## View Poll Results: Which player is the better hitter?

Voters
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• Player A

11 73.33%
• Player B

3 20.00%
• They are both the same

1 6.67%

# Thread: Which player is the better hitter, and why?

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if you give us double, 3B and HR numbers we could calculate wOBA.

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Originally Posted by dominik
if you give us double, 3B and HR numbers we could calculate wOBA.
Dominik:

Check my post [#10] on page one of this thread. I attempted to break out the hits there.

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Originally Posted by Matthew C.
One poster said that a walk is better than a single specifically with nobody on base for that reason and the fact that an average walk boosts pitch count more than the average PA that results in a single. Nobody has claimed that the typical BB is better than the typical single. Even solrac, the threads biggest BB proponent admitted in so many words that the run value of a walk was not as good as a single.

And nobody is claiming that player B is better because he walked more than player A and walks are better than hits. Some people are claiming that Player B might be better because for his slugg% to equal player A's slugg% despite a .50 worse BA, his raw power would have to be better.

I haven't examined the formulas provided in this thread to see if it is true, but steve said it best: we don't have enough information to know for sure.
I'm not sure I get you. Does it really make a difference how the slugging percentage was obtained? Is a home run more valuable than 4 singles?

I would think that, since their average bases per at bat is the same, and player A has MORE of them, then player A HAS to be superior. The 'more raw power' argument would only come into effect if player B had a better slugging percentage.

It would be interesting to see if we could find actual seasons like these, and compare how many runs they produced in reality.
Last edited by willshad; 02-18-2012 at 01:07 PM.

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Player A: 705 PA, 651 AB, 228 H, 54 BB, 358 TB
.350 BA/.400 OBP/.550 SA/.950 OPS

or

Player B: 705 PA, 604 AB, 181 H, 101 BB, 332 TB
.300 BA/.400 OBP/.550 SA/.950 OPS
Can't tell. With no league baseline and no park advantage information, it's not possible.

If one player is from 1912 in a neutral park and the other is from 2000 in a neutral park, the one from 1912 is far better.

If one player's home park is Coors Field and the other is Oakland, and they play in the same year, the one in Oakland is far better.

With no context, the stats are next to useless.

Since I can make any assumption I want:

Player A played in 1906 and was easily the best hitter in baseball.
Player B played in Coors in 1999 and was about 13% above average and the 4th best Colorado hitter.

Player A was better!
Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-18-2012 at 02:38 PM.

I'm not sure I get you. Does it really make a difference how the slugging percentage was obtained? Is a home run more valuable than 4 singles?

I would think that, since their average bases per at bat is the same, and player A has MORE of them, then player A HAS to be superior. The 'more raw power' argument would only come into effect if player B had a better slugging percentage.

It would be interesting to see if we could find actual seasons like these, and compare how many runs they produced in reality.
I am just saying that some people see power as a more advanced skill, so if their slugg% are the same, some people here are willing to give the power guy the benefit of the doubt. Some people really get into the skill vs. production argument. Many people will say if two players production a is the same, they would prefer the guy with more pop and less walks. One poster said that BBs are more stable from y2y, so he would be a safer bet going forward. I have no horse in the race. The point remains the same, nobody here is claiming BB are better than singles.

As far as who actually produced more runs between these two, I have no idea and haven't pretended to know. Nor do I care enough to look into it.

6. Originally Posted by drstrangelove
Can't tell. With no league baseline and no park advantage information, it's not possible.

Well, it's not supposed to be a trick question or a "gotcha" type of a question.

The main purpose I created this thread was to hear you guys (who I consider some of the most knowledgeable baseball statheads on the net) debate when the OBP and Slug are identical, who you consider to be the better hitter; the one with the higher BA, or the one with the lower BA (thus the higher isolated discipline, higher isolated power, etc).

Thus I would keep all other variable as close as possible. So you can assume they played in as identical of an environment as possible. Same league, same season, same neutral park. You can assume they played on the same team and hit 3 & 4 respectively and played in all the same games.

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Thanks, Joltin' Joe. That's how I approached it in the first place. Then, just to beef up the possible nature of their respective hit distributions, I came up with post #10, page 1. Whatever the approach, the results are pretty clear, unless one wants to introduce myriad variables [not yours]. Then it becomes a parlor game, like Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

8. Originally Posted by leewileyfan
I had some time on my hands; so I figured out a model for both players, trying to determine the probable distributions of the kind of hits they connected for:

Player A: 228 hits for 358 total bases:

25 HR = 100 TB
35 2B = 70 TB
10 3B = 30 TB
158 1B = 158 TB

228 Hits = 358 TB

36 HR = 144 TB
35 2B = 70 TB
4 3B = 12 TB
106 1B = 106 TB

181 hits = 332 TB

For me, the bottom line lies in base production potential, at least as important as the raw base totals produced. The HR difference is not so dramatic as to call one player a slugger and the other, not. At the top of the power hierarchy, there is a random factor with the HR, just by the relative infrequency of the HR, that suggests not all HR's occur under the "best" game conditions. Then too, on the lower end, there is a factor of the BB actually taking power away from the hitter, in a trade off.

Key is that, with virtually the same number of extra base hits [Player A, 70; Player B, 76], Player A is superior because he collects 47 more "hits" than Player B [228, 181]; and hits have far more runner advancement value than BB. With traditional conversion of bases into runs at about .4 or so, Player A's 358 TB should be expected to produce at least 358-332 = 26 * .4 = ] 10.4 runs more than Player B.

I'll stick with my original response, Player A 144 runs, Player B 129 runs.
What about if Player B put up these numbers? Yes I know very unlikely but it represents the most extreme "slugger-type" while maintaing the .300/.400/.550 line.

50 HR
0 Triples
1 Double
130 Singles

Do you know how he would compare to your Player A if we used something like linear weight runs created?
Last edited by Joltin' Joe; 02-18-2012 at 05:49 PM.

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Joltin Joe asks, "What about if Player B put up these numbers? Yes I know very unlikely but it represents the most extreme "slugger-type" while maintaing the .300/.400/.550 line.

50 HR
0 Triples
1 Doubles
130 Singles"

OK, I ran these three different batting lines, plus one caricature of a no-power speedster with
128 singles. 70 doubles, 30 triples and no home runs, using batter A's numbers. I used the wOBA coefficients for 2011 from Fangraphs, with the following results:

Batter A .411
Batter B .411
Sluggo .412
Speedo .408

If someone wants to check these numbers or try another formula like base runs, I'd appreciate it, because I'm very surprised that these extreme variants are SO close. The wOBA coefficients are from fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/woba:

BB: 0.69 (I used the figure for unintentional BB for all.)
1B: 0.89
2B: 1.26
3B: 1.89
HR: 2.08

I did this going back and forth between an Ipad, which I am new to, and an ancient pc that is not hooked up to theinternet, so I may well have garbled some things. If so, I'm sorry for wasting your time; if not, I hope the results are as interesting to some as they are to me.

Do you know how he would compare to your Player A if we used something like linear weight runs created?[/QUOTE]

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
What about if Player B put up these numbers? Yes I know very unlikely but it represents the most extreme "slugger-type" while maintaing the .300/.400/.550 line.

50 HR
0 Triples
1 Double
130 Singles

Do you know how he would compare to your Player A if we used something like linear weight runs created?
I have used Linear Weights, BsR, Baseball-Reference, B-P and my own RC formulas; and, after all is said and done, if the formula is essentially sound, they will result in very close solutions.

As I see it, your 50 HR guy will STILL produce around 129 runs. You have simply moved the furniture around. The total bases are the same, as is the OB% and the BA.

11. Originally Posted by leewileyfan
I have used Linear Weights, BsR, Baseball-Reference, B-P and my own RC formulas; and, after all is said and done, if the formula is essentially sound, they will result in very close solutions.

As I see it, your 50 HR guy will STILL produce around 129 runs. You have simply moved the furniture around. The total bases are the same, as is the OB% and the BA.

Thanks, your results are quite interesting actually.
Despite linear weights putting far less weight on homeruns than TB & Slug do, because there are only certain mathematical combinations possible working with the BA/OBP/SA line, hits, and TB, the value ends up being very close despite the seemingly huge difference in the type of hitter types we created.

Does this mean that BA is more important than led to believe by some statheads and perhaps OPS should include BA as well?

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Thanks, your results are quite interesting actually.
Despite linear weights putting far less weight on homeruns than TB & Slug do . . .the value ends up being very close despite the seemingly huge difference in the type of hitter types we created.

Does this mean that BA is more important than led to believe by some statheads and perhaps OPS should include BA as well?
Not really. OPS =BA + ISOP + OBP, so BA is already in there. (Since it's a big chunk of OBP, you could say it's in there twice.)

It's important to keep in mind that the experiment held PA, OBP, and SLG constant, so the alternative versions, though free to adjust one of the components, were constrained as to their overall form (hits and BB also constrained for version 3 and version 4).

Can you explain why BA might be MORE important when a 50 point disparity between Player A and Player B makes an indiscernable difference in their wOBA? I'm missing something there.

But it's a very interesting
experiment, and I learned a lot from the results.
(Speaking of missing . . . I apologize, Joe, for truncating your post. It's an Ipad issue; I can't scroll down the reply text box.)

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Thanks, your results are quite interesting actually.
Despite linear weights putting far less weight on homeruns than TB & Slug do, because there are only certain mathematical combinations possible working with the BA/OBP/SA line, hits, and TB, the value ends up being very close despite the seemingly huge difference in the type of hitter types we created.

Does this mean that BA is more important than led to believe by some statheads and perhaps OPS should include BA as well?
My generation [born in the 1930s] probably erred in placing too much importance on BA; but even back then, especially by the 1940s we were aware of SLG and we always had that latent respect for the max Bishops, Eddie Joosts and Eddie Yosts of the world who often had lower BAs but always seemed to be on first base whenever we looked up.

BA has always suggested to me a certain level of "contact with purpose." If nothing more, I considered the higher average hitter to be somebody I wanted near the bat rack when my team needed a boost ... maybe nothing more than that.

However, my back does get up a wee bit when SOME who fancy themselves elite sabermetricians pooh-pooh the BA out-of-hand as fodder for Neanderthals.
Last edited by leewileyfan; 02-19-2012 at 06:45 PM.

14. Originally Posted by Jackaroo Dave
Not really. OPS =BA + ISOP + OBP, so BA is already in there. (Since it's a big chunk of OBP, you could say it's in there twice.)

It's important to keep in mind that the experiment held PA, OBP, and SLG constant, so the alternative versions, though free to adjust one of the components, were constrained as to their overall form (hits and BB also constrained for version 3 and version 4).

Can you explain why BA might be MORE important when a 50 point disparity between Player A and Player B makes an indiscernable difference in their wOBA? I'm missing something there.

But it's a very interesting
experiment, and I learned a lot from the results.
(Speaking of missing . . . I apologize, Joe, for truncating your post. It's an Ipad issue; I can't scroll down the reply text box.)
Actually I was replying to another poster using RC.
Yes it is very interesting that the wOBA shows almost identical results for A, B, Slugger, and Speedster. Do you feel that wOBA paints the more accurate picture?

15. Originally Posted by leewileyfan
My generation [born in the 1930s] probably erred in placing too much importance on BA; but even back then, especially by the 1940s we were aware of SLG and we always had that latent respect for the max Bishops, Eddie Joosts and Eddie Yosts of the world who often had lower BAs but always seemed to be on first base whenever we looked up.

BA has always suggested to me a certain level of "contact with purpose." If nothing more, I considered the higher average hitter to be somebody I wanted near the bat rack when my team needed a boost ... maybe nothing more than that.

However, my back does get up a wee bit when SOME who fancy themselves elite sabermetricians pooh-pooh the BA out-of-hand as fodder for Neanderthals.
Wow you have been watching baseball for a long time! I was not even aware the they had Slug as early as the 1940s!

16. We've had this discussion before.

http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...BA-or-lower-BA

Start around post 12, note particularly post 23.

Basically in terms of value they're pretty near equal, with the edge varying depending on the exact numbers used (the lower the OBP/SLG, the more valuable the power hitter, generally speaking). But in terms of talent, it's a fairly safe bet that the guy with the lower BA is the better hitter.

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Wow you have been watching baseball for a long time! I was not even aware the they had Slug as early as the 1940s!
Yep. I became aware of Ted Williams' Slugging Percentage [and how to calculate it] probably in the fall-winter following the 1942 season. We were studying decimals and percentages in elementary school about that grade; and I really got into it.

Many of the debates I've seen over high BA guys and low BA guys seem to "want" to discount the high BA. At least it seems that way. Others have noted that the BA is actually folded into other stats deemed much more sophisticated and worthy of note. Most models I've seen credit the lower BA guy as a presumed slugger and relegate the high average guy to hitting singles, certainly not HRs.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that the guy with the higher BA gets on base with HITS more often than the lower BA guy [unless there is some exaggerated drawing walks giftedness on the part of either]. HITS have more potential for advancing any runners that might be on base than outs, strike outs, walks, HBP, or GDP. Also, since about 40% of the time a hitter comes to the plate, he likely to have SOMEBODY on base, somewhere.

Example: Take average WHIP of 1.375. In 9 IP, that tells me that, by whatever combination of hits + walks, 12.375 batters reached base in the game, to say nothing of getting on via errors. There's also a 35%-40% probability of any runner scoring in a 4.5 runs per game batting climate. How those runs will score is a very mixed bag:

1. A great baserunner may make scoring on an out a sure thing without bat ever meeting ball before he does it.
2. A superior contact hitter may enhance scoring possibilities by making a well-placed contact out, not necessarily a sacrifice.
3. A high BA player [consistently, season after season - at least during peak] has one thing going for him that cannot be denied [except maybe by "modeling"] ... contact with a degree of authority ... otherwise, the percentage of safeties would not be so consistent.
4. Of course, a slugger may clear the bases with one of his 47 HRs in a typical year. [It's funny though, guys with that kind of HR output USUALLY do no post puny BAs].

Aside from smart, fast or just plain heads-up base running, we have basic components in batter run creation: effective hitting; gifted on-base tools; and base opportunities in which all offensive elements must be factored.

If you consider Total Bases, you have weighed in the slugging elements. If you heed the walks almost as much s the hits, you have addressed the OB% [which is the bottom line of opportunity]. Then the BA just supplies a catalyst estimate. TB + BB * BA = RC.

If you take two players of disparate BAs, their run creation will ultimately be determined by all the bases generated [TB + BB] "governed" by the rate of safe hit generation [BA].

The player with the .260 BA will ONLY be a better run creator than his .330 hitting teammate IF the higher average guy has a paltry OB% AND essentially is limited to singles and doubles. It may happen; but I'd guess this would be more typical in the year end summary:

Boomer 600 [PA]; 500 [AB]; Hits [130]; BB [100]; 1B [70]; 2B [25]; 3B [0]; HR [35]; TB [260]; OB% [.383]; RC = 137.88

Slasher 600 [PA]; 560 [AB]; Hits [185]; BB [ 40]; 1B [115]; 2B [35]; 3B [15]; HR [20]; TB [310]; OB% [.375]; RC = 131.25

It's a model that seems to argue against my case; but the point is we have players who are approximately even if the deck is stacked against neither.
In fact this model PRESUMES the higher BA player to be allergic to walks. There is a bias against him, in that assigning 100 BB's to Boomer and only 40 to Slasher, I have cut into Slasher's OB% AND his Total Base factor [which included both total bases and walks].

Finally, a "given," not often expressed specifically in these discussions, is the impact of the player's role, as slotted in the batting order. A leadoff man's chances for run creation are discounted by at least 1 opportunity per game as leadoff man. There's nobody on to advance or drive in, except for the HR [which is not his defining function].

Fair enough if it holds up to scrutiny as more credible than extreme modeling.
Last edited by leewileyfan; 02-21-2012 at 10:51 AM.

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Well, it's not supposed to be a trick question or a "gotcha" type of a question.

The main purpose I created this thread was to hear you guys (who I consider some of the most knowledgeable baseball statheads on the net) debate when the OBP and Slug are identical, who you consider to be the better hitter; the one with the higher BA, or the one with the lower BA (thus the higher isolated discipline, higher isolated power, etc).

Thus I would keep all other variable as close as possible. So you can assume they played in as identical of an environment as possible. Same league, same season, same neutral park. You can assume they played on the same team and hit 3 & 4 respectively and played in all the same games.
Ha! I didn't think it was a trick question or a puzzle. There's a good point to the thread, but I was just adding my \$.02.

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Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe
Actually I was replying to another poster using RC.
Yes it is very interesting that the wOBA shows almost identical results for A, B, Slugger, and Speedster. Do you feel that wOBA paints the more accurate picture?
Since wOBA inputs more information than basic RC, and since it's empirical, I trust it more than the account-for-everything Rc, so I prefer wOBA. Using empirical results to deal with fictional batters has its hazards, though.

Basically, to paraphrase Mickey Mantle, "I agree with what Tangotiger said," and think you can get better data and reasoning from him than from me.

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