For small numbers of at-bats, it is possible (though unlikely) for a player's on-base percentage to be lower than his batting average (H/AB). This happens when a player has almost no walks or times hit by pitch, with a higher number of sacrifice flies (e.g. if a player has 2 hits in 6 at-bats plus a sacrifice fly, his batting average would be .333, but his on-base percentage would be .286). The player who experienced this phenomenon with the most number of at-bats over a full season was Ernie Bowman. In 1963, with over 125 at-bats, Bowman had a batting average of .184 and an on-base percentage of .181.
Home runs (HR): The argument for this one is pretty simple. The best possible thing a hitter can do in any given at-bat is hit a home run. No matter what. You can't name a single offensive circumstance where something else would help the team more than a home run. My disdain for hearing "we don't need a home run" is a topic for a different day. Still, even the leaders in home run totals each year generally hit a home run around 5 to 10 percent of the time. So if you only focus on homers and ignore everything else, the odds of coming up with the best overall offensive player probably aren't great. - Snyder
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.
While all those stats can be very helpful individually, using them all to establish a batted ball profile will help you to get a solid idea of what a player’s hitting skill set really is. For the most part, a player with a solid LD% and IFH% can be expected to put up an above-average BABIP, while a player with a large FB% and IFFB% can be expected to post a below-average mark. With that framework in mind, let’s look at a quick example from the 2014 season:
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the game's newer and more advanced statistics but didn't know where to start? Have you ever read an article that liberally mentions WAR or xFIP, leaving you feeling as if you walked into Math 401 when you haven't taken Math 101? It's ok, don't worry; that's how we all felt the first time we stumbled upon these figures. The good news is that the best of these statistics make a great deal of sense once they are explained. Often, though certainly not always, the calculation of these figures is straightforward upon closer inspection.
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.
Here are our nine candidates for best primary offensive stat -- and please note that every offensive stat here is very important, we're just trying to pick which is the top dog. Also note, categories such as doubles, triples and stolen bases are clearly important but couldn't be rationally argued as the most important stat. Thus, they were left out. - Matt Snyder
HR/FB% – This stands for home run to fly ball rate, which is the percentage of fly balls a player hits that end up as home runs. While this stat doesn’t play much of a role in BABIP due to the fact that home runs are factored out of the BABIP equation, it is definitely a key component of a player’s batted ball profile. HR/FB% is a stat that is largely skill based, but typically doesn’t see much fluctuation from year-to-year, so a player that posts a HR/FB% much lower than their career norm is very likely to bounce back the following season and vice versa.
Leyland’s reference to "moneyball" when the topic of on base percentage came up (and he actually brought it up) might give us a sense of how one that is resistant to the "new way of thinking" looks at sabermetrics. To some, moneyball and sabermetrics are one in the same. Leyland did make reference to "the guys that make the money" when referring to sluggers. No doubt this is true. Players with big home run and RBI totals get paid more as free agents than players with only a high on base percentage or guys that play solid defense. The movie "Moneyball" features Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, who tries to field a winner by assembling players that cost less money but have high on base percentages, run the bases well, and play solid defense. So it’s easy to see where Leyland, and no doubt many others, get the idea that "moneyball" and sabermetrics are all about "on base, on base, on base."Actually, that is a gross over simplification of what sabermetrics is all about.
Another very common stat used to measure plate discipline is a player’s walk-to-strikeout-rate (or BB/K). This is again a fairly straight forward stat, and it is measured simply by dividing a player’s walk total into their strikeout total. The result gives you the average number of times a player walks between each strikeout. So if a player had a BB/K of an even 1.00, that would mean that they walked just as often as they struck-out (which is exceptionally good plate discipline).
Here's how to practice the proper weight shift going back. Set up with your driver, but take a narrow stance, about 12 inches wide. Then make a slow-motion swing, stepping out with your right foot as you start the club away (above). This side step will get your weight shifting to the right. With your weight in your right instep, you're in position to drive your body toward the target as you swing down. That's how you hit the ball with power.
His batting average is .370. His on-base percentage is .367. My understanding of the stats suggests that every time a hitter gets on base, his on-base percentage goes up. This should mean that if you get on base via a hit, both AVG and OBP rise. If you get on base via a walk or getting hit by a pitch, your OBP goes up but your AVG is unchanged. Ergo, your OBP must always be higher than your AVG.
We all know that a .260 batting average is about average while a mark of .200 is quite poor. We know that .300 is a good figure and that .340 will often win the batting title. However, the values of an average, good, or bad OBP are not so ingrained in us. In 2013, the major league OBP was .318. Among players who qualified for the batting title, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera had the highest OBP with a mark of .442. Kansas City's Alcides Escobar posted the lowest figure at .259. Below, I have included a table that shows OBP for various percentiles in 2013. For example, Matt Holliday's OBP of .389 was better than that of 90% of qualified batters in 2013.
This is where the magic happens. Players who are able to immediately accelerate the barrel and in turn get the barrel on plane “early” (in front of the catchers mitt) in the swing will continue to play for a long time. This is the phase of the swing that is barely seen by the naked eye in real time. Phase 1 happens so fast in most big league swing that all most people see is contact and the release, thus making it look “effortless”. In reality there was a lot of effort in the swing, it was just the right kind of effort.
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.
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.
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.
While hitting for a high batting average does not exclude hitting for power, the most successful batters with the highest averages are very good at situational hitting. This means that they can identify gaps in defensive coverage or anticipate pitches better, giving them more of an advantage at the plate. A typical player with a high batting average is patient at the plate and can hit the ball effectively to both sides of the field.