Probably the most widely followed stat in baseball is batting average. It measures a player’s success rate for each at-bat. Whether they get a single or a home run, a hit is a successful at-bat.
The average batting average in Major League Baseball is .250. So the average player gets a hit one out of every four at-bats. The best baseball players hit a little better than a .300 batting average. A .400 average is the holy grail that hasn’t been achieved since Ted Williams did it in 1941.
Except, in baseball, not all hits are equal. And with such a low success rate, what the player does with each at-bat becomes important. That’s where slugging percentage comes in.
Slugging percentage measures a player’s ability to hit extra-base hits. A single is one base, a double is two bases, and so on. It measures the average bases earned per at-bat which you get by taking the total number of bases earned divided by total at-bats.
So if a player wants a high slugging percentage, they need to hit doubles or better fairly often. And a high slugging percentage tends to lead to scoring runs, which is how you win games.
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