How we keep it free. We support the site through affiliate relationships with baseball retailers. That means if you click on any link on our site that takes you to an online store, they'll give us a small commission on whatever you buy in the next couple weeks. We like this model because it doesn't cost YOU anything extra at all, and it allows us to keep offering much of our content for FREE.
Follow through. Properly following through is important for multiple reasons. Not only will it help you to add all-important distance generating backspin to the ball, but it will help point out any flaws in your swing. In most cases, you want your hands to finish high which ensures that the bat head stays through the hitting zone as long as possible.
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.
To test this, I collected all batters in the Retrosheet database since 1975 who logged at least 300 plate appearances in two consecutive seasons. (Multiple batters, of course, could appear multiple times.) This covered 5,607 batters, from Barry Bonds's 2002 (.582 OBP, .587 gOBP) to Mario Mendoza's 1979 (.216 OBP, .219 gOBP). As before, I fit a linear relationship between each statistic in year 1 and the same statistic in year 2, and determined the respective correlation coefficients.
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.
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.
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.
Some of these can be dismissed while others can be countered. You can say power hitters are more valuable because they draw walks, but there are also non power hitters that draw walks that would benefit as well. A majority of those power hitters are early round picks so you’re really putting their value where it should be as opposed to increasing it. If anything, the non power hitters that draw high walks benefit more from this.
Last season, the average hitter who belted between 20 and 24 home runs provided 2.9 wins above replacement, similar to what Asdrubal Cabrera (.280 average with 23 home runs and .810 OPS) gave the New York Mets in 2016, for which he was paid $8.25 million. A 40-home run hitter, like Nelson Cruz (.287 average with 43 home runs and a .915 OPS), averaged 4.5 fWAR but was paid $14.25 million. In other words, you could have two Cabrera-type hitters for a little more than it would cost to sign one like Cruz and get slightly more value overall.
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.
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.
In the major leagues, .300 always has been regarded as a special number. Like a 20-point-a-game scorer in basketball or a 1,000-yards-a-season rusher in football, it is a benchmark for excellence. A .300 season will get you a pay raise, which is why so many players through the years have asked off on the last day of a season. They wanted to preserve their precious .300.