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Don't Read if Batting Average is Useless

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#1 Curt

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:44 AM

Last Night's Results:




[TD="width: 49"]0-3[/TD]
[TD="width: 47"].329[/TD]






Cabrera
Mauer 3-4 .326


Mauer is, effectively, 2 hits behind. If he goes 2-4 and Cabrera goes 0-4, Mauer will take over the lead.




[TD="width: 49"]0-4[/TD]
[TD="width: 47"].3266[/TD]






Cabrera
Mauer 2-4 .3270

#2 snepp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:46 AM

Appreciate the update.





Even if it is useless!

*duck*

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:49 AM

Batting average isn't useless... It's merely close to useless.

With that said, the batting average race is interesting this season... Can Joe get his fourth crown or will Miggy pull off the first Triple Crown in 45 years?

#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:52 AM

Cool. It would be nice to see him win another batting title. He's having a pretty strong season. 144 OPS+, 5 fWAR. Leads league in OBP. Frankly, he's in that tier of players behind Trout and Cabrera.

#5 John Bonnes

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:34 AM

Actually, batting average is FAR from useless. It's been years since I crunched the numbers, but as I recall, the correlation between team's batting average and their runs scored is something like .95. It's just tht with OPS it's like .99.

#6 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:09 AM

Not only will Miggy have to fight off Mauer for the batting title, he is currently behind Josh Hamilton of the Rangers in the HR department as well. I think the only category he wins this year is the RBI title.

#7 stringer bell

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:12 AM

I didn't think Mauer would catch Miggy, but Miggy has had a bit of a downturn and Mauer has been raking. I had intended at some point to either start a thread or blog about the use of both Doumit and Mauer. It seems to me that offensively, catching about half-time or less is a real benefit to both guys.

#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:20 AM

Actually, batting average is FAR from useless. It's been years since I crunched the numbers, but as I recall, the correlation between team's batting average and their runs scored is something like .95. It's just tht with OPS it's like .99.


As a team it has some correlation to offensive success but for individual players, it's often pretty useless until you get to the outlier players (Miggy/Mauer on one end, Mendoza-types on the other). It's hard (impossible, really) to have a .330 average and a bad season and it's very difficult to have a .200 average and a good season. Spread out over an entire team, you're going to have your plus/minus power and OBP guys (in most cases, anyway), which balances out the weaknesses of using only BA to evaluate total offense.

#9 Curt

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:50 AM

I actually agree with the folks who believe BA is over-rated. How could it not be? It has been the dominant measurement of hitters for over a century though it has been shown to have lower correlation to success than OBP, SA or OPS (not necessarily a conclusive list).

I imagine though, if BA had not historically been the dominant measure, those same folks would now be pushing BA as not only the main driver behind OBP but a critical component of SA too. They might complain that the media narratives ignore it too much.

#10 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:33 AM

Batting Average is useless in correlation to certain players.
Ben Revere ....very imortant as its the only way he gets on base
Josh Willingham....umimportant as he's all about slugging percentage or even ISO power.
Mauer....his ISO is same every year (cept 09) so his BAve is everything to his importance. If he hits .280, he's booed..... .320, hes an all star as the side numbers are generally the same.

#11 Twins Fan From Afar

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:41 AM

Batting average isn't useless... It's merely close to useless.

With that said, the batting average race is interesting this season... Can Joe get his fourth crown or will Miggy pull off the first Triple Crown in 45 years?


I think there's a distinction to be made here. I agree with you (or what I think you're saying) that batting average as a statistic is overrated or perhaps not that useful as a tool of comparison.

That being said, we're talking about a batting race, which is just an exciting thing. It still does mean something, to me, anyway, that a guy from our team stands a chance to get the most hits-per-ABs in all of the American League. Will that make Mauer the "best hitter" in the AL? Maybe not. But it still does mean something. Just like the home run title -- sort of meaningless statistically, but worth following nonetheless.
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#12 StormJH1

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:12 AM

A batting title is "useful" to me insofar as other people think it is important, so it brings accolades to the Minnesota Twins and Joe Mauer. It's similar to a Gold Glove in that way (though, at least BA has a basis in statistics, instead of just reputation).

I think that OPS is a good, balanced statistic that rewards contact hitting, plate patience, and power, and batting average is a useful component that goes into it. In and of itself, though, batting average doesn't tell me too much about how "dangerous" a hitter is. There's that line from Bull Durham talking about a handful of bloop base hits in the minors being the difference between a good average and a guy who will never sniff the majors.

If Mauer wins the batting title, great. Nobody should disparage him for doing that. But I do like to point out that the same year Mauer fans were in a giant circle jerk over his first batting title (2006), the NL batting champ was Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez was also a solid contact hitter, but nobody considers him among the "elite hitters" in baseball. And Joe Mauer's offensive game, like it or not, is FAR more similar to 2006 Freddy Sanchez than it is to Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. It's a good to be "good" at anything statistically, but take it only for what it's worth.

#13 snepp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:19 AM

Actually, batting average is FAR from useless. It's been years since I crunched the numbers, but as I recall, the correlation between team's batting average and their runs scored is something like .95. It's just tht with OPS it's like .99.


.95? Seems way too high. The last article I read (albeit a bit dated), had it somewhere in the mid-80's, with OBP and SLG on their own being in the low 90's, and OPS in the (as you noted) high 90's.

#14 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:28 AM

BA is a tool to help determine success, just like every other statistic. Not useless, but necessary.

BA is interesting in that catchers hit for average like Mauer over an extended period of time. That is why players like Bench and Rodriguez are lauded for their offensive ability and durability, and guys like Piazza and Biggio are ultimately shifted in the hopes they can maintain their offensive skills. For Mauer to keep hitting at such a high rate while still spending the majority of his time behind the plate is so impressive.

#15 snepp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:42 AM

Piazza didn't get shifted, with the exception of half a season at first, and his final season at DH, he spent his entire career behind the plate.

#16 CDog

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:56 AM

It's hard (impossible, really) to have a .330 average and a bad season and it's very difficult to have a .200 average and a good season. Spread out over an entire team, you're going to have your plus/minus power and OBP guys (in most cases, anyway), which balances out the weaknesses of using only BA to evaluate total offense.


Exceptions to the Rule for $800, Alex. Who is Adam Dunn? Is there a record for difference in OPS and BA? Dunn has to be in the running. Remarkable, really.

#17 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:10 PM

It's hard (impossible, really) to have a .330 average and a bad season and it's very difficult to have a .200 average and a good season. Spread out over an entire team, you're going to have your plus/minus power and OBP guys (in most cases, anyway), which balances out the weaknesses of using only BA to evaluate total offense.


Exceptions to the Rule for $800, Alex. Who is Adam Dunn? Is there a record for difference in OPS and BA? Dunn has to be in the running. Remarkable, really.

can add mark reynolds to that group also. Guy who gets on base at a high rate despite the low average & has an awesome ISO.

#18 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:15 PM

Batting average tells you something about a player, OBP tells you something as well. Knowing both tells you something even more valuable.

All OBP is not created equally. I would rather have a hitter who batted .300 with a .350 OBP than a hitter who batted .250 with a .350 OBP. In spite of what your little league coach told you, in most cases a walk is NOT as good as a hit.

Walks cannot advance base runners multiple bases, cannot result in errors, and there is no such thing as an "extra base walk.". If I recall correctly--and I'm too lazy to look it up--stat geek research indicates a hit is worth something like 1.3 times as much as a walk.

#19 snepp

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

stat geek research indicates a hit is worth something like 1.3 times as much as a walk.



Looking up wOBA on FG's, their calculation uses .89 per single, and .69 per walk. Or roughly 1.3 times as much.


You cheated didn't you? Admit it, you're a closet basement-dweller.

#20 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:28 PM

stat geek research indicates a hit is worth something like 1.3 times as much as a walk.



Looking up wOBA on FG's, their calculation uses .89 per single, and .69 per walk. Or roughly 1.3 times as much.


You cheated didn't you? Admit it, you're a closet basement-dweller.


I have a pretty good memory for details.

And for the record, my parents kept me in a closet in the basement. A basement-closet dweller.

Edited by USAFChief, 26 September 2012 - 12:31 PM.