BAA is very common in evaluating pitchers -- especially when assessing opponent handed-ness splits. A pitcher cannot have an ERA against left-handed hitters because they are interspersed with righties in lineups. So when a pitcher's ability against hitters from each side of the plate is being compared, it is usually done by using either BAA or OPS-against.
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!
Those three stats (K%, BB%, BB/K) are the bulk of what is used to determine a player’s plate discipline, but there are actually quite a few more advanced stats that can be used get a much deeper look into a player’s approach at the plate. It’s really not necessary to get very in-depth with these stats, but a simple description and league context is really all you need to be able to apply them.
What better time than now to delve into what exactly are the best offensive stats upon which to judge a baseball player? The Eye on Baseball staff -- Matt Snyder, C. Trent Rosecrans and Dayn Perry -- will do the heavy lifting and then let our readers argue among themselves. We'll make our picks, too, so you can call us idiots, as is standard in the Internet community.
While I don’t feel hitting coaches should try to “clone or cookie-cut” their hitters. I do believe we should strive to build on the strengths of every hitter. However, every good hitter, (past, present, and future), performs a series of sequential moves (working from the ground-up), that enables the barrel to enter the back of the strike zone, accelerating through contact.
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:
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.
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.
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.
During the entire middle portion of the pitch, the batter must time the ball and decide where to swing. If the batter decides to swing, he must start when the ball is approximately 25 to 30 feet in front of the plate. The ball will arrive at the plate about 250 thousandths of a second later -- about the limit of human reaction time. The bat must make contact with the ball within an even smaller time range: A few thousandths of a second error in timing will result in a foul ball. Position is important, too. Hitting the ball only a few millimeters too high or too low results in a fly ball or a grounder.
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.
[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]
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?
Any drill that you perform for hitting can increase a softball player’s power hitting skills by strapping on a set of Myosource Kinetic Bands. These resistance bands can be worn while performing everyday drills and even hitting in the cage, all while getting maximum resistance. Using the Kinetic Bands will increase more than just power, it will increase speed, agility, and flexibility as well. This increase in athletic performance can be obtained without changing anything in your everyday practice routine. Imagine being able to increase your power hitting numbers without having to lift heavy weights and stress your muscles and joints. Most teams wont lift much during the actual season so when you cant get in the gym, you are still getting stronger, and faster throughout the season just by wearing Myosource Lower Body Kinetic Bands.
Certainly this feat also involves an almost instantaneous ability to estimate trajectories. In the case of the frog, researchers have been able to locate specific nerve cells in the frog retina and in the brain which are excited by small, dark, moving objects. The frog apparently pays no attention to these objects until their images begin to grow bigger on his retina, indicating that they are moving closer to him. If all other visual cues are right, out goes the tongue.
The conclusion of the GIIB article shows that team gOBP has a correlation coefficient of 0.95 with R/G, a slight but meaningful improvement over the correlation coefficient of 0.93 between team OBP and R/G. This first test is straightforward: using Retrosheet, I collected team R/G, OBP, and gOBP for all 1,482 team seasons dating back to 1955. I then fit a linear model to these data and computed the correlation coefficients for each pairing. The results are below.
In Phase 2, the hitter may continue to accelerate but hopefully has already reached top speed. They will maintain top speed as they continue to rotate their hips and shoulders. Contact can be made in Phase 2 before Phase 3 is ever needed. This is demonstrated when players like Mike Trout will maintain bent arms well past contact on inside pitches. If Phase 1 and Phase 2 are executed at a high level, theoretically Phase 3 is not needed.
Getting on base is an important skill, so you want to use OBP to determine if the player in question is a good offensive performer. However, OBP can only take you so far and it should only be used in the context of other statistics because OBP weights every time you reach base equally, whether you hit a home run or an infield single. If used in conjunction with slugging percentage or isolated slugging percentage, OBP is a very useful tool. In general, something like wOBA or wRC+ will tell a more accurate story, but if you’re looking for something extremely simple OBP is a much better bet than batting average.
If the swing is on-plane early and the player is a little bit late on a fastball, he will still be able to hit a line-drive to the opposite field instead of either popping up or swinging and missing completely. If the bat is on-plane through the swing as well, a player that is fooled on a curveball will still be able to shoot the baseball somewhere instead of either rolling over or striking out.