The Batted Ball Project: Summary Conclusions (6 of 6)

8265778172_cf6f76ee10_zOh now I run the risk of folks just clicking here for the summary and skipping the rest.

Cost of doing business.

Anyway … what we’ve been up to in the Batted Ball Project is trying to zero in with as much accuracy and detail as we can on the non-random elements of offensive success.

So we identified three “component parts” of offense and blended them into “batted-ball” versions of the two elements of OPS (on-base and slugging).

Then we used all the batted-ball data we have (2002-14) to examine the impact of the three major types of batted balls (ground balls, line drives and fly balls) on these five measuring sticks. [We eliminated pop-ups from our fly-ball analysis, resulting in the term “launched flies.”]

Ground Balls Line Drives Launched Flies
Reaching base on batted ball Neutral Positive Neutral
Offensive production Negative Neutral Positive
  • Ground balls had a mild positive influence on singles (improving BABIP), but a negative impact on doubles + triples and home runs.  That netted out to a neutral impact on reaching base and a negative impact on offensive production.
  • Thus, more ground balls among a hitter’s batted balls is associated with a lower OPS due to lower SLG.
  • Line drives had a positive influence on singles (higher BABIP), but a surprisingly neutral impact on doubles + triples.  Also a less-surprising neutral impact on home runs and thus an overall neutral impact on offensive production.
  • Thus, more line drives among a hitter’s batted balls is associated with a mildly higher OPS due to OBP (via batting average), but we didn’t find any likely association with a higher SLG.
  • Launched flies had a mild negative influence on singles (lower BABIP), but a positive impact on doubles + triples and a strong positive impact on home runs.  That netted out to a neutral impact on reaching base and a strong positive impact on offensive production.
  • Thus, more launched flies among a hitter’s batted balls is associated with a higher OPS due to higher SLG and neutral overall impact on OBP.

And so we wrap up the Batted Ball Project — and carry into the next phase … the Flow Chart Profiler — this conclusion:

The most important part of offensive production for hitters is consistently hitting the ball hard in the air.

Repeat:

The most important part of offensive production for hitters is consistently hitting the ball hard in the air.

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2 thoughts on “The Batted Ball Project: Summary Conclusions (6 of 6)

  1. Impressive stuff, Spec. This clearly took a lot of effort, and it’s a great primer on understanding which types of players are most likely to contribute positively to an offense. The line drive bit was surprising to me, as well.

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