But fear not! This is your crash course in advanced baseball stats, explained in plain English, so that even the most rudimentary of fans can become knowledgeable in the mysterious world of baseball analytics, or sabermetrics as it is called in the industry. Because there are so many different stats that can be covered, I’m just going to touch on the hitting stats in this article and we can save the pitching ones for another piece. So without further ado – baseball stats!
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.
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).
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.
We need to compare the best batting averages from 2000 — when offense was at an all-time high, thanks at least in part to the prevalence of performance-enhancing drugs in the game — with the averages of today, with pitching strong and PED testing rigorous. In 2000, 30% of all major league players with 400 plate appearances finished with a .300 batting average or better. So in 2014, if a hitter ranks in the top 30% of batting averages, why shouldn't he be considered the equivalent of a .300 hitter from 15 seasons ago?
First of all, what is on base percentage? In the simplest terms, on base percentage (OBP) calculates how many times a batter reaches base excluding instances such as fielder’s choice and errors. This means, unlike with batting average, walks are calculated into the equation. Walks are an important part of baseball. The more walks you accumulate the more times you’re on base. This means added run scoring potential as well as stolen base opportunities, both of which are standard scoring categories in basic 5×5 leagues. In fantasy, we count those runs and stolen bases regardless of who that person reached base, so why should the batter get credit for how he got on base as well?
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.
IFFB% – This stands for infield fly ball percentage, which is the percentage of fly balls a player hits that end up as infield pop ups. Lazy flies to the infield are about as easy to field as they come, so they are considered essentially automatic outs. Because of that, it would be fair to say that a player who hits a lot of infield flies is not likely to have a very good BABIP. However, even the player with the worse IFFB% last year was at just 17.3%, so hitting a lot of automatic outs isn’t going to make a huge difference, but definitely a noticeable one. Batters who avoided these easy outs last year (better-than-league average IFFB%) had a better BABIP (.312) than their counterparts who did not (.298).
A force profile is simply a curve that is measured as you take yourself through a movement and measure the amount of resistance at each point during that movement. For example, everybody knows what a biceps curl looks like. At the bottom of the movement you have no resistance, half way through the movement (at about 90 degrees) it becomes maximally difficult, and then once you get to the top of the movement it becomes slightly easier again.
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.
Watching a player in batting practice will tell you whether or not he can square up a baseball. If he is hitting one-hoppers through the infield that land in the dirt to line drives that are short-hopping the wall, he is squaring up the baseball. If he is consistently hitting balls that land within 45 feet of the plate or are high pop flies, his swing plane is not right and he will not be able to hit at a high level.