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.
On base plus Slugging (OPS): Somewhere, half way between traditional statistics and sabermetrics is what Fox sportscaster Joe Buck called "that new OPS statistic." Yes, he actually said that, during the 2011 World Series broadcast. (Notice that I resist the strong temptation to go off on a rant tangent, here, in an effort to stay on topic.) On base plus slugging, or OPS, is just that. Take a player’s on base percentage and add his slugging percentage, and voila, you get OPS. Now, I think that OPS is a very useful statistic ... for sluggers. But it’s still very much a slugger’s stat. OPS gives one base for walks, two for a single, three for a double, four for a triple, and five for a home run. We’re used to seeing OPS being discussed in conversations now when discussing the MVP awards for each league and it's commonly used in baseball discussions these days.
Adjusted OPS-plus (OPS+): You might be familiar with OPS, which is simply on-base percentage added to slugging percentage (forget, for the moment, that they have different denominators). OPS+ is simply OPS adjusted for park and league conditions. It's scaled to 100, which means that 100 indicates a league-average OPS adjusted for park and league. An OPS+ of 110, for instance, is an OPS that's 10 percent better than the league average. On the other end, an OPS+ of 85 is one that's 15 percent worse than the league average. It's useful in that you can make a thumbnail comparison between, say, a hitter in Coors Field in 2000 to one in Dodger Stadium in 1968. It helps correct for the two things that most often corrupt unadjusted stats -- home parks and eras -- and it leans on the the two most important things a hitter can do -- get on base and hit for power. - Dayn Perry
A few reactions are fast because they skip the brain altogether--the knee-jerk reflex, for example, requiring only a few nerve-cell-to-nerve-cell interconnections, and thus happens in "the blink of an eye." The neural pathway makes a short loop from sensory cells through interneurons to motor nerve cells, which control the appropriate muscle groups. A message is sent to the brain at the same time it is sent to the muscles, so we actually become aware of the knee jerk as it happens.
Offensive wins above replacement (oWAR): I like it because it removes the problematic portion of WAR, which is its defensive estimates. oWAR is all about contributions made at the plate and on the bases, and it measures those quite well. It's denominated in theoretical runs tied to "replacement level," which approximates the productivity of a "freely available" sort of player (e.g., the bench player, the minor-league veteran, the waiver claim). Batting, base-running and an adjustment for positional difficulty are all baked in. - Perry
Outfielder Ty Cobb, whose career ended in 1928, has the highest batting average in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. He batted .366 over 24 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers. In addition, he won a record 11 batting titles for leading the American League in BA over the course of an entire season. He batted over .360 in 11 consecutive seasons from 1909 to 1919. Rogers Hornsby has the second highest BA of all-time, at .358. He won seven batting titles in the National League (NL) and has the highest NL average in a single season since 1900, when he batted .424 in 1924. He batted over .370 in six consecutive seasons.
Statistical analysis to measure player performance has become so sophisticated over the last quarter century that traditional tools like batting average and earned run average have been augmented and in some cases even replaced by more encompassing measurements like on-base percentage, which became an official statistic in 1984, and the more revolutionary OPS--a term that combines a player's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
So now going back to the original example of Mike Trout’s 2014 slash line (.287/.377/.561), you should be able to look at it and know not only what statistic each number represents, but what it means in regards to Trout’s value as a player. Before we move on to the next section, however, I also want to mention two stats that are commonly associated (and sometimes included) with the slash line, the first of which is OPS.
Setting up the drill, you want to have the bucket behind the back foot of the hitter. The purpose is to work on the transfer of weight from the back leg. In order to do that, we cannot simply rotate our back leg while our foot is anchored. This is why this drill is so helpful, the bucket will give you immediate feedback for incorrect or correct weight transfer.
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!
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.
The longest delays probably involve the nerve cells that make the decision to swing. These decision-making cells receive their input from the eye by way of the brain's visual cortex. It takes at least 43 thousandths of a second for information about the velocity and trajectory of the baseball to be sent from the retina to the higher visual cortex. What happens during the actual "decision" is a neurological mystery — but once the decision is made, a signal is sent to the cerebellum initiating a series of pre-programmed, reflex-like actions (for a practiced batter).
Lanky build and weak muscles are not going to cut it if you dream of hitting home runs in a baseball game. You need to build your upper body and muscles, so the most basic thing to do is regularly bring these muscles into action, exercise and toughen them up. Try to do such exercises on a daily basis which involve your entire upper body. This will give you the requisite strength to hit a baseball farther.
Every baseball player would love to be able to hit for power, but not every baseball player is a natural like Bryce Harper. There are a lot of things that go into a powerful baseball swing, and no one swing method or form is the right fit for all hitters. However, there are some "Cream and Clear"-free ways that can help all players add power. With the strategy and preparation, you can develop both your mind and body for power hitting as well as improve your form regardless of your preferred stance or swing.
Probably very few of you except a few Cincinnati residents saw this one coming. Yes, Michael Lorenzen is the current hitting pitcher batting king, according to OPS. The lion's share of the 25-year-old's at-bats (36) came in his rookie season in 2015 when he tallied 9 hits including a triple. Now that he's moved to the bullpen, the opporunties will be fewer. Last year he homered once in five at-bats and this year he's had just three at-bats so far, but he added another home run as a pinch hitter!! So Lorenzen has joined the holy club of pinch-hitting relief pitchers. Tip of the cap!
Walk/strikeout ratio. The exception is that he does look at the ratio of walks to strikeouts. Elite hitters in high school shouldn’t be striking out a lot. No more than 7 strikeout in 100 at bats in high school. For example, 12 walks and 88 strikeouts is NOT what they want to see. On the other hand, more walks than strikeouts is very promising. Orioles scout Jim Thrift knows that this stat shows a lot about a player’s discipline, hand/eye coordination and knowledge of the strike zone.
In Part 1, we'll take a look at the method to the madness of on base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG) and see if we can give them their due respect on the scale of importance. In part 2, we'll explore why wOBA is a better stat to use than OPS and produce a scale so we can easily see what wOBA is above or below average and how the Tigers' players fit in.
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."
Compared to catching a hard-hit line drive on the run, it would seem that catching the pop-up fly would be simple. But it isn't. It may be that, given enough time, the room for error in estimation of flight path actually increases; a player may think himself into an error. This is like trying to draw a straight line freehand. If you look where you want to draw the line and then just draw it there without concentrating, you will probably succeed in drawing a fairly straight line. If, on the other hand, you worry about how straight the line is, millimeter by millimeter, the task becomes impossible. Catching a ball may be easier when there's no time to think.
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.
Of course, on base percentage isn't the only important statistic to determine the effectiveness of a baseball player. This is because all walks drawn only put the hitter on first base and will rarely drive in a run, while hits are capable of putting the hitter on 2nd or 3rd base, or even crossing the plate with a home run. Along with that, hits are capable of driving in many more runs than walks. Other stats are used to calculate these, such as slugging percentage and OPS, or on base percentage + slugging percentage. These statistics and their impact on baseball will be examined in later articles. In the case of on base percentage, it is a hugely underrated stat that pays dividends for individuals and teams willing to take pitches. It allows teams such as the Chicago White Sox, despite an extremely low team batting average, to still compete and put up a lot of runs. Although it can't necessarily be proven that on base percentage is more important in judging the effectiveness of baseball players, it can be nonetheless shown that a hitter without an extremely high batting average can still be a great contributor and table setter for a major league team.
Follow through. Properly following through is important for multiple reasons. Not only will it help you to add all-important distance generating backspin to the ball, but it will help point out any flaws in your swing. In most cases, you want your hands to finish high which ensures that the bat head stays through the hitting zone as long as possible.
Fossil evidence indicates that early humans hunted and ate other animals, and this seems to suggest that our catching and throwing capabilities may well be rooted in our development as hunters and tool users. Hitting or catching a moving animal requires an ability to estimate its path in advance. These are the basic skills required for every game of catch and throw, but for our ancestors, they may have been requirements for survival.
While hitting for a high batting average does not exclude hitting for power, the most successful batters with the highest averages are very good at situational hitting. This means that they can identify gaps in defensive coverage or anticipate pitches better, giving them more of an advantage at the plate. A typical player with a high batting average is patient at the plate and can hit the ball effectively to both sides of the field.