A slugging percentage is the number of bases that a batter accumulates on hits, divided by at bats. Slugging percentage is used more in baseball than any other sport because it shows how well hitters are able to hit the ball.
The higher the slugging percentage, the better hitter or pitcher you are! This article will explore what slugging percentage means in baseball and why it’s important for players and coaches alike.
Slugging Percentage in Baseball
In baseball statistics, the slugging percentage (SLG) is a statistic that measures the productivity of a batter. It’s the total bases / by at-bats.
From 1976 through 1987, Pete was a statistician for Sports Information Center, the American League’s official statisticians. In 1979, Pete created on-base plus slugging (OPS), a statistic that is now used by baseball teams across the world.
- Slugging percentage is a more advanced statistic that takes into account the extra base hits, such as doubles and home runs, whereas batting average gives greater emphasis to singles.
- The number of plate appearances resulting in walks, hit-by-pitches, catcher’s interference, and sacrifice bunts or flies is not factored into this calculation (these are not taken into account in batting average).
- The word is a misnomer since the statistic isn’t a percentage but an average of how many bases a player scores each time up. A percentage is a measure that has an approximate value of 0 to 4. This is not immediately evident because, in most situations, a slugging percentage of the Major League Baseball player’s is less than 1 (as more at bats result in either 0 or 1 base).
- A home run is worth four times as much as a single, for example. To be a percentage, the slugging percentage must be divided by 4 (of bases obtained per at bat out of total bases possible). The term “slugging average” is occasionally used instead, although it has a different meaning.
The percentage of time a player is in the field, which is referred to as his “slugging percentage.” It’s calculated by dividing the total number of bases a player accrues per at-bat by the total number of at-bats. Slugging percentage, unlike on-base percentage, strictly considers hits and doesn’t include walks or hit-by-pitches in its calculation.
Slugging percentage, as opposed to batting average, gives more emphasis to home runs and doubles over singles.
A Good Slugging Percentage in Baseball
A player may have a slugging average of 4.000, indicating a perfect batting average and home-run rate. A slugging average of 4.000 is achieved when a player has one at-bat and hits a home run. Calculate an SLG of 1.000 if a batter hits a single in one at-bat.
The OPS ratio is the rate at which a player scores runs in comparison to the league average. In Major League Baseball, an OPS of .800 or higher puts the player in the upper echelon of batters. The average OPS for the league’s best hitters will usually be near, and on occasion exceed, 1.000.
A walk is worth one point, a single two points, a double three points, and so on. A home run is worth five points.
The all-time great Babe Ruth has the best OPS in history at 1.1636.
Looking Closer into Slugging Percentage in Baseball?
Ever wonder why major league baseball players use weighted bats? There’s not much data to support it, but batters seem to get more hits with a weighted bat.
- A slugging percentage (SLG) is the total bases gained per at-bat. It takes into account all forms of hitting by adding singles, doubles, triples and home runs.
- The outlier in this is the home run, which counts as four bases plus it takes at least two at-bats for each home run. A player could go 0-for-10 with 10 strikeouts and still have a .400 average if they hit four homers in those ten times up.
- The MLB SLG has been rising since the 1920’s. The reason for this is the type of bat they use now versus what was used in the 20’s. Bats are lighter, easier to swing and more flexible giving them greater distance on hits.
- One could argue that lighter bats allow for less effort thus allowing players to focus more on the mechanics of their stance rather than exerting all their energy to swing the bat. Slugging percentages are interesting, but do they really tell us who’s a better hitter? The answer is no.
- Strength of competition is not taken into consideration when calculating SLG. And if you take defense into account you’d have to factor in pitchers as well. Pitcher’s can’t hit so their average is zero, but then we have to factor in that they can’t field. So what good is SLG?
- It’s interesting to watch how the average SLG changes throughout time and it does show us if players are hitting better than others, but there is so much more involved when trying to figure out who the best hitter actually was. It could be that the player wasn’t as good because he didn’t play as long or that he was injured more often thus giving him less opportunities to build up his stats.
So what’s a better measure of batting ability?
OPS (On-base percentage plus slugging percentage) is one way statisticians have tried to address this issue since it takes into account batting average, on-base percentage and SLG all together in one number.
But even then, there are factors that need to be considered when taking this stat into account such as league quality, home park effects, aging patterns and position. These are all things that can have an effect on the player’s performance, so it’s hard to tell how much weight you can actually give to OPS.
Currently there is no ideal measure for batting ability, but statisticians will continue to try and find one that provides a better idea of who was truly the best hitter throughout history. Maybe if they can find the right formula they can finally put those weighted bats to good use.
How to be a Better Baseball Player to Increase Slugging Average
Do you want to be a better hitter? Here are some simple steps that will help you increase your slugging average.
A good hitter like yourself always wants to get on base, right? Well here is how you can become a better player when you step up to the plate.
Power hitters are in high demand at every level of baseball but it’s not easy to find one. So if you want more power and want to be like these types of players, you need to learn some tips on how to increase your slugging average.
- Workout with weights – The first thing that you can do is get yourself into the gym and start working out with weights. Not only will this help you increase your overall strength, it will also help you build up power in your arms and legs which will allow you to hit the ball harder when you step up to the plate. You don’t have to bulk out but instead focus on building lean muscles for increased speed and power in your legs when you are running around the diamond so doing leg exercises will help with this.
- Visualize success – Another thing that you can do is visualize yourself succeeding at the plate. When you visualize it, it will feel like you have already done it and this will give you confidence and make the plate seem a lot smaller. When you visualize yourself hitting a home run, it can also motivate you to train harder so that your mental workout is as effective as possible to increase your overall baseball playing skills.
- Go for consistent practice – The last thing that we can tell you is to hit as many balls as possible during practice. Keep at least one ball in play and keep hitting until you make a mistake like swinging and missing or hitting it out of bounds. This will prepare you for the game where every single pitch will be live and if you can perform under pressure, this could result in increased success when it comes to hitting live pitches.
- Hit more line drives – Another tip that you could use is to hit more line drives instead of just trying for home runs each time. A lot of players try and pull the ball through the infield or hit home runs which isn’t always effective. Instead, focus on pulling low outside pitches where you can advance up one base easily. This will give you more base hits and allow you to score runs. It may seem like a small thing but it can really help your game when you focus on this tip alone.
When stepping up to the plate, if you want to increase your slugging average, there are some things that you can do. Make sure that you have a good work ethic and follow these tips to increase your overall success at the plate.
Other Related Baseball Stats with Slugging Average
The slugging average is an adjusted version of batting average, in which the number of total bases are counted instead of total hits. Aside from the slugging average, here are some related stats that must be helpful to you:
- On Base Percentage – A hitter’s on base percentage is the number of times he reaches base divided by his at-bats. If you divide this by 4, you will get the batting average.
- OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) – A statistic that provides a perspective on a batter’s performance based on his on-base percentage as well as the slugging average.
- Average OPS – An average of a player’s OPS from the past season.
- Weighted On Base Average (wOBA) – Each offensive event is assigned an wOBA, which represents the expected run value for that particular event.
- Batting Average – A common statistic used to gauge a hitter’s effectiveness.
- Reached On Error – Accounts for the times when a batter reaches base on an error, which is not factored into his batting average.
- Sacrifice Hits – The number of times a runner advances to another base in order to advance another hitter into scoring position. This stat excludes sacrifices hit with the bases loaded and excludes bunts as sacrifices.
- Home Runs – Hit by a batter to the opposing team that allows for the batter and any runners on base to go around to home plate and score a run.
- Stolen Bases – Gained by advancing from one base to another without the aid of an outside pitch, wild pitch or passed ball.
- Strikeout Ratio – Calculated by strikeouts divided by at bats, this is used to show batters who may be under-performing or over-performing in their strikeout statistics.
- Sacrifice Flies – A sacrifice fly occurs when a batter hits the ball into play with the intent of allowing a runner on base to score as a result of the batter’s hit. Any fly ball that allows a runner to score from third base is considered a sacrifice fly.
- Team Batting Average – A measure of the overall offensive performance of a team as compared to others, generally used by baseball statisticians and fans to judge teams with high batting averages as good offensively.
- Pitching Percentage – Used to calculate the percentage of games that a pitcher completes. This statistic is determined by dividing the number of decisions by the total number of innings pitched and multiplying it by 100.
These are just a few of the many baseball statistics you can find.
When Did Baseball Statistics Start?
Henry Chadwick is credited with establishing the practice of keeping records of player accomplishments in the 19th century.
George Lindsey, a Canadian, published original statistical research on baseball in scientific publications in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
As for sabermetrics, which was first defined by Bill James in 1980 and which stands for “the study of baseball using statistical methods,” it is the “search for objective knowledge about baseball.” In part, it was coined in memory of the Society for American Baseball Research.
In baseball, there are a total of 121 statistics. Among the 121 statistics, 72 are defined as “standard” and 49 as “advanced.” There are also 32 additional “Statcast” statistics apart from the basic and advanced stats.
Slugging Percentage is one of the important baseball statistics that measures a batter’s overall performance. It is calculated by OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) which is a combination of a player’s on base percentage as well as the slugging average.
There are many other baseball statistics that you can find to help you understand the game better. Baseball statistics have been around for quite some time and continue to be used by both fans and players alike.