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RedsManRick
10-27-2011, 08:09 PM
So one of the big 5 tools is the "hit" tool. The tools aren't always thought of the same way by scouts, but there's some general agreement that the hit tool is about squaring the ball up. But how do you measure it? Fangraphs just posted an article about it. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/isolating-the-hit-tool/#comment-1312035

The author takes the position that you should try to isolate the tools and I agree with that. Btu he takes the approach of subtracting out power. I thought that was the wrong approach and responded thusly



I love the idea, but think your power hypothesis is misplaced. If the tool is about putting the bat squarely on the ball, homers are actually a decent sign of that and players should not be penalized for having a good power tool in addition to a good hit tool. The bigger confounding issue is hits that happen without squaring the ball up. So here’s the same idea, but subtracting out just infield hits and bunt hits (H-BUH-IFH)/(AB-BUH-IFH):

2009-2011, min 1000 PA

Top 10
1. Miguel Cabrera, .321
2. Joe Mauer, .320
3. Joey Votto, .309
4. Robinson Cano, .302
5. Victor Martinez, .301
6. Albert Pujols, .300
7. Adrian Gonzalez, .298
8. Josh Hamilton, .296
9. Michael Young, .293
10. Paul Konerko, .292

Bottom 10
10. Rick Ankiel, .215
9. Drew Stubbs, .214
8. B.J. Upton, .213
7. Brandon Inge, .213
6. Mark Reynolds, .212
5. Alcides Escobar, .212
4. Tony Gwynn, .211
3. Ronny Cedeno, .202
2. Cameron Maybin, .201
1. Carlos Pena, .198

What do you guys think?

Redsfan320
10-27-2011, 08:50 PM
Just a question, based on the results, it would seem this is on the same scale as BA, is this correct?

320

mace
10-27-2011, 09:03 PM
I think that something was lost in translation between the Tony Gwynns.

Moreover . . . good work.

savafan
10-27-2011, 09:09 PM
I thought this was going to be another thread about Pete Rose.

IslandRed
10-27-2011, 10:33 PM
If the tool is about putting the bat squarely on the ball, homers are actually a decent sign of that

Obviously, a guy has to hit it square to get it out of the ballpark. But if we're isolating factors instead of combining them, I think we have to recognize that home-run power has other factors at work besides merely making hard contact: swing plane, bat speed, strength etc. I don't think a player should be penalized for having power, but in the context of measuring how often a guy squares it up, power can overstate the case also. Obviously, Joey Votto has a great hit tool. Despite his greater power, I don't think he hits the ball on the nose a higher percentage of the time than Pete Rose did -- but Rose's swing was not designed to lift the ball. (See, sava, Pete Rose is relevant to this thread.)

jojo
10-28-2011, 08:04 AM
I thought this thread was going to be about Milton Bradley.

camisadelgolf
10-28-2011, 10:15 AM
Why would you penalize someone for being a good bunter? I think you have to incorporate BABIP, too.

BCubb2003
10-28-2011, 10:17 AM
If power is part of the hit tool then are only four tools.

Plus Plus
10-28-2011, 11:38 AM
If power is part of the hit tool then are only four tools.

Carlos Pena would take objection to that statement.

RedsManRick
10-28-2011, 12:08 PM
Why would you penalize someone for being a good bunter? I think you have to incorporate BABIP, too.

Because bunting is a completely different skill than what is being described when talking about a guy's "hit tool".

RedsManRick
10-28-2011, 12:10 PM
Obviously, a guy has to hit it square to get it out of the ballpark. But if we're isolating factors instead of combining them, I think we have to recognize that home-run power has other factors at work besides merely making hard contact: swing plane, bat speed, strength etc. I don't think a player should be penalized for having power, but in the context of measuring how often a guy squares it up, power can overstate the case also. Obviously, Joey Votto has a great hit tool. Despite his greater power, I don't think he hits the ball on the nose a higher percentage of the time than Pete Rose did -- but Rose's swing was not designed to lift the ball. (See, sava, Pete Rose is relevant to this thread.)

Perhaps, but I think you do more harm than good by subtracting it out. Even guys without plus power hit homers when they make great contact. Ultimately, hit f/x data would be a great source here, but I think my list gets us 90% of the way there.

RedsManRick
10-28-2011, 12:14 PM
If power is part of the hit tool then are only four tools.

It's more of an "overlap" than a "part of". If the hit tool is about the ball coming hard off the bat, then power lets you hit the ball harder even when you don't make as high quality of contact. And of course, it means some good contact leaves the park, inflating a batting average based stat compared to guys who merely hit it hard in the field of play.

I think Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds (and Stubbs, Dunn, etc.) are precisely the type of hitters that demonstrate that "hit" and "power" are pretty independent from each other. Not fully, but enough for government work.

IslandRed
10-28-2011, 05:04 PM
Perhaps, but I think you do more harm than good by subtracting it out. Even guys without plus power hit homers when they make great contact. Ultimately, hit f/x data would be a great source here, but I think my list gets us 90% of the way there.

I think you're probably right about hit f/x, because what we're ultimately looking for is "percentage of balls in play that are squared up and hit hard," which can correlate with home-run power but I'd think it's not a strong correlation, especially once moving out of the PED-fueled power era. Line-drive percentage is probably closer to what we're after, should the various sources of baseball data ever agree on what a line drive is. Going back to the Pete Rose example, and Tony Gwynn Sr. would be another good one, there are guys who routinely hit it on the nose without the lift required to get it out of the yard. If a guy routinely posts a good batting average without blazing speed or remarkable home-run power, that's how it gets done.

camisadelgolf
10-28-2011, 05:30 PM
Because bunting is a completely different skill than what is being described when talking about a guy's "hit tool".
Which tool is bunting part of? It's still a matter of how you square up the ball, right?

BCubb2003
10-28-2011, 07:45 PM
It's more of an "overlap" than a "part of". If the hit tool is about the ball coming hard off the bat, then power lets you hit the ball harder even when you don't make as high quality of contact. And of course, it means some good contact leaves the park, inflating a batting average based stat compared to guys who merely hit it hard in the field of play.

I think Carlos Pena and Mark Reynolds (and Stubbs, Dunn, etc.) are precisely the type of hitters that demonstrate that "hit" and "power" are pretty independent from each other. Not fully, but enough for government work.

Yes, that makes sense. The description is usually, "hits for average, hits for power, runs, throws, fields," which is kind of primitive.

RedsManRick
10-28-2011, 10:12 PM
Which tool is bunting part of? It's still a matter of how you square up the ball, right?

The same part as plate discipline...

camisadelgolf
10-29-2011, 05:35 PM
The same part as plate discipline...
But seriously . . . isn't bunting a matter of squaring up the ball? I'm not saying it's all that important, but I don't see the need to penalize a player's 'hit' rating. It's a matter of hittin' 'em where they ain't, which is what results in hits.

RedsManRick
10-29-2011, 06:11 PM
But seriously . . . isn't bunting a matter of squaring up the ball? I'm not saying it's all that important, but I don't see the need to penalize a player's 'hit' rating. It's a matter of hittin' 'em where they ain't, which is what results in hits.

No, it's not the same thing. The entire tool concept is about a physical ability to do something -- and bunting and swinging are quite different. When I'm talking about a "hit tool" I'm talking about swing the bat and the ability to squarely hit the ball when doing so. It's simply a measure of a guy's ability to "get hits" -- if that was it, we'd just look at batting average and call it a day.

I'm not trying to predict what batting average a guy will hit for. Sure, that's driven in good part by his "hit" tool, but that's not what I'm doing. If he can round out grounders or square around on a bunt, good on him. But that doesn't have anything to do with his ability to hit the ball when swinging the bat.

It's simply a completely different skill. I don't know how else to explain it.