Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_
The problem I have with this is that it's looking at ONE PLAYER instead of the group of a TEAM. The .200/.330/.450 guy may not be producing more or less than the .300/.330/.450 guy on his own, but the additional hits are increasing the odds for those following players on the team to contribute. Moving defenders, creating holes, etc. Sometimes the sabermetric guys make it seem like a walk and a single are basically the same thing..."he's avoiding an out"...but for me there's a VAST difference in the two. A hitter who has good contact skills does more than just have a higher BA. He fouls off more pitches and works the pitchers pitch count higher, he's less likely to strike out, he's more likely to advance runners with sacs, hit & runs, etc. It's not just ONE guy and his ONE stat line. It's the interaction between all the pieces of the puzzle that sabermetrics seems to overlook quite a bit. I think KC is spot on here. Overall, the team has pretty good slugging, but VERY poor contact skills. Filling those missing skills in the team overall is only going to help.
On the contrary, the saber guys are the ones that ARE factoring in BA as a part of the whole team's offensive contributions. That is exactly what the whole idea of correlating each stat with real-world run scoring does. These correlations are done on team
stats, not individual stats. Team Batting Average simply does not correlate well with run scoring in real MLB games. OBP and SLG correlate much better with run scoring on a team basis than BA does. wOBA and OPS are even better.
You are absolutely correct that you have to evaluate the big picture, where a player's contributions at the plate echo far beyond his own individual at-bats. I just think the saber approach does a far better job of that than batting average does.
Saber guys don't consider a walk and a single as basically the same thing. The run value of a single is .47 runs for his team
. The run value of a walk is .33 runs for his team
. So you can see that sabermetrically, a single is quite a bit more valuable than a walk. The run value of a home run is 1.41 runs, so a home run is a lot more valuable than either a single or a walk. Sabermetrics captures all this at exactly the ratios they exhibit themselves in real MLB games. Batting average would have counted those singles and home runs exactly the same as each other and would have totally ignored the walks.
Players who hit the ball into play see on average fewer pitches than hitters who strike out or walk. You can hit the first pitch, but you can't strike out or walk on the first pitch. It takes a lot of pitches to strike out or walk.
Strikeouts are no more harmful than other outs on average. It is statistically proven, as I showed earlier in this thread.
The benefit gained by advancing runners with sacs and hit-and-runs etc is cancelled out by the double-plays and fielder's choices over the course of a season.