Understanding MLB Hitting Statistics

fd-101-300x300Welcome to FantasyDraft 101, the only series designed to teach you how to play daily fantasy sports and win on FantasyDraft.com. The articles are designed to teach the basics step-by-step in order to educate beginning players and assist them in becoming the best competitor they can be. With little to no prior knowledge of the topic, these are the fundamentals to setting competitive daily fantasy baseball lineups.

Understanding Basic Baseball Hitting Statistics

Even more so than any other sport, baseball is a game based on statistics. Understanding the game of daily fantasy baseball starts with a basic comprehension of how statistics play their part in helping to determine the outcome for any given day. In the case of hitters, there are three main statistics that you absolutely must know: batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Learning what they are and how they work is the precursor for learning how to use them.

Batting Average, On-Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage

Batting average is calculated by taking a batter’s total number of hits and dividing it by the total number of at-bats. A player’s batting average is used to evaluate individual batting ability. The statistic is typically written out in decimal form to the thousandth place. For instance, if a player has three hits in 10 at-bats, then his batting average is .300. The league average is typically between .250 and .270 with any number .300 or over considered elite.

On-base percentage is a statistic that calculates the percent of at-bats in which the batter reaches base. Unlike batting average, he does not need to record a hit in order for it to count towards the statistic. On-base percentage is the measure of the number of times a player reaches base via hit, walk, or hit by pitch, expressed by his total number of plate appearances. Plate appearances differ from at-bats because walks and hit-by-pitches do not count towards an at-bat but do count towards an at-bat. For instance, if a player comes to the plate four times in a game and walks once, gets hit by a pitch, makes an out, and hits a single, that player would only have registered two at-bats (the out and the single) but four total plate appearances. Therefore, his batting average would be .500 for the game but his on-base percentage would stand at .750 (he reached base in three out of four plate appearances). League average is typically around .320 to .330 with .390 or greater considered elite.

Slugging percentage is defined as the total number of bases a batter has reached divided by their total number of at-bats. A home run is defined as four bases. The formula to calculate SLG is (1B + 2 x 2B + 3 x 3B + 4 x HRs)/at-bats where 1B equals a single, 2B equals a double, 3B equals a triple and HR equals a home run. Slugging percentage is a statistic designed to signify which hitters hit for power and which do not. It is designed to analyze which players make meaningful contact and which do not. Knowing this information comes in handy later for daily fantasy baseball. League average is typically around .410 to .440 with .600 or greater considered elite.

Applying These Statistics to Daily Fantasy Baseball

Now, how are these statistics useful? Well, if batting average measures how often a player gets a hit, on-base percentage measures how often a player gets on base, and slugging percentage measures a player’s power, these stats give you an idea of how often they will accomplish each of those outcomes. FantasyDraft’s daily fantasy baseball scoring system rewards these results as follows:



Applying what we have just learned about the statistics, let’s reason through this. A player with a high batting average is likely to accumulate singles, doubles, and triples on a daily basis. If a player’s on-base percentage ranks at an elite percentage, then they are accumulating the hits just mentioned along with bases on balls (walks) and being hit by pitches at a high rate. When a player’s slugging percentage is in the elite range, then the probability of an extra-base hit or home run is more likely than a player with a lower figure. These statistics allow you to analyze a player’s skill set and estimate the probability of outcomes they may produce. Some hitters, such as Ben Revere, do not possess any power but usually have a high batting average. When you roster him, you know you have a better chance of a single than a home run. On the other hand, a player like Pedro Alvarez has a high slugging percentage but low batting average. This means he likely will not provide you with many hits, but if he does, it will likely be an impactful one and may even be a home run. Essentially, players with lower batting averages come with higher risks.

We will learn to analyze the thought process of setting lineups more thoroughly in a future article.

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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