To test this, I collected all batters in the Retrosheet database since 1975 who logged at least 300 plate appearances in two consecutive seasons. (Multiple batters, of course, could appear multiple times.) This covered 5,607 batters, from Barry Bonds's 2002 (.582 OBP, .587 gOBP) to Mario Mendoza's 1979 (.216 OBP, .219 gOBP). As before, I fit a linear relationship between each statistic in year 1 and the same statistic in year 2, and determined the respective correlation coefficients.
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."
Mickey Cochrane is the only catcher and Arky Vaughan is the only shortstop with a career mark of at least .400. Of the 43 players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame with a career on-base percentage of .400 or higher, 27 have been elected. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played at least 10 major league seasons, have been either retired for five seasons or deceased for six months, and have not been banned from MLB. These requirements leave 6 living players ineligible who have played in the past 5 seasons; 5 players (Bill Joyce, Ferris Fain, Jake Stenzel, Bill Lange, and George Selkirk) who did not play 10 seasons in MLB; and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.
Runs scored (R): Aside from when a player hits a home run, he'll need some help from teammates -- most of the time -- to score a run. Still, players can do a lot to increase the number of times they score. Getting on base frequently, stealing bases, taking extra bases on singles or doubles, taking a base on a passed ball right in front of the catcher or even being such a scary baserunner to draw a balk are ways to spin around the bases better than others. Guys who score the most runs are great players, not those simply lucky to have good teammates driving them in. Here are the top 10 all-time in runs scored: Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Cap Anson, Stan Musial and Alex Rodriguez. Marginalize that group at your peril. - Snyder
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.
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:
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."
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.
Since the beginning of baseball, one stat has reigned supreme over all others: the batting average. Simply put, the best hitters are always considered to be those who possess the highest. Every year, the best hitter in the game is generally considered to be the person who retained the highest batting average. This brings about a question: Is batting average really as important as it is made out to be? Or is it actually less important than another similar stat, On base percentage?
Runs batted in (RBI): It's one of the most familiar and comfortable offensive stats around, and it's still got plenty of advocates. It's one of my least favorites, not only because of its native weaknesses but also because of its outsized importance when it comes to awards, bar-stool debates and the like. The primary problem with RBI is that it's highly, highly team-dependent. After all, it's hard to drive in many runs unless runners are getting on base in front of you, and that's not something you can control. Additionally, it's highly dependent upon your spot in the lineup. Take the exact same two hitters, put one in the leadoff spot and one at clean-up and you're going to get vastly different RBI totals. Like any traditional counting stat it's useful at the margins (e.g., it's hard to drive in 130 runs and somehow suck, but it's entirely possible to plate 100 runs and not be a useful player). Mostly, if you feel compelled to pay attention to RBI, don't do so without also paying attention to RBI percentage, or the percentage of runners than a batter plated. You can't consider RBI without also considering opportunities for RBI. - Perry
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A hit is more valuable than a walk? Why? Your team pays you to get on base. Granted they want players that can hit, but they also see the advantage of the guy that can draw walks. Sure the guy that gets a hit can drive in runs more frequently if men are on base, I can’t argue with that. In the same respect, we don’t put an asterisk next to the runs driven in because the guy in front of you walked. On the flip side, the guy who walks more has more opportunities to score runs, so you’re trading one category for the other.
At the hitting vault, we use two basic drills focused specifically on unlocking the lower half and hitting with more power. The half turns drill is essential to begin learning and mastering the movements to the point of contact with the lower half. It is incredibly important to be in a good, strong position with your hips and legs to drive the ball. To do this drill, you are going to want the hitter to pin the barrel of the bat against the back leg, and the handle/knob of the bat against the back shoulder, demonstrated in the picture. Working from this position is going to keep the front shoulder closed, preventing flying open and rolling over.
I like to hit off of a tee into a target at least 45 feet away. This will allow you to see the flight of the ball and know if you are striking it consistently the same way or if you are all over the place. With front toss, you should be able to hit every ball on the same trajectory. Players that come work with me for the 1st time usually hit about half of the balls within 20 feet of the plate usually slightly to the pull side (a rollover).