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Thread: Prospect OBP Queries

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Prospect OBP Queries

    Williams' focus on on-base percentage makes almost all of us very happy and gives hope to those who wish for a more saber-friendly approach to the game of baseball. A quick glance at Cincinnati's prospects seems to show less a franchise-wide focus than small islands of solid plate approach. 5 of 18 top 30 prospects earned an OBP of 370 or better, with Winker, Senzel, and Blandino among the top 30 in the entirety of the minor leagues. (Those five, in order of highest to lowest-- Winker, Senzel, Blandino, Fairchild, and Downs.) Almost all others showed at least a 60 point difference between BA and OBP.

    That's not to say all Red prospects show great plate awareness. Aristides Aquino took a giant step back this season, as did Chris Okey. Alfredo Rodriguez doesn't look like he'll ever hit well enough to be more than a defensive caddy. That said, most are showing a decent approach, at least.

    That leads me to a couple of questions:

    1. In your opinion, where does OPB begin to matter? (And why there and not further down the ladder?)

    2. What's the difference between BA and OBP wherein you consider plate approach a strength? A weakness?

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    If your first question is what step in the minor leagues then
    1. It matters at every level. I would say it starts to hold more weight once the players advance up the ladder. Another important factor is their Age compared to the rest of the league they are in, but obviously their approach should be the same wherever they are.

    2. I almost view BA irrelevant. OBP is better in my opinion for looking at a plate approach, but it does not capture everything. You should also check out percentages like BB% and K% and then BB/K are all good for checking out a players plate approach.

    Also don't forget about Trammell, Friedl, Tyler Stephenson, and *Ervin.

    *as long as Ervin is still considered a prospect.

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    Member Bourgeois Zee's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdrich View Post
    2. I almost view BA irrelevant. OBP is better in my opinion for looking at a plate approach, but it does not capture everything. You should also check out percentages like BB% and K% and then BB/K are all good for checking out a players plate approach.
    I wasn't being clear.

    Let me rephrase:

    2. At what mathematical difference between BA and OBP (50 points, 75, 30, etc.) do you consider plate approach a strength or weakness? As a corollary, when (as in, what number or number range) does a prospect become a suspect because of plate approach?

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Oh ok, but again if I wanted to see who I thought had a good plate approach, I would look at the BB% and K% and BB/K. You can find these on fangraphs.com and mlbfarm.com

    If you want to just focus on the difference between OBP points and batting average then thats a harder question, because there are many factors.
    First if a guy has a big difference between them, but his Average is extremely low then I would not be too high on that guy if it ihappens year after year.
    The two things to look at.
    1.How high is the OBP?
    2. How high is the difference? or How low is the AVG?

    If a guy has a .350+ OBP, and he hits .270-.300 he, in my opinion, has a good approach. If a guy has a OBP .375+ ,unless the average is below .250, it doesn't really matter what his average is, but I feel like that situation is extremely rare.

    This is my view towards big leaguers, so I feel like it translates over to the Minor Leagues.
    So the higher his OBP is over .350 the more of a strength his approach becomes. Once that OBP gets below .320 and goes lower I think it is a weakness. Thats not to say the .320 guy is a bad hitter, because that could be with 30 HRs, but if it is not, his approach is a weakness.

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    Someday Never Comes mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Jose Peraza fooled people with a BABIP fueled BA that raised his OBP with it. Give me the ISOd of .075 or greater (OBP-BA) over a guy with a one time .330 BA that results in a .360 OBP.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Jose Peraza fooled people with a BABIP fueled BA that raised his OBP with it. Give me the ISOd of .075 or greater (OBP-BA) over a guy with a one time .330 BA that results in a .360 OBP.
    So Chris Okey is a better prospect than Peraza was?

    I find that difficult to accept.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    There's way more to it than just OBP. You play first base? Your OBP better look a lot better than the guy that catches/plays short/plays center. While there's certainly a minimum you want a guy to walk (6% is where I draw that line), it's not all created equally. You walk 6% of the time and strike out 10% of the time? Cool. You walk 6% of the time and strike out 28% of the time? Nope. Got to improve. You walk 10% of the time but strike out 30% of the time? That's probably not going to work (especially if these are your rates in the minors). You walk 10% of the time with a 20% strikeout rate? That'll probably work at the next level. How old and where is the guy playing? An 18-year-old and a 23-year-old need to have different barometers for what is acceptable.

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    There's way more to it than just OBP. You play first base? Your OBP better look a lot better than the guy that catches/plays short/plays center. While there's certainly a minimum you want a guy to walk (6% is where I draw that line), it's not all created equally. You walk 6% of the time and strike out 10% of the time? Cool. You walk 6% of the time and strike out 28% of the time? Nope. Got to improve. You walk 10% of the time but strike out 30% of the time? That's probably not going to work (especially if these are your rates in the minors). You walk 10% of the time with a 20% strikeout rate? That'll probably work at the next level. How old and where is the guy playing? An 18-year-old and a 23-year-old need to have different barometers for what is acceptable.
    So what are your minimums, doug? Are they dependent on level and age? What are those levels and ages? Or is it more subjective?

    I'm intellectually curious.

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    While we are in this general area, I have a question for Doug. I may be wrong, but I have interpreted some of your evaluations of players as questioning if their OBP could hold up without a healthy slugging percentage. That makes sense in that opposing pitchers could pound the strike zone with impunity against a hitter who did not show an ability to drive the ball. But is it possible for a player to have a good OBP and still be pretty much of a pop gun hitter by developing a keen batting eye and an ability to spoil marginal strikes by fouling them off?

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    Someday Never Comes mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    So Chris Okey is a better prospect than Peraza was?

    I find that difficult to accept.
    Who said that? In terms of ability to get on base, Okey has a skillset that will help him that Peraza doesn't possess, but his 29% K rate probably does him in. The question was a simple comparison of raw OBP versus some ability to slump proof an OBP against BABIP swings. There still has to be some minimum level of hitting. I would take a guy with a .275 BA and a .350 OBP over a guy with a 330 BA and a .360 OBP assuming all the other factors are equal. Of course defense, power, speed, etc. are never equal.

    This is the argument I've been making about Peraza all along. He has to be a .310+ hitter to have an acceptable OBP to make him somewhat valuable. His defense is ho hum at best, his power is non-existent, so in general for him to get on base enough to be worth anything, he has to have the BA of a Hall of Famer. Maybe he will, but it isn't a bet I'd make and I'd let some other team wait for that to happen. We saw this year, with his profile, if he hit's .260, he stinks. His only real value as a player would be to have some ability as a table-setter. He's not a defensive game changer and he isn't going to bring a team from behind with one swing. He'd need an OBP in the .350 range to justify much of anything given his general lack of other abilities. A pure table setter with a .320 OBP isn't much of an asset. This year his ISOd was .038 That means he'd need to hit .312 to have a .350 OBP. I'm not holding my breath.

    Compare that to say the AAA version of Jesse Winker. Slow as molasses, clumsy in the field and little power, His ISOd was .081, so he would need to hit a much more doable .269 to be a .350 OBP guy. SO , I'd opt for the ISOd over the pure number, because there generally aren't a lot of guys who can sustain those high batting averages. Still, the whole package needs to be evaluated. One can't answer who the better prospect is based on this simple comparison.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    RZ keeps downgrading Winker's defense. I half expect a post that he is having problems lacing up his shoes.

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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Let's look at Peraza a little more. If I split the season in half by month, he had the same BABIP in each half. In the first half he hit .253 with .280 OBP and .332 SLG. In the second half he hit .267 with .322 OBP and .312 SLG. His BB rate went from 1.6% to 7%, I suggest that he changed his approach and sacrificed pop for better plate control. This suggests to me that OBP can be increased by more ways than increasing the BA. In fact, from Aug 1 until the end of the year his numbers were even better, .275 BA and .336 OBP.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    1. In your opinion, where does OPB begin to matter? (And why there and not further down the ladder?)
    My take is it matters everywhere. If you've got it, you've got it. For instance, I'm extremely encouraged by what Jeter Downs and Miles Gordon did this season. Power's an underappreciated aspect of it too. You generally need a modicum of it to make a pitcher nibble.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    2. What's the difference between BA and OBP wherein you consider plate approach a strength? A weakness?
    BA is the base skill on which you build OB and SLG. The more BA you've got, the better. That said, you do need the other stuff in addition to it or you wind up OPS challenged. Brandon Phillips is a good example. He did not have BB skills (6.61 BB/HB% with the Reds), but he carried a .279 BA and lumped a .150 ISOp on top of it. BA brought him to the party and he had enough of the other stuff to dance for a long time.
    Wait until the year after next year.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourgeois Zee View Post
    So what are your minimums, doug? Are they dependent on level and age? What are those levels and ages? Or is it more subjective?

    I'm intellectually curious.
    If you aren't walking 6% of the time and you aren't a teenager in rookie ball, there's a big need for correction. Ideally, you want at least 8% - but it also matters what the strikeout rate is with those walk rates. There's always some subjectivity to things. As I noted, a 6% walk rate that's with a 10% strikeout rate is a lot different than one that comes with a 24% strikeout rate. One may be indicative that a guy really gets the strikezone, but just makes a lot of contact on good pitches (this isn't a given, but it's usually what's going on). One may be indicative that a guy doesn't get the zone as much (again, it's not a given, but it's usually what's going on). It's why you need to look at more than just the numbers to see why the numbers are what they are.

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    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Prospect OBP Queries

    Quote Originally Posted by RED VAN HOT View Post
    While we are in this general area, I have a question for Doug. I may be wrong, but I have interpreted some of your evaluations of players as questioning if their OBP could hold up without a healthy slugging percentage. That makes sense in that opposing pitchers could pound the strike zone with impunity against a hitter who did not show an ability to drive the ball. But is it possible for a player to have a good OBP and still be pretty much of a pop gun hitter by developing a keen batting eye and an ability to spoil marginal strikes by fouling them off?
    Most guys can't walk at high rates if pitchers aren't worried about them doing damage. You don't have to be Giancarlo Stanton, but guys who can't carry a 100 IsoP generally aren't walking much. Guys that have the ability to "spoil" pitches are also the ones who usually just hit the first strike that they do get. Which, of course, makes it tough to draw a walk, if pitchers aren't actually careful against you (re: slap hitter).

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