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.
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.
Recent paleoanthropological studies suggest that our ancestors were walking erect four million years ago, long before we developed large brains. So it's just possible that our throwing abilities were already in use even at that early date, and that all possible trajectories for moving objects are already stored in our brains, waiting to be called up for use at any given moment.
The third and final number in a slash line represents slugging percentage. This number is very similar to batting average, but instead of treating all hits as equals, it weighs each type of hit according to its significance. Slugging percentage (or SLG) is calculated by adding singles, 2 X doubles, 3 X triples, and 4 X home runs all divided by at bats. Another way of looking at it is total bases divided by at bats. Here is the official formula that is used:
But there are other, better methods for predicting team runs scored. Statistics like weighted on-base average (wOBA) and runs created assign different weights to different events (e.g., a home run and a walk), and correlate even better with team offense. What about individual performance? Maybe gOBP does a better job of predicting a batter's true talent level, and thus is less random from one year to the next.
First compare the names on the left to the ones on the right. Notice anything? With the exception of Buster Posey, did you draft any player from the left side before any player on the right? OK there is Dexter Fowler, but there are always a few exceptions with any example. The players on the right are the superior players, Matt Carpenter included. While he didn’t live up to expectations, Carpenter did score 99 runs. The only players to score more runs from either list all come from the right side, Bautista and Trout. Denard Span was 10th in the league in scoring runs (like I said, an exception to every rule) but the next highest player from the left side is Howie Kendrick down at #30. Everyone else on the left had 81 or fewer runs scored where everyone on the right scored more than 81 times except Hanley and Fowler (who both had under 450 at bats due to injuries).
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.
A force profile is simply a curve that is measured as you take yourself through a movement and measure the amount of resistance at each point during that movement. For example, everybody knows what a biceps curl looks like. At the bottom of the movement you have no resistance, half way through the movement (at about 90 degrees) it becomes maximally difficult, and then once you get to the top of the movement it becomes slightly easier again.
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.
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.
While all those stats can be very helpful individually, using them all to establish a batted ball profile will help you to get a solid idea of what a player’s hitting skill set really is. For the most part, a player with a solid LD% and IFH% can be expected to put up an above-average BABIP, while a player with a large FB% and IFFB% can be expected to post a below-average mark. With that framework in mind, let’s look at a quick example from the 2014 season:
Last season, the average hitter who belted between 20 and 24 home runs provided 2.9 wins above replacement, similar to what Asdrubal Cabrera (.280 average with 23 home runs and .810 OPS) gave the New York Mets in 2016, for which he was paid $8.25 million. A 40-home run hitter, like Nelson Cruz (.287 average with 43 home runs and a .915 OPS), averaged 4.5 fWAR but was paid $14.25 million. In other words, you could have two Cabrera-type hitters for a little more than it would cost to sign one like Cruz and get slightly more value overall.
Please note that these percentiles apply only to hitters who qualified for the batting title. The requisite OBP for the various percentiles would be lower if all hitters were included, because subpar players tend to not collect enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Stated another way, these figures only reflect the performance of regulars.
A hit is more valuable than a walk? Why? Your team pays you to get on base. Granted they want players that can hit, but they also see the advantage of the guy that can draw walks. Sure the guy that gets a hit can drive in runs more frequently if men are on base, I can’t argue with that. In the same respect, we don’t put an asterisk next to the runs driven in because the guy in front of you walked. On the flip side, the guy who walks more has more opportunities to score runs, so you’re trading one category for the other.
In Phase 2, the hitter may continue to accelerate but hopefully has already reached top speed. They will maintain top speed as they continue to rotate their hips and shoulders. Contact can be made in Phase 2 before Phase 3 is ever needed. This is demonstrated when players like Mike Trout will maintain bent arms well past contact on inside pitches. If Phase 1 and Phase 2 are executed at a high level, theoretically Phase 3 is not needed.
[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]
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).
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.
If you want to hit farther, hitting the ball straight-on may not be the best way of doing it. Successful players who tend to score home-runs generally try to focus on hitting at the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This gives the hit both height as well as distance. So the next time you are aiming at hitting far, try to focus on the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This is a tough nut to crack and may take some practicing before you are able to master it.
Most baseball players think that hitting is all about the upper body and that they can simply ignore the fitness of the lower body. This is a grave mistake. When you are swinging your bat on the plate, your legs and trunk are playing a critical role in supporting your swing and adding momentum to it. So make lower body exercises a regular part of your drill as well. The lower body will help you add that extra bit of power into your hitting.
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).
Great article! Your explanation of what it means to “relax” is definitely something all hitters struggle with, including myself. I’ve always been a “power-hitter”, but I didn’t really start hitting HRs consitently until I started putting backspin on the ball. For me at least, focusing on my swing and trying to have a backspin-promoting cut helped me RELAX and take the focus off of trying to kill the ball. I would grip the bat way too tight and pull everything, which was really frustrating. Another thing that helped me keep my hands relaxed was I started using that Pro-Hitter thumb ring that I saw pro’s like A-Gon and J Hamilton using… Again, great article! Thanks for providing more insight on something that all of us wish we could do at every at-bat haha! One can only dream…
In large part, the entire body’s relative strength is important in the swing as it is truly a total body movement depending on many different links in the movement chain. But, if we are creating a hierarchy of what is going to create the biggest impact, the lats/hips/core are likely to rise right to the top…. with rotational core power being on the top of that totem pole.
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.
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.
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This is where the magic happens. Players who are able to immediately accelerate the barrel and in turn get the barrel on plane “early” (in front of the catchers mitt) in the swing will continue to play for a long time. This is the phase of the swing that is barely seen by the naked eye in real time. Phase 1 happens so fast in most big league swing that all most people see is contact and the release, thus making it look “effortless”. In reality there was a lot of effort in the swing, it was just the right kind of effort.
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's all about having a quality at bat," said Garrido, who has won five national titles. "You can't just go up there and start swinging and expect to get hit after hit. You have to be able to separate the pitches you can hit and the pitches you can't hit. And when you find that pitch let the ball location help you decide where you want to hit it. If you can do that you are on your way."