Recent paleoanthropological studies suggest that our ancestors were walking erect four million years ago, long before we developed large brains. So it's just possible that our throwing abilities were already in use even at that early date, and that all possible trajectories for moving objects are already stored in our brains, waiting to be called up for use at any given moment.
The strongest man doesn’t always have the hardest hit, technique determines many factors and in most cases is more important than your strength or power levels. But if you’re somebody who has your batting technique in check, adding strength and power to the muscles responsible for improving your performance in this area can dramatically alter your presence on the plate.
Batting average (AVG): Right off the bat, we've got to say that batting average is not the best stat to judge offense. There's too many things wrong, starting with the fact that there are a lot of variables involved such as not including walks, or the subjective nature of awarding hits and errors. Still, what batting average does have over all the other statistics is history and context. We all know what a .300 hitter is, we know how bad a .200 hitter is and how great a .400 hitter is. We still celebrate the batting crown, and although not as much as we once did, it still means something and probably should. -- C. Trent Rosecrans
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.
Runs Batted In: "The guys that knock em in," as Leyland calls them, do make the big bucks in the baseball market. But RBI are, to a great extent, a function of opportunities. You can’t drive in runs, other than solo home runs, unless there are runners on base to drive in. A typical lineup should be arranged so that the big RBI guys follow guys who frequently get "on base, on base, on base." Leyland happened to be talking about Jhonny Peralta, his 80 RBI, and his value to the team when he launched into his philosophical discussion of on-base percentage. What he didn’t mention was that Peralta led the league in at bats with runners in scoring position the previous two seasons. It should be understood that players who get hits tend to also get hits with runners on base, or in scoring position, at about the same rate, averaged over time.
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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.
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.