Home Baseball The worth of contact – by G. Scott Thomas

The worth of contact – by G. Scott Thomas

The worth of contact – by G. Scott Thomas


Final 12 months’s last statistics revealed an attention-grabbing correlation within the American League:

  • Luis Arraez, an infielder for the Minnesota Twins, struck out solely 43 occasions in 547 at-bats. That translated to a league-leading contact fee (CT) of .921, which suggests he put the ball into play 92.1 % of the time.

  • Arraez additionally received the AL’s hitting crown with a .316 batting common.

Coincidence, you say? Properly, contemplate what occurred within the Nationwide League final season:

  • Jeff McNeil, a second baseman for the New York Mets, topped the league with a CT of .886. He struck out simply 61 occasions in 533 at-bats.

  • McNeil additionally took the NL’s batting title with a .326 common.

There’s a invaluable message right here, don’t you assume?

Baseball is awash in chatter about launch angles and exit velocities and true outcomes. It’s generally asserted that strikeouts don’t actually matter, so long as a batter connects for a good variety of extra-base hits, particularly house runs.

The tales of Arraez and McNeil provide a counterexample, demonstrating the worth of contact. If a ball is just put in play, something can occur.

Final 12 months’s leaders are persevering with their robust performances this 12 months, although there’s no probability that each will once more end in first place. The Twins traded Arraez to the Miami Marlins over the winter, so he and McNeil at the moment are going face to face within the Nationwide League.

I checked on their progress by tabulating the contact statistics for the primary 10 weeks of the 2023 season, a interval when most groups performed barely greater than 60 video games.

Arraez emerges because the Nationwide League chief with a glowing CT of .949, which is 28 factors higher than final 12 months’s AL-leading fee. McNeil has additionally improved, pushing his CT up 19 factors to .905, which is third in 2023’s NL standings. (Keibert Ruiz of the Washington Nationals is second at .915.)

Jose Ramirez, the hard-hitting third baseman for the Cleveland Guardians, is the brand new American League chief in touch fee at .903. That’s a acquire of 39 factors from Ramirez’s 2022 CT of .864, then the third-best within the league.

The traditional knowledge might disagree, but it surely’s really attainable to mix contact and energy. Ramirez, for instance, smashed 44 doubles and 29 homers final 12 months.

And there’s little question {that a} greater CT correlates immediately with an elevated batting common. Exhibit A is Arraez, who was hitting a blistering .403 at 2023’s 10-week mark. It’s additionally noteworthy that the collective batting common for the 20 finest contact hitters was .271 after 10 weeks, roughly 10 % higher than the BA of .247 for all large leaguers.

The CT rankings of this season’s 20 contact leaders — the highest 10 in every league — will be seen under. Every is listed together with his at-bat and strikeout totals in parentheses. Gamers needed to have a minimal of 120 at-bats to be thought-about.

A brand new installment will arrive in your electronic mail every weekday morning

  • 1. Luis Arraez, Marlins, CT .949 (AB 216, SO 11)

  • 2. Keibert Ruiz, Nationals, CT .915 (AB 189, SO 16)

  • 3. Jeff McNeil, Mets, CT .905 (AB 220, SO 21)

  • 4. Nico Hoerner, Cubs, CT .892 (AB 223, SO 24)

  • 5. Alec Burleson, Cardinals, CT .884 (AB 146, SO 17)

  • 6. Will Smith, Dodgers, CT .877 (AB 154, SO 19)

  • 7. Yuli Gurriel, Marlins, CT .872 (AB 149, SO 19)

  • 7. Miguel Rojas, Dodgers, CT .872 (AB 125, SO 16)

  • 9. Kevin Newman, Reds, CT .868 (AB 152, SO 20)

  • 10. Luis Garcia, Nationals, CT .860 (AB 214, SO 30)



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