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.
Here are our nine candidates for best primary offensive stat -- and please note that every offensive stat here is very important, we're just trying to pick which is the top dog. Also note, categories such as doubles, triples and stolen bases are clearly important but couldn't be rationally argued as the most important stat. Thus, they were left out. - Matt Snyder
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.
Below is an overhead view of a good rotational swing. We have plotted the path of the hands and bat-head. Although the video discusses plate coverage, note that: (1) the bat-head accelerates rearward (back toward the catcher) about 140 degrees before it swings around toward the pitcher (2) the first movement of the hands are more away than toward the pitcher.
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.
OBP was a big leap forward ten or twenty years ago because it gave credit to hitters who reached base via walk or HBP when batting average ignored those things. Any time you don’t make an out, you’re contributing positively to the run scoring process and OBP captures that better than batting average because it incorporates a big slice of offensive activity that batting average doesn’t consider. Getting on base via walk doesn’t help your team quite as much as getting a hit, but it’s certainly valuable enough to warrant inclusion in even the most simplistic metrics.
At the point of contact, we see a culmination of every drill worked on for power thus far. First, from the interlocking throws drill, we have a good palm up, palm down path at the point of contact. From the half and full turn drills, we see she has great hip rotation to the ball, from the paint stick and don’t squish the bug drills, she has excellent weight transfer to the launch point, so great that her back foot has come off the ground and moved forward. She is generating power from the lower half and harnessing it with her bat path. The crossover drill is a great drill to finish off the set of previous drills designed to generate power for softball.
"Look at it like this: If you have a team with average offense, average defense, average pitching, it should get about 81 wins," Correa says. "What that average means is different, depending on the context. There are lots of theories as to why offense is down, but the reality is that somebody hitting .260 with a .320 on-base percentage and .400 slugging is actually an above-average player today.
On-base percentage (OBP): Unlike batting average, on-base percentage doesn't ignore working the count to earn a walk, stepping into an inside pitch or being such a terrifying hitter that one gets pitched around and/or intentionally walked often. There are four players with more than 2,000 career walks: Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. And we're supposed to ignore that and concentrate on batting average? In its purest form, OBP is basically measuring the amount of times a hitter does not make an out. With only 27 precious outs in a regulation game, this stat is paramount. That this isn't mainstreamed as more important than batting average makes very little sense to me. [For more on AVG vs. OBP, click here. I wrote a lot more about it] -- Snyder
During Phase 3 or the release, the hitter will allow their arms to relax so the the barrel will continue upward through the path of the pitch with very little loss of bat speed. Like I previously said, Phase 3 can happen earlier or later depending on the adjustment the hitter must make. If need be, the hitter can make contact during Phase 3 if they are early. This is when you will see a hitter at contact with already extended arms. This is not ideal but will save hitters when their timing isn’t perfect. Just another reason why having a nice upward swing path is so important for longevity as a hitter.
In baseball statistics, on-base percentage (OBP; sometimes referred to as on-base average/OBA, as the statistic is rarely presented as a true percentage) is a statistic generally measuring how frequently a batter reaches base. Specifically, it records the ratio of the batter's times-on-base (TOB) (the sum of hits, walks, and times hit by pitch) to their number of plate appearances. It first became an official MLB statistic in 1984.
At the hitting vault, we use two basic drills focused specifically on unlocking the lower half and hitting with more power. The half turns drill is essential to begin learning and mastering the movements to the point of contact with the lower half. It is incredibly important to be in a good, strong position with your hips and legs to drive the ball. To do this drill, you are going to want the hitter to pin the barrel of the bat against the back leg, and the handle/knob of the bat against the back shoulder, demonstrated in the picture. Working from this position is going to keep the front shoulder closed, preventing flying open and rolling over.
On-Base Percentage (OBP) measures the most important thing a batter can do at the plate: not make an out. Since a team only gets 27 outs per game, making outs at a high rate isn’t a good thing — that is, if a team wants to win. Players with high on-base percentages avoid making outs and reach base at a high rate, prolonging games and giving their team more opportunities to score.
"On base, on base, everybody talks about on base percentage. Jim Leyland, I like the guys that knock em in. I know, there’s a lot to be said for that. They talk about 'Moneyball' and working the pitcher and on-base percentage. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for that. But my theory is, during the course of a major league game, normally for both teams, there’s enough guys on base. The guys to me, that make the money are the guys that can score them from first and knock em in. I like the slugging percentage, over the on base percentage, myself. That’s just an opinion."
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.
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.
By the time the ball has traveled a dozen feet from the pitcher's mound, the batter has a good visual fix on it. In a thought process much too quick for deliberation, he has decided whether the pitch is a fastball, curveball, slider, knuckleball, screwball, or whatever -- yet a good deal of data has gone into this instantaneous and non-verbal decision.
Power development for batting performance can be improved drastically through proper strength and power training. It is not to be trained through these ridiculous imitations of sport specific movement such as adding resistance bands or tubing to your bat and taking swings against the resistance of these tubes. I’ve also seen implements being attached to cable systems while mimicking swing patterns as well.
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.
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.
Explosive Hips are crucial to power hitting. They are also the most overlooked and underdeveloped group of muscles. They are typically extremely tight and weak. The two best things you can do to “unlock” your power in your hips; a comprehensive mobility routine and exercises that involve your hips. I like exercise that involve these two skills in one movement; lateral lunges and single leg split squats are two exercises that create mobility in the hips and are powerful movements.
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.
The only reason Carter's swinging strike rate isn't the highest in the league is that he's a relatively patient guy who sees a lot of pitches, otherwise he'd have the clean sweep. Although Chris Carter's actual career batting average is not unfathomably low at .220, it's pretty clear that his ability to make contact is the worst around. Additionally, Carter may have enjoyed more than his fair share of luck on balls in play because his career.294 BABIP seems a little steep for a guy with a batted ball profile like the one shown below: