The formula for determining On-Base Percentage (OBP) is to add the batter's number of hits, base on balls, and times hit by pitch together and divide this number by the sum of at-bats, base on balls, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies. Most leadoff hitters in baseball typically have a high OBP as these batters have the ability to get on base consistently on their own and are slotted in the beginning of the order. It is possible for a player to have a higher batting average than OBP, but this is usually only if they do not draw many walks or get hit by many pitches or if they hit an inordinate number of sacrifice flies.
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.
If you want to hit farther, hitting the ball straight-on may not be the best way of doing it. Successful players who tend to score home-runs generally try to focus on hitting at the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This gives the hit both height as well as distance. So the next time you are aiming at hitting far, try to focus on the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This is a tough nut to crack and may take some practicing before you are able to master it.
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:
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."
Why should we use OBP? What advantage does it possess over batting average? The primary benefit of OBP is that it measures a player's performance with regards to avoiding outs. Baseball does not have a clock like so many other sports. Rather, baseball teams operate under the constraint of 27 outs. Once a team has used all 27 of its outs, then the game is over.
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.
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.
Those three stats (K%, BB%, BB/K) are the bulk of what is used to determine a player’s plate discipline, but there are actually quite a few more advanced stats that can be used get a much deeper look into a player’s approach at the plate. It’s really not necessary to get very in-depth with these stats, but a simple description and league context is really all you need to be able to apply them.
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.
The other statistic I wanted to mention that sort of goes hand-in-hand with slugging percentage is isolated power, or ISO for short. This is calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage (SLG-AVG) to give you how many extra bases a player averaged per at bat. ISO is important because it removes singles from the equation to give you a better idea of a player’s true power capability.
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.
Getting on base is an important skill, so you want to use OBP to determine if the player in question is a good offensive performer. However, OBP can only take you so far and it should only be used in the context of other statistics because OBP weights every time you reach base equally, whether you hit a home run or an infield single. If used in conjunction with slugging percentage or isolated slugging percentage, OBP is a very useful tool. In general, something like wOBA or wRC+ will tell a more accurate story, but if you’re looking for something extremely simple OBP is a much better bet than batting average.
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.