Are Patient Hitters Better Hitters?

From SABR member Bill Petti at Beyond the Box Score on October 26, 2011:

I for one always assumed that, on average, players with higher on-base percentages (OBP) would see significantly more pitches per plate appearance (P/PA). It seemed intuitive that higher OBP was the result of walking more and that resulted from greater patience at the plate. My assumption was that variation in OBP should be explained to a large degree by P/PA.

A few weeks ago I learned that isn’t the case. Generally speaking, only a small percentage of the variation in OBP can be explained by P/PA.

To confirm for myself, I looked at all qualified batters between 2002-2009. Sure enough, the correlation between the two metrics was .426 with an r2 of .18. Now, that’s roughly 20%, but much lower than I assumed.

So much for assumptions.

To dig in deeper I ran some correlations between P/PA for a number of other metrics, just to get a better sense of what outcomes are driven by or related to working pitchers.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 26, 2011. Last Updated: October 26, 2011.