Paul DePodesta talks a lot about the importance of on-base percentage (OBP), a statistic that, in effect, measures a hitter’s chances of reaching base in any given at-bat through either getting a base hit or by drawing a walk (which occurs when a pitcher throws four balls and the batter is allowed to go to first base). The statistic of “batting average,” which measured how likely a player was to get a hit in a given at-bat, had long been a staple of baseball, and players with high batting averages were greatly prizes and highly paid. Yet batting average ignored walks, and little was thought of players who were able to draw walks. Almost no one even knew who those players were. In the way that it uncovered a hidden value – the fact that getting a walk to get on base can also help teams score runs – on-base percentage symbolizes the discipline of sabermetrics itself and the wealth of hidden talent, represented in obscure statistics, that baseball teams had up until 2002 largely ignored.
The timeline below shows where the symbol On-Base Percentage appears in Moneyball. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: How to Find a Ballplayer
...hugely overvalued in drafting players. The most important statistics are relatively obscure ones, such as on-base percentage , pitches per plate, and walk speed, which do a better job of measuring a... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Enlightenment
...outs, not hitting home runs. Therefore, the best hitters were those with a good “ on-base percentage ”—i.e., a low probability of getting out. By 1995, he’d created a corporate culture structured... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Science of Winning an Unfair Game
...center field defense or a leadoff hitter. When Paul crunched the numbers, he realized that on-base percentage was a much more important statistic for ballplayers than slugging percentage, which ran contrary to... (full context)
Chapter 7: Giambi’s Hole
...players who had bits and pieces of Giambi’s statistical record (his walks, his hits, his on-base percentage , etc.). Billy and Paul tried to replace the aggregate on-base percentage of the three... (full context)
Epilogue: The Badger
...In Single-A, Brown distinguishes himself with his high batting average, slugging percentage, and, most importantly, on-base percentage . Unlike most other players from the 2002 draft, Brown was invited to the 2003... (full context)