Head to the gym. You won't be able to drive a ball over the batter's eye in center field just be reading articles online at home. You'll need to get into the gym and work on building up and reinforcing the most important key to your swing - your body. While a massive chest, broad shoulders, and bulging biceps look impressive, a powerful swing actually requires other muscles.[1]

On an individual level, I'm partial to OPS+ because it's a clear upgrade over traditional measures and, unlike oWAR (which I think is more accurate in a vacuum), it's not quite as off-putting to the uninitiated. I'll happily lean on oWAR when appropriate, though, as it contains a base-running component. On a team level, I tend to stick to runs scored and OPS with on-the-fly adjustments made for ballpark effects.
It waters down bad play of many and you are more willing to use players despite their weakness as a player are one-sided arguments made to favor BA.  Doesn’t batting average reward hits and dismiss players that walk.  And since when is drawing walks considered bad play, it’s a basic fundamental taught throughout the minors and is a sign of a patient hitter.  The weak hitters are the ones that can’t draw walks, and those players can be seen hacking away with a sub-par batting average when then get close to or in their 30’s.
Great article! Your explanation of what it means to “relax” is definitely something all hitters struggle with, including myself. I’ve always been a “power-hitter”, but I didn’t really start hitting HRs consitently until I started putting backspin on the ball. For me at least, focusing on my swing and trying to have a backspin-promoting cut helped me RELAX and take the focus off of trying to kill the ball. I would grip the bat way too tight and pull everything, which was really frustrating. Another thing that helped me keep my hands relaxed was I started using that Pro-Hitter thumb ring that I saw pro’s like A-Gon and J Hamilton using… Again, great article! Thanks for providing more insight on something that all of us wish we could do at every at-bat haha! One can only dream…
The third and final number in a slash line represents slugging percentage. This number is very similar to batting average, but instead of treating all hits as equals, it weighs each type of hit according to its significance. Slugging percentage (or SLG) is calculated by adding singles, 2 X doubles, 3 X triples, and 4 X home runs all divided by at bats. Another way of looking at it is total bases divided by at bats. Here is the official formula that is used:
In certain unofficial calculations, the denominator is simplified and replaced by Plate Appearance (PA); however, the calculation PAs includes certain infrequent events that will slightly lower the calculated OBP (i.e. catcher's interference, and sacrifice bunts).[4] Sacrifice bunts are excluded from consideration on the basis that they are usually imposed by the manager with the expectation that the batter will not reach base, and thus do not accurately reflect the batter's ability to reach base when attempting to do so.[1]

I do not consider loading the body to be a part of the actual swing, because it isn’t. However, there CAN NOT be an efficiently powerful swing without a proper loading sequence. The loading sequence for a any hitter is fundamentally the same but it may change due to the size, strength, and talent level of the individual. Players who are limited in size need to think about a more obvious momentum builder move like Jose Bautista shown below.
The main application of slugging percentage is to go beyond just being able to tell how good a player is at getting hits, but how good they are at getting quality hits. For example, Robinson Cano and Andrew McCutchen both had a batting average of .314 last year; however Cano slugged just .454 opposed to McCutchen who finished with a .542 mark. While both players got hits just as often, McCutchen got the more valuable kinds of hits more often (he had more doubles, triples, and homers than Cano), so he was the better hitter in 2014.
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. 
Head to the gym. You won't be able to drive a ball over the batter's eye in center field just be reading articles online at home. You'll need to get into the gym and work on building up and reinforcing the most important key to your swing - your body. While a massive chest, broad shoulders, and bulging biceps look impressive, a powerful swing actually requires other muscles.[1]
The Hitters Power Drive teaches proper weight distribution and transfer of weight from the hitters load position with backside hip and leg drive referred to as positive move position. The training aid teaches by multisensory “CLICK” feedback with a combination of auditory sound and kinetic feel. The timing of hearing this “CLICK” trains hitters to initiate power with their back hip, leg and foot with their transfer which creates a power drive moving forward vs. spinning out, leaking, drifting or floating out front and not hearing the click at all or to late after ball contact. The metallic “CLICK” sound of the standing plate striking the ground plate allows this immediate real time feedback.

Runs Batted In: "The guys that knock em in," as Leyland calls them, do make the big bucks in the baseball market. But RBI are, to a great extent, a function of opportunities. You can’t drive in runs, other than solo home runs, unless there are runners on base to drive in. A typical lineup should be arranged so that the big RBI guys follow guys who frequently get "on base, on base, on base." Leyland happened to be talking about Jhonny Peralta, his 80 RBI, and his value to the team when he launched into his philosophical discussion of on-base percentage. What he didn’t mention was that Peralta led the league in at bats with runners in scoring position the previous two seasons. It should be understood that players who get hits tend to also get hits with runners on base, or in scoring position, at about the same rate, averaged over time.
The way you hold the handle of a baseball bat determines the speed and power of your hit. If you choke up on the handle and hold the bat closer to the barrel, you are gaining bat swing speed but losing on the hitting power. If you hold closer to the bottom of the bat, you gain hitting power and momentum but lose on the speed. You should extensively practice with both methods of holding the handle and find the golden mean where you are able to swing quickly and still hit the baseball as far as possible.

At the point of contact, we see a culmination of every drill worked on for power thus far. First, from the interlocking throws drill, we have a good palm up, palm down path at the point of contact. From the half and full turn drills, we see she has great hip rotation to the ball, from the paint stick and don’t squish the bug drills, she has excellent weight transfer to the launch point, so great that her back foot has come off the ground and moved forward. She is generating power from the lower half and harnessing it with her bat path. The crossover drill is a great drill to finish off the set of previous drills designed to generate power for softball.
Every baseball player would love to be able to hit for power, but not every baseball player is a natural like Bryce Harper. There are a lot of things that go into a powerful baseball swing, and no one swing method or form is the right fit for all hitters. However, there are some "Cream and Clear"-free ways that can help all players add power. With the strategy and preparation, you can develop both your mind and body for power hitting as well as improve your form regardless of your preferred stance or swing.
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.
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.
Charlie Metro: I did a lot of study, and I found that it's impossible to throw Rickey Henderson out. I started using stopwatches and everything. I found that it was impossible to throw some guys out. They can go from first to second in 2.9 seconds; and no pitcher-catcher combination in baseball could throw from here (pitcher's mound) to there (catcher) to tag (2nd base) in 2.9. It was always 3, 3.1, 3.2, so actually, the runner that can make that continuous, regular move like Rickey's can't be thrown out, and he's proven it.
The key to hitting a baseball with power is staying connected to the body's rotational energy. Body rotation is powered by the larger and more powerful muscles of the legs, hips and torso. For a batter to hit the ball with maximum power, his swing mechanics must stay connected and make efficient use of these larger muscle groups. This article discusses the important steps needed to produce a swing that transfers the body's rotational power into hitting power.

The hitter will start in their natural stance and hold the bat up against their body, shown above. Beginning the drill in this position will force the body to stay parallel to the pitcher, while placing emphasis on the hitter’s hips and torso explosiveness. See the image below of Hitting Vault coach Alexa Peterson, notice the rotation of her upper body and the position of the lower half. Her back is completely turned, knob of the bat pointing toward the pitcher and stiff front side. By rotating your hips and torso like you would in a normal swing during this drill, it will start to build muscle memory in full rotation to and through the ball.

In baseball statistics, on-base percentage (OBP) is a measure of how often a batter reaches base for any reason other than a fielding error, fielder's choice, dropped or uncaught third strike, fielder's obstruction, or catcher's interference. OBP is calculated in Major League Baseball (MLB) by dividing the sum of hits, walks, and times hit by a pitch by the sum of at-bats, walks, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies.[1] A hitter with a .400 on-base percentage is considered to be great[2] and rare;[3] only 55 players in MLB history with at least 3,000 career plate appearances (PA) have maintained such an OBP. Left fielder Ted Williams, who played 19 seasons for the Boston Red Sox, has the highest career on-base percentage, .4817, in MLB history.[4] Williams led the American League (AL) in on-base percentage in twelve seasons, the most such seasons for any player in the major leagues.[4][5] Barry Bonds led the National League (NL) in ten seasons, a NL record.[5][6] Williams also posted the then-highest single-season on-base percentage of .5528 in 1941, a record that stood for 61 years until Bonds broke it with a .5817 OBP in 2002.[7] Bonds broke his own record in 2004, setting the current single-season mark of .6094.[7]
HITTERS POWER DRIVE CHALK MAT. FEATURES of POWER DRIVE CHALK MATS: Black turf for visually presentation of training with chalk lines, marks, circles, X’s and written goals. Includes 2 large pieces of sidewalk chalk. Thick 4″ bright red line sewn into turf on all mats for important pitchers & hitters stride line. Step down rubber that simulates game mound drive foot position to increase pitchers power drive. Teaches proper toe down for softball and drive angle for baseball. All mats available in FOAM BACKING with skid pad for hard surfaces such as wood, cement or tile or FLEECE BACKING for indoor carpet or turf surfaces. Hitters Power Drive mat has water jet cut insert hole to level HPD with front foot to face live pitching speeds. Turf plug included to use mat without Hitters Power Drive .
Exactly how humans are able to estimate the expected position of a quickly moving ball is unknown. Obviously, this remarkable skill is learned through long practice. Eye-brain-body coordination is acquired only by going through the motions over and over; even so, the batter misses most of the time. Getting a hit three times out of ten at bat is considered an excellent average. It's interesting that George Schaller and other ethologists have observed that lions and cheetahs are also successful only about a third of the time in capturing their prey.

On-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS): Yes, this is a made-up, smashing together of two useful stats to make a mega-useful stat. Or, somewhat useful stat. I'll say this, since I also had the batting average and slugging percentage entries, I'm a big, big fan of the slash line, it gives you a basic idea of what kind of hitter a player is with three simple stats. Of those three, really, the batting average is the least important, I want to know how much a guy doesn't make an out and how much power he has. OPS tells me that, and despite different ways to get the job done (high on-base, low slugging speedy guy or big slugger who doesn't get on as much) a certain OPS gives me an idea, at least, that no matter what he looks like, he's productive. - Rosecrans

OBP has become synonymous with the book “Moneyball” because at in the early 2000s, teams weren’t properly valuing players with high OBPs and the Oakland A’s could swipe talented players for cheap because they were one of the few teams paying attention to walk rate. These days, every team has come to accept how vitally important OBP is to their success, and that particular “market inefficiency” has been closed.
Should your head stay perfectly still on the backswing? Actually, it should move a little to the right. This is not a conscious thing. If the shoulders turn behind the ball, as they should, the head swivels and shifts slightly to the right (right). A lot of golfers try to keep their head frozen in place, and that can be a killer. It causes tension, blocks the front shoulder from turning back, and promotes a reverse pivot (see main tip). So let your head move naturally as you swing to the top.
Exactly how humans are able to estimate the expected position of a quickly moving ball is unknown. Obviously, this remarkable skill is learned through long practice. Eye-brain-body coordination is acquired only by going through the motions over and over; even so, the batter misses most of the time. Getting a hit three times out of ten at bat is considered an excellent average. It's interesting that George Schaller and other ethologists have observed that lions and cheetahs are also successful only about a third of the time in capturing their prey.

When a hitter puts the ball in play, the major league average to get a hit is only slightly above .300.  The upper tier of hitters can average around .340, which is how they manage to consistently hit above .300 year in and year out.  What this number means is that a ball hit in fair territory (many swings do not hit the ball fair) has nearly a 70% chance of being an out.  This is where the walk comes into play.  Hitters who are patient enough to work counts and take pitches are much more susceptible to walks than those who chase every first pitch.  The odds of reaching base after taking 4 balls is obviously 100%.  Essentially, hitters must be lucky in order to get a hit, while drawing a walk guarantees them to reach base.  This is why the walk is such a vital part of baseball overlooked by many. 
Not only that, every baseball player in any situation would benefit from improving their hitting power. This has to be a focus of yours. Technique and power development can be trained simultaneously in the same training program and not overlap one another. So go to hitting practice, hit the gym, and be the guy the other team doesn’t want to see in the warm-up area.
On-Base Percentage (OBP) measures the most important thing a batter can do at the plate: not make an out. Since a team only gets 27 outs per game, making outs at a high rate isn’t a good thing — that is, if a team wants to win. Players with high on-base percentages avoid making outs and reach base at a high rate, prolonging games and giving their team more opportunities to score.

I am a 13 year old beginner and I am struggling with the mechanics but have the basic knowledge of hitting. This article really helped me, just today i went to a batting cage after reading this article and used all of these steps, my first time trying i was unsuccesful missing 3 of the first pitches but after i relaxed my hands and stopped trying to hit the ball as hard as i could i hit my next 8 balls. My mom has also been pushing me to hit the gym so i could hit the ball harder, but after reading this article she has been pushing me more to increase bat speed instead of working out. Thank you so much Doug I’m hoping i have a future in baseball and can be as successful as you were.


[box]About the source, Pro Scout Jim Thrift.  Jim’s 28 year career in baseball includes 4 years scouting for the Baltimore Orioles in the amateur, pro and international divisions, 15 years with the Cincinatti Reds as a Major League scout, amateur scout and National Cross Checker, triple A hitting coach, and a long list of other impressive experience in professional baseball. [/box]
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.
Well, if you go to Fangraphs.com, go to the player stats page and you click on "Advanced" (which is code for sabermetrics), you’ll see that there are several statistical categories after each player, but they are sorted according to wOBA, by default. So, perhaps wOBA is to sabermetrics what batting average once was to statisticians of the 1950s and 60s. Probably the most important measure of a player’s offensive value.
Of course, on base percentage isn't the only important statistic to determine the effectiveness of a baseball player.  This is because all walks drawn only put the hitter on first base and will rarely drive in a run, while hits are capable of putting the hitter on 2nd or 3rd base, or even crossing the plate with a home run.  Along with that, hits are capable of driving in many more runs than walks.  Other stats are used to calculate these, such as slugging percentage and OPS, or on base percentage + slugging percentage.  These statistics and their impact on baseball will be examined in later articles.  In the case of on base percentage, it is a hugely underrated stat that pays dividends for individuals and teams willing to take pitches.  It allows teams such as the Chicago White Sox, despite an extremely low team batting average, to still compete and put up a lot of runs.  Although it can't necessarily be proven that on base percentage is more important in judging the effectiveness of baseball players, it can be nonetheless shown that a hitter without an extremely high batting average can still be a great contributor and table setter for a major league team.

Batters actually hold a decent level of influence on their BABIP, which is something that not a lot of people realize. Because there are different types of hitters (mainly speed, power, and contact hitters), not everyone should be expected to have the same “30% outcome” for balls in play. The main source of this influence comes from what is known as a player’s “batted ball profile,” which consists of the following stats:
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.
Staying connected to the body's rotational energy starts when the hitter steps into the batter's box to prepare the launch position. To acquire a powerful launch position, the batter's upper body and shoulders must rotate to a fully loaded position. An inward turn of the upper torso and shoulders stretches the muscles of the upper body and pelvic region. Some refer to this as loading. With good transfer mechanics, the contraction of these muscles combined with the energy of hip rotation is converted into angular acceleration of the bat-head. The video below shows, and discusses, a powerful launch position.
Here's a quick example: Ichiro Suzuki had a record 262 hits in 2004. He also walked 49 times and was hit by 4 pitches. The sum is 262 + 49 + 4 = 315. He had 704 at bats, 49 walks, 4 hit by pitches, and 3 sacrifice flies on the year. That sum is 704+49+4+3=760. Dividing 315 by 760 gives the on base percentage of .414. That's not too bad, but it's not much higher than his batting average, which was an impressive .372. By comparison, Jose Bautista had a respectable batting average of .286 in 2014, but still reached base at a very strong .403 clip, helped by 104 walks.
Shoeless Joe Jackson is the only other player to finish his career with a batting average over .350.[1] He batted .356 over 13 seasons before he was permanently suspended from organized baseball in 1921 for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.[4] Lefty O'Doul first came to the major leagues as a pitcher, but after developing a sore arm, he converted to an outfielder and won two batting titles.[5] The fifth player on the list, and the last with at least a .345 BA, is Ed Delahanty. Delahanty's career was cut short when he fell into the Niagara Falls and died during the 1903 season.[6]

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.
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