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Discussion: How Important of a Stat is Batting Average?

Posted Discussion
Jan. 16, 2011
FOFO
Men's 50
171 posts
How Important of a Stat is Batting Average?
Question.
How important is batting average in measuring a players performance during a tournament?
I play on a team that believes Batting Average is the measuring stick to measure a players performance during a tournament.
I agree that good hitting is essential,I happen to feel BA is not a good barometer in determining whether a player had a good tournament or not. This may be the case to a degree if the position you play is catcher or AH, and getting courtesy runners every time you get on, but still feel clutch hitting and good "D" is what makes the difference between winning and losing games. We have lost far too many games by having guys choke in the clutch,and yet they believe they had a great tournament if the hit 700.
For those who play other positions, if you give up runs with poor defense or as a pitcher by walking people, I don't care how good you hit you are not helping your team win and as for me, that's what I'm out there for, to win ball games.
Your thoughts?
Jan. 16, 2011
kbl
Men's 60
529 posts
FOFO-- OBP + walks = being on base . also hitting with men on base. .700 means little if you only hit with no one on base.
thanks, ken
Jan. 16, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2663 posts
I and my teammates have always thought that a OBP of 600 or better is very important. This isn't saying that if you have an exceptional ss, pitcher or outfielder that he might be cut if his average drops below 500.
Kbl,if you're hitting 700 then you are hitting with runners on. That's 7/10. Are you saying there wasn't anyone on base for those 7 ab's? If there wasn't the problem is with the guys hitting before him.
Imo a winning team will have obp mostly between 650 and 1000. If you have more than one or two below 650, you probably din't win many games or there wasn't much competition in your bracket.
I am most familiar with major and major plus. AA and AAA may be different.
Jan. 16, 2011
kbl
Men's 60
529 posts
bruce. 10/4. guess i didnt think that through.

ken
Jan. 16, 2011
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
I believe tracking BA or OBP over a long period can be helpful in tweaking batting orders and adjusting playing time. It can also help us give a guy a break when he has one bad tournament. It also can help keep players honest and real. Something I have always watched for is clutch hitting. When you have guys on and 2 outs, does a hitter come through or choke most often. Critical to scoring runs and winning games.

Defense is the harder one to track and figure in to a player's overall performance. The big questions for me are execution on defense and smooth coordination with teammates, and also being "heads-up". So much of this game requies that execution, both on offense and defense become instinctual. We cannot think fast enough to execute efficiently so over thousands of repetitions we hit and make plays without much thought. I tell myself and others all the time that "the body knows how, but the head gets in the way". I use the example of throwing a dart in the bulls-eye. If you've done it once, your body knows how and remembers. Your head needs to stay out of the way. Concentration is clearing the mind, not filling it.

ShaneV
Jan. 16, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
to me the answer is,how many outs do you produce.by that i mean ,not forcing a runner at any base,fly balls that don't score any runs,and such.we go with the if you get on base without causing an out ya get a hit for it,stops all the whining and such on errors(whether it was hit to hard to field or etc),ya get on base ya get credit for it.i know thats not the proper way but it works for us.
Jan. 16, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
oops forgot to add,that we do an OBP bastardization,so to include walks,errors and etc...
Jan. 16, 2011
tg69
309 posts
total bases,runs batted in,and defense and hit 750.is more importent than a 900 with no defense,,eh,dh,or catch.
Jan. 17, 2011
turn2
486 posts
We have always kept up with the on base average of all of our players every year. This way if there is a problem when someone has to sit we can go back and look at the oba and let that person know why he sat out.
I like the higher oba but you have to have defense also. You need to find a nice mix of both. In the associations where you can only score x number of runs/game you have to have a high oba. We have lost a couple of games where we hit in hte high 700's as a team.
This is where our defense has failed us.
Get ready to play.
Donnie
Jan. 17, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
hey guys let me ask this,how many of ya's have seen a lock down defensive player/pitcher get all tourney or even MVP with a .500 or even lower BA/OBP.i mean with out this guy you don't win the tourney.i have rarely if any,it is always the big bopper,high avg guys who get them.personally i think D should be in the mix,but who remembers all the plays on D when ya come to vote/let the coach pick them,for the all tourney's.how many eh/c get all tourney/MVP awards.
Jan. 17, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
I think the problem is people take the easy/lazy way out and just look at offensive stats that are much more easily quantified than pitching and defense.

Kind of sad, but probably symptomatic of the push for offense that is best shown by the craving for hotter and hotter special bats.
Jan. 17, 2011
Fastsam
Men's 60
55 posts
Gary please, we get your point. You make me not want to look at this site because of your constant negative views of our game. I understand as most your views on protective eguipment and dummying down the game because of our eguipment. You don't have to point this out on every thread you post on. WE GET IT.
Jan. 17, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Fair enough, though the equipment contributes to so much wackniness in the Senior game.

My point here was that guys take the lazy way out when naming MVPs or all-tourney and often exclusively go by BA or OBP, with little regard for any form of defense. Again, when you don't have to get 3 outs to earn your ups (as ridiculous as that is) it radically changes many things about the game.
Jan. 17, 2011
DoubleL10
Men's 65
833 posts
Let me share a personal experience on this subject. During one of my managerial stints, I tried to use a combination of OBA, defensive ability and consideration of guys who ran for others. Needless to say, some of the guys who had folks run for them and/or did not play defense got upset that they were omitted from All Tournament teams since they HIT well. More than once, I passed on being on the AT team to try to keep the peace. Long story short, my experience was that guys who hit and don't do much else seem to like the simple OBA stat without considering defensive ability and guys who run themselves ragged (and, thereby affecting THEIR batting averages) running for guys who don't want to (or can't) run for themselves. OBA is the "easy" way out, as Gary says, however, in my experience, that approach caused the least amount of sniping/second-guessing.
Jan. 17, 2011
FOFO
Men's 50
171 posts
Double10,
I could not agree more. Some guys bring a lot more to the table than hitting and hitting is all some guys bring. You have to judge them differently. I have a problem with guys who only hit and don't run, not because they can't, but don't want to while other guys run their butts off taking 2nd and going 1st to 3rd at every opportunity.
I also have no respect for any player that cries about not making a silly All-Tournament team when his team has just won a tournament. Those are the same guys who are all smile after a loss because they hit well and bummed if they hit well and their team wins. I think their called cancers...............
Jan. 17, 2011
birdie
Men's 60
683 posts
Larry, I agree with you on that subject. I am one of the guys who gets run for. At the TOC last year, I had a good tourney and the way things turned out our left fielder ran for me about 99% of the time. We only had 4 outfielders and he played every inning. I bought him a couple of Bud Lights but I could never had done what he did. What runners do for a team is very seldom recognized and should be changed. He would come running out to the base yelling I am here to carry the POST. ( I am a paperboy for the Washington Post it was funny) Have I mentioned that I am very bitter about not going to the TOC lol. Thanks Harry
Jan. 17, 2011
Omar Khayyam
999 posts
FOFO: great question! Here's what works with me. Guys are having a couple of beers and snacks after a successful tournament. They start reflecting on the games.

Sure, the guy who had a monster tournament and was on base almost every at bat is remembered. Then someone comments on when the leftfielder made an over the shoulder running catch and quelled a bottom of the seventh rally to save the game.

Someone else speaks up and thanks the center fielder for running for a couple of guys time and again. There was that first to home run that was essential to winning one of the games.

Another guy notes that the pitcher didn't walk one batter except for two intentional walks the coach ordered.

Of course the guy who parked three over the fence gets some credit.

Then someone comments on a couple of brilliant plays the shortstop made. The second baseman observed that the shortstop didn't make an error the whole tourney.

And what about the backup infielder who willingly went to play right when the fielder cramped up? And the catcher who spotted an illegal bat and also was heads up enough to throw a guy out at second after a play at home?

You get the point. Batting average is important for a tournament player. But if the coach would wait a while before nominating a few guys for the all-tourney team, he might honor equally important contributions.
Jan. 17, 2011
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
Great topic and often a difficult thing to manage with any team. It is so important to have good defense in all the positions that matter. We all want to play the busy positions which makes the not so busy positions, 1st, right and catcher, critical to success. Those of us who play these positions regularly very seldom are highly recognized simply because we don't get as many plays. When we have the top OBA there's a chance.

Who out there realizes how important a catcher can be? I want to play left but I'll move over for any better outfielder, and I'll pitch with 4 better outfielders, and I'll catch with a better pitcher, and I'll sit with another catcher that understands all that a serious catcher can do! I expect many of you to laugh at this, but a catcher can:
1. Manage the umpire(s).
2. Study closely every hitter and his bat, and just short of any rule violation, get in the batter's head.
3. Manage his pitcher or at least assist.
4. Manage his defense or at least make recommendations. He has the best view even if the manager is in the dugout.
5. Direct throws though best if the pitcher or other infielder does this.
6. Make sure defense knows the count, how many outs, where the first play is, etc.
7. Take his position and contributions as seriously as any defensive player.
8. And more I'm sure!

How many times have we watched a runner slow down and trot home when that run could have been an out if we look for and make that play? A good catcher is there and ready for a on-hopper just like any good 1st baseman, and will block the ball rather than let it get through.

ShaneV
Jan. 17, 2011
BruceinGa
Men's 60
2663 posts
Well put ShaneV!

We have one of the best catcher's, Mike Langford.

(I like your mentioning of the first baseman also!)
Jan. 17, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
omar sounds great,but usually the TD's want your answers right after the last game,not an hour later as the team is sitting around reflecting.that makes it hard to give recognition to those players who went the extra mile.we do the obp for our all tourney's,coach keeps a score book for it,an up dates it every game for us.doesn't let us see it till the end of the tourney,unless you go to him and ask,then sometimes he still won't.
i like your way larry,i was thinking,what about giving points out for outstanding plays on D and such also.take the best obp and rank them with 10 points for the best on down and add the D points to make your all tourney and mvp awards.not sure what kind of point system to use for D but maybe you guys could give some way to do it.

myself as a pitcher got left off an all tourney team b/c of someone who hit 4 hrs(1 more than i)and hit less for avg they said he deserved it more.as our pitcher i avg about 2 walks a game,but only gave up an avg of 8 runs a game.we went undefeated ,and played 6 games to win it.they said i walk to many to deserve an all tourney,but this guy did,oh well.oh all did was catch all tourney or eh'd.yeah i was good ol boy,civilian on a military team,but what the hey we won,thats all i care about.also i didn't bitch about it,they felt the need to come to me and give me that explanation.
Jan. 17, 2011
southernson
260 posts
Lots of good points....

One thing I don't think is well understood is is rating a pitcher's performance....we do it simply.

# of earned runs given up plus the number of errors defensively, minus the number of RBI's by the pitcher provides a number. Clutch defensive plays or clutch hits get two points for each (as they do for all players).

Example - Gave up 14 runs, made 1 error, had 4 RBI's at the plate, and one clutch hit = 9


Gave up 11 runs, 0 errors, 0 RBI's, 0 cluch - 11
Jan. 17, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
All-tourney players and MVPs are like good-looking women, you know then when you see them. Can't always be quantifiably defined.
Jan. 17, 2011
tg69
309 posts
there are lots,and I mean lots of guys that can still hit a slow pitch softball,some with power but most with good bat control,but they have no legs to run and to play any sort of defense at all.Maybe with all the rules of senior ball we could do like football,have an offensive team and a defensive team.
Jan. 17, 2011
garyheifner
361 posts
Hi SHANE V

About 4 years ago, I volunteered to move from outfield to catcher as we lost some ring opportunities do to play at that position. It has contributed greatly to a pile of rings for our team. I set and control/place the defense, memorize the hitters and their strengths. Can't tell you how many dozens and dozens of double plays fielders to catcher back to 1st or 3rd we have turned. Games 6-7-8 and so on in major tourneys I still feel strong hitting and can still run/pinch run. I am also fresh to move to the outfield if someone gases out. I had never realized how much action the catcher is involved in. Not trying to brag above but the best softball move I have made in the 48 years I have played.
Jan. 17, 2011
The real deal
Men's 60
63 posts
I'm not sure why we even need to have all-tourney players at our age. The team award should be the ultimate prize...
Jan. 17, 2011
ShaneV
Men's 55
382 posts
garyheifner gets it. That's an awesome example of the point. I never caught much until I began managing. We usually had 5-6 outfielders and it just made things easier if I would catch or sit. When someone needed a break, we'd switch. I began to enjoy catching so much, there were times when my infielders told me I should have been in the outfield. There really are so many things you can do back there to help your team. Thanks Gary!

We'll talk right field next...

ShaneV
Jan. 18, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
real deal, apparently for the same reason seniors need the special bats. To massage fragile egos.

tg69, a terrible idea. If all guys want to, or can do, is hit than they should just enter home run derbies. Last I checked there are multiple components to the game.
Jan. 18, 2011
tg69
309 posts
that was my point, exactly.Didnt know I had to spell it out to you.
Jan. 18, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Rereading your post, you pretty much seemed like you were proposing platooning. If you weren't, then fine, but that doesn't seem to be what you said.
Jan. 18, 2011
tg69
309 posts
was said in jest,but isnt that whats going on now,I hit,you,run for me.
Jan. 18, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
yes a catcher can be very important to a team,but how many teams think that way,i have caught many a time,and do it the way gary H suggests it be done.i catch(when not pitching) a lot with the kids and they now realize i can be trusted back there,so they can make the throw home if needed.
Jan. 18, 2011
hombre
Men's 60
220 posts
I agree with Omar and mad dog whole heartedly about giving recognition to players who have made a positive impact during the tournament. Md may be on to something with his point system. Almost ever team tracks ba's or obp's already. Give them point values from 1-10, 10 being highest. That's simple. Give your top three defensive players 1-3 points, 3 being highest. Give the top three impact players 1-3 points, 3 being the highest.
The impact category gives credit to the guy who makes the outstanding game saving defensive play or perhaps a walk off homer. How about the outfielder who gives up his legs to run for those who can't? How about the pitcher who does a great job?
This system would still give obp the bulk of the credit. Although it's subjective, it shouldn't be too difficult to pick out three players who played outstanding ball. The same goes with impact players.
What are your thoughts? Also, what are your thoughts on a player with a high obp, but made errors that scored eight runs and caused his team to lose two games? Should he be selected all tournament? Thanks
Jan. 18, 2011
mad dog
Men's 60
3936 posts
hombre actually seen this happen,yeah he was in the top 5 for BA only, but his D was just barely ok,he actually hung me out to dry on a inning ending DP,i went to start it(i was playing 3rd and)and he was out in short RF,well we only get 1 out of it,and then he tells me i should of went home to get a force there(runners on 1st,3rd)instead of the DP,which would of ended the inning.
well it happen the coach didn't pick him for the all tourney(this was ssusa world tourney) award and he pitched a fit and demanded to get one,and yes this was in senior ball.the coach then relented a few days later and gave it to him.i never even thought about the award as i thought my play for this tourney didn't deserve it.later when the coach sent out the year end stats along with this tourney,i saw that i had been in the top 5 for most of our offensive category's for the tourney,even then i felt the coach had picked the right 5 originally.
Jan. 18, 2011
FOFO
Men's 50
171 posts
Great points made by all. Shane/Omar I like your take and Gary H you obviously know what it takes to win ball games. I agree that we should all do what's best for the team not whats best for ourselves.
The importance of Catching and Pitching are often overlooked and not having the right people in those positions will most certainly cost a team victories.
As for BA, it looks like most are in agreement that it is only a small part in measuring ones performance.
A coach I played for had an interestin way of judging ones performance. Any time a player got a clutch hit or made a good play he would have the score keeper put a star next to their name in the score book. Ever time the screwed up he would have the score keeper put a minus sign by their name. End of the tournament did the math and that was that.
Jan. 19, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
You know an all-tournament player when you see one.
Jan. 19, 2011
boston
305 posts
This topic has always been a pet peave of mine. I have seen on far too many occasions players that play positions like EH, catcher, pitcher, 1b and the other IF positions receive All-Tourney. Add to that many of these players get on base and the OF's have to run for them. I have been to tourneys where I start off batting .800-.900, then drop to overall .600 or .700 because I am chasing routine balls the IF's don't stop, running for people, turning singles into doubles, sliding into bases etc.
I have stolen hits diving all over the field, crashed into fences etc.. and to see and EH that you have to run for make all tourney pisses me off. That is one of the reasons I have slowly cut down on my tourneys. I play for the love of the game but I also challenge myself to try and be one of the best at the tourney but to no avail.
Jan. 19, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
boston, perhaps you should challenge yourself to win the tournament.

Senior softball seems to prove that guys do not mature with age. :(
Jan. 19, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1980 posts
Good grief, Gary, ease up just for once. Boston is discussing something that a lot of guys feel. It has nothing to do with maturity, but we all have egos, and to get to a high level the ego has to come into play. It is part of what drives a person to get better. Our team does not, unless John keeps it secretly, keep stats. Our 'committee' chooses all tourney teams. Although we did not have an 'MVP' in a recent Major Tourney, I believe John Reid would have been the consensus. He was far from the highest batting average, does not hit with considerable power, did not drive in a lot of runs, but what he did was pitched and threw strikes where many pitchers couldn't because of a tricky wind, and he fielded his position well. If he had not done the job he did-we don't win. That's what an MVP is.
Jan. 19, 2011
goforit
97 posts
I think this is a great thread and i think the comments are very good but i really disagree with the comments regarding the outfield against the infield. I always have felt that everyone is trying to do their best when we take the field. I do play the infield and i feel as bad as anyone when i miss a ball that i felt i should have had. But just because i miss a grounder or an outfielder can't get to a fly ball that person should not be kept off an all tourney team if they are trying to do their best. Its important to note that sometimes people play out of their normal position if its the best for the team. I believe the one area that is most important to me is a persons attitude in the dugout and on the field. I do not care how good someone bats; if they are always complaining about another player in the field or the dugout they do not deserve anything because all that does is hurt the team. Example ME: i had a good tournament early last year but late in the championship game we had a situation come up and i disagreed with the manager regarding a defensive switch. I was upset and others could see that i was upset. well the switch to five infielders ended up winning us the Championship. Even though i got alot of the key hits, made some defensive plays and hit the homerun that tied the championship game in the last of the 7th. I did not make the all tournament team. I had a talk with the manager later and he explained his decision. I agreed with him and we moved on, our team won a lot of tournaments last year and I feel its because we got along and learned to trust and support each other during the course of a game.
Jan. 19, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Sorry Webbie, but in 12 lines boston wrote not once do I see a mention about winning. What else can I go on in something that long and presumably thought out but the words that are, or arenít, there?

The maturity comment was not meant to be directed just at boston, but basically anyone who at this age gets that hung up over an individual award. Maybe it is just me. I have both championship shirts and all-star shirts and caps from our local league. I have occasionally worn the championship shirts out, but never the all-star stuff. Sure it is nice to be recognized individually, but just not my focus.

Again, maybe that is just me.
Jan. 19, 2011
boston
305 posts
webbie thanks but I don't need anyone to defend my point to this Gary idiot. Gary what the hell do you think diving for balls, craching into fences and running for people are all about. Any person with half a brain would figure out I'm busting my ass to win. But, some people need things spelled out for them. You would think with age would come comman sense.
Jan. 19, 2011
stick8
1296 posts
Boston, Gary19 isn't challenging everything you accomplish individually. The overall point he's making is there are far too many players who place a higher emphasis on being on the all-tournament team then winning the tournament. You validate his point when you complained abou EH's, catchers, pitchers, infielders and 1b being picked an all tourney team over you an outfielder. As an outfielder myself I fully understand the frustration of inflelders missing routine grounders. But that cuts both ways, infielders also get frustrated at outfielders missing routine plays too.
Bottom line, it doesn't do any good to get upset over things you have no control over.
Jan. 19, 2011
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
boston, I would like to think those were about winning. However, since YOU wrote "I have stolen hits diving all over the field, crashed into fences etc.. and to see and EH that you have to run for make all tourney pisses me off. That is one of the reasons I have slowly cut down on my tourneys. I play for the love of the game but I also challenge myself to try and be one of the best at the tourney but to no avail."

You make NO mention of doing any of this to win, but sure seem to dwell on the all tourney aspect, to the extent that you cited this as a reason for cutting back on your tourneys. What else do you leave me to think? You sure made a point of talking about individual honors with NO mention of the team.

stick, nice to see your example of 'common sense'. You got my point, and seem to understand what boston was saying, perfectly. :)

Jan. 20, 2011
Webbie25
Men's 60
1980 posts
You guys are right that it is really about the team. Without a team doing well and finishing in the top 3, there are no individual honors. 2007 Phoenix I was something like 22-24 with 9 HR's in 6 games. Nobody noticed because we went 1-5 as a team. I would rather win as a team and do my part to help.
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