Overseas Fan Spring Training - Demystifying the Triple-Slash Line

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Spring is in the air.

The sun is shining, maybe not where you are at as an Overseas Fan, but it is sunny and warm in Fort Myers where the Red Sox call home for the coming months.

The Red Sox have officially opened Spring Training with full squad workouts this week and we thought it would be a good idea to open your baseball workout too.

This is the first in a series to bring to all Overseas Fans some of the jargon, statistics, and mumbo jumbo that is baseball.

Today we start with a statistic that you will read about constantly throughout the 2014 season. It will be mentioned in articles, is printed on players baseball cards, is constantly flashed on the MLB.TV screens during the games, and is often the first thing brought up by announcers when talking about how good or bad a player is.

The Triple-Slash Line, or Slash Line.

This is the statistical line that gives you an indication of how good a player is at hitting. It would be presented like this example of David Ortiz over the 2013 regular season:

.309 / .395 / .564

In more detail it is split up into three individual numbers:
  • Batting Average
  • On-Base Percentage
  • Slugging Percentage
Let's look at each of these in turn and then examine what David Ortiz had for a slash line in the 2013 World Series.

Batting Average

This number is calculated by taking the number of hits a player has and dividing it by the number of at bats. An 'at bat' is when the player appears at the plate to face a pitcher. A 'hit' is when the player hits a single, double, triple, or home run. A walk, error on the fielder, or hit by a pitch does not count as an at bat.

David Ortiz had 518 at bats in 2013, with 160 hits. Anything above .300 is a good Major League hitter and it appears that David Ortiz at .309 had a little less than 1/3 chance of getting a hit each time he appeared at the plate in 2013.

On-Base Percentage

The measures the players ability to get on base. It is calculated by taking the number of times a player gets on base, except if there is a fielding error, a fielder's choice (where a fielder can pick from multiple options to make an out but did not throw out the hitter), obstruction (where a fielder / hitter get in each others way), or catcher's interference.

Add the hitters walks (BB), hit by pitches (HBP), and hits (H) together and divide that number by the at bats, walks, and sacrifice flies (SF). It looks like this on paper:

OBP = (H + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + HBP)

A player that has a high OBP gets put in the top of the batting order, meaning they tend to hit first. These hitters are usually above .350 OBP and the single season record is held by Barry Bonds with .609 OBP.

David Ortiz was faring pretty darn good with his .395 OBP in 2013.

Slugging Percentage

This is a weighted measure of batting average to show how a player is hitting for power. The player is rewarded more for the better hits, so a single is worth one, a double worth two, a triple worth three, and a homerun is worth four. The rest is calculated just like a normal batting average, number of (weighted) hits divided by at bats. It looks like this on paper:

SLG = (1B + 2 x 2B + 3 x 3B + 4 x HRs)/At-bats

David Ortiz is a power hitter and with a .564 slugging percentage was one of the better hitters in 2013. The single season record is held by Barry Bonds at .864 SLG.

2013 World Series

In the 2013 World Series David Ortiz put up astronomical numbers and armed with the information above we can now view his slash line in awe:

.688 / .760 / .1188

That was 11 hits over 16 at bats. You might never see that again in your lifetime my fellow Overseas Fans.

Stay tuned for more interesting bits of baseball and feel free to poke me with something you really would like to see covered in one of these articles.

You can catch up on some of the past articles in this series.
Post a comment or via twitter @ericschabell with your thoughts.

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