Since the beginning of baseball, one stat has reigned supreme over all others:  the batting average.  Simply put, the best hitters are always considered to be those who possess the highest.  Every year, the best hitter in the game is generally considered to be the person who retained the highest batting average.  This brings about a question:  Is batting average really as important as it is made out to be?  Or is it actually less important than another similar stat, On base percentage?
There is a very important Biomechanical Principle that pertains to the initiation of the baseball swing. The principle states: "A ballistic motion, once initiated, produces trajectories that can only be changed at its margins." This means, the forces applied to the bat during initiation produce trajectories that will set the tone for the entire swing. If the swing is not initiated correctly - little can be done to compensate for it.
Hitting a baseball is one of the toughest skills in all of sport. The entire sequence, from the pitcher's release of the ball to the contact with the bat, happens in the blink of an eye. This quick series of events combines two of the most important skills for a baseball player: hand-eye coordination and power development. Hand-eye coordination helps the batter locate the ball during its flight and appropriately maneuver the bat. The power element is crucial for adding distance to hits and building a well-rounded batter.
To show an example on this comparison of statistics, two ballplayers who play the same position but have drastically different approaches will be examined:  Robinson Cano (Yankees 2B) and BJ Upton (Devil Rays 2B/CF).  Both have somewhat similar batting averages this season - despite a slow start, Cano is hitting .263 while Upton is at a clip of .271.  The difference between batting averages is less than 1 hit per 100 at bats, so they are nearly the same.  When comparing their on base percentages, though, a huge difference is discovered.  Cano, who almost never walks, has an on base percentage of just .298, way below the major league average of .330.  Upton, on the other hand, carries a .381 on base percentage.  So although the two reach base almost exactly the same amount on hits, Upton reaches base nearly 1 more time every 10 at bats than Cano simply because he is willing to take a few strikes in order to draw monumentally more walks.

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.


In terms of detailed analysis, looking at a player's ability as a power hitter often involves using statistics such as someone's 'slugging percentage' (a function that's calculated by evaluating someone's number of moments at bat in relation to the nature of their hits and strikes). 'Isolated Power' (ISO), a measure showing the number of extra bases earned per time at bat that's calculated by subtracting someone's batting average from his slugging percentage, is another statistic used.[2]
Players who hit 40 or more home runs produced 3.4 fWAR on average, the lowest rate since 2008 (1.8) and the third-lowest average on record since expansion, slightly behind the 1984 campaign (2.8 average fWAR from a batter with at least 40 home runs). Compare that with the average fWAR from batters with between 20 and 29 home runs (3.1 in 2016) and it is easy to see where the value lies.
Comparing a baseball or softball swing to a car engine is something that I do almost everyday. It’s an easy way to help kids and parents understand how the system inside the swing works. For someone who doesn’t look at hundreds of swings a day, it can be difficult to identify or help a player become a more efficient swinger of the bat. A lot of times coaches will see a result like a pop up or ground ball and associate the weak contact with lack of effort. Most of the time, this is simply not the case. In the following article I hope to help players understand the importance of not making “early mistakes” and also help coaches and parents break down the efficient swing. To do so, we will break the swing down into three phases.  The three phases are 1. Acceleration/Angle Creation, 2. Maintain, 3. Release. They are illustrated in the picture below in a Playoff home run by Francisco Lindor.
I am a 13 year old beginner and I am struggling with the mechanics but have the basic knowledge of hitting. This article really helped me, just today i went to a batting cage after reading this article and used all of these steps, my first time trying i was unsuccesful missing 3 of the first pitches but after i relaxed my hands and stopped trying to hit the ball as hard as i could i hit my next 8 balls. My mom has also been pushing me to hit the gym so i could hit the ball harder, but after reading this article she has been pushing me more to increase bat speed instead of working out. Thank you so much Doug I’m hoping i have a future in baseball and can be as successful as you were.

The way you hold the handle of a baseball bat determines the speed and power of your hit. If you choke up on the handle and hold the bat closer to the barrel, you are gaining bat swing speed but losing on the hitting power. If you hold closer to the bottom of the bat, you gain hitting power and momentum but lose on the speed. You should extensively practice with both methods of holding the handle and find the golden mean where you are able to swing quickly and still hit the baseball as far as possible.
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.
Without a doubt, batting average is important.  It shows a hitters ability to reach base on a swing, a vital part of baseball.  However, let's compare the two statistics in a more logical manner.  Every inning, there are three outs that the defense must make in order to end the inning.  On base percentage shows the odds that a hitter does not make one of these three outs.  It is calculated by counting walks as well as hits, so prolific walkers will often display a high differential between batting average and on base percentage. 
By keeping it BA over OBP, you keep more players valuable in fantasy and there is much more strategy because the knowledge of starting a guy like adam Dunn might help you in the power categories, but it will hurt you elsewhere… or if you start a BA guy it will help you in BA but might hurt you elsewhere… BA calls for more balance and more strategy, and i am a fan of that(thats where my preference comes in)…
You can make similar cases for mid-range average guys like Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward who had averages in the .270 but on base percentages in the .350’s because they could draw walks.  I know, you could just add walks as a category but in doing so you would be penalizing players like Jones along with some of the players from the BA leaders above like Lorenzo Cain, Ben Revere and Josh Harrison.  Now you’re still gonna have those high empty OBP guys just like you would empty BA guys; nothing you can do about that, no system is perfect.  The difference is the right players are being rewarded.  If your hits and walks are equal you are getting on base at an equal clip, right?  Getting on base helps your team, just ask Billy Beane. 
HR/FB% – This stands for home run to fly ball rate, which is the percentage of fly balls a player hits that end up as home runs. While this stat doesn’t play much of a role in BABIP due to the fact that home runs are factored out of the BABIP equation, it is definitely a key component of a player’s batted ball profile. HR/FB% is a stat that is largely skill based, but typically doesn’t see much fluctuation from year-to-year, so a player that posts a HR/FB% much lower than their career norm is very likely to bounce back the following season and vice versa.
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.[1] 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.[1] It first became an official MLB statistic in 1984.
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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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Should your head stay perfectly still on the backswing? Actually, it should move a little to the right. This is not a conscious thing. If the shoulders turn behind the ball, as they should, the head swivels and shifts slightly to the right (right). A lot of golfers try to keep their head frozen in place, and that can be a killer. It causes tension, blocks the front shoulder from turning back, and promotes a reverse pivot (see main tip). So let your head move naturally as you swing to the top.
Batting Average (AVG): In the beginning. If you google the term "batting champion," you will come up with the hitter in each league that has the highest batting average, and has at least 502 plate appearances for the season. That player will be declared the "batting champion" in each league. Miguel Cabrera is the batting champion in the American League, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the league’s most productive hitter. Batting average measures the percentage of time that a hitter gets a base hit. Walks don’t count, and home runs count the same as an infield single. By the way, Cabrera also led the league in on base, on base, on base.

His batting average is .370. His on-base percentage is .367. My understanding of the stats suggests that every time a hitter gets on base, his on-base percentage goes up. This should mean that if you get on base via a hit, both AVG and OBP rise. If you get on base via a walk or getting hit by a pitch, your OBP goes up but your AVG is unchanged. Ergo, your OBP must always be higher than your AVG.
The human ability to estimate trajectories of moving objects is difficult to explain. Good fielders begin their movement just as the ball is hit, without wasting even half a step. An outfielder instantly begins running toward the spot where he thinks the ball will fall. Sometimes, he will make a running catch without losing a stride, thrusting his glove into position at the last second.
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.
I am a 13 year old beginner and I am struggling with the mechanics but have the basic knowledge of hitting. This article really helped me, just today i went to a batting cage after reading this article and used all of these steps, my first time trying i was unsuccesful missing 3 of the first pitches but after i relaxed my hands and stopped trying to hit the ball as hard as i could i hit my next 8 balls. My mom has also been pushing me to hit the gym so i could hit the ball harder, but after reading this article she has been pushing me more to increase bat speed instead of working out. Thank you so much Doug I’m hoping i have a future in baseball and can be as successful as you were.
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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.
Slugging percentage (SLG): Compared to most of the other "old" statistics, slugging is beautiful in its simplicity -- it's simply total bases divided by at-bats, and gives us a nice snapshot of a player's power. Think about it, with batting average you have to factor in fielder's choices, errors and walks and the such, while slugging is easy (although, it is a derivative of batting average, as you need at-bats instead of plate appearances). It also passes my test for a useful stat -- immediate understanding of what it means when you glance at the number. - Rosecrans
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.
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.
First compare the names on the left to the ones on the right.  Notice anything?  With the exception of Buster Posey, did you draft any player from the left side before any player on the right?  OK there is Dexter Fowler, but there are always a few exceptions with any example.  The players on the right are the superior players, Matt Carpenter included.  While he didn’t live up to expectations, Carpenter did score 99 runs.  The only players to score more runs from either list all come from the right side, Bautista and Trout.  Denard Span was 10th in the league in scoring runs (like I said, an exception to every rule) but the next highest player from the left side is Howie Kendrick down at #30.  Everyone else on the left had 81 or fewer runs scored where everyone on the right scored more than 81 times except Hanley and Fowler (who both had under 450 at bats due to injuries).

Mike Napoli hit a career-high 34 home runs in 2016 with the Cleveland Indians, the third-most home runs in this free agent class, just agreed to a one-year deal, $8.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers in early February. The first baseman was worth just 1.0 fWAR after factoring in his base running skill (minus-5.2 runs) and defensive play (18th in DRS).

IFFB% – This stands for infield fly ball percentage, which is the percentage of fly balls a player hits that end up as infield pop ups. Lazy flies to the infield are about as easy to field as they come, so they are considered essentially automatic outs. Because of that, it would be fair to say that a player who hits a lot of infield flies is not likely to have a very good BABIP. However, even the player with the worse IFFB% last year was at just 17.3%, so hitting a lot of automatic outs isn’t going to make a huge difference, but definitely a noticeable one. Batters who avoided these easy outs last year (better-than-league average IFFB%) had a better BABIP (.312) than their counterparts who did not (.298).

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 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.
Here's how to practice the proper weight shift going back. Set up with your driver, but take a narrow stance, about 12 inches wide. Then make a slow-motion swing, stepping out with your right foot as you start the club away (above). This side step will get your weight shifting to the right. With your weight in your right instep, you're in position to drive your body toward the target as you swing down. That's how you hit the ball with power.
In the major leagues, .300 always has been regarded as a special number. Like a 20-point-a-game scorer in basketball or a 1,000-yards-a-season rusher in football, it is a benchmark for excellence. A .300 season will get you a pay raise, which is why so many players through the years have asked off on the last day of a season. They wanted to preserve their precious .300.
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