We are living in a world where TTO is the new normal. MLB teams are willing to overlook high strikeout numbers if you can hit 30 HRs and draw a few walks. High school, college, and minor baseball coaches are looking at analytics like launch angle and are not getting upset if a guy strikes out a few times a game.

Here’s why I don’t think that trend is one that teams should follow. Simplistically, TTO and launch angle were bred from the analytics world. Pitchers have started pitching up a lot more this season and having an uppercut swing on a pitch up in the zone will lead to more pop-ups. There’s data to back me up on this, I’m sure. Problem is, I am new here kids, so bear with the rookie. TTO rates are trending way up, but outcomes are trending in the SO direction, not HR.

Here’s a link to TTO leaders in 2017 (thank you, @srlauer):

This is a list that, for the most part, is kind of blah. Joey Gallo has an OPS+ this year of 96. Ryan Schimpf has barely played this year and had an OPS+ last year of 86. I’m embarrassed to say what Chris Davis’s is this year. Aside from Aaron Judge, who homers on freaking pop ups, no one in the top 10 in TTO last season has an OPS+ above 100 this year.

Per baseball-reference, the leaders in Offensive WAR this season are as follows:

1. TroutLAA 4.6
2. BettsBOS 3.5
3. RamirezCLE 3.3
4. MachadoBAL 3.2
5. LindorCLE 2.8
6. MartinezBOS 2.7
7. GennettCIN 2.6
8. ArenadoCOL 2.6
9. SimmonsLAA 2.4
10. FreemanATL 2.3

(Take a bow, Scooter Gennett, you made it.)

Trout’s TTO is 43.9%.
Betts’ TTO is 31.0%%
Ramirez’s TTO is 31.1%
Machado is 31.9%
Lindor is 32.5%
Martinez is 40.7%
Gennett is 29.8%
Arenado is 38.3%
Simmons is 15.2%(!)
Freeman is 33.2%

Why am I bringing up this stat? It’s because with the league average TTO over 34% for the first time ever, it is becoming more and more apparent that the best hitters in baseball are actually cutting down on this stuff more than ever. If you look at Mike Trout’s numbers, he is a high TTO guy, but he has walked 51 times this year and his K% has actually been dropping ever since his first MVP season. His teammate, Andrelton Simmons, has struck out 10 times all freaking season. Do you mean to tell me you would take a Joey Gallo type of hitter over Simmons?

I seem to find it weird that TTO is rising to all-time highs this season, when 7 of the best 10 offensive players this season are below the league average. Maybe I’m missing something. I don’t know. But as a guy from Toronto, when I see Vlad Guerrero Jr. with a TTO under 25% in AA, all I keep thinking is that there is something to making solid contact and letting the BABIP gods do their work.

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Does B-Ref Offensive WAR include base running?


The average of the top ten given here is 32.7%. That’s hardly a large deviation from league average. But your fundamental argument is also hugely flawed. The very best hitters have big power and a good eye– i.e. lots of walks and homers. The notion that these traits of great hitters is by any means a new-age thing is also false. The top three career leaders in offensive WAR– Ruth, Bonds, and Williams, respectively– all had career BB% of 19.4% (!!) or higher, and obviously hit plenty of homers. Bonds and Ruth are 1 and 3 on the all-time home… Read more »