And we’re back.
To briefly recap the essay I published on WordPress, I aimed to determine who really is the best hitter, one who incorporates the elements of power and contact along with a hitter’s natural orientation. My research bears out that hitters generally don’t change their stripes when it comes to facing pitchers. Yes, ballparks, team chemistry and managers will have their impact, but I find that info a bit difficult to quantity. Not to say it’s impossible; there are such stats re ballpark influences. But for sake of the original formulas I published, along with the dusting off of some of Bill James’s ideas, we’ll keep this rather simple.
In those essays, I provided both historical and 2012 results of the Fear Factor and Offensive Value stats for players and teams.
For this update, I included all batters with at least 100 PA. I highlighted the top 2 players per team that ranked highest in both FF and OV%. For FF, whoever scores highest had first consideration. For OV%, whoever was closest to the magic .50 mark was best. With some teams it was pretty difficult to split hairs in ranks.
In reintroducing the stats: Fear Factor combines one original formula, a Contact Average (measuring times a batter makes fair contact per plate appearance) and the inverse properties of Bill James’ Isolated Power, essentially what should be called Bases Per Hit. The higher this total, the greater amount of execution a hitter has at the plate.
Offensive Value % is a measure of a hitter’s orientation and mindset. Is he a singles hitter or does he focus on power? Or is he rather balanced? Such a balance is evident when that hitter is using anywhere from 45 to 55%. Anything below suggests sheer power, while a sacrificial lamb is at work when the number is above. This number involves hits, AB, and the basic Runs Created formula.
I was not able to capture the RC number by teams, so this last stat is blank for the time being.
Putting this together, a hitter’s mindset, plus execution of same, should result in a complete hitter. As I’ve demonstrated in the historical sample, Vladimir Guerrero may be the very best example of this.
In Sheet 2 of the document I took the two representative players per team highlighted in bold, and further compared the numbers of the top 10 in both FF and OV%. Interestingly, just one player surfaced that fit both categories: Lonnie Chisenhall, who did quite well for Cleveland this year, especially in the ALDS. Is Lonnie the zen hitter for 2013?
Part-timer Seth Smith for Oakland is ranked as the most balanced hitter in the game, tho you’ll see that he is not in boldface; the combined formulas reveal him to be a generally singles hitter.
Edwin Encarnacion leads in the Fear Factor category for 2013, though is strictly dead-red, as evidenced by his OV%.
Regardless of these examples, those 60 players of the 458 I sampled I feel are truly the most complete in the game, via these formulas.
To further summarize the meaning and usage of the formulas, I classify hitters into 6 categories: Higher FF, with either higher (power), central (balanced) or lower (contact) OV%, and lower FF with the same areas. The hitters with the higher FF and central OV% are the players that are the focus of the essay, those same 60 players you’ll see on Sheet 2.
Next up is the 2013 pitcher evaluation, which I hope to complete before the World Series begins. From that point, I’d like to be able to figure which type of hitter can defeat which type of pitcher.
This is about where I left off when completing the 2012 essays, and I’d like to see if it’s a matter of similarity or difference that gives one side the advantage over the other.