trunk, and terminating with the arms. Power in the swing is initiated in the hip, and therefore exercises that emphasize such strength development are indicated. The maintained, high muscle activity in the trunk muscles indicates a need for back and abdominal stabilization and rotation exercises.”
"On base, on base, everybody talks about on base percentage. Jim Leyland, I like the guys that knock em in. I know, there’s a lot to be said for that. They talk about 'Moneyball' and working the pitcher and on-base percentage. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for that. But my theory is, during the course of a major league game, normally for both teams, there’s enough guys on base. The guys to me, that make the money are the guys that can score them from first and knock em in. I like the slugging percentage, over the on base percentage, myself. That’s just an opinion."
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.
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.
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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.
During Phase 3 or the release, the hitter will allow their arms to relax so the the barrel will continue upward through the path of the pitch with very little loss of bat speed.  Like I previously said, Phase 3 can happen earlier or later depending on the adjustment the hitter must make. If need be, the hitter can make contact during Phase 3 if they are early.  This is when you will see a hitter at contact with already extended arms.  This is not ideal but will save hitters when their timing isn’t perfect.  Just another reason why having a nice upward swing path is so important for longevity as a hitter.
When it comes to hitting for contact, Chris Carter is pretty definitively the worst in the league right now. If we usual a literal interpretation of the hit tool and say that it indeed relates to specifically the statistic of batting average, Carter could be heading for the basement if his BABIP regresses to something more in line with his profile. Whichever way you slice it he is the very deserving winner of the final "MLB's Worst Tools" award. I'm sure it will adorn the mantlepiece of the of the Carter household for centuries to come.
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.
In my opinion this must happen before acceleration so that the barrel can accelerate the appropriate direction. Depending on the the pitch height, the hitter will mirror that height with the angle of their shoulder rotation followed by the degree of the barrel. The higher the pitch, the flatter the rotation and barrel. The lower the pitch the higher the barrel will stay initially and the shoulders will the rotate more vertically. In a perfect world, the barrel level will match the shoulder level at contact.
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.[1]
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.
The conclusion of the GIIB article shows that team gOBP has a correlation coefficient of 0.95 with R/G, a slight but meaningful improvement over the correlation coefficient of 0.93 between team OBP and R/G. This first test is straightforward: using Retrosheet, I collected team R/G, OBP, and gOBP for all 1,482 team seasons dating back to 1955. I then fit a linear model to these data and computed the correlation coefficients for each pairing. The results are below.
Getting on base is an important skill, so you want to use OBP to determine if the player in question is a good offensive performer. However, OBP can only take you so far and it should only be used in the context of other statistics because OBP weights every time you reach base equally, whether you hit a home run or an infield single. If used in conjunction with slugging percentage or isolated slugging percentage, OBP is a very useful tool. In general, something like wOBA or wRC+ will tell a more accurate story, but if you’re looking for something extremely simple OBP is a much better bet than batting average.
Josh Donaldson hit .255 and scored 93 runs; think some of those 76 walks helped him out?  Brandon Moss was the man to own in the first half even with a .268 BA, but was dropped like a rock in the second half where he hit .173.  His OBP slipped from .349 down to .310, but at least he was still playable thanks in part to 14.8% walk rate.  Adam Dun hit .219 in 2013 and while he hit 34, owners cursed him.  Forget the 76 walks and .320 OBP though, it doesn’t count in fantasy.  In 2012 Dunn hit 41 home runs and scored 87 times, but a .204 batting average had him on America’s most hated list.  Using OBP you could have had .333 thanks in part to his 105 walks which batting average didn’t take into consideration.  Dunn’s value in 2012 using OBP was slightly above Adam Jones and his 34 walks.  Dunn had 71 more walks and Jones had 76 more hits, similar results but Jones is rewarded for being on base an equal amount of times.
When you are stronger you will be able to hit through the baseball without the bat slowing down too much at contact. If you have ever watched the Little League World Series and watched slow motion replays of hitters hitting a homerun you will notice that the bat almost stops at contact because they are not strong enough to power through the velocity of the pitch.
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I am a 13 year old beginner and I am struggling with the mechanics but have the basic knowledge of hitting. This article really helped me, just today i went to a batting cage after reading this article and used all of these steps, my first time trying i was unsuccesful missing 3 of the first pitches but after i relaxed my hands and stopped trying to hit the ball as hard as i could i hit my next 8 balls. My mom has also been pushing me to hit the gym so i could hit the ball harder, but after reading this article she has been pushing me more to increase bat speed instead of working out. Thank you so much Doug I’m hoping i have a future in baseball and can be as successful as you were.
While we haven’t seen the sport’s top hitters blasting home runs at record pace, as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire did at the height of the steroid era, we are seeing a significant rise in the power numbers of players in the 20-home run range. The result is a plethora of players who are capable of providing a club with power at the plate, giving general managers more options to add home run hitters to their lineup than ever before.
While hitting for a high batting average does not exclude hitting for power, the most successful batters with the highest averages are very good at situational hitting. This means that they can identify gaps in defensive coverage or anticipate pitches better, giving them more of an advantage at the plate. A typical player with a high batting average is patient at the plate and can hit the ball effectively to both sides of the field.