Measuring "Plate Skills"

One last funky stat: "Hitter's +/-"

Once again, to recap our overall philosophy:  PRODUCTION + PLATE SKILLS + AGE-ARC

We got a new stat to measure "Production," which is called "Plausibility Index," which is covered via the "Allegory of the Window."  I felt there needed to be a stat that incorporated both walks and extra-base hits, but also recognized that strikeouts impact Production by reducing the number of balls in play, and, thereby, increasing the necessary conversion rate (the rate of conversion of balls in play to "random-y singles") to a level that may (if it's very high) make offensive success "implausible."

So what about "Plate Skills," the other part of the formula?

Plate Skills can be measured by on-base percentage, or by "eye ratio" (BB / K), or by separate calculations of K% (K / PA) and BB% (BB / PA).  But, here again, I didn't think we were getting the whole picture.  Just like I view strikeouts as a non-trivial part of Production, I view "hitting the ball with authority" as an integral part of Plate Skills.

In other words, it's not just a matter of distinguishing balls from strikes, it's distinguishing a "hitter's pitch" from a "pitcher's pitch."  The latter two may be balls or strikes, so "just" strike-zone judgment is not enough.  When the hitter gets a "hitter's pitch," what is he supposed to do with it?  Hit it!  So, except as it demonstrates the relative ability to avoid strikeouts (by connecting with the ball), "eye ratio" doesn't really cover that part of Plate Skills.

OBP, then, might be better ... except, (1) it doesn't tell you anything about strikeouts, and (2) it can be  mightily affected by our old friend the "random-y single."  As we've noted, the "random-y single" represents a ball hit without authority, and our system treats "random-y singles" as no better than "random-y ball-in-play outs."  Our theory is that the ability to hit "random-y singles" against minor-league pitching doesn't really tell us anything about a prospects likelihood of major-league success.

So, once again, we devised our own stat, which we dubbed "Hitter's +/-

Without going into excruciating detail (well, maybe we already have), we took what appeared to be a reasonable "average" distribution of our six measurable "plate outcomes" from a bunch of major and minor leagues.  [Again -- going back to the Manifesto -- we weren't looking for a "perfect" model, just something "reasonable."]  [The six are walks, strikeouts, home runs, balls hit with authority (2b + 3b), singles (assumed "random-y" per our assumption), and ball-in-play outs (also assumed "random-y").]

Once we had this "normal distribution" of plate outcomes, there is an "expected" OBP resulting therefrom.  It was .295.  If a hitter's results reflected that "normal distribution," he would have a "Hitters +/-" of 0.00, because he would have neither increased nor decreased his "expected" OBP.

OK (maybe?) ...

We then take each plate appearance and measure the difference between that particular plate outcome and the "expected" OBP.  A strikeout drops that PA's expected OBP from .295 to .000, so each strikeout is weighted at -.295.  A home run or a walk increases the "expected" OBP from .295 to 1.000, so they are weighted at +.705.  Balls in play hit with authority (measured as doubles and triples) we calculated (somewhat arbitrarily) to be worth +.225.

Singles and balls in play hit without authority we assume are neither positive nor negative (but "random-y").  Therefore, they neither increase nor decrease the "expected" OBP.  In other words, they don't count in this equation at all.

So ... for a hitter to achieve a positive "+/-" the value of his weighted XBH + BB must exceed the value of his weighted K.  Singles and ball-in-play outs are assumed out of the equation.  If a hitter achieves that positive value, then he is turning the plate appearance to his advantage vis-a-vis the pitcher. 

That last thing, ultimately, is what we are driving at.  The hitter must "play defense" against the pitcher's attack in order to "play offense" against the other team.  The ability to do that is what this stat is driving at.

 

 

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Tacoma Rain's picture

Tacoma Rain

You have not lost me so far... and I do think it makes baseball sense so far from my point of view.

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jemanji*Super* cool Mo' Dawg :- )6 hours 37 min ago
jemanjiBat571 - many times this happens to me when the pic is too big, or when it's from an unfriendly source (copyright issues?). I try a smaller pic, or one from a different original source, and everything's fine. … I've got a Q in to the boss on it. Thanks for your material! :- ) Jeff6 hours 38 min ago
mojicianThat story is awesome Moe.9 hours 38 min ago
moethedogA short Giants story: Their rookie BU catcher, Andrew Susac, is the grandson of a good friend of mine, a city counsellor I served with. In mid-August Susac hit his first MLB homer, an opposite field job in Wrigley. One of my college roommates, a HUGE Giants fan, was watching the game on TV and called me to tell me.(he knew the hometown connection as he had read about it in a Giant's on-line mag) I was in Missoula dropping Bailey off at college. I called Andrew's granddad, suspecting he would be watching the game on TV. When he answered I just asked if this was the granddad of a guy who had just hit his first career homer. He said "I'm so excited that I can't breath! I think I'm floating on air!" It was one of the coolest calls I've ever made. A game in Chi-Town, a buddy in Portland, me in Missoula and a glowing granddad on the Oregon Coast = the magic of baseball (and cel phones!)!14 hours 38 min ago
mojicianThose who bet against the Giants in even numbered years end up poorer and wiser. Its not about WAR, or roster construction or who has the smarter GM or the better team. The Giants laugh at your logic. Based on that sort of thinking, the Nats or the Dodgers won the pennant. For the Giants, its about making the post season, and then "burning the other cities down, every last one of them". The Royals are Cinderella, the Giants are Vandal maurauders with trophy lust. The Giants are specialists at dispatching Cinderella teams from Missouri. Giants in 5. In a week's time, remember where you heard that. :)15 hours 1 min ago
moethedogOr noticed the lack of a picture...18 hours 16 min ago
moethedogI just noticed it. Not there: Sorry.18 hours 17 min ago
SABR Mattno...I don't see his picture either.18 hours 29 min ago
moethedogYou could try logging out and see if the pic is there.....22 hours 2 min ago
moethedogBat, that has happened to me once or twice. I've eventually assumed that I was the only one who couldn't see the picture.22 hours 4 min ago
Bat571Hey, Doc or KLAT admin guys - my uploaded picture doesn't seem to show in the front page tile view. I changed it twice, and it does show up on the article page, but, did I do something wrong (.png is O.K., right?) or what?1 day 10 hours ago
Bat571Taijuan's Mom has had cancer - I suspect he just wants to be with family. But I hope his Mom has not taken a turn for the worse.1 day 17 hours ago
SABR MattHmm...I hope Walker doesn't have a behavior issue to work out.1 day 20 hours ago
mojicianIn the morning article, not the tweet, it sounds like Walker had legit personal reasons for leaving. As in, no Jesus Montero drama.1 day 20 hours ago
mojicianTaijuan Walker thinks that an instructional league consists of new victims learning about pain and suffering.1 day 21 hours ago
mojicianNew Marinerland drama: Shannon Drayer tweets that Taijuan Walker has gone AWOL from the AFL. Maybe he likes it in Tacoma.1 day 21 hours ago
MtGrizzlyThe guys on one of the pre-game shows indicated that Harvin refused to go back into the Dallas game and that was what sealed his fate.2 days 9 hours ago
misterjonezFrom reading tweets (I know, I know) and articles at Fieldgulls I came away with the overwhelming impression that he was becoming a clubhouse cancer. I generally think that when an organization (and league) made up, primarily, of Alpha Males complains of a person's personality, there's a serious problem. good on the 'Hawks for sticking to their guns and the 'program first' mantra.2 days 10 hours ago
DaddyOStory of the Seahawks this season: In contrast to last year, this season the Hawks's defense is not generating sufficient pressure on the quarterback, and they are not taking the ball away (turnovers).2 days 10 hours ago
Cool Papa BellThey went out of their way to get him the ball trying to make him happy. Now they will have a lot more freedom. He's not as big a loss as it may seem on paper.3 days 19 hours ago