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.
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?
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.
Leyland’s reference to "moneyball" when the topic of on base percentage came up (and he actually brought it up) might give us a sense of how one that is resistant to the "new way of thinking" looks at sabermetrics. To some, moneyball and sabermetrics are one in the same. Leyland did make reference to "the guys that make the money" when referring to sluggers. No doubt this is true. Players with big home run and RBI totals get paid more as free agents than players with only a high on base percentage or guys that play solid defense. The movie "Moneyball" features Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, who tries to field a winner by assembling players that cost less money but have high on base percentages, run the bases well, and play solid defense. So it’s easy to see where Leyland, and no doubt many others, get the idea that "moneyball" and sabermetrics are all about "on base, on base, on base."Actually, that is a gross over simplification of what sabermetrics is all about.
Doug you’ve done a great job putting this all together. I’m a former minor leaguer and now a hitting instructor at the Hudson Baseball Center in NJ and couldn’t agree with you more on your hitting technique. It’s tough to find people that haven’t played at a high level to understand that swinging down doesn’t mean ground balls all the time and that it does create backspin on the baseball. Even when I demo it for them its hard for them to believe but having you share the same info really helps. I’ve shared your page with some of my friends that have played in the minors and they also agree. Thanks, I’ll be following your page.
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.
Powerful Legs that are trained through various movement patterns and skill sets. For example, you create a ton of power by super setting (performing these two exercises one after the other with little rest, then repeating) an exercise like a squat and a box hop. This combination of a strength development exercise and a plyometric exercise create explosive power.
The way you hold the handle of a baseball bat determines the speed and power of your hit. If you choke up on the handle and hold the bat closer to the barrel, you are gaining bat swing speed but losing on the hitting power. If you hold closer to the bottom of the bat, you gain hitting power and momentum but lose on the speed. You should extensively practice with both methods of holding the handle and find the golden mean where you are able to swing quickly and still hit the baseball as far as possible.
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.
Don't swing down on the ball. The backspin you gain from doing so does not outweigh the exit velocity loss that occurs as a result. The best way to get distance is to swing up through the ball. If you slightly undercut the ball that way, you get backspin while achieving a better launch angle and maintaining as much exit velocity as possible. Advanced analytics show that the most effective way to hit home runs is to swing with an attack angle that's slightly less than the ideal launch angle. The following article explains this in more depth.
Charlie Metro: "The good hitters get their tip-off from the pitchers. And there are many, many ways that a pitcher tips off his pitches. He grips it like that [fingers straight over top of ball]; there's your fastball. When he throws a curveball, he chokes the ball [wedges it between his thumb and forefinger, gripping it on the side so it sticks out]. Now see how much white of the ball shows on a fastball? And how much more white shows on a curveball? . . . Another thing is when they bring the ball into the glove, when they come in with a flat wrist like that, that'll be a fastball. When they turn their wrist like that, it's a breaking pitch. There are many, many ways, and the good hitters pick out these things . . . facial expressions . . . human habits and characteristics will tell."
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the game's newer and more advanced statistics but didn't know where to start? Have you ever read an article that liberally mentions WAR or xFIP, leaving you feeling as if you walked into Math 401 when you haven't taken Math 101? It's ok, don't worry; that's how we all felt the first time we stumbled upon these figures. The good news is that the best of these statistics make a great deal of sense once they are explained. Often, though certainly not always, the calculation of these figures is straightforward upon closer inspection.
Brian Dozier is another low average players the batting average purists love to hate. He hit .242, but the rest of his numbers were superior to most players at second. We complained about his average but nobody took into account that he walked 89 times and scored 112 runs. If you’re going to count all those extra runs he scored because of the walks you should count the walks as well, and that’s something batting average doesn’t do. While looking for a comparable player to Dozier, one interesting names came up. Look at these two batting lines.
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.