Here at Red Reporter, some of us are more interested in statistics than others, but we've all been known to use these newer metrics. Unfortunately, we don't always take the time to explain the figures. I know that I'm frequently guilty of inserting statistics without providing an adequate illustration of their meaning. In an effort to provide context to these figures and their use, we've decided to roll out a new series of posts exploring these new metrics. We will start with the simpler statistics and work our way to others from there. You won't need a statistics or mathematics degree to understand these posts, and best of all, we'll have fun. I promise.
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 (AVG): In the beginning. If you google the term "batting champion," you will come up with the hitter in each league that has the highest batting average, and has at least 502 plate appearances for the season. That player will be declared the "batting champion" in each league. Miguel Cabrera is the batting champion in the American League, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the league’s most productive hitter. Batting average measures the percentage of time that a hitter gets a base hit. Walks don’t count, and home runs count the same as an infield single. By the way, Cabrera also led the league in on base, on base, on base.
GB% – This stands for ground ball percentage, which is the percentage of balls a player hits that end up as ground balls. The league average on grounders last year was just .239, which means that only about 24% of ground balls end up as hits. So, because of that, you would expect players who hit a lot of grounders to have a lower BABIP, right? This is not necessarily true, however, because most ground ball hitters end up being the speedsters that are more likely to beat out grounders than your average player. In general, you can expect players with a high GB% to have a slightly higher BABIP, but you definitely want to take a look at their speed before making that assumption.
Mark Trumbo led the majors in home runs (47) last season with the Baltimore Orioles yet could only parlay that into a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the club to return for 2017. Trumbo produced 2.2 fWAR in 2016, but was a liability in the field (his minus-11 defensive runs saved ranked him 170th out of 185 outfielders) and on the base paths (cost the Orioles two runs in 2016 due to his stolen bases, caught stealings and other base running plays).
Now that we’ve covered slash lines, plate discipline, and batted ball data, that about does it for the hitting side of advanced baseball stats, but before I wrap up, I need to mention one important thing. All of the statistics that I used were from players who had a qualifying season (3.1 plate appearances per team game which is roughly 500 PA). The pre-mentioned stats are most effectively used when you have a good sample size of data to work with, and you should watch out for stats that are skewed by small sample sizes. Make sure that when you are evaluating a player’s skill set, they have accumulated enough plate appearances (usually you want to aim for a minimum of 100) to make the data you’re working with relevant.
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.
This is where the magic happens. Players who are able to immediately accelerate the barrel and in turn get the barrel on plane “early” (in front of the catchers mitt) in the swing will continue to play for a long time. This is the phase of the swing that is barely seen by the naked eye in real time. Phase 1 happens so fast in most big league swing that all most people see is contact and the release, thus making it look “effortless”. In reality there was a lot of effort in the swing, it was just the right kind of effort.
Recent paleoanthropological studies suggest that our ancestors were walking erect four million years ago, long before we developed large brains. So it's just possible that our throwing abilities were already in use even at that early date, and that all possible trajectories for moving objects are already stored in our brains, waiting to be called up for use at any given moment.
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).
The Hitters Power Drive device is very portable. The built in handle makes it easy to carry and transport. The device can be used on a floor, flat ground, any outdoor surface or indoor practice surface. Hitters can practice from the hitting training aid on their own with or without hitting baseballs from their hitting power initiation position. Without having to hit baseballs to practice and receive feedback it allows use in their yard, inside their home, basement and garage. With the unit being very portable measuring 14’inches in circumference” and weighing approximately 19 pounds they can transport from their home to the yard, gym, training rooms / facilities or field.
These are important because they show you how often (on average) a player walks and strikes out. Unlike batting average, K% and BB% are given in a direct percentage format, so there’s no need to translate it. The application of these stats is pretty straightforward; a player with a high BB% and low K% would typically have a good batting eye, and a player with opposite-type numbers would typically have a poor batting eye.
When trying to hit for power one of the most important aspects is having a solid bat path. If the swing gets long, you are not going to be able to keep up with fastballs. If the swing gets too short, you are going to pull off and roll over to your pull side. How can we fix this? A simple drill that we use is the interlocking throws drill. The purpose of this drill is to build muscle memory of a good path to the ball and through the zone. Looking at the picture here, she is already loaded with her hands in a good launch position. From here, you are going to want to go through your swing, and release the ball at an upward launch angle. The ball should come out of your hand around where the point of contact would be.
Just before the pitcher pitches the baseball, you should be standing in a perfect stance so that you can hit the ball right. A good stance includes planting your feet firmly on the ground, slightly wider than your shoulders and your weight should be balanced on the balls of your feet. Such a stance will give you the rapid swinging freedom which you need when swinging the bat at the incoming ball.
the reason i think XBH is the perfect stat is for the same reason you dismissed it, because it does not consider HRs more important than doubles and triples… One problem with the traditional 5×5 is that we count HRs 3 times, Power is not the only important stat… and using XBH gives speed guys a little more value because now they can contribute well in the same amount of categories a power hitter can…
Whereas with resistance bands, the force profile applies more force to your bat the further and further you swing it in front of your body– meaning, you are at maximum resistance during the follow-through of the swing. So not only does the weight affect central nervous system motor patterns, but the force profile of the bands does not positively benefit the swing either.
Here are our nine candidates for best primary offensive stat -- and please note that every offensive stat here is very important, we're just trying to pick which is the top dog. Also note, categories such as doubles, triples and stolen bases are clearly important but couldn't be rationally argued as the most important stat. Thus, they were left out. - Matt Snyder
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.
That’s a reasonable question, right? If you ask an individual you can probably have reasonably civilized conversation. Pose this question to the masses though, and you’ll hear the outcries and irrational debates from the masses. Change just for the sake of change is not always good, but some changes are overdue and this is one of them. So are you one of those people staunchly against removing the batting average category from your league? Well then, let me see if I can convince you otherwise.
Fossil evidence indicates that early humans hunted and ate other animals, and this seems to suggest that our catching and throwing capabilities may well be rooted in our development as hunters and tool users. Hitting or catching a moving animal requires an ability to estimate its path in advance. These are the basic skills required for every game of catch and throw, but for our ancestors, they may have been requirements for survival.
You can make similar cases for mid-range average guys like Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward who had averages in the .270 but on base percentages in the .350’s because they could draw walks. I know, you could just add walks as a category but in doing so you would be penalizing players like Jones along with some of the players from the BA leaders above like Lorenzo Cain, Ben Revere and Josh Harrison. Now you’re still gonna have those high empty OBP guys just like you would empty BA guys; nothing you can do about that, no system is perfect. The difference is the right players are being rewarded. If your hits and walks are equal you are getting on base at an equal clip, right? Getting on base helps your team, just ask Billy Beane.
When it comes to hitting for contact, Chris Carter is pretty definitively the worst in the league right now. If we usual a literal interpretation of the hit tool and say that it indeed relates to specifically the statistic of batting average, Carter could be heading for the basement if his BABIP regresses to something more in line with his profile. Whichever way you slice it he is the very deserving winner of the final "MLB's Worst Tools" award. I'm sure it will adorn the mantlepiece of the of the Carter household for centuries to come.