Thursday, February 6, 2014

Saber-Series: Part 1- Offense

Welcome to part one of Saber-Series, offense. When looking at sabermetrics as an outsider it can probably look convoluted, that's because it is. Advanced statistics have become so convoluted that it's often hard to discern what is what and who is who. Often it even boils down to two separate entities using different formulas to calculate the same thing. I am however, not biased and I do not choose just one entity to follow. I pick from here and there to gain a broad perspective. My two primary sources of statistics are and Both are very solid sources and I encourage new saber savvy folk to frequent these sites.

Okay so part one of Saber Series I will strictly focus on offense. How many parts will there be in Saber-Series? I don't know and I don't care! As I've said before, there is way too much information in the field to be placing useless limits or barriers to the amount of information that can be given out. I will move along piece by piece and give you the information and that's all there is to it, a fluid discussion between me and you. Now, I want to clarify something off the bat, I DO NOT claim to be an expert in the field of sabermetrics. I DO however claim to be an active fan participant in the new school thought process and my goal here is to pass along the information I do know and learn more myself as time progresses. Now also, as you may have noticed I am not a fan of limitations or barriers to creativity that prohibit a free sense of thought. Therefore, I will not strictly follow a template in my posts. Generally I will list some of the main statistics in that category and give a definition, example and simplified summary on that particular statistic. Please enjoy the following and I encourage all readers to ask questions and be active in the discussions, I will answer all of them to the best of my ability and find the answers to the ones I am not sure of. Enjoy!

Advanced Offensive Statistics:
BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play): Although BABIP is more finely tuned to estimating pitcher performance it is also used to evaluate hitters. BABIP is a measure of a hitters pure skill and their ability to put the ball in play by "placing" it. Line drive hitters or hitters with a lot of power often have higher BABIP's due to their ability to "smack" the ball. The average BABIP for a major league hitter is about .300 and to give you a reference point Mike Trout's career BABIP is .366

ISO (Isolated Power): Isolated power is the measurement of a hitters "raw" power is calculated by subtracting their average from their slugging percentage (SLG-AVG).
Reference points: Mike Trout 2013 ISO: .234   Miguel Cabrera's 2013 ISO: .288  Ichiro 2013 ISO: .081
The higher the better because if the slugging% is high then subtracting average will still result in a reasonable number.

K% (Strikeout Percentage): This one is pretty easy. It is the percentage of at bats that a player strikes out. An average K% is about 18.5% (Power hitters often have higher K%)

BB% (Walk Percentage): Very easy again. The percentage that a player walks. An average BB% is about 8.5%

BRR (Base Running Runs): Base Running Runs simply measures a players contribution on the base paths. This combines all factors on the base paths including stolen bases, advancing on a passed ball, scoring from 1st or 2nd. This stat is one of the ones that is often not focused on enough because it truly gives a more accurate representation of a player. For example, there were many people who wanted Mike Trout for MVP in 2012 and said that his contribution on the base paths and ability to score runs with his speed pushed him above Cabrera. Mike Trout had a 12.1 BRR in 2012 while Miguel Cabrera (The MVP) had a -2.9
For a reference point, 0.0 is an average BRR rating for a player.

SLG (Slugging Percentage): Slugging percentage is a batters average but it only takes into account extra base hits and it is calculated by dividing total bases by at bats. An average SLG% is .500

OBP (On Base Percentage): OBP is much more mainstream than other advanced statistics but you must never underestimate its important and many new school reformers like looking at a players OBP than average because it is a true embodiment of how much a player reaches base. OBP is measured by adding a players hits, walks and hit by pitch (H+BB+HBP). .350 is considered an average OBP.

OPS: OPS is a batters OBP+Slugging%
Reference points: Mike Trout 2013 OPS: .988     Ben Zoborist 2013 OPS: .756
Anything in the .1000 range is considered great-excellent.

wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus--Exclusive to FanGraphs): wRC+ measures a players overall run contribution to his team. 100 is league average and every percentage point above 100 equals 1% above league average (ex. a player with a 130 wRC+ contributed 30% more runs than a league average player)
This stat is also adjusted for different parks and leagues. You could use this stat to measure how Mike Trout compares to Ted Williams, offensively that is.

TAv (True Average--Exclusive to Baseball Prospectus): Is a batters Avg. that takes into account things like situational hitting and reaching base on a dropped third strike. Strikeouts hurt your average more than a typical out and bunts count less toward your average than a typical hit. An average TAv is .260 and between 2009-2011 Miguel Cabrera had a .342 TAv.

The next two stats are indicators of a players total value, one takes into solely offense and the other takes into account overall contribution. 

VORP (Value Over Replacement Player--Exclusive to Baseball Prospectus): This stat takes into account account a players overall offensive and base running contributions. There is no real better explanation than this so the best way to comprehend this is to give you 2013 reference points, Excellent-Average-Poor.
Reference points: Excellent= Mike Trout 86.2   Average= Ben Zobrist 25.6     Poor= Dan Uggla 7.6

WAR (Wins Above Replacement): This stat is the one used by, uses a thing called WARP which is the same thing as WAR but it is calculated differently which usually results in a small difference. (ex. Mike Trout 2013 WAR: 10.4    Mike Trout 2013 WARP: 9.6) This stat is used as a general indicator of overall contribution and measures approximately how many wins a player contributed to a team, those amount of wins are how many more than an average substitution would contribute. A 3 WAR is considered average.
(I will use this stat often in my writing, its very good when comparing players and looking at overall contribution from a player to a team.)

Okay, that is it for Part one of Saber-Series. It is not full list by any means but then again it isn't supposed to be. I wanted to highlight the statistics that are most often referenced by new school people and also highlight the stats that are most valuable to gauge performance and future performance. It is possible that I will do supplemental rounds later on but for now read up and learn these stats! I highly recommend visiting and to read up on some more saber savvy tools and tricks.

All statistics and some dialogue provided courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus 


  1. Yah, big deal....LOL,
    Nice work Thomas, did that young Irish lad show up for the class?
    I like the way you have made it so easy to follow and understand! Again, good stuff young fellow!

  2. This is awesome. I consider myself to have an advanced knowledge of sabermetrics and I still thoroughly enjoyed reading through this.

  3. Guess what guys, I tried the system out with two Yankee players...!
    You guys sure know how to pick-um. Out of the 15 categories; player #1 beat the #2 player 14 to 1.

  4. Ken I'm glad you are getting so involved! Spread the word and stay tuned!

  5. Tommy Culkin :
    I missed the AM class...excused for a situation, relating to ' must work.'
    Attended tonight's class...'Advanced Offensive Statistics', and filled my yellow pad.

    I find all that you do, in presenting your facts....simplistic, and easy to follow. ( both compliments )
    I have been a soldier of fortune, in the baseball blogging world, for over five years.
    What I have always been lacking in my arsenal of words, is what you are putting forth. Thank you.
    Anthony Weiner would now say, I am morphing into....Carlos Danger.

    Regarding...Ken Reed, Rocket Reed, Ken...from Hells Kitchen, or Black Irish Kenneth :
    I suggest he be placed in your...'Confused, but trying program.' Too many years, in the back
    alleys of Toledo, Ohio...have taken it's toll. I sense cabin fever is moving in, also.
    I will light a candle again, for this proud son of lower Manhattan.

  6. ROCKET ...I suggested to Mr. Culkin, that you should be left back. Sorry, but I had to.
    In your world of never ending snow, and with no indoor plumbing....I thought maybe Sabremetrics
    might be too much of a reach for you.
    How is your trap line producing this winter ?

    1. Thanks to Mr. Obama no kid gets left behind, sorry Patrick you are stuck with Mr. Reed for the rest of your life.

    2. Thank you Daniel...
      I would beg to differ but, Tommy and Patrick ain't bad guys to be around, they AIN"T got no smarts like I does! Day wil larn fum de bestest!
      I must admit, I was left behind one time and in the 40 years (off & on) I worked...It Never Ever happened again!
      Time to get back to work, have fun guys...except Patrick...Toledo? If I ever get the hang of this dang walker thing, I'll fix your clock. The thing doesn't walk at just sets there!

      Nice work on the LH site Daniel!

  7. Daniel....I am aware of Mr. Reed. It is the cross I bare in life.

    Secondly, re : Obama.........A nice looking, well educated lady was in my nursery over the weekend. In
    the course of light conversation, she used the F.. word twice, to describe Obama.
    I could only smile, and agree.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)