Mains: Slugging percentage to the fore

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on September 24, 2019:

One of the key early insights of the sabermetric movement is that everybody’s favorite batting statistic through most of the game’s history, batting average, isn’t the best indicator of offensive skill. Here’s a scatterplot of team batting average and team runs per game from 1901 to 2018, 2,496 team seasons.

Batting average isn’t a bad predictor of runs. The correlation between team batting average and team runs per game is 0.82. That’s pretty good.

But on-base percentage is better. The correlation is 0.89. You can see that in the scatterplot.

The graph is tighter, indicating a closer relationship. On-base percentage is more predictive of run production than batting average.

How about slugging percentage, on-base percentage’s partner in OPS? It’s also better than batting average, but it doesn’t match on-base percentage. As noted, from 1901 to 2018, the correlation between batting average and runs per game is 0.82. On-base percentage is 0.89. Slugging percentage is 0.84. OBP wins.

Or maybe it doesn’t?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: September 24, 2019. Last Updated: September 24, 2019.