The New OBP Baseline

JimBoSox9

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Nov 1, 2005
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I think this is something that we dance around in a ton of threads, and it's fucking with my snap opinions on quick glances at players on b-ref.  Basically, since forever, my baseline around OBP has been something near:
 
.370-.380 and up: I love you, I want to be you, please date my sister.
.350-.360: About where you need to be to be considered for 'elite' hitter and/or what I need to be enthusiastic about you as a 1-5 hitter.   
.335-340: Anything below this and I'm at least secretly thinking about this fact in a negative way during your plate appearances.
.310-320: Not a serious everyday lineup option.  Not for the m-f Red Sox in the m-f AL East.  Perhaps you'd enjoy San Diego?
 
Hopefully that feels a little familiar.  I mean, instinctively, the thought of Mike Napoli as my #5 hitter in a slightly more down year horrifies me.  But that obviously doesn't make as much sense as it used to.  I was 10 in 1993; here's what LMB-wide OBP has done since then:
 

 
Basically my entire lifetime of having a brain has been in a world where if you had an OBP of under .330, you were a below-average hitter.  Since 2010, if you have a .330 OBP, you're practically coveted.
 
Obviously, this isn't really news.  Through talking about guys like WMB and Napoli, I realized that I probably hadn't fully wrapped my head around how uncalibrated my old instincts had become.  I'm sure I've heard much much more in the past couple weeks about the lack of available power than the lack of available basege.  If I recall correctly in 2008 there was some concern how much further Ellsbury could push his OBP above .336 to stick at the top of the lineup.  What's that line now, for JBJ?  What do you think the new .350 is?
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
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Dec 16, 2010
51,546
One thing I look at as the season is rolling along is the walk rate---if there's a nice gap between BA and OBP, even if it the OBP is lower than I might want, it means the hitter is likely taking the right approach to things.
 

yep

Member
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Feb 3, 2006
2,465
Red Sox Natin
Average Reds said:
I wish I could see that chart.  Have no idea what it says.
 
Basically it says that things used to be red and good, but now they are green, and not as good. 
 
Green is the new red. Time to get used to it. 
 

skunk

lurker
Nov 16, 2013
10
What is your theory for why?  My guess would be that home runs are down, so pitchers are more willing to challenging hitters.  
 

JimBoSox9

will you be my friend?
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Nov 1, 2005
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Well, I think you'd have to say that red's been knocking on the door of black for so long without ever quite getting there, it's only natural that people would eventually just move on to a new hope.  Sort of like Marty Schottenheimer.  Green, though?  Blue has to be sitting in the dark by the phone right now, wondering what just happened.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
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Not really sure where to put this. Awhile back, obp was considered 40% more important than Slugging. Curious if that number changes if the hitting enviroment does. HRs would have more value.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Dec 24, 2002
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SLG% is the new market inefficiency.  And graphing in readable fashion is the new board inefficiency.  Jnai is our Mike Trout.