The world of baseball statistics has exploded in the past few decades. While traditional stats are still being used to some degree there are a number of new stats used to quickly assess a players performance and contribution to their team. Here we will explore some of the most basic offensive stats for baseball.
The acronyms AVE and BA are typically used along with this number to assess a hitters performance. This number is a three digit number following a decimal point: .300. Batting average is calculated by simply dividing hits by at bats to determine how often a player hits himself safely onto base. A batting average of .300 means that 30% of the time the player gets a hit. .300 is considered to be the de-facto mark of a successful hitter and the .400 batting average is becoming more and more rare in recent years. in the past 10 years the batting champions from either league have had averages ranging from .324 (Votto, 2010) to .372 (Helton, 2000). In recent years the batting average has come to be considered only in conjunction with On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage when assessing a players offensive contributions. The main reason for this is that the stat does not factor walks, hit-by-pitches or sacrifice hits. In 2010 Josh Hamilton led all players with a .359 BA.
This acronym is typically OBP or OBA (on-base average). This is similar to batting average but it tells us more by also calculating the number of walks, and hit-by-pitches. The formula to calculate this stat is exactly that: hits + walks + hit-by-pitches / at bats + walks + hit by pitches + sacrifice flies. In recent years this has come to be a clearer assessment of a hitters production since it allows us insight into the 'batters eye'. As the focus of critics came to rely on avoiding outs opposed to getting hits, the OBP was given more and more weight. An OBP of .400 tells us that 40% of the time the player either gets on base. An OBP of .350 or higher is considered productive while a .400 is the mark of a player with a great eye for strikes and the ability to hit the ball. In 2010 Joey Votto led all players with a .424 OBP.
Typically uses the acronym SLG. The number tells us how well the player hits for power. The formula for this nuber is: total bases on hits / at-bats. Explained more clearly, if a player gets two triples and a single in a stretch in which he has 16 at-bats the calculation is as such: 3+3+1/16=.437. Simply put, this number will indicate the players propensity for extra-base hits. For this reason, players with the most home runs will typically have the highest slugging percentages. In the 2010 season the top 44 players in SLG all had double digit home runs. Typically, if a player has high SLG but low HR (home run) totals it means he is a 'doubles hitter' with the speed to stretch an extra base into many of his hits. In 2010 Josh Hamilton lead the majors with a .633 SLG.
The Slash Line
The above three stats are often listed together and referred to as a 'slash line' to offer the most simple snapshot of a player's offensive production: AVE/OBP/SLG. For instance, Joey Votto, the batting champion for the NL in 2010 had a 'slash line' of .324/.424/.600.
Knowing these three basic offensive stats will give you a clear picture of assessing a batters production at the plate.