Getting on base of course! What, you thought I’d let you be seduced by the long ball? Please. On Base Percentage is what makes the offense tick in the game of baseball. If you can’t get on base, you can’t score runs. Hitting home runs and extra-base hits look good in the stat column but if you strike out or get put out more than you hit those extra-base hits, you’re harming your team more than help them. Heck, just look at Josh Hamilton in the MLB. Dude hits amazing homeruns but strikes out like Casey.
What we will look into in this article a couple statistics looking at getting on base and how it’s done. I’m not going to separate AL and NL but we will take a gander at 10 of the top guys in the entire league (remember data was pulled after the 40 game mark).
Top 10 OBP Players (min. 50 AB and min. 15 H):
1. Howard Atkins (SYR/DH) – Atkins has a phenomenal .494 OBP for the Crush this season. Atkins has managed this from the DH spot and, while we don’t need to linger on the antiquated AVG statistic, he is hitting .430 for the year.
2. Andre Fleming (KC/DH) – Fleming is also having a fantastic year from the DH spot getting on base at a great .487 clip. Fleming’s stats are boosted by missing 6 days on the DL early in the year.
3. Brian Lowrie (CSP/3B-SS) – The young Lowrie (25 years old) is right behind his elders with a .485 OBP for the year.
4. Matt Jaha (BOS/DH) – Jaha enters the fourth spot after Alan Wilson (CHA) was removed due to his long-term injury. Jaha has been the everyday, and I mean EVERYday, DH for the Pilgrims and has worked his way on base to the tune of a .463 OBP.
5. Peter Cheng (KC/1B-DH) – Cheng has split time at first and as the designated hitter throughout the Hotsteppers season. One of the better pure hitters in the league (evidenced by his $10.8 million contract?), Cheng has reached base with an OBP of .460 after 40 games.
6. John Pong (DOV/1B) – L’isiana boy, John Pong has helped Delaware’s Team with a .459 OBP this season. Pong has been doing this for a while, hitting over .410 in OBP the last five seasons.
7. Rafael Hernandez (FAR/RF) – The mighty Wood Chippers are spurred along by Hernandez’s 27 singles and his .447 OBP.
7. Jim Hawpe (MON/2B) – Hawpe’s .447 OBP is buoyed by his 21 double this season.
9. Kazuhiro Kuroda (ROC/C) – Kuroda is an enigma being Japanese but raised in Vietnam but his play for Rochester has been anything but puzzling. Kuroda has helped Rochester with his .446 OBP.
10. Evan Brooks (NO/C) – Brooks just barely became eligible for this list and has the least amount of AB (56) compared to the rest of the Top 10 and is the only player on this list who is not an everyday starter for their team. However, maybe the Zephyrs should look for Brooks to be a starter with his .439 OBP.
So what does the On-Base Percentage tell us? These are the hitters that can reach base at least 44% of the time. Look at Howard Atkins who gets on base almost 50% of the time! Those players that can get on base a lot should help managers set the top of their lineup. Like I said to start off the article, hitting homeruns and extra base hits is nice, but getting on base helps put runs on the board as well. But we should go further than just OBP.
· Howard Atkins: .494 OBP / .38 HITR
· Andre Fleming: .487 OBP / .37 HITR
· Brian Lowrie: .485 OBP / .32 HITR
· Matt Jaha: .463 OBP / .32 HITR
· Peter Cheng: .460 OBP / .29 HITR
· John Pong: .459 OBP / .27 HITR
· Rafael Hernandez: .447 OBP / .34 HITR
· Jim Hawpe: .447 OBP / .29 HITR
· Kazuhiro Kuroda: .446 OBP / .23 HITR
· Evan Brooks: .439 OBP / .29 HITR
The above list shows each of the Top 10 OBP players along with their HITR stat: Hit Rate. This is a measurement of Hits per Plate Appearance and helps us get a better understanding of the ratio of hits to other aspects of a player’s offensive statistics. It’s not a perfect correlation but knowing that Hernandez records a Hit 34% of his plate appearances helps to show that the majority of his .447 OBP are from Hits and not from walks, HBP or Sac Flies. Conversely, Kuroda’s .446 OBP and .23 HITR shows a man that knows how to get on-base through other means rather than hitting.
At the 80 game mark we’ll take a look at the Top 10 OBP along with their corresponding HITR statistic but we’ll also go into one of the most telling statistics in baseball: wOBA.