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.
My intention here is not to criticize Leyland, nor is it to promote sabermetrics as a healthy lifestyle for all baseball fans. I’d just like to share the location of a very comfortable place that I’ve found in the world of statistics, that has a pretty good overall viewpoint and doesn’t make me dizzy when folks start speaking in saber. I’d also like to make this a place that even a casual baseball fan, one that is intimidated by "advanced metrics" can get to rather easily, without getting queazy. It’s really not a steep climb.
The hitter will start in their natural stance and hold the bat up against their body, shown above. Beginning the drill in this position will force the body to stay parallel to the pitcher, while placing emphasis on the hitter’s hips and torso explosiveness. See the image below of Hitting Vault coach Alexa Peterson, notice the rotation of her upper body and the position of the lower half. Her back is completely turned, knob of the bat pointing toward the pitcher and stiff front side. By rotating your hips and torso like you would in a normal swing during this drill, it will start to build muscle memory in full rotation to and through the ball.
"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."
Mickey Cochrane is the only catcher and Arky Vaughan is the only shortstop with a career mark of at least .400. Of the 43 players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame with a career on-base percentage of .400 or higher, 27 have been elected. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played at least 10 major league seasons, have been either retired for five seasons or deceased for six months, and have not been banned from MLB. These requirements leave 6 living players ineligible who have played in the past 5 seasons; 5 players (Bill Joyce, Ferris Fain, Jake Stenzel, Bill Lange, and George Selkirk) who did not play 10 seasons in MLB; and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.
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 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.
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.
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.
Offensive wins above replacement (oWAR): I like it because it removes the problematic portion of WAR, which is its defensive estimates. oWAR is all about contributions made at the plate and on the bases, and it measures those quite well. It's denominated in theoretical runs tied to "replacement level," which approximates the productivity of a "freely available" sort of player (e.g., the bench player, the minor-league veteran, the waiver claim). Batting, base-running and an adjustment for positional difficulty are all baked in. - Perry
Now that we’ve covered slash line statistics and plate discipline numbers, all that’s left to go over is batted ball data. The most common batted ball stat that is used is batting average on balls in play, or BABIP for short. While a typical batting average tells you how often a player gets a hit in general, this batting average determines how often a player ends up getting a hit when they hit the ball within the field of play. It is calculated by subtracting home runs from totals hits and dividing that by at bats minus strikeouts minus home runs plus sacrifice flies, which translates to the following formula:
LD% – This stands for line drive percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as line drives. As you might imagine, line drives are harder to field than any other type of batted ball, so you can expect them to fall for hits much more often. The league average on liners last year was .690, which means that you can expect a line drive to fall for a hit roughly 69% of the time. It makes perfect sense, then, that the more line drives a player hits, the higher you can expect their BABIP to be. This is supported when you compare the BABIP of players with a LD% above-league average (.313) to their counterparts with a below-league average mark (.297).
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.
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".