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.
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.
Of course, OPS is not new to those that have been paying any attention at all to the ever evolving world of baseball statistics. In fact, you can go on websites such as Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference and you’ll see OPS+, which adjusts OPS to the league average and adjusts for the ballparks where the players compile their numbers. I suppose we should be thankful that the mainstream media has gotten that far, but we’re just not prepared to leave it at that.
[box]About the source, Pro Scout Jim Thrift. Jim’s 28 year career in baseball includes 4 years scouting for the Baltimore Orioles in the amateur, pro and international divisions, 15 years with the Cincinatti Reds as a Major League scout, amateur scout and National Cross Checker, triple A hitting coach, and a long list of other impressive experience in professional baseball. [/box]
Durocher, a 17-year major league vet and Hall of Fame manager, sums up the game of baseball quite brilliantly in the above quote, and it’s pretty ridiculous how much fans really don’t understand about the game of baseball that they watch so much. This holds especially true when you start talking about baseball stats. Sure, most people can tell you what a home run is and that batting average is important, but once you get past the basic stats, the rest is really uncharted territory for most fans.
Charlie Metro: I did a lot of study, and I found that it's impossible to throw Rickey Henderson out. I started using stopwatches and everything. I found that it was impossible to throw some guys out. They can go from first to second in 2.9 seconds; and no pitcher-catcher combination in baseball could throw from here (pitcher's mound) to there (catcher) to tag (2nd base) in 2.9. It was always 3, 3.1, 3.2, so actually, the runner that can make that continuous, regular move like Rickey's can't be thrown out, and he's proven it.
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 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.
When a hitter puts the ball in play, the major league average to get a hit is only slightly above .300. The upper tier of hitters can average around .340, which is how they manage to consistently hit above .300 year in and year out. What this number means is that a ball hit in fair territory (many swings do not hit the ball fair) has nearly a 70% chance of being an out. This is where the walk comes into play. Hitters who are patient enough to work counts and take pitches are much more susceptible to walks than those who chase every first pitch. The odds of reaching base after taking 4 balls is obviously 100%. Essentially, hitters must be lucky in order to get a hit, while drawing a walk guarantees them to reach base. This is why the walk is such a vital part of baseball overlooked by many.
"It's all about having a quality at bat," said Garrido, who has won five national titles. "You can't just go up there and start swinging and expect to get hit after hit. You have to be able to separate the pitches you can hit and the pitches you can't hit. And when you find that pitch let the ball location help you decide where you want to hit it. If you can do that you are on your way."