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What are average batting stats in Major League Baseball right now?

What exactly is considered average across the many stats?

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

With our added time off, I thought it best to catch up on some ideas I had been meaning to do lately. One such idea I had is “what is average?” for the MLB. With the nature of more HR, SLG and power and lower stolen bases with more strikeouts, what was once a normal a few years ago is not so anymore.

Below are three separate hitting groups pulled in for ‘what is average?’ I’m hoping with this knowledge you can either ascertain how your picks are in comparison to either the average or, if you punted or excelled, do you have someone close to the highs or lows? Sometimes I hear a stat on the batted ball or swing metrics and have to run through the stats wondering what the analyst or website was telling me, was that number good or bad?

You will see a stat breakdown within each group: the average provides the average amounts of percentages, the high and low lets you know what the highest and lowest amount within the category.

General Categories: Your standard 5x5 types of things

For this I used Fangraphs among any batter who had at least 400 plate appearances last year. For 2018 this ended up being 214 players, for 2019 it was 207 players. You will see that on average, a player should be batting in about 136 games with 22 home runs, 74 runs, 71 RBIs, 8 SB and a .266 AVG. The fact that none of these players have a slugging percentage below .300 surprised me a bit as did the fact that none of them had a batting average below .200.

2018 & 2019 General Batting Avgs

Year G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG
Year G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG
2019 136 550 22 74 71 8 8.84% 21.10% 0.200 0.305 0.266 0.338 0.466
2018 139 552 19 69 66 8 8.82% 20.61% 0.177 0.300 0.259 0.331 0.437
2018 vs. 2019 -2% 0% 20% 8% 8% -1% 0% 2% 12% 2% 3% 2% 7%
2019 High 162 747 53 135 126 46 18.30% 36.20% 0.353 0.406 0.335 0.438 0.671
2019 Low 93 402 1 32 27 0 2.80% 8.70% 0.067 0.218 0.205 0.262 0.320
2018 High 162 745 48 129 130 45 20.10% 37.00% 0.319 0.375 0.346 0.460 0.640
2018 Low 96 402 2 31 27 0 1.50% 7.30% 0.059 0.231 0.168 0.240 0.291

Notable Conclusions: While games played is down, power, notably home runs (up 20%), runs and RBIs (both up 8%) and ISO (up 12%) are all up. Conversely stolen bases (down 1%) and K% was (up 2%) is creeping towards 22%. I expected batting average to be down given the harder swings from players to hit home runs.

Batted Ball: Where is the ball being hit and how hard is it being struck

This was also pulled using Fangraphs on players who had at least 400 plate appearances last year. Here you will see an average player has a BABIP of .305 with almost 22% line drives, 42% ground ball and 36% fly ball. They have 39.6% hard contact and pull the ball almost twice as much as hit to opposite field. The BABIP high of .406 last year (Yoan Moncada) was considerably up from the .375 two seasons ago (JD Martinez). The same can be said for the low of .218 (Jurickson Profar) down from .231 in 2018 (Carlos Santana…who bounced back well in 2019). There might be something to be said about Matt Carpenter’s 49% hard hit rate and subsequent 2019 season (Aaron Judge held that honor with 53% in 2019).

2018 & 2019 Average Batted Ball Stats

Year BABIP GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
Year BABIP GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB Pull% Cent% Oppo% Soft% Med% Hard%
2019 0.305 1.23 21.8% 41.9% 36.3% 16.4% 41.2% 34.2% 24.6% 16.1% 44.3% 39.6%
2018 0.301 1.23 21.6% 42.0% 36.4% 13.6% 41.1% 34.3% 24.6% 17.4% 45.8% 36.8%
2018 vs. 2019 2% 0% 1% 0% 0% 20% 0% 0% 0% -8% -3% 8%
2019 High 0.406 3.26 28.5% 62.4% 50.6% 36.6% 55.8% 43.7% 34.2% 25.0% 57.9% 53.8%
2019 Low 0.218 0.49 14.4% 24.3% 19.2% 1.2% 27.9% 25.5% 13.0% 8.6% 34.1% 22.3%
2018 High 0.375 3.59 32.3% 62.0% 51.7% 35.0% 58.7% 41.3% 34.7% 28.3% 59.6% 49.0%
2018 Low 0.231 0.51 15.2% 24.0% 16.5% 2.1% 25.5% 21.8% 15.9% 8.4% 34.8% 19.1%

Notable Conclusions: The biggest thing to notate here is the switch to power as the HR/FB rate spiked 20% year over year and the hard contact went up 8% at the cost of soft contact.

Swing Information: How is contact being made with the ball

This was used from Baseball Savant on players who had at least 250 plate appearances last year. The field for this consisted of 313 players in 2018 and 321 players in 2019. Average exist velocity is about 88 MPH with a launch angle of almost 13% and a swing of pitches in the zone 67.5% of the time and out of the zone swing percentage of 28.8%.

An average player has 25.37 barrels at a percentage of 7.97. A barrel is a hit that, in terms of exit velocity and launch angle, lead to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.5 slugging%. The combination of the exit velocity and launch angle leads to this, for example a 98 MPH hit would need an angle of 26-30 degrees, a 99 MPH would need 25-31 and a 100 MPH would need 24-33 degrees (as you can see the harder it’s hit, the broader the angle can be). Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins hold the prestigious honors of out of zone leaders at 1,681 and 1,688 respectively. Rhys struggles with that breaking ball whiffing 40% of the time.

2018 & 2019 Average Contact Stats

Year Avg EV (MPH) Avg LA (°) Barrels Barrel% Solid Contact % Zone Swing % Zone Swing & Miss % Out of Zone Swing % Out of Zone Swing & Miss% Out of Zone Contact % Out of Zone Swing & Miss Out of Zone % Out of Zone
Year Avg EV (MPH) Avg LA (°) Barrels Barrel% Solid Contact % Zone Swing % Zone Swing & Miss % Out of Zone Swing % Out of Zone Swing & Miss% Out of Zone Contact % Out of Zone Swing & Miss Out of Zone % Out of Zone
2019 88.57 12.90 25.37 7.97 6.18 67.56 17.21 28.82 41.57 58.42 113.66 52.54 964.36
2018 88.24 12.42 23.73 7.26 6.22 67.12 16.87 27.83 41.42 58.58 108.74 51.46 961.31
2018 vs. 2019 0% 4% 7% 10% -1% 1% 2% 4% 0% 0% 5% 2% 0%
2019 High 95.90 24.40 70.00 26.40 13.00 83.60 32.50 48.00 66.90 87.40 250.00 58.80 1688.00
2019 Low 78.30 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.40 48.70 5.40 11.70 12.60 33.10 23.00 45.60 483.00
2018 High 94.70 22.60 70.00 22.50 12.20 82.70 33.40 44.20 63.50 79.80 276.00 58.40 1681.00
2018 Low 79.30 -1.20 1.00 0.20 0.80 49.60 4.80 10.20 20.20 36.50 32.00 44.60 467.00

Notable conclusions: In a year where home runs spiked, we saw the launch angle go up 4%, total barrels go up 7% and the barrel percentage go up 10%. Meanwhile, more players swung and missed on a total average (up 1%) on pitches in the zone as well as pitches outside the zone (up 5%).