Running An Offense in 2020 Part I: Performance Goals

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Overview

Today’s blog post is written by one of the brightest young up and coming college coaches I have had the pleasure to interact with.

Nick Ascue is currently an assistant coach a Division 1 school and is someone that I am especially proud of.  Nick is one of my former players doing passionate work in his field.  His passion for the game as a player is now carrying over to passion as a coach.

You will not meet someone more on fire about learning than this young man and you are about to find that in the next series of blog posts.

In this blog, Nick will walk you through the goals of an offense to win at the division 1 level.

Part I: Performance Goals

The purpose of this blog post was to share offensive performance goals specific to one division I baseball conference. These goals were set on both seasonal and game levels. This blog does not explain developmental strategies that can be employed to achieve runs scored goals. Thoughts on developmental strategies will come in a later post. 

Questions:

  1. What does the team’s winning percentage approximately need to be in order to win the regular season? How many wins and losses are expected?
  2. How many runs does this team need to score and allow per season and per game to achieve the win%?
  3. What does this team’s offensive OBP, SLG and OPS need to be to score that many runs per season and game?
  4. How many on-base events (hits, walks and hit-by-pitch) and total bases does this team need to average per season and per game to achieve OBP, SLG and OPS goals? 
  5. What Batted-Ball Events are optimal for achieving the team’s target SLG?
  6. What Bat-Ball Collisions are optimal for achieving the team’s Batted-Ball Event goals?

Using the equation , the team that has won the conference has finished the year with a Win% greater than .769. The team that wins this conference will need to win 20 conference games and lose no more than 6 conference games. The team will need to score more than 173 runs and allow less than  91 runs in conference play. Within those conference games, the team will need to average 6.9 runs scored per game and average no more than 3.6 runs allowed per game. 

To score more approximately 173 runs and average approximately 6.9 runs per game, this team will need a greater than OBP .400, greater than SLG .422, and greater than OPS .822. To achieve an OBP of .400, this team will need to average 16.8 on-base events (H, BB and HBP) per conference game and no less than 421 total on-base events in conference play. To achieve a SLG greater than  .422, this team will need to average 14.8 total bases (1B, 2B, 3B and HR) per conference game and no less than 471 total bases in conference play. 

To further break this down into specific objectives, this team would need to average 10.5 Hits, 5.3 BB and 1.0 HBP per game. This equals our on-base event goal per game of 16.8. Knowing hits are not created equal, we need to look into extra-base-hits or XBH to achieve our TB goal of 14.8 per game and our 471 total bases goal for a conference season. This team would need to average 0.7 HR (2.68 TB from home runs), 0.3 triples (0.8 TB from 3B), 1.8 doubles (3.68 TB from doubles) and 7.7 singles per game (7.7 TB from singles) to equal the goal of 14.8 TB per game versus conference opponents. 

Power varies by team

Averaging 0.7 home runs per game might be more ideal than real for a lot of the teams in the conference. Teams with below-average power should be resourceful, finding alternative routes to meet the goal of 6.9 runs/game, OPS of .822 and 14.8 total bases/game. This means that teams with below-average power should first solve for the expected number of home runs per game and total bases from those home runs. Second, find the difference in total bases by subtracting the ideal by the real. Third, meet the total bases goal by adding more singles and doubles. What we want to do now is solve for our Total Bases goal of 14.8 per/game by establishing batted-ball goals that are highly correlated to TB. Batted-Ball Events (BBE) can be described using four characteristics: 

  1. Exit Velocity (EV): What should a hitter’s average EV be? The goal is for each hitter to average 90% of peak EV to all fields. For example, the peak EV of hitter X is 100 mph. His average EV ball-in-play goal is 90 mph.
  2. Vertical Launch Angle (VLA): What should a hitter’s average VLA be? It depends on the hitter’s EV. If the hitter’s average exit velocity ball-in-play is > 95mph, the ideal vertical launch angle average to all fields is 30.5 degrees with a VLA target range between 26-35 degrees. If between 90-95, the goal is 13.5 degrees with a VLA target range between 10-18 degrees.
  3. Horizontal Launch Angle (HLA): What should a hitter’s average HLA be? The average horizontal launch angle goal for RHH is between -45 to -15 degrees (from LF line to LCF). For LHH, the target range is between 15 to 45 degrees (from RCF to RF line).  
  4. Spin Rate: What should a hitter’s average batted-ball spin rate be? The average spin rate on batted balls to all fields is less than ~ 1,500 revolutions per minute. This places an emphasis on low spin/square contact batted balls.

 

In direct relationship with one another are batted balls and bat-ball collisions. Collisions explain the complex interaction between the bat and ball before, at and after collision. What we want to do is set bat-ball collision goals that will yield the type of batted balls we are striving for. Bat-ball collisions will be described here by using only four metrics. More metrics can be used for explaining the relationship between bat-ball collision and ball flight. These include but not limited to: Depth of contact, Barrel Speed at impact, Mass of Bat and Pitch Speed at impact or Generated Velocity. 

  1. Vertical Bat Angle (VBA): What should a hitter’s VBA be at collision? VBA is dependent on three factors: VLA, Spin Rate and Pitch height. Because balls hit in the air with low spin is desired, VBA at collision should be approximately 35 degrees with pitches up, 37 VBA with pitches middle and 40 degrees with pitches down. 
  2. Horizontal Bat Angle (HBA): What should a hitter’s HBA be at collision? It is dependent on HLA and VBA. To approximate an ideal HBA at collision, we must consider the relationship between HBA and VBA. When VBA increases, HBA can be converted into more vertical direction once it shifts from a neutral angle to a negative or positive angle. Considering our HLA and VBA goals, HBA transitions into some vertical direction. For example, assuming square contact, 0 degree VBA and 45 degree HBA would yield a ground ball in play down the right-field line. Controlling for square contact, If VBA is 35-40 degrees, the HBA would need to be approximately equal to the hitter’s HLA.
  3. Explicit Loft or Approach Angle (AA): What should a hitter’s AA be? AA goals are informed by VLA and Spin Rate goals. Hitters with a VLA range between 26-35 should also strive to fall in between 26-35 degree approach angle per zone. Same for those with a VLA range between 10-18. The VLA equals AA. This is due to the goal of having low spin batted balls. Controlling for square contact, the LA of batted-balls will be that of the AA. Contact Efficiency: What part of the ball should the hitter target? Considering our spin rate goal, the hitter should target the center of the baseball to achieve low spin batted balls. 

 

Conclusion

This blog briefly attempts to answer, “How many runs does an offense need to score to win the conference and what steps (objectives) need to be taken to meet the runs scored goal?” 

This blog will be followed by blog posts that answer questions such as, “what does league average pitching look like?” And “what developmental strategies can a coach employ to achieve the game performance goals versus league pitching?”

Nick will also be featured in upcoming LPD Hitting+ content so be sure to subscribe.

Read Part 2

Read Part 3

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