While all those stats can be very helpful individually, using them all to establish a batted ball profile will help you to get a solid idea of what a player’s hitting skill set really is. For the most part, a player with a solid LD% and IFH% can be expected to put up an above-average BABIP, while a player with a large FB% and IFFB% can be expected to post a below-average mark. With that framework in mind, let’s look at a quick example from the 2014 season:
While we haven’t seen the sport’s top hitters blasting home runs at record pace, as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire did at the height of the steroid era, we are seeing a significant rise in the power numbers of players in the 20-home run range. The result is a plethora of players who are capable of providing a club with power at the plate, giving general managers more options to add home run hitters to their lineup than ever before.
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.
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.
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).
Every hitter is entitled to their own style or preference when it comes to stance, set-up, and load. However, when the stride foots lands, all hitters are very much alike in their movements to and through contact. My emphasis will focus on the “non-negotiable” of consistent, hard contact—bat path. Learning to control the bat barrel is an enormous step forward in becoming the best hitter they can be.
Powerful Legs that are trained through various movement patterns and skill sets. For example, you create a ton of power by super setting (performing these two exercises one after the other with little rest, then repeating) an exercise like a squat and a box hop. This combination of a strength development exercise and a plyometric exercise create explosive power.
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.
Last season, the average hitter who belted between 20 and 24 home runs provided 2.9 wins above replacement, similar to what Asdrubal Cabrera (.280 average with 23 home runs and .810 OPS) gave the New York Mets in 2016, for which he was paid $8.25 million. A 40-home run hitter, like Nelson Cruz (.287 average with 43 home runs and a .915 OPS), averaged 4.5 fWAR but was paid $14.25 million. In other words, you could have two Cabrera-type hitters for a little more than it would cost to sign one like Cruz and get slightly more value overall.
I do not consider loading the body to be a part of the actual swing, because it isn’t. However, there CAN NOT be an efficiently powerful swing without a proper loading sequence. The loading sequence for a any hitter is fundamentally the same but it may change due to the size, strength, and talent level of the individual. Players who are limited in size need to think about a more obvious momentum builder move like Jose Bautista shown below.
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If the swing is on-plane early and the player is a little bit late on a fastball, he will still be able to hit a line-drive to the opposite field instead of either popping up or swinging and missing completely. If the bat is on-plane through the swing as well, a player that is fooled on a curveball will still be able to shoot the baseball somewhere instead of either rolling over or striking out.