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.
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On base plus Slugging (OPS): Somewhere, half way between traditional statistics and sabermetrics is what Fox sportscaster Joe Buck called "that new OPS statistic." Yes, he actually said that, during the 2011 World Series broadcast. (Notice that I resist the strong temptation to go off on a rant tangent, here, in an effort to stay on topic.) On base plus slugging, or OPS, is just that. Take a player’s on base percentage and add his slugging percentage, and voila, you get OPS. Now, I think that OPS is a very useful statistic ... for sluggers. But it’s still very much a slugger’s stat. OPS gives one base for walks, two for a single, three for a double, four for a triple, and five for a home run. We’re used to seeing OPS being discussed in conversations now when discussing the MVP awards for each league and it's commonly used in baseball discussions these days.
These six drills are designed to generate more power for hitters across the games of softball and baseball. Working on a good path to the ball and through the zone is immediately one of the most important factors in driving the ball. Once that is worked, then can work on several drills to improve hip and lower half rotation, then work into weight transfer from the back leg through the zone, and put it all together with the crossover drill. For more drills to improve power for softball hitters, check out the hitting drills in The Hitting Vault.
Major League Baseball hitters are commonly judged based on their batting average, homeruns, and runs batted in (RBI). Those are statistics familiar to most fans, although they only tell a very small part of the story. Another important statistic is On Base Percentage (OBP). It shows how often a batter reaches base safely, whereas batting average only considers hits.
Players who hit 40 or more home runs produced 3.4 fWAR on average, the lowest rate since 2008 (1.8) and the third-lowest average on record since expansion, slightly behind the 1984 campaign (2.8 average fWAR from a batter with at least 40 home runs). Compare that with the average fWAR from batters with between 20 and 29 home runs (3.1 in 2016) and it is easy to see where the value lies.
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.
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.
On base percentage (OBP) or on base average (OBA) is an important component in a sabermetrics styled view of offensive productivity, but it is by no means the ultimate statistic to measure a hitter’s value. Unlike AVG and SLG, OBP does take walks into account, but it gives the same weight to a home run as it does to a single or a walk. Obviously, those are events in a baseball game that don’t have the same value in terms of producing runs. Billy Beane was quoted once as saying that OBA is three times as important as SLG. Well, is it? Not from a sabermetrics view point. Sabermetrics isn’t based on money at all. Bill James and the folks that blazed the trail for the development of sabermetrics certainly know that a home run has more value than a walk. It just so happens that players that had an ability to get on base were not paid as well as some of those who racked up RBIs. Obviously, the players who do it all get paid the most.
How do these players create such a powerful swing? Rule number one; do not confuse POWER with strength. These are two very different dynamics. Power is an explosive movement. It is created through a combination of speed, and strength. Strength is created through maximal force. This is the biggest learning lesson here; you do not create power for hitting by lifting maximum weight. Power lifting like bodybuilders and muscle heads do, does not translate into softball power hitting. Power lifting is mostly all for show and not athletic performance. If you have the biggest arms, traps, and chest in the world, how are you going to swing the bat? Power lifting and Power hitting are two totally different things.
Phase 1 of the swing is by far and away the most important phase. It is at this point where the hitter will either be all they can be or something less than that. Not to say you can’t still get a “hit” but as we say all the time, “your worst mistake is your first mistake”. This basically means, when you make mistakes early in the swing(phase 1), 100 percent swing efficiency can not be reached. Here is where early in the swing resides and where the effortless swing can be achieved. In Phase 1, there are two main objectives.
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).