In the Detroit News Tiger notebook, Tom Gage points out that the Royals had a better OBP than the Tigers in May. I disagree with Gage’s take on the situation. Instead of opining that this is a glaring indication that despite the Tigers success there are still opportunities for improvement, Gage uses this information to downplay the relevancy of the statisitic.
Yes, you can get buy with a sub average OBP if you slug the bejesus out of the ball and allow a run a game less than every other team in the league. As long as you keep up those other paces, a weak OBP probably won’t be a problem. But really, do we expect to keep up those stats at the rate they are going now?
Jim Leyland also downplays OBP’s significance
“I’m not saying on-base percentage isn’t important,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s definitely important. But my question about a guy when I hear he has a great on-base percentage is whether he scores runs.
“If a guy walks, but can’t steal a base, can’t score on a double, can’t score on a sacrifice fly and can’t go on contact with a man on third and the infield in, that’s not good. So there’s a lot more that goes into it than merely getting on base a lot.”
So a good OBP is useless unless you’re fast?
Lost in that is the fact that with a higher on base percentage, you are making fewer outs – which is a good thing. The fewer outs you make, the more men you send to the plate, the more scoring chances you have, the more the pitcher has to work…
I have to say I’m a little discouraged to read comments like these.