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Maybe We Should Stop Bashing Batting Average

Texieira has hit just .215/.313/.444 since June 1st.
Texieira has hit just .215/.313/.444 since June 1st.

We joke around here at Pinstripe Alley a lot, but hey, that's part of our charm. It's the reason why so many of us stick around during rain delays and open threads. We have fun.

Some of that fun revolves around batting average, as many here discuss it as if it means nothing. There seems to have been an increase of this, so I wanted to point something out to the community.

Of course, there are a lot of variables that go into batting average. With small sample sizes, these variables are even larger.

We could watch a guy like Ramiro Pena go 3-for-5 with three bloop singles, and see that he is a .600 hitter. We could also see Alex Rodriguez go 0-for-4 with four line-outs and see that he is a .000 hitter. As has been stated here plenty of times, batting average does not tell the whole story. That certainly holds true.

But when it comes to scoring runs, which is the name of the game, batting average has a very good correlation at .828. Of course, as expected, on base percentage is higher at .866 and slugging percentage is higher at .890. 

Consider this from Baseball Prospectus:

[These correlations show] how well the statistics have done for every team in history, from 1871 to 2003. In each case, I have compared the statistic relative to the league (team batting average divided by league batting average, for instance) to the relative run rate (team runs per plate appearance, divided by the league RPPA). Batting average has, truthfully, a very good correlation...it is just that on-base percentage is even better, and slugging percentage is better still. 

We talk about batting average as a joke, and say "batting average forever" all the time. But the fact of the matter is that batting average is an important statistic that leads to scoring runs, just not as well as OBP or SLG.

Maybe, just maybe, we should keep that in mind.