As the hitter has recognized pitch height, they will then use the separation between their pelvis and shoulders and much like a rubber band, “snap” into a violent rotation of their body. This immediate energy creation will transfer up the body and into the arms and hands which will then allow the barrel to flail or turn around the hands and knob. Whatever the hitter’s top barrel speed is, the goal should always be to get there as soon as possible. Just like a sprinter off the blocks, gaining top speed in the shortest amount of time is crucial to facing faster pitching.
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.
It's easy for me here if I'm judging a player or team in any given season, because OBP is essentially measuring the amount of times a player doesn't make an out. If no one ever makes an out, I'm pretty sure the team would find a way to do just fine on the scoreboard, right? As for judging players in a historical context, I'll go with OPS+ because it lumps in on-base ability with power and adjusts for all eras, from the steroid era to dead-ball era and everything in between.
While I don’t feel hitting coaches should try to “clone or cookie-cut” their hitters. I do believe we should strive to build on the strengths of every hitter. However, every good hitter, (past, present, and future), performs a series of sequential moves (working from the ground-up), that enables the barrel to enter the back of the strike zone, accelerating through contact.
If perhaps you are a larger player with more height and/or weight, you do not need as much movement to generate the force needed to be successful. Having said that, even if you do have size at a young age, it is still important to learn that you can move more if you want and therefore hit the ball harder. Guys like Albert Pujols don’t move forward much but definitely still move forward some.
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.
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.
While batting average is a useful tool for measuring a player's ability at the plate, it isn't all-encompassing. For instance, batting average doesn't take into account the number of times a batter reaches base via walks or hit-by-pitches. And it doesn't take into account hit type (with a double, triple or home run being more valuable than a single).