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While watching a New York Mets game early this season, before one plate appearance the broadcast graphics displayed that catcher John Buck had a batting average (AVG) of .400 and an on-base percentage (OBP) of .396. Several games later I saw a similar phenomenon for Buck, whose OBP was again several points lower than his AVG. (In other words, the stats presented were very likely to be actual and not an on-screen typo.)
As stated, to hit a baseball with power, the batter's swing must stay connected to the powerful muscle groups. However, far too many batters are taught mechanics that use the arms rather than rotation to initiate the acceleration of the hands and bat. Using the arms to fire the hands ahead of rotation disconnects the swing from the larger muscles and hitting with maximum power is lost.
Walk/strikeout ratio. The exception is that he does look at the ratio of walks to strikeouts. Elite hitters in high school shouldn’t be striking out a lot. No more than 7 strikeout in 100 at bats in high school. For example, 12 walks and 88 strikeouts is NOT what they want to see. On the other hand, more walks than strikeouts is very promising. Orioles scout Jim Thrift knows that this stat shows a lot about a player’s discipline, hand/eye coordination and knowledge of the strike zone.
If you take a batting average and multiply it by 100 (or slide the decimal point over two spots to the right), it will give you a raw percentage of how often a player gets a hit. So using Mike Trout’s batting average as an example, he accumulated 172 hits in 602 at bats last year for a batting average of .287 (172/602). Multiplying .287 by 100 gives you 28.7 which tells you that in 2014, Mike Trout averaged a hit in 28.7% of his at bats.
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.
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.
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).
If you're looking for distance, commit this tip to memory: Your weight should move in the direction the club is swinging. When the club goes back, your weight shifts back; when the club swings through, your weight shifts through. A common fault with amateurs is the reverse pivot, where the weight stays on the front foot during the backswing and often falls to the back foot on the downswing. That's about the weakest move you can make.
OPS stands for on base plus slugging and is exactly what it sounds like. You take a player’s OBP and add it to their SLG to get OPS. This stat is often used to measure a player’s overall ability as a hitter, combining their skill at getting on base (OBP) with their aptitude to hit for power (SLG). Sometimes it will be included at the end of a typical slash line, so if you see a slash with four different numbers in it, then OPS is what the fourth one represents.
If perhaps you are a larger player with more height and/or weight, you do not need as much movement to generate the force needed to be successful. Having said that, even if you do have size at a young age, it is still important to learn that you can move more if you want and therefore hit the ball harder. Guys like Albert Pujols don’t move forward much but definitely still move forward some.
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.
Lanky build and weak muscles are not going to cut it if you dream of hitting home runs in a baseball game. You need to build your upper body and muscles, so the most basic thing to do is regularly bring these muscles into action, exercise and toughen them up. Try to do such exercises on a daily basis which involve your entire upper body. This will give you the requisite strength to hit a baseball farther.
If you want to hit farther, hitting the ball straight-on may not be the best way of doing it. Successful players who tend to score home-runs generally try to focus on hitting at the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This gives the hit both height as well as distance. So the next time you are aiming at hitting far, try to focus on the lower two-thirds of the baseball. This is a tough nut to crack and may take some practicing before you are able to master it.
Charlie Metro: "The great catches are made at the start, not at the end. The end is the net result of the start . . . If you pivot [correctly], you've made one step and you're three or five feet, whatever, toward the ball. . . . But if you do this [leaning the wrong way, stepping across] you've taken three steps and haven't moved out of your tracks. So the great catches in the outfield are made with the initial move."
OBP was a big leap forward ten or twenty years ago because it gave credit to hitters who reached base via walk or HBP when batting average ignored those things. Any time you don’t make an out, you’re contributing positively to the run scoring process and OBP captures that better than batting average because it incorporates a big slice of offensive activity that batting average doesn’t consider. Getting on base via walk doesn’t help your team quite as much as getting a hit, but it’s certainly valuable enough to warrant inclusion in even the most simplistic metrics.
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.
I’ve given you some things to think about, but even if you want to ignore everything I said there is one argument you should give a second thought to. Batting average basically equals hits. OBP equals hits and walks. You can add hits as another category but that would be redundant since you already have batting average. You could add walks as a sixth category but then you’re left with trying to find another category to add to the pitchers side to even things out which could cause more headaches. Changing BA to OBP just makes sense as it covers the two basic ways a player gets on base and shows the true value of that player. Hits are nice, but there is more to baseball than that.
While batting average is a useful tool for measuring a player's ability at the plate, it isn't all-encompassing. For instance, batting average doesn't take into account the number of times a batter reaches base via walks or hit-by-pitches. And it doesn't take into account hit type (with a double, triple or home run being more valuable than a single).