Thursday, January 19, 2012

What to Know About Baseball SLG?

Baseball is the most statistically driven game of all sports. Young baseball fans are familiar with numbers like 755 and 714 -- Hank Aaron's and Babe Ruth's career home run total, respectively. A .400 batting average is a remarkable figure that hasn't been reached since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. A baseball slugging percentage -- "SLG" in statistical columns -- is an excellent indicator of a baseball player's ability to hit for power.
Slugging Percentage
Slugging percentage is determined by counting the hitter's total bases and dividing that total by the at-bats. If a hitter has come to bat 100 times and he has 35 hits, that represents a batting average of .350. Of those 35 hits, the hitter had 22 singles, eight doubles, one triple and four home runs. The hit add up to 57 total bases. That's a robust slugging percentage of .570.
Using Slugging Percentage
General managers use slugging percentage to help fill out their roster. Managers use it to formulate lineup. Players with higher slugging percentages often fill the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots in the batting order. That's because managers want to put players who can hit the ball for distance and drive in runs in key lineup spots. If managers put players with lower slugging percentages in those spots in the batting order, they could be making strategic errors and hurting their team's competitive ability.
On-Base Plus Slugging
While slugging percentage often validates baseball fans' and officials' opinions of many players, it doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't take into account on-base percentage. In addition to hits, that number also includes of times a player gets on base by walking or being hit by a pitch. The OPS statistic -- on-base plus slugging -- includes those. That statistic is determined by adding a player's on base percentage to his slugging percentage.
Slugging Percentage Leaders
Baseball's all-time leading slugger is Babe Ruth, who had a career slugging percentage of .690 during his 22-year career with the Red Sox, Yankees and Braves. Ted Williams is second to Ruth with a .634 slugging percentage of .634, while Lou Gehrig is third at .632. percentage. Albert Pujols is fourth at .624 though the 2010 season.

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