Watson: What hard-hit rate means for batters

From SABR member Owen Watson at FanGraphs on June 2, 2015:

Recently, one of the hot topics in baseball statistics has been the appearance of a measurement for hard-hit balls: here at FanGraphs, we added hard-hit rate to our leaderboards before this season, adding along with it a wealth of opportunities for analysis. An issue with any new statistic is that it can be cited without fully knowing its true use or impacts, and so hard-hit rate has been making the rounds in player analysis, generally cited in respect to how well or how poorly they have been performing.

For hitters, it might go without saying that hitting the ball harder is generally a good thing: the aim of hitting, in a certain sense, would seem to be to hit the ball as hard as possible as often as you can (except in the cases of bunting or other situational circumstances). However, it hasn’t been clear yet how hitting the ball hard impacts other rate and counting statistics, and that seems to be a hole in our understanding of a statistic that is undergoing a moment in the spotlight.

The aim today is, at the very least, to explore how hard-hit rate impacts a few of those stats, as well as to begin a conversation that more astute statistical minds may be able to take to deeper and exciting places. There are a couple levels to this piece today, but there are surely many more that I have not reached: I don’t intend to make hard conclusions, but rather to explore and provide a well-intentioned foray into the data. With that said, onward.

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-hard-hit-rate-means-for-batters/

Originally published: June 2, 2015. Last Updated: June 2, 2015.