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Kosuke Fukudome and why batting average is a lousy stat

Posted by Andy on June 19, 2011

There are two players so far in 2011 with a significant number of at-bats, a batting average under .300, but an on-base percentage over .400:

Rk Player PA BA OBP Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Bobby Abreu 296 .290 .403 LAA 68 248 26 72 17 0 2 30 46 4 52 1 .383 .786 *D7/9
2 Kosuke Fukudome 229 .296 .406 CHC 56 189 25 56 11 1 3 10 34 1 34 1 .413 .819 *9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/18/2011.

Both Abreu and Fukudome have walked a lot, to go along with above-average BAs. Both guys are getting on base at a really good clip.

The notion that guy needs to be a .300 hitter to be a really good offensive force is, of course, silly. Most readers of this blog figured that out a long time ago. In case you haven't, that's why I have given this example. Yes, walks are not quite as good as hits (since hits can sometimes advance baserunners more than 1 base, or advance a runner from second or third in a non-force situation) but the bottom line is that a guy who's piling up enough walks to add more than 100 points to his BA when figuring his OBP is doing quite well.

Incidentally, here are the guys who do it over their entire careers, minimum 1000 plate appearances since 1901:

Rk Player PA BA OBP From To
1 Rickey Henderson 13346 .279 .401 1979 2003
2 Barry Bonds 12606 .298 .444 1986 2007
3 Mickey Mantle 9909 .298 .421 1951 1968
4 Jim Thome 9897 .277 .404 1991 2011
5 Jeff Bagwell 9431 .297 .408 1991 2005
6 Bobby Abreu 9380 .296 .400 1996 2011
7 Jason Giambi 8416 .281 .404 1995 2011
8 Brian Giles 7835 .291 .400 1995 2009
9 Lu Blue 7207 .287 .402 1921 1933
10 Lance Berkman 7084 .296 .409 1999 2011
11 Max Bishop 5779 .271 .423 1924 1935
12 Eddie Stanky 5435 .268 .410 1943 1953
13 Roy Thomas 5198 .282 .403 1901 1911
14 Ferris Fain 4904 .290 .424 1947 1955
15 Roy Cullenbine 4787 .276 .408 1938 1947
16 Charlie Keller 4604 .286 .410 1939 1952
17 Joe Cunningham 4061 .291 .403 1954 1966
18 George Selkirk 3322 .290 .400 1934 1942
19 Nick Johnson 3214 .270 .401 2001 2010
20 Bill Salkeld 1048 .273 .402 1945 1950
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/18/2011.

Abreu, Giambi, and Berkman all have a chance to join this group permanently provided that they can keep their OBP over .400 for their career.

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 19th, 2011 at 9:57 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

85 Responses to “Kosuke Fukudome and why batting average is a lousy stat”

  1. Tim Basuino Says:

    No wonder Bill James was such a Lu Blue fan!

  2. That be the nicest thing anyone has said about Fukudome since his first season with the Cubs. Because, since then, by all measures, he has been a very average offensive player.

  3. IMO, there's a big difference between being a high-OBP player when you bat first or second, as Henderson did and being a high-OBP player in a 4th or 5th spot in the lineup where your primary purpose is to drive in runs. Walks don't drive in runs (unless the bases are full) and a power hitter like Bonds or Mantle was often walked to avoid pitching to them.

    All this actually helps the Fukudome argument since he's not relied upon to produce power numbers but it doesn't really embellish the case for a guy like Thome who is.

  4. No Ted Williams or Babe Ruth? I thought for sure they would have made the list.

  5. Did you only mean to include sub .300 hitters who have accomplished this.

  6. @3

    So a .300 average, .340 OBP guy with power is more useful at any position lower than 3rd in the lineup than a .270, .400 guy with power?

  7. Patrick Greene Says:

    I think a lot of people have forgotten why batting average has been given so much importance. A hit of any kind is more likely to advance runners, and it is disruptive. It has a stronger psychological effect than a walk. I think the argument has gone way too far in favor of OBP. It was an overlooked stat for years. Now I think it might get too much emphasis.

  8. I believe the list of .300+ hitters who had an OBP that was 100+ points greater than their AVG in 1000+ PAs is:

    Teddy Ballgame, Billy Hamilton, Ruth, Gehrig, McGraw, Foxx, Edgar Martinez, Cupid Childs, Ott, Frank Thomas, and .... Johnny Bassler.

    Chipper Jones and Todd Helton are active and are at a 99 point differential. Cochrane, Greenberg, and Manny are the retired players (if Manny really is retired) at a 99 point differential.

  9. @8.

    I'm guessing that Andy ran the query as BA = .400. So, there could be quite a number of other players (over or under .300 BA) with a 100 point differential between the two.

    One trick that one blogster uses is to add a constant to the name of a field in the query criteria selection list. So, instead of, for example, selecting OBP, selecting >=, and typing 0.4, he would type batting_avg+0.1. The program complains it doesn't understand the query, but it still returns what appears to be a correct result.

    Anyway, using the method above for players with a BA >= .268 (the lowest guy on Andy's list) I get 63 guys with 3000+ PA careers (not 1000 as Andy has), 3 times more than Andy's list.

    Andy: can you post the list for the above query (or something similar to it)?

  10. @9.

    Sorry for the confusion. The first sentence in above should have read:

    "I'm guessing that Andy ran the query as BA = .400."

  11. That is weird. The posting changes after I submit it. Omits several characters after "BA". Let me say it another way.

    The first sentence should read:

    "I'm guessing that Andy ran the query as players with BA of .300 or less and an OBP of .400 or more."

  12. @9 - I did the following: the highest career AVG in 1000+ PAs is .366. The ratio of 466/366 is approximately 1.27 (so someone needs a ratio at least that high to make the list - people may make the list with a ratio that high but not a 100 point differential).

    So I looked for all players with: 1000+ PAs, AVG>=.300, OBP>=.400, and an OBP>1.27*AVG. This gave me a starting list of 25 names and then I just looked through the list for those with OBP>AVG+100.

    The 11 players I mentioned had an OBP>AVG+100, while there were 14 who did not (Larry Walker hit .313 with a .400 OBP, which makes my list but was not what we were searching for).

  13. Brian Wells Says:

    Noticed that Abreu has just over 25 times more strike outs than homers!He has scored less than 30 times.You can have Abreu and his .403 OBP.

  14. You are picking Fukodome and Abreu as examples as to why BA is worthless? they are 41st and 44th in all of baseball for batting average. I dunno - it seems to me a lot of their worth is, in fact, in their batting average.

  15. AVG, OBP and SLG all tell you different things.

    It is nice to know that when a guy DOES swing the bat he can make something happen.

    High OBP, but low AVG and SLG? Just PITCH TO HIM. He'll make an out. High AVG, low OBP? Pitch around, he chases (K/BB ration is a good one here to.) AVG has been an overated stat for years, yes, but it is no less important important than OBP and SLG. All three are needed for a complete picture.

    (And remember: in a .300/.400/.500 hitter, 75% of his OBP and 60% of his SLG come from AVG! AVG is still a pretty good way to boost OBP and SLG!)

  16. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Nice to see Stanky on this list, even though he was a MAJOR boil on my butt as a player {I was, and still am for that matter, A Reds fan}. He was a big reason why I started going beyond the bare stats when evaluating a player's value.

  17. @3 There is zero difference. If a pitcher doesn't throw you a strike, are you saying a 5th hitter should go out and swing at a pitch out of the zone?

    Every argument I've heard against OBP is either misinformed or incorrect. The funny part is people don't seem to realize that getting hits is ALSO part of OBP.

  18. Fukumome's career was ruined by Lou Pinella. Lou would have him playing every other day at the first sign of a slump, and not playing every day hurt him. Walks are underrated, and can have a very negative psychological affect on a team, sometimes worse that giving up a hit. But don't penalize the guys that choose to swing the bat as long as they wrack up hits, especially the guys that keep the strikeouts under 185. Micheal Young would be a good example of someone that puts up big numbers of hits, but doesn't walk much. He strikes out better than 2 to 1 to walks, but it's not outrageous. Strikeouts are a hitting disease.

  19. I also wanted to mention Jemile Weeks is hitting .325 with 3 doubles and 3 triples. In 42 PA's he has 3 strikeouts, a pace of 44 over 162 games, he has 1 error in 11 games. Jemile wears braids.

  20. @14

    But they rank higher in OBP than in BA, so in that sense they're even better than their BA suggests, so you'd rather have them at the top of the lineup than guys with higher BA and lower OBP. At the same time though, there are guys with lower BAs that have higher slugging, which means that even if those two are more likely to get a hit, you'd still rather have the guy with lower BA and higher slugging with men on base. The point is that, yes, a lot of their on base ability comes from hits, but there's no reason to look at the batting average stat when in most situations, other stats are more useful because they give more relevant information.

    @15

    We're not saying that there's no point in getting hits, just that using batting average to judge a player's offensive performance is usually pointless, because there are other stats that give more information.

  21. Justin Bailey Says:

    @13 - What are you saying, that Abreu is not very good because the other guys on his team aren't knocking him in?

  22. Can we start a goundswell lobby for OBP to replace BA in the Triple Crown?

  23. Andy, neither Rod Carew or Wade Boggs made the list. Their career batting average was too high?

    So this list "penalizes" hitters who make contact rather than taking a walk. Hmmm ......

    Not sure what the list means, but a thought-provoking thread.

  24. So, if the BBWAA all of a sudden turns a blind eye to steriod use, and somehow believes Jim Thome would have posted his numbers without the DH, at the very most, five guys on a list of twenty will be HOFers.

    No one else gets a sniff.

    Or should.

    BA isn't a bad stat, it's a misleading stat, at least to those with an elementary understanding of the game.

    Ichiro and Albert Pujols have identical career averages; when it's all said and done Albert will be in the discussion amongst the greatest hitters ever, Ichiro might be the most unproductive "good" hitter who ever played.

    Not a solid argument

  25. @24
    Chuck, agreed on the majority of your post.

    So if you and I and the rest of BRef subscribers had the ear of BBWAA, what would we say?

    That batting average should be reduced in the HOF "equation" ?

    Not gonna happen because of the entrenched "power structure" of old-school voters.

  26. Batting average isn't misleading at all. It tells you how good a hitter is when he swings the bat. Pujols and Ichiro and all those .290+ hitters are good at it. You're trying to hard to think outside the box.

  27. I like the explanation that the higher your OBP is, the harder it is to get you out, and your team only has a limted number of outs per game. So you want as many guys as possible who are difficult to get out.

  28. Carl Crawford is a good example of someone whose batting average numbers look very good, but the OBP is relatively low. The Red Sox paid Crawford well over $100,000,000 but quickly realized that he should not be anywhere near the top of the order.....especially in that lineup. Out of 84 AL hitters who qualify for the batting title, Crawford's OBP ranks 80th. Carl will certainly go up on that list, but don't expect him to rise too high.

  29. "That batting average should be reduced in the HOF "equation" ?"

    Not at all.

    It's just we need to look at stats contextually.

    A .200 batting average sucks, and I don't care how many homers you hit.

    Five bucks says Carlos Pena goes to spring training next year on a minor league deal.

  30. Brian Wells Says:

    @21 He also only has 30 runs BATTED IN.Sorry, hitters who strike out 52 times with only 2 homers just do not impress me that much.

  31. Here are some other notable hitters not on Andy's post-1901 list who batted .290 or better and have at least a 100 point spread between their BA and OBP.

    Mike Hargrove.......0.290......0.396
    Kevin Youkilis........0.292......0.393
    Gary Sheffield........0.292......0.393
    John Olerud............0.295......0.398
    Frank Thomas.......0.301......0.419
    Mel Ott....................0.304......0.414
    Edgar Martinez......0.312......0.418
    Jimmie Foxx..........0.325......0.428
    Lou Gehrig.............0.340......0.447
    Babe Ruth..............0.342......0.474
    Ted Williams..........0.344......0.482

  32. nwicubfan Says:

    In order to be effective offensively, you need to get on base a lot or you need to pound the baseball, or some decent mix of the two. Fukudome has always been terribly inconsistent because he doesn't make pitchers pay. He can go for months without an extra base hit. Can a guy walk too much if he isn't aggressive or doesn't make a pitcher pay for a bad pitch? Will pitchers continue to walk a guy who is no threat to drill the ball?

    I would be interested in seeing some analysis on whether you would rather have a guy with an average OBP and above average SLG or above average OBP and average SLG.

  33. He didn't hit .290, nor did he have a .400 OBP, but Gene Tenace has a 147 point gap between his batting average and OBP (.241 to .388). Bonds and Stanky are the only players on the original list with a 140+ difference. I don't know what the entire list would look like, but I imagine it is not a very long list.

  34. nwicubfan Says:

    Juan Pierre is an example of a guy who is terribly overrated because he has a "decent" batting average, and his OBP gets overlooked by most folks. Getting 200+ hits in some season overshadows that he also often leads the league in outs made. Because he has no power and is perceived as fast, folks think he is a leadoff hitter despite his total lack of offensive. Why give a guy like that more plate appearances than anyone else?

  35. Johnny Twisto Says:

    And remember: in a .300/.400/.500 hitter, 75% of his OBP and 60% of his SLG come from AVG! AVG is still a pretty good way to boost OBP and SLG!

    This is a key point. One could argue that BA is a very important stat, because it is the most important component of OBP and SLG. A guy who bats .250 needs to do a lot more "other" stuff to help his team than one who bats .350.

    Now, taking the macro view, one can say that once you know the player's OBP and SLG, it doesn't really matter what his BA is. His OBP and SLG tell you a great deal about his offensive production, and knowing his BA on top of that doesn't add much information. (Taking the micro view, if you look at a particular PA, then BA is useful. Choosing a pinch hitter with a runner on 3rd, you probably care much more about the likelihood of getting a hit than the player's power or ability to walk.)

  36. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Juan Pierre is an example of a guy who is terribly overrated.....

    The beast has been summoned.

    And he's bringing his cats with him.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.

  37. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I would be interested in seeing some analysis on whether you would rather have a guy with an average OBP and above average SLG or above average OBP and average SLG.

    Without knowing anything else, generally you want the guy with the higher OBP. As long as you're not making outs, you keep the lineup turning over and runs will score. The respective weights change though, depending on the scoring environment (slugging becomes relatively more important when it is harder to score runs).

  38. nwicubfan Says:

    Is Fukudome a valuable offensive player when he has 25 run scored and 10 RBI's and it is midway through the season? Do the Cubs not have a good enough team or capitalize on him properly? Is he viewed badly because he is massively overpaid?

  39. nwicubfan Says:

    Twisto---thanks. I guess another way of asking the question I was trying to get at---is there any objective numbers or analysis to measure just how much more valuable a single is over a walk? I see it mentioned often that a single must be a little more valuable, because you can move runs, score a guy from second, etc., but how much more valuable?

  40. @34 @36

    Nwicubfan, are you Timmy P. in disguise

  41. nwicubfan Says:

    I don't know who Timmy P is, but I don't think strikeouts are a disease. If a guy can pound the ball, then strikeouts are OK.

  42. John Bowen Says:

    @29, interesting you should mention Pena

    Last year, he became the first player ever to have an OPS+ over 100 while batting less than .200 over a full season.

    You'd think he would've been in spring training on a minor league deal this season. Instead, Jim Hendry gives him 10M.

    Mark McGwire had a 105 OPS+ in his last season, but that was just 360 PA (he hit .187).

  43. John Bowen Says:

    @38 - He hits leadoff, so he's not going to rack up a lot of RBI hitting in back of the pitcher and #8 hitter.

    As for those 25 runs scored?

    Check out the SLG of the players who hit after him:

    Darwin Barney: .359
    Starlin Casto: .434
    Carlos Pena: .410

    He can't do it himself.

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    is there any objective numbers or analysis to measure just how much more valuable a single is over a walk?

    Linear Weights measures the average run-value of every offensive event. The numbers may vary a bit year to year, but generally a single is worth almost 0.5 runs and a walk a bit over 0.3 runs.

  45. nwicubfan Says:

    @44 thanks--I am surprised it is that much of a difference. If you could only take Fukudome or Soriano (each has a similar OPS+ this year), and had to get rid of the other, who would you take?

  46. The guy gets on base consistently but doesn't score many runs.If he got on base this much on,say,the Tigers,he'd have scored at least 40 times even if he was Olerud slow.

  47. John Autin Says:

    @11, Doug, re: your post not coming out as you typed it:

    In case you one has answered this for you ... This system allows one to type in certain HTML codes, which are defined as being surrounded by the same characters as we use for less-than and greater-than. If the system sees a less-than sign, it may interpret it as the start of an HTML code -- but if it doesn't see the corresponding character to end the code, it sort of "gives up" and just eats the characters up to a certain point.

    I hope that makes some kind of sense. Bottom line is, you're not going to be able to enter a less-than sign followed immediately by an equal sign.

  48. John Autin Says:

    @11 again -- Now that I've re-read your post, I think the problem was that you had a less-than sign and then, within the same line of text, a greater-than sign. The system saw that as an attempted HTML code, but undefined, and so it just deleted everything in that string.

  49. For those who are arguing batting average is NOT over-rated let me give you a couple off Hall Of Fame lineups:

    Team 1 Team 2
    catcher E Lombardi .306 J Bench .267
    1st base B Terry .341 H Killebrew .256
    2nd base R Carew .328 J Morgan .271
    2rd base P Traynor .320 M Schmidt .267
    Shortstop J Sewell .312 C Ripken .276
    OF R Youngs .322 R Henderson .279
    OF L Waner .316 R Jackson .262
    OF E Combs .325 C Yaztrzemski .285

    Now, given equal pitching, who wins THAT matchup?

    I started following baseball as a kid in the 1960's so I've heard the arguments: Eddie Mathews doesn't belong in the HOF because he only hit .271- it took him him 5 years to get in even though until Schmidt & Brett came along he was the best 3rd baseman off all time. Mickey Mantle should have retired after 1964. If you were there, you would remember that every time some writer wanted to tout some over-rated player from the 20's and 30's the argument was always the same: "He hit .320! These stiffs now a days can't hit .280!" And as a 10 year old I bought it.

  50. Thomas Court Says:

    Posts 45 and 49 are onto something here...

    What needs to happen, is to take a team of Sorianos and pit them against a team of Fukudomes over an entire 162 season, multiple times if necessary, to see what is more valuable.in two players with similar OPS numbers, but varying AVG and OBP numbers. This is obviously possible using a computer to simulate the season.

    The ability to work a walk is not just worth getting a man to first base. It requires more pitches, gives your teammates a better chance at evaluating a pitcher's stuff, and gets an offense into a opposing teams soft underbelly (the bullpen) faster. A player who elevates his OBP because of walks forces more pitches even during his outs.

    Using a computer, I would like to see how the numbers would bear out. Nine Fukudomes versus nine Sorianos against a standard pitching staff, for a 162 game season. Soriano has more power, but he strikes out way more often, and has hit into 9 double plays while Fukudome has hit into none.

    Pitches per plate appearence:
    Fukudome 4.22
    Soriano 3.69

    What does an extra half a pitch per at bat add up to over an entire season?

  51. @33.

    Artie_Z: There are only five players with a 140 point BA to OBP difference in 3000+ PAs. They are:
    - Tenace (your find)
    - 3 from Andy's list (Bonds, Stanky and Max Bishop)
    - Eddie Yost (0.254, 0.394)

  52. I think you need a little bit of either speed or power or both to go with the OBA in order to be valuable. I can think of a couple of Mets examples of guys with good OBA but no speed or power who didn't seem to help the team at all (Dave Magadan, Luis Castillo). And I remember thinking Toronto got the worse end of the McGriff-and-Fernandez for Carter-and-Alomar deal when it happened because McGriff and Fernandez had better OBAs, and of course, Toronto ended up winning two World Series.

  53. Most obscure player on the list is Bill Salkeld. A catcher, got about 200 PA a year for five years, 128 OPS+ including 120 in 1949, gets into 1 game in 1950, then he's gone, at age 33. You'd think some team could use a catcher who could hit a little. Did he suffer some career-ending injury?

  54. As for batting average being overrated, I guess it is, when you consider that the batting average champ is called the "batting champ," and offensive stats for teams are alway listed in order of team batting average instead of runs scored.

  55. @53.

    Salkeld played in the minors (AAA) most of 1950 and a litle bit (32 games) in 1951. Nothing for 1952, and then most of a season in 1953, but all the way down to C ball.

    He was still getting a ton of walks in '50 and '51, but that's about all he was doing. Only hit .205 and .192 those two years, and only .227 in '53 in C ball.

  56. This is why Ichoro is over-rated. High batting average, average OBP.

  57. Doug @ 55, thanks.

  58. nwicubfan is not me, I would never say Peirre is overrated. Juan has never made an all star team, and has loads of haters in the stat-nerd community that would like to take his hits away from him.

  59. Yea, but Ichiro also looks really cool while playing baseball. I don't think you should discount that.

  60. You assume that hits are always singles. What abouts extra base hits? They are worth much more than walks. I think OBP is a worthwhile stat. But why does that mean BA is worthless? I don't any stat by itself is perfect.

  61. @60

    BA tells you nothing about power either, so i don't really see what your point is. All the arguments above are that if you have someones SLG and OBP, what their BA is doesn't really matter very much.

    In terms of value, i'd suggest that yes a single is more valuable than a walk, but guys who walk a lot tend to maintain a decent OBP unless their average really sinks through the floor, wheras guys who rely on average for 90% of their OBP realy need a lot more luck to maintain this. Ichiro is a good example of that. In the years he has hit .350+, he's a been a very valuable offensive player. In the years when he's closer to .300, not so much. On the other hand, unless Jim Thome bats <.250, he's usually going to be around a .400+ OBP.

  62. Neal @ 27 explained it best. The more guys get on base the less outs they make. A .400 OBP means 2 times on base and 3 outs per 5 PAs. If you had a lineup of 9 guys with a .400 OBP, that means you're getting 18 baserunners per game.

    So far in 2011 in the AL (higher offense), 12,242 H+BB+HBP have led to 4317 runs. So 1 run per 2.84 baserunners. For 18 baserunners per game, this equates to 6.35 runs per game, which is 1 run higher than BOS/NYY and 2 runs higher than the AL average.

  63. nwicubfan Says:

    @58 I don't hate Pierre. He's a nice guy, and if he had any defensive skills, he would be a perfectly seviceable 4th or 5th outfielder, as long as he didn't have to bat too much.

  64. As others have said, hits are included in OBP. Clearly a guy who hits .000 and walks a ton to have an OBP of .400 is not that useful., but a guy who hits .250 with an OBP of .400 is above average.

  65. Your numbers in the table are not inclusive.

    Example: you don't include Ted Williams.

    PA: 9791
    BA: .344
    OBP: .482

    That's a difference of .138, well above some of the others you DID include:

    In fact, here's your table, with Williams added, sorted by largest difference:

    Player___________PA______BA_____OBP____DIFF
    Max Bishop________5779___.271___.423___.152
    Barry Bonds______12606___.298___.444___.146
    Eddie Stanky______5435___.268___.410___.142
    Ted Williams______9791___.344___.482___.138
    Ferris Fain_______4904___.290___.424___.134
    Roy Cullenbine____4787___.276___.408___.132
    Nick Johnson______3214___.270___.401___.131
    Bill Salkeld______1048___.273___.402___.129
    Jim Thome_________9897___.277___.404___.127
    Charlie Keller____4604___.286___.410___.124
    Mickey Mantle_____9909___.298___.421___.123
    Jason Giambi______8416___.281___.404___.123
    Rickey Henderson_13346___.279___.401___.122
    Roy Thomas________5198___.282___.403___.121
    Lu Blue___________7207___.287___.402___.115
    Lance Berkman_____7084___.296___.409___.113
    Joe Cunningham____4061___.291___.403___.112
    Jeff Bagwell______9431___.297___.408___.111
    George Selkirk____3322___.290___.400___.110
    Brian Giles_______7835___.291___.400___.109
    Bobby Abreu_______9380___.296___.400___.104

    Among this small group, Williams places 4th.

  66. nwicubfan Says:

    @62---but a walk, if that is the only baserunner in the inning, is seldom going to lead to runs, compared to extra base hits, which might be enough, with sacrifices, etc. Fukudome has drawn walks and gotten a few singles this year, but done little else. I wonder if he has been able to get on base so much because of who follows him in the order (see @ 43). Pitchers aren't risking much by putting him on base. Is that a good measure of his offensive value? It is tough to say because he plays on the Cubs. What would his stats look like batting ahead of Pujols or someone else like that? Would he score more runs, or would he strike out more on tougher pitches, like has done in years past.

  67. nwicubfan Says:

    A high batting average will lead to both a higher OBP and a higher SLG as others have noted, but a walks alone will only raise the OBP.

  68. Jeff H @ 65

    Please note the qualifier in the first sentence:

    " a batting average under .300, but an on-base percentage over .400:"

    Teddy Ballgames batting average is just a wee bit over .400.

  69. sorry, .300. Gotta look before I hit submit

  70. @ 66 I'd take Pierre over Fukodome. Fukudome walks because that's all he's got. He doesn't get walked because pitchers fear him.

  71. < >

  72. < use: & lt; (no space)
    > use: & gt; (no space)

  73. John Bowen Says:

    @56, there's nothing average about Ichiro's OBP. Career is about .380, right? And he's never been below .350 for a single season. Average OBP is about .335.

    Ichiro may be a tad overrated, but I think it has as much to do with his status as an international superstar as it does his BA.

  74. BA is an indicator of how well a batter hits ML pitchers tis all, the OBP is the stat that "should" be looked at with a raised eyebrow. OBP is a stat that should be coveted for top of the order guys (ones paid to get in scoring position). Power hitters, dependant of situation, often are pitched around due to pitchers/mgrs indifference, hence a higher OBP. Often times, stat geeks don't give mgrs/pitchers enough credit. Being on 1st base is NOT being in scoring position! Ricky Henderson's OBP is much more impressive than let's say Mantle's...common sense dictates that.

  75. Wow, how can there be such a divergence of opinion among knowledgable baseball minds in here about the relative merits of BA vs OBP?

    On base percentage is clearly superior, regardless of where you hit in the order or what league you play in.

  76. Personally, since the early 60's I have looked at 2 stats to determine who truly were great hitters, BA and Total Base (162 game ave). Any "hitter" that has a total of 600 or more when added up (TB plus BA) can be considered "great hitters". Reasoning: 1) BA demonstrates they can hit ML pitchers consistantly, 2) the higher the TB (162 game ave) equates to that hitter being in scoring position more often, and 3) since there's less than 70 "hitters" to ever reach that plateau..speaks volumes! (Note: every bona fide..unarguable..truly great "hitter" has made that magic 600 mark)

  77. Neil L....your argument would be valid if it were only true. Explain the Williams shift or the Howard shift if you would be so kind. IF reaching 1st base was soooo important...a well placed bunt gets you to 1st EVERY time....the truth is..Williams and Howards jobs were/are to hit xtra basehits...standing on first is NOT in scoring position!

  78. @76 @77
    With respect, MLS, is "total bases" not the same as slugging percentage? I'm not quite sure what TB plus BA means. Is that OPS without the OBP component?

  79. Baseball is a funny game..one can view it through a calculator or simply view it through the beauty in which it "really" is. My methodology of viewing a players "hitting" ability may be over simplistic...but...I would debate Bill James himself on its usefulness and its validity! To answer your question Neil..yes TB includes slugging..thus..WHY rehash old news? I strongly suggest people to use the KISS method..keep it simple stupid!

  80. Addendum: TB and BA ONLY demonstrates "hitting" ability. If one is inclined, they could add walks and HBP in ontop of their "hitting" ability to determine their "total on base ability"...which many times a hitter has NO control over..which makes OBP in itself a very subjective tool to look at when looking at a players overall career. In other words.. BA and TB is what a player actually done....OBP "could" be a by.product of decisions made by pitchers/mgrs..which a player has NO control over. Hope that helps!

  81. At some point trying to work a walk, rather than trying to drive in a runner, has a negative impact when it's a middle of the order run producer doing it. Jason Giambi worked a lot of useless walks. He clogged up the basepaths when he got on. Rarely did those walks translate into runs.
    Man on third less than 2 outs....a hitter should be trying to drive that runner in, not working a walk and leaving it up to the next guy.

  82. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Bubbah, you're assuming those batters are "trying" to work walks. Wouldn't you rather have a walk than a weakly hit ball if the batter didn't feel he could handle any of the pitches he saw?

    Giambi has drawn 438 walks with a runner on first. I'll leave it to you to determine how that compares to other batters. Don't you think pitchers' choices might have something to do with all the walks he drew with a base open?

    Rarely did those walks translate into runs.

    Prove it.

  83. @82..good points. Mark McGwire scored 1,167 runs , 583 in which he drove himself in (almost half)..the remaining hits + walks+HBP=2434 times on base..if my math serves me right, outside his HRS he scored 24 percent of the time he was on base. Now...I'll let you stat geeks (respectfully stated..LOL) determine if that is a good percentage or not...get back at me please!

  84. Using the same methods I did with McGwire...here are some select few I came up with. Henderson-40%,Cobb-39%,Gherig-37%,Ruth-34%,Rose-35%,Morgan-33%,T Williams-30%,Bonds-30%,Dawson-31%,Killebrew-23%. Not sure what that means...but isn't it sort of funny that Dawson who many thought wasn't HOF material because his OBP wasn't high enough..had a higher scoring percentage when he did get on base than Bonds or T Williams? I say...the pitchers and mgs knew what they were doing in walking alot of these guys! You men can look at OBP with awe if you want...but I'd say it's just part of the game..and as such...l still feel if you want to incorporate it..do it with the top of order guys!

  85. How I'm coming up with those percentages again is this:

    Hits + Walks + HBP= Total - HRS = X (total times on base minus HRS hit)

    Runs - HRS = Y (total runs scored minus HR's hit)

    Y divided by X = percentage (scoring probability outside HRS hit)