Probably very few of you except a few Cincinnati residents saw this one coming. Yes, Michael Lorenzen is the current hitting pitcher batting king, according to OPS. The lion's share of the 25-year-old's at-bats (36) came in his rookie season in 2015 when he tallied 9 hits including a triple. Now that he's moved to the bullpen, the opporunties will be fewer. Last year he homered once in five at-bats and this year he's had just three at-bats so far, but he added another home run as a pinch hitter!! So Lorenzen has joined the holy club of pinch-hitting relief pitchers. Tip of the cap!
Most baseball players think that hitting is all about the upper body and that they can simply ignore the fitness of the lower body. This is a grave mistake. When you are swinging your bat on the plate, your legs and trunk are playing a critical role in supporting your swing and adding momentum to it. So make lower body exercises a regular part of your drill as well. The lower body will help you add that extra bit of power into your hitting.
Batting average (AVG): Right off the bat, we've got to say that batting average is not the best stat to judge offense. There's too many things wrong, starting with the fact that there are a lot of variables involved such as not including walks, or the subjective nature of awarding hits and errors. Still, what batting average does have over all the other statistics is history and context. We all know what a .300 hitter is, we know how bad a .200 hitter is and how great a .400 hitter is. We still celebrate the batting crown, and although not as much as we once did, it still means something and probably should. -- C. Trent Rosecrans
Recall that we can use the batter's OBP, the pitcher's OBP, and the league OBP to find an expected OBP for a given matchup using the odds ratio. Since gOBP is still a proportion, we can use it to perform the same analysis. To determine which is more accurate, we first group the batters and pitchers into bins with width five points (.005). We then find an expected OBP for all pitchers and batters in that bin, and compare this to the actual results of those matchups. As an example, consider the first pair in our database: David Aardsma and Bobby Abreu, who faced each other once in 2010.
Mark Trumbo led the majors in home runs (47) last season with the Baltimore Orioles yet could only parlay that into a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the club to return for 2017. Trumbo produced 2.2 fWAR in 2016, but was a liability in the field (his minus-11 defensive runs saved ranked him 170th out of 185 outfielders) and on the base paths (cost the Orioles two runs in 2016 due to his stolen bases, caught stealings and other base running plays).
You just need to look at some of the players hitting between .280 and .285 to see the validity in Correa's point: Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez and Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones qualify for the new .300. Every one of them was an All-Star this year.
Explosive Hips are crucial to power hitting. They are also the most overlooked and underdeveloped group of muscles. They are typically extremely tight and weak. The two best things you can do to “unlock” your power in your hips; a comprehensive mobility routine and exercises that involve your hips. I like exercise that involve these two skills in one movement; lateral lunges and single leg split squats are two exercises that create mobility in the hips and are powerful movements.
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.
OBP was a big leap forward ten or twenty years ago because it gave credit to hitters who reached base via walk or HBP when batting average ignored those things. Any time you don’t make an out, you’re contributing positively to the run scoring process and OBP captures that better than batting average because it incorporates a big slice of offensive activity that batting average doesn’t consider. Getting on base via walk doesn’t help your team quite as much as getting a hit, but it’s certainly valuable enough to warrant inclusion in even the most simplistic metrics.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
Mickey Cochrane is the only catcher and Arky Vaughan is the only shortstop with a career mark of at least .400. Of the 43 players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame with a career on-base percentage of .400 or higher, 27 have been elected. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played at least 10 major league seasons, have been either retired for five seasons or deceased for six months, and have not been banned from MLB. These requirements leave 6 living players ineligible who have played in the past 5 seasons; 5 players (Bill Joyce, Ferris Fain, Jake Stenzel, Bill Lange, and George Selkirk) who did not play 10 seasons in MLB; and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.
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.
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.
Fossil evidence indicates that early humans hunted and ate other animals, and this seems to suggest that our catching and throwing capabilities may well be rooted in our development as hunters and tool users. Hitting or catching a moving animal requires an ability to estimate its path in advance. These are the basic skills required for every game of catch and throw, but for our ancestors, they may have been requirements for survival.
Without a doubt, batting average is important. It shows a hitters ability to reach base on a swing, a vital part of baseball. However, let's compare the two statistics in a more logical manner. Every inning, there are three outs that the defense must make in order to end the inning. On base percentage shows the odds that a hitter does not make one of these three outs. It is calculated by counting walks as well as hits, so prolific walkers will often display a high differential between batting average and on base percentage.
Hitting Mechanics and other factors. When you hit, scouts will be looking at your looking at hand path and head movement. A lot of head movement makes it difficult to see and hit the ball, showing poor hitting mechanics. Jim also watches intelligence, decision-making at the plate, with 2 strikes, facing left handed pitchers, day time and night time games.
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.