Just Hit the Dang Ball
Baseball Statistics Blah!
When I was growing up the mark of a good hitter in baseball was an average over .300. Meaning, if’n you’re reading this without a knowledge of baseball, that the batter hit safely 3 out of 10 times.
An average hitter might hit between .260 and .300, though even .290 and above was considered pretty good. And the real good hitters were up over .320, usually. I remember one guy who played for the Mets, Dave Kingman, who one year hit like .228 but had a bunch of homers. Of course, I had to look it up and it was .238 with 37 homers in 1976. He did do much better a few years later, but we always thought of him as a homer or strikeout kind of guy, with a low average.
xWOBA, wRC+ What?
Read any baseball site on the Internet nowadays and you come across a dizzying array of statistics. Wins Above Replacement, Exit Velocity, Barrel %, Walk and Strikeout %, BABIP: Batting Average on Balls in Play. Sheesh!
With all those numbers to crunch, I can’t imagine a ballplayer in today’s environment enjoying the game. “Am I swinging right? Hard enough? Taking the right pitches?
When I played Little League (about a year or two), I wasn’t any good. But back then it was, ‘Can you hit the ball?’ And, ‘Can you catch?’ I remember putting on a catcher’s mitt to warm up our best pitcher. Holy cow! He threw some heat. And what a curve! I knew then, if I had to face him, I’d be bailing out of the box before the ball got anywhere close to me. Then it would probably curve over the plate and I’d look darn foolish.
I decided I’d better try another sport.
It Should be Simple
It should be simple, I think. Like one famous player said years and years ago, ‘Hit ’em where they ain’t.’ And if your average is going up, you’re getting better. Well, that was days past. Now it’s how many homers you hit per strikeout, I guess. I watched teams field a starting nine that included 2 or 3 players with averages below .200! Seems we might have seem a couple like that years ago, but they weren’t considered major league material. Now, .230 is okay if all your percentages are working in your favor and you’re driving in runs.
Me, I like the old days with this. Batting average, RBIs, hits, homers, etc. And for pitchers, ERA, Wins, Losses. But that’s for another day.