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.
Major League Baseball hitters are commonly judged based on their batting average, homeruns, and runs batted in (RBI). Those are statistics familiar to most fans, although they only tell a very small part of the story. Another important statistic is On Base Percentage (OBP). It shows how often a batter reaches base safely, whereas batting average only considers hits.
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:
A major league pitcher can throw a baseball up to 95 miles per hour -- some can move it even faster. At this speed, it takes about four tenths of a second for the ball to travel the 60 feet, 6 inches from the pitcher's mound to home plate, where the batter, with muscles as tense as coiled springs, like a predatory animal about to pounce, waits for the precise moment to swing at the ball. Baseball is a game played at the edge of biological time, just within the limits of a human's ability to react.
In my opinion this must happen before acceleration so that the barrel can accelerate the appropriate direction. Depending on the the pitch height, the hitter will mirror that height with the angle of their shoulder rotation followed by the degree of the barrel. The higher the pitch, the flatter the rotation and barrel. The lower the pitch the higher the barrel will stay initially and the shoulders will the rotate more vertically. In a perfect world, the barrel level will match the shoulder level at contact.

Baseball, specifically hitting, is being dramatically altered by today’s data driven, analytical beliefs. How do we achieve desirable results and not drastically change the proven swing path that dates back to Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente? What if I showed you similarities in the swings of Albert Pujols and Ichiro? (You would be amazed).
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. 
Moving a single group of muscles may require the interaction of numerous nerve cells and involve multiple synaptic delays, as the body receives sensory information (sees the ball), processes it (makes a decision), and coordinates muscle action (swings the bat). Practice eliminates wasted time by speeding up the decision-making -- somehow the obvious mistakes and fruitless actions a novice spends time thinking about are simply ignored by the practiced player, and his brain saves the time needed to consider them. But basic reaction time due to nerve conduction and synaptic delay remains an irreducible constant of the game.
In the final iteration of the "MLB's Worst Tools" awards, today we will discuss hitting for average. Right off the bat I have a problem with describing "hitting for average" as a tool because batting average is a statistic not an innate ability. Additionally, at a blog that champions sabermetrics it probably isn't worth talking about batting average a great deal. In fact, I'm pretty sure the higher ups wouldn't let me. [Editor's Note: He's right] I know that if I mention RBI's in a non satirical way I will be shot on sight. Partly because of my personal distaste for describing the fifth tool in this series as "hitting for average" and partly because I fear the violent wrath of Beyond the Box Score's cruel overlords, from this point on the tool discussed today will be referred to as "hitting for contact".
Prior to 2010 we only listed the top 100 and monitored those who made and slipped off the list. Here is that original fast fact preserved and now useless due to the list including 1000 names: Modern superstars are making the list as they meet the one-thousand minimum games played threshold: In 2001 Jeff Cirillo & Manny Ramirez met the requirements and joined the top one-hundred. In 2002 Cirillo slipped off the chart and Jason Giambi made it while Chipper Jones & Alex Rodriguez missed the cutoff by less than 2/1000 of a point. In 2003 Jason Giambi slipped off the chart, Chipper Jones just missed it once again (his career average is .30870), and Vladimir Guerrero vaulted onto the list at forty-first — higher than any other active player, that is until 2004 when Todd Helton launched into the top 20 all-time.
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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!

In the final iteration of the "MLB's Worst Tools" awards, today we will discuss hitting for average. Right off the bat I have a problem with describing "hitting for average" as a tool because batting average is a statistic not an innate ability. Additionally, at a blog that champions sabermetrics it probably isn't worth talking about batting average a great deal. In fact, I'm pretty sure the higher ups wouldn't let me. [Editor's Note: He's right] I know that if I mention RBI's in a non satirical way I will be shot on sight. Partly because of my personal distaste for describing the fifth tool in this series as "hitting for average" and partly because I fear the violent wrath of Beyond the Box Score's cruel overlords, from this point on the tool discussed today will be referred to as "hitting for contact".

Other factors that affect the batter's swing are the effective length and weight of the bat. The farther up the handle the hitter holds the bat, the less time it takes to swing at the ball, for the simple reason that there is less mass to move through space, and therefore less inertia to overcome with sheer muscle power. But consequently, less mass hits the ball. Power is the trade-off for speed and precision, hence the maxim that the more powerful the swing, the less likely the hit.
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.[1]
Recall that we can use the batter's OBP, the pitcher's OBP, and the league OBP to find an expected OBP for a given matchup using the odds ratio. Since gOBP is still a proportion, we can use it to perform the same analysis. To determine which is more accurate, we first group the batters and pitchers into bins with width five points (.005). We then find an expected OBP for all pitchers and batters in that bin, and compare this to the actual results of those matchups. As an example, consider the first pair in our database: David Aardsma and Bobby Abreu, who faced each other once in 2010.

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.


These are important because they show you how often (on average) a player walks and strikes out. Unlike batting average, K% and BB% are given in a direct percentage format, so there’s no need to translate it. The application of these stats is pretty straightforward; a player with a high BB% and low K% would typically have a good batting eye, and a player with opposite-type numbers would typically have a poor batting eye.
We all know that a .260 batting average is about average while a mark of .200 is quite poor. We know that .300 is a good figure and that .340 will often win the batting title. However, the values of an average, good, or bad OBP are not so ingrained in us. In 2013, the major league OBP was .318. Among players who qualified for the batting title, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera had the highest OBP with a mark of .442. Kansas City's Alcides Escobar posted the lowest figure at .259. Below, I have included a table that shows OBP for various percentiles in 2013. For example, Matt Holliday's OBP of .389 was better than that of 90% of qualified batters in 2013.

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
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.
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.    
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.
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.
Runs batted in (RBI): It's one of the most familiar and comfortable offensive stats around, and it's still got plenty of advocates. It's one of my least favorites, not only because of its native weaknesses but also because of its outsized importance when it comes to awards, bar-stool debates and the like. The primary problem with RBI is that it's highly, highly team-dependent. After all, it's hard to drive in many runs unless runners are getting on base in front of you, and that's not something you can control. Additionally, it's highly dependent upon your spot in the lineup. Take the exact same two hitters, put one in the leadoff spot and one at clean-up and you're going to get vastly different RBI totals. Like any traditional counting stat it's useful at the margins (e.g., it's hard to drive in 130 runs and somehow suck, but it's entirely possible to plate 100 runs and not be a useful player). Mostly, if you feel compelled to pay attention to RBI, don't do so without also paying attention to RBI percentage, or the percentage of runners than a batter plated. You can't consider RBI without also considering opportunities for RBI. - Perry
Other factors that affect the batter's swing are the effective length and weight of the bat. The farther up the handle the hitter holds the bat, the less time it takes to swing at the ball, for the simple reason that there is less mass to move through space, and therefore less inertia to overcome with sheer muscle power. But consequently, less mass hits the ball. Power is the trade-off for speed and precision, hence the maxim that the more powerful the swing, the less likely the hit.
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

We all know that a .260 batting average is about average while a mark of .200 is quite poor. We know that .300 is a good figure and that .340 will often win the batting title. However, the values of an average, good, or bad OBP are not so ingrained in us. In 2013, the major league OBP was .318. Among players who qualified for the batting title, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera had the highest OBP with a mark of .442. Kansas City's Alcides Escobar posted the lowest figure at .259. Below, I have included a table that shows OBP for various percentiles in 2013. For example, Matt Holliday's OBP of .389 was better than that of 90% of qualified batters in 2013.


Batting average simply takes hits into account.  If we’ve learned any one thing from Moneyball it’s that guys that get on base are important regardless of how they do it.  Now I know I’m not going to convince you of anything without some numbers to back things up.  Let’s compare players in the top 20 for batting average to the OBP leaders.  I’ll exclude players like Andrew McCutchen, Jose Altuve and Miguel Cabrera who appear on both lists.
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.
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.
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The key to hitting a baseball with power is staying connected to the body's rotational energy. Body rotation is powered by the larger and more powerful muscles of the legs, hips and torso. For a batter to hit the ball with maximum power, his swing mechanics must stay connected and make efficient use of these larger muscle groups. This article discusses the important steps needed to produce a swing that transfers the body's rotational power into hitting power.
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If the batter doesn't hit the ball just right, he's in trouble. An amazing series of reactions propels a shortstop or third baseman into the path of a hard-hit ball. In two steps or less, he may have already caught the ball and fired it to first base for an out, with a swiftness and assurance acquired only through years of practice. Inherited skill alone just won't do the job.
FB% – This stands for fly ball percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as fly balls. Flies are the type of batted ball that are least likely to end up as a hit, and the league average is just .212 for a 21% success rate. Also, because a lot of fly balls end up as home runs, the league average BABIP for flies is even lower at .126, which tells us that fly balls that stay in the field end up as hits just 13% of the time. It’s no secret that players who hit lots of flies will suffer in the BABIP department, and a quick comparison of players with an above-league average FB% (.297 BABIP) to their counterparts (.318 BABIP) will really drive home that argument.
On an individual level, I'm partial to OPS+ because it's a clear upgrade over traditional measures and, unlike oWAR (which I think is more accurate in a vacuum), it's not quite as off-putting to the uninitiated. I'll happily lean on oWAR when appropriate, though, as it contains a base-running component. On a team level, I tend to stick to runs scored and OPS with on-the-fly adjustments made for ballpark effects.
On the strength of a batting average of thirty-three point nought seven for Middlesex, he had been engaged by the astute musical-comedy impresario to whom the idea first occurred that, if you have got to have young men to chant 'We are merry and gay, tra-la, for this is Bohemia,' in the Artists' Ball scene, you might just as well have young men whose names are known to the public.

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.
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