Now that we’ve taken a good look at the stats that compromise a typical slash line, we can move onto the next category which is measuring a player’s plate discipline. The first stats I wanted to touch on are fairly simple ones, yet quite important: K% and BB%. These are essentially the same thing as strikeouts and walks, but applied as a rate-based stat by dividing it by the player’s total number of plate appearances.
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For small numbers of at-bats, it is possible (though unlikely) for a player's on-base percentage to be lower than his batting average (H/AB). This happens when a player has almost no walks or times hit by pitch, with a higher number of sacrifice flies (e.g. if a player has 2 hits in 6 at-bats plus a sacrifice fly, his batting average would be .333, but his on-base percentage would be .286). The player who experienced this phenomenon with the most number of at-bats over a full season was Ernie Bowman. In 1963, with over 125 at-bats, Bowman had a batting average of .184 and an on-base percentage of .181
On-base percentage, or OBP, measures the frequency with which a batter reaches base. OBP is expressed as a decimal rounded to three places, as in .300. Thus, OBP looks like batting average. However, instead of expressing the number of hits per at-bat, OBP represents the number of times on base per opportunity. The formula is simple, and one needs just five basic counting statistics to calculate OBP. These five stats are hits, walks, hit-by-pitch, at-bats, and sacrifice flies. The formula is:
But fear not! This is your crash course in advanced baseball stats, explained in plain English, so that even the most rudimentary of fans can become knowledgeable in the mysterious world of baseball analytics, or sabermetrics as it is called in the industry. Because there are so many different stats that can be covered, I’m just going to touch on the hitting stats in this article and we can save the pitching ones for another piece. So without further ado – baseball stats!
If you're looking for distance, commit this tip to memory: Your weight should move in the direction the club is swinging. When the club goes back, your weight shifts back; when the club swings through, your weight shifts through. A common fault with amateurs is the reverse pivot, where the weight stays on the front foot during the backswing and often falls to the back foot on the downswing. That's about the weakest move you can make.
It waters down bad play of many and you are more willing to use players despite their weakness as a player are one-sided arguments made to favor BA. Doesn’t batting average reward hits and dismiss players that walk. And since when is drawing walks considered bad play, it’s a basic fundamental taught throughout the minors and is a sign of a patient hitter. The weak hitters are the ones that can’t draw walks, and those players can be seen hacking away with a sub-par batting average when then get close to or in their 30’s.
Batting average (AVG): Right off the bat, we've got to say that batting average is not the best stat to judge offense. There's too many things wrong, starting with the fact that there are a lot of variables involved such as not including walks, or the subjective nature of awarding hits and errors. Still, what batting average does have over all the other statistics is history and context. We all know what a .300 hitter is, we know how bad a .200 hitter is and how great a .400 hitter is. We still celebrate the batting crown, and although not as much as we once did, it still means something and probably should. -- C. Trent Rosecrans
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.
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These six drills are designed to generate more power for hitters across the games of softball and baseball. Working on a good path to the ball and through the zone is immediately one of the most important factors in driving the ball. Once that is worked, then can work on several drills to improve hip and lower half rotation, then work into weight transfer from the back leg through the zone, and put it all together with the crossover drill. For more drills to improve power for softball hitters, check out the hitting drills in The Hitting Vault.
On-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS): Yes, this is a made-up, smashing together of two useful stats to make a mega-useful stat. Or, somewhat useful stat. I'll say this, since I also had the batting average and slugging percentage entries, I'm a big, big fan of the slash line, it gives you a basic idea of what kind of hitter a player is with three simple stats. Of those three, really, the batting average is the least important, I want to know how much a guy doesn't make an out and how much power he has. OPS tells me that, and despite different ways to get the job done (high on-base, low slugging speedy guy or big slugger who doesn't get on as much) a certain OPS gives me an idea, at least, that no matter what he looks like, he's productive. - Rosecrans
The formula for determining On-Base Percentage (OBP) is to add the batter's number of hits, base on balls, and times hit by pitch together and divide this number by the sum of at-bats, base on balls, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies. Most leadoff hitters in baseball typically have a high OBP as these batters have the ability to get on base consistently on their own and are slotted in the beginning of the order. It is possible for a player to have a higher batting average than OBP, but this is usually only if they do not draw many walks or get hit by many pitches or if they hit an inordinate number of sacrifice flies.
[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]
Overall, BABIP is a stat that is largely out of the batters control, which makes sense because as a hitter, once you hit the ball onto the field, you can’t affect what happens next. The league average BABIP is usually right around .300, meaning balls in play typically land for a hit about 30% of the time. So in theory, if a player has a BABIP of .350, you might say he had a “lucky” season, and you could expect him to regress the following season, right? On the surface it makes sense, but the whole point of this article is to look beyond just the surface stats, and that is exactly what we will do.
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.
If the swing is on-plane early and the player is a little bit late on a fastball, he will still be able to hit a line-drive to the opposite field instead of either popping up or swinging and missing completely. If the bat is on-plane through the swing as well, a player that is fooled on a curveball will still be able to shoot the baseball somewhere instead of either rolling over or striking out.