We need to compare the best batting averages from 2000 — when offense was at an all-time high, thanks at least in part to the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in the game — with the averages of today, with pitching strong and PED testing rigorous. In 2000, 30% of all major league players with 400 plate appearances finished with a .300 batting average or better. So in 2014, if a hitter ranks in the top 30% of batting averages, why shouldn't he be considered the equivalent of a .300 hitter from 15 seasons ago?
During the entire middle portion of the pitch, the batter must time the ball and decide where to swing. If the batter decides to swing, he must start when the ball is approximately 25 to 30 feet in front of the plate. The ball will arrive at the plate about 250 thousandths of a second later -- about the limit of human reaction time. The bat must make contact with the ball within an even smaller time range: A few thousandths of a second error in timing will result in a foul ball. Position is important, too. Hitting the ball only a few millimeters too high or too low results in a fly ball or a grounder.

What better time than now to delve into what exactly are the best offensive stats upon which to judge a baseball player? The Eye on Baseball staff -- Matt Snyder, C. Trent Rosecrans and Dayn Perry -- will do the heavy lifting and then let our readers argue among themselves. We'll make our picks, too, so you can call us idiots, as is standard in the Internet community.


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.
Players who hit 40 or more home runs produced 3.4 fWAR on average, the lowest rate since 2008 (1.8) and the third-lowest average on record since expansion, slightly behind the 1984 campaign (2.8 average fWAR from a batter with at least 40 home runs). Compare that with the average fWAR from batters with between 20 and 29 home runs (3.1 in 2016) and it is easy to see where the value lies.
OBP was a big leap forward ten or twenty years ago because it gave credit to hitters who reached base via walk or HBP when batting average ignored those things. Any time you don’t make an out, you’re contributing positively to the run scoring process and OBP captures that better than batting average because it incorporates a big slice of offensive activity that batting average doesn’t consider. Getting on base via walk doesn’t help your team quite as much as getting a hit, but it’s certainly valuable enough to warrant inclusion in even the most simplistic metrics.
[box]About the source, Pro Scout Jim Thrift.  Jim’s 28 year career in baseball includes 4 years scouting for the Baltimore Orioles in the amateur, pro and international divisions, 15 years with the Cincinatti Reds as a Major League scout, amateur scout and National Cross Checker, triple A hitting coach, and a long list of other impressive experience in professional baseball. [/box]
Players who hit 40 or more home runs produced 3.4 fWAR on average, the lowest rate since 2008 (1.8) and the third-lowest average on record since expansion, slightly behind the 1984 campaign (2.8 average fWAR from a batter with at least 40 home runs). Compare that with the average fWAR from batters with between 20 and 29 home runs (3.1 in 2016) and it is easy to see where the value lies.
Am I the only person who feels cheated? I feel cheated out of seeing actual skilled batsmen. I feel cheated in that the only records being broken are by guys who seem to have the advantage of steroids. I feel cheated that home run records seem to be broken more than wooden bats, but hitting for average seems to be lost in the translation of the "new MLB."
This new formula, which they referred to as gOBP, both credits the batter for reaching on errors and penalizes the batter for sacrifice bunts. They argue first, that any baserunner gives his team a chance to score, regardless how he reached base; second, that the batter can influence whether a batted ball becomes an error*; and third, that if HBPs (which are basically mistakes by the pitcher) are counted as positive events in OBP, then errors (mistakes by the fielders) should as well. To support these arguments, they show that team gOBP correlates better with runs per game (R/G) than the traditional team OBP.
Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest skills in all of sport. The entire sequence, from the pitcher's release of the ball to the contact with the bat, happens in the blink of an eye. This quick series of events combines two of the most important skills for a baseball player: hand-eye coordination and power development. Hand-eye coordination helps the batter locate the ball during its flight and appropriately maneuver the bat. The power element is crucial for adding distance to hits and building a well-rounded batter.
Baseball, specifically hitting, is being dramatically altered by today’s data driven, analytical beliefs. How do we achieve desirable results and not drastically change the proven swing path that dates back to Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente? What if I showed you similarities in the swings of Albert Pujols and Ichiro? (You would be amazed).
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.

IFFB% – This stands for infield fly ball percentage, which is the percentage of fly balls a player hits that end up as infield pop ups. Lazy flies to the infield are about as easy to field as they come, so they are considered essentially automatic outs. Because of that, it would be fair to say that a player who hits a lot of infield flies is not likely to have a very good BABIP. However, even the player with the worse IFFB% last year was at just 17.3%, so hitting a lot of automatic outs isn’t going to make a huge difference, but definitely a noticeable one. Batters who avoided these easy outs last year (better-than-league average IFFB%) had a better BABIP (.312) than their counterparts who did not (.298).
Baseball, specifically hitting, is being dramatically altered by today’s data driven, analytical beliefs. How do we achieve desirable results and not drastically change the proven swing path that dates back to Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente? What if I showed you similarities in the swings of Albert Pujols and Ichiro? (You would be amazed).
We’ve looked at the players with the higher batting averages, now let’s look at some of those players with low averages who were cursed at and ignored in fantasy.  We’ll start with last years whipping boy Carlos Santana and his .231 batting average.  We all loved his power and RBI numbers, but he dragged our averages down like the Titanic.  It might surprise you to know that Santana had a .365 OBP thanks in part to his 113 walks.  As a catcher we can tolerate low averages if a player hits for power, but not from someone who plays first (or third).  Using OBP though, Santana’s numbers were equal to Morneau in 3 categories and he had 10 more home runs. 
In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how often they get out are primarily measures of their own playing ability, and largely independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter.
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