When Is A Good OBP Not So Good

An article by posted on December 29, 2013

luis castillo

Egads… What’s that picture of Luis Castillo doing up there? I bet you didn’t think you’d see him again, right? While I was reading through some comments, I came across an interesting exchange I serendipitously started when I wrote that signing Stephen Drew could end up being as bad as the Luis Castillo signing.

Then our own Connor O’Brien really kicked things off when he wrote, “Castillo had about the emptiest on-base percentage possible. Absolutely no power.”

I never really heard anyone say that before about a player with a .380+ on-base, but here is how the rest of the exchange that ensued unfolded. I thought it was pretty interesting…

BadBadLeroyBrown – He was a table setter his job wasn’t POWER it was to get ON BASE. Period. Nothing empty about that.

Connor O’Brien – But you want to – leadoff hitter or not – get on base in high quantities and with quality, meaning more extra-base hits as well. Would the team not have been better off had Castillo been on second instead of first ten more times?

There is really a certain balance that needs to be struck between the two, and Castillo didn’t necessarily have that balance. Having guys on second instead of first makes your team more likely to score, meaning you have done your job more effectively than someone who just hit a single.

For this reason, while Castillo was a good leadoff hitter, he wasn’t as good as someone like Jose Reyes or Jacoby Ellsbury. You want players that get quality hits everywhere in the lineup, not just in the middle of the order.

Not Alex68 – Can you explain and show evidence of empty OBP? Is Empty OBP an actual stat (eOBP)? Pray tell.

Kabeetz – You’re either on base or you’re not. There is no such thing as a “full” or “empty” OBP.

Connor O’Brien – Sorry, I have to disagree with you on that.

If two players get on base 40% of the time (.400 OBP), one can be much more effective than another.

Take a look at these two players from this year in batting average and OBP.

Player 1: .298 BA .374 OBP
Player 2: .286 BA .370 OBP

If all On-Base Percentages were created equal, each of these two players would be of roughly the same skill level, right? Well, see who they are.

Player 1: Billy Butler – .298/.374/.412 15 HR .345 wOBA

Player 2: Chris Davis – .286/.370/.634 53 HR .421 wOBA

While Billy Butler is a nice player (and I believe even an All-Star), he was nowhere close to Chris Davis this season, despite getting on base at roughly the same rate. Davis did more on average each time he got on base, making Butler’s OBP “emptier” (just an expression) than that of Davis.

Sean-Connery-The-Untouchables-Norfolk-Jacket

“Here Endeth The Lesson”

Presented By Diehards

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

Comments are closed.