^{If the batter doesn't hit the ball just right, he's in trouble. An amazing series of reactions propels a shortstop or third baseman into the path of a hard-hit ball. In two steps or less, he may have already caught the ball and fired it to first base for an out, with a swiftness and assurance acquired only through years of practice. Inherited skill alone just won't do the job. }

**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.**

__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__

^{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. }

__Shoeless Joe Jackson is the only other player to finish his career with a batting average over .350.[1] He batted .356 over 13 seasons before he was permanently suspended from organized baseball in 1921 for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.[4] Lefty O'Doul first came to the major leagues as a pitcher, but after developing a sore arm, he converted to an outfielder and won two batting titles.[5] The fifth player on the list, and the last with at least a .345 BA, is Ed Delahanty. Delahanty's career was cut short when he fell into the Niagara Falls and died during the 1903 season.[6]__

**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.**

Charlie Metro: "The good hitters get their tip-off from the pitchers. And there are many, many ways that a pitcher tips off his pitches. He grips it like that [fingers straight over top of ball]; there's your fastball. When he throws a curveball, he chokes the ball [wedges it between his thumb and forefinger, gripping it on the side so it sticks out]. Now see how much white of the ball shows on a fastball? And how much more white shows on a curveball? . . . Another thing is when they bring the ball into the glove, when they come in with a flat wrist like that, that'll be a fastball. When they turn their wrist like that, it's a breaking pitch. There are many, many ways, and the good hitters pick out these things . . . facial expressions . . . human habits and characteristics will tell."

`It is important to remember that there will almost certainly be some “bleeding” of the phases. As much as a hitter might train, their will always be tiny little timing and mechanical mistakes leading to some of the “bleeding effect” of the phases. The most important thing to remember as a hitter is really to be great at preparing to swing properly followed by being great into Phase 1. If the the transition from your load into Phase 1 is executed at a high level, then Phase 2 and 3 will require very little attention. Eliminate early mistakes and prepare to feel effortless power.`

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the game's newer and more advanced statistics but didn't know where to start? Have you ever read an article that liberally mentions WAR or xFIP, leaving you feeling as if you walked into Math 401 when you haven't taken Math 101? It's ok, don't worry; that's how we all felt the first time we stumbled upon these figures. The good news is that the best of these statistics make a great deal of sense once they are explained. Often, though certainly not always, the calculation of these figures is straightforward upon closer inspection.

Hudson came back from Tommy John surgery in '14 as a relief pitcher so all his batting stats (minus one K in '15) come from his first six seasons. Nevertheless, they're good numbers. In 2011 he won the Silver Slugger Award for pitchers thanks to his .277 batting average with three doubles, one home run and 14 RBI in 65 at-bats, plus three walks. He's now a reliever for the Pirates so probably won't get many at-bats this season.

**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.**

As the hitter has recognized pitch height, they will then use the separation between their pelvis and shoulders and much like a rubber band, “snap” into a violent rotation of their body. This immediate energy creation will transfer up the body and into the arms and hands which will then allow the barrel to flail or turn around the hands and knob. Whatever the hitter’s top barrel speed is, the goal should always be to get there as soon as possible. Just like a sprinter off the blocks, gaining top speed in the shortest amount of time is crucial to facing faster pitching.

## We’ve looked at the players with the higher batting averages, now let’s look at some of those players with low averages who were cursed at and ignored in fantasy. We’ll start with last years whipping boy Carlos Santana and his .231 batting average. We all loved his power and RBI numbers, but he dragged our averages down like the Titanic. It might surprise you to know that Santana had a .365 OBP thanks in part to his 113 walks. As a catcher we can tolerate low averages if a player hits for power, but not from someone who plays first (or third). Using OBP though, Santana’s numbers were equal to Morneau in 3 categories and he had 10 more home runs.

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.

On-base percentage, or OBP, measures the frequency with which a batter reaches base. OBP is expressed as a decimal rounded to three places, as in .300. Thus, OBP looks like batting average. However, instead of expressing the number of hits per at-bat, OBP represents the number of times on base per opportunity. The formula is simple, and one needs just five basic counting statistics to calculate OBP. These five stats are hits, walks, hit-by-pitch, at-bats, and sacrifice flies. The formula is:

**LD% – This stands for line drive percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as line drives. As you might imagine, line drives are harder to field than any other type of batted ball, so you can expect them to fall for hits much more often. The league average on liners last year was .690, which means that you can expect a line drive to fall for a hit roughly 69% of the time. It makes perfect sense, then, that the more line drives a player hits, the higher you can expect their BABIP to be. This is supported when you compare the BABIP of players with a LD% above-league average (.313) to their counterparts with a below-league average mark (.297).**

To compare the performance of OBP and gOBP, we compute a weighted mean squared error (WMSE) to quantify the difference between the expected and actual statistic for the set of batter/pitcher matchups in each bin. The number of plate appearances is used to weight each bin, so that more common pairings affected the final score more than rarer ones. We collected all matchups between batters and pitchers with at least 50 total PAs in a season from 2010 through 2013, a sample of more than 750,000 PAs. The WMSE (along with the unweighted mean squared error) for both OBP and gOBP are given below.

**In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs they have scored divided by the number of times they have been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how often they get out are primarily measures of their own playing ability, and largely independent of their teammates, batting average is a good metric for an individual player's skill as a batter.**