Statcast has given us many new ways to evaluate quality of contact. You can look at exit velocity and launch angle (although I wouldn’t recommend it). You can look at my xOBA, or MLB’s xwOBA (cough). You can look at Value Hits, or MLB’s Barreled Balls. Each of these focus primarily on great contact, or frequency of good contact with respect to plate appearances. However, bad contact is important too, right?
In the past I have written about Poorly Hit balls, which you may find interesting to read. These combined with Value Hits paint a picture of the upper and lowest levels of contact a batter creates or a pitcher surrenders. Well, there is a different way of looking at these figures, and with my notoriously bad ability for naming things (the title of my senior thesis in college was “Introduction”), I have come to call this “Wasted At Bats.” Others have told me that’s a terrible, misleading name. To which I have no response other than “I’m sorry.” But let me explain.
This stat, which I will call henceforth “Wasted”, represents the ratio between plate appearances that end in a near automatic out to at bats that end with a near automatic extra base hit. The formula is simple:
(PH% + K%) / VH%
You know strikeouts are almost always outs. Very, very rarely can a batter reach first base, although it *can* happen. Well, PH% (Poorly Hit) are somewhat similar, although not *quite* as automatic. Poorly Hit balls are outs about 98% of the time. Not automatic, but as close as you’re going to get.
To put this in perspective, Bartolo Colon has 309 plate appearances in his career to date. He has five extra base hits. Base hits on Poorly Hit balls are about as common as Bartolo Colon extra base hits. It happens, but don’t count on it. Read the rest of this entry »