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Plans are in the works for 2 Competitive D Level Teams to join the Hotlanta Softball League. Information will be coming in the month of December. Please be sure to visit your current Team Snap account to update your information if you have had any changes to email or phone. If you have not registered on Team Snap and you are interested in coming back for 2014 Spring please email Mother at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Current Needs are for 1 – 9, 10 or 11 rated Short Stop and 1 9, 10 or 11 rated Pitcher.
The Talons are also looking for Sponsorship for the 2014 Season, if interested in sponsoring a highly visible social softball group please email Mother at email@example.com
Talons Red and Blue would like to thank everyone that came out! Big Shout out to Biscuit for his Growlr Marketing. The Twisters for hanging out in Full Force. Misti Shores for her fabulous struts through the bar. SSL Board, Ron Leathers, Ron Trible, Larry Hammick and Ken Deleon. It was a fun event! Jeffrey and the Team at the Hideaway, we love you!
The Math of Softball
Understanding the Stats
The following is Lovey Howell’s down and dirty on softball stats. You can find the current and past stats listed on our webpage at TheAtlantaTalons.com on the main menu under the stats tab.
GP – Games Played – just as its name implies, this is the number of games that you have played in.
PA – Plate Attempts – This is the number of time you have been up to bat.
AB – At Bats – This is the number of official times you have been up to bat. This number is your Plate Attempts (PA) less any at bats that you have walked. So, if you have been up to bat 5 times, but walked 2 of those times, your official At Bats will be 3.
H – Hits – This is the number of times you have officially reached base safely by hitting the ball. If you reached base because of an error (short stop over threw the ball to first) or because of a fielder’s choice (you reached base but your hit caused the runner at first to get out at second), you do not receive credit for a hit.
1B, 2B, 3B, HR – This is the number of singles, doubles, triples and Home Runs. A side note: if you try for extra bases and get thrown out, you get credit for the last base you reach safely (ie, you get credit for a double if you are thrown out at third).
RBI – Runs Batted In – This is the number of runs that were scored during your at bat (ie, you hit the ball deep and 3 people made it to home plate).
R – Runs – This is the number of time you yourself crossed home plate safely.
ROE – Reached on Error – This is the number of times you made it to base due to an error by the defense. You do not get credit for a hit.
FC – Fielder’s Choice – This is the number of times that you hit the ball and made it safely to base, but one of the runners ahead of you was forced out. You do not get credit for a hit. The reasoning is that the fielder could have chosen to get you out, but instead took the lead runner (it was the “fielder’s choice”).
BB – Base on Balls – This is the number of times you were walked. I do not know why they don’t just call it a walk.
SO – Strike out – This is the number of times that you struck out at the plate.
Now it’s time for the math:
AVG – Batting Average – this is the percentage that you hit the ball and make it safely to base. This is found by dividing your Hits (H) by your At Bats (AB). Walks are not considered in this computation. Thus, walks do not improve or worsen your batting average.
OBP – On Base Percentage – this is the percentage that you reach base safely. The difference in this stat and your batting average is that this stat includes walks. To find this stat, you take your Hits (H) plus your Base on Balls (BB), and divide by your At Bats (AB) plus your Base on Balls (BB).
SLG – Slugging Percentage – This percentage is a power stat. It basically tells you how many average bases you reach per at bat. If you have a 1.000 SLG, you average 1 base per at bat (you average a single each at bat). If you have a 2.000 SLG, you average a double at each at bat. A .500 SLG means that each at bat you average half a base (therefore it takes you two at bats to get a single, on average).
So how do we use these numbers? I use these numbers to help me with my line up. I want my first and second batters in the order to have a high OBP (and also good runners). I want batters that can get on base more often than not. Batters three, four and five I tend to look for the higher SLG (fourth batter normally has the highest SLG). I want these power batters to hit deep so batters 1 and 2 can score. After that, I normally start selecting batters based on AVG.
How can you use these numbers? Look at the players that have higher averages than you. Watch how they bat. Their stance. Where they hit the ball. Do you have a high number of Fielder’s Choices? If so, concentrate on clearing the ball out of the infield, or work on placing the ball. Striking out too much? Spend some extra time in the cages, or ask one of the Talons Coaches for some extra practice time before or after practice. Use these numbers to improve your game!!
I hope this helped to explain some of the numbers that we toss around from time to time. As always, feel free to ask anyone on the coaching staff any questions that you may have. We might not always know the answer right away, but we will find out for you!
Ok guys, it’s time for the all-time most talked about subject, bat selection. So let me start by posing the following question:
Would you want to go to war with a BB Gun?
While that may seem overly dramatic, it really is a good comparison for selecting a bat. If you are not using the right tools, you will not get the desired results.
Most bats used in our league are 26, 27, and 28 ounce. 30 ounce bats are available and legal, but are seldom used, for reason that will be explained shortly. So in an effort to remain overly dramatic, as well as completely oversimplify the laws of physics, I present another question:
What would hit a ball farther, a 200 ton train traveling at 50 mph or a 2 ton Ford Focus (hey Neon) traveling at 50 mph?? The ball would travel the same distance (physics majors, just play along) because both the train and the car are traveling at the same speed. Thus that leads us to the discussion of bat weight. You should select a bat weight that allows you the fastest swing. It may not seem like an ounce or two would make a big difference, but that small change can make a huge impact on your bat speed. Very few people can swing a 30 ounce bat can get the necessary bat speed (don’t let your ego in here, just take my word for it).
Now we get to the real heart of the subject. Bats are made from many different materials. And these materials all have different pros and cons. Here is a basic breakdown:
This is your standard $90 bat (or $8 if you are Neon). It is an inexpensive and very durable bat. This is the bat you want to use at the batting cages and when it is cold outside. The problem with this bat is that it is stiff. Also, because of the material, when the ball hits the bat, there is very little trampoline effect. Trampoline effect is just like it sounds. The material that the ball comes in contact with gives at the point of contact, then rebounds, and adds extra umph (very scientific) to the ball. This bat also has a VERY small sweet spot. The sweet spot of a bat is that area of the bat that allows for the maximum transfer of energy to the ball. How many of you have hit a ball and felt the vibration come back and sting your hands? This is because some of the energy of your swing was not absorbed by the ball, but instead “wasted” by returning to the source (your hands).
Double Wall Aluminum
This bat has some of the same benefits of your aluminum bat (lower cost, durable, etc), but also adds more of a trampoline effect. The bat is constructed with a thin outer layer with a thicker inner layer. The benefit of this bat over the standard aluminum bat is an increase trampoline effect. Unfortunately, like the standard aluminum bat, it has a very small sweet spot.
The 50/50 bats are typically made with a composite grip and an aluminum barrel. The advantage of this bat over aluminum bats is that this bat is not as stiff. The bat actually has some give and bend between the grip and the barrel. This bend has several advantages. One, it gives you a larger sweet spot. Without getting too technical, the bend and give allows more of the energy to be transferred to the ball in a larger area along the barrel of the bat. Another advantage is a larger trampoline effect due to the increased give and bend. The major disadvantage is that it suffers from the same issue of being easily damaged below 65 degrees.
Composite bats are the Colt of the bat world (Colt is a, well, I guess you would have to be into guns to get it). Really smart and well funded geeks set out to make a better bat, and they came up with composite bats. These bats are made with space age material (ooooh, aaaah). This material bends and flexes. And as you can imagine, this flexing and bending action have some big benefits. For one, it creates a huge sweet spot. What this means is simple terms is that if you are an inch or two off in hitting the ball in the most optimum spot on the bat, it doesn’t matter. The bat compensates for you, and still transfers your energy to the ball. Also, all of this bending, flexing, and stuff add to a really HUGE trampoline effect. More bounce, more distance. Finally, composite bats are better able to distribute the weight of a bat throughout the bat. That is why you might think a 28 oz composite bat weighs less than a 26 oz aluminum bat. This balance results in increased bat speed (remember what we said about bat speed). So, composite bats are the best, right. Well, they do have some disadvantages. First and foremost, NEVER USE A COMPOSITE BAT BELOW 65 DEGREES! Think of it as the kryptonite of composite bats. The material used to make composite bats loses its flexing and bending properties below 65 degrees, and can cause the bats to crack. Lets not do this. Also, composite bats have a break in period. Basically, the composite material in a new bat must be slowly and uniformly “cracked”. This usually takes about 100-200 uniform, normal hits (that’s why I’ve told you guys with new bats to spin the bat after each hit). Some composite bats have a smaller break-in period that others.
So if you made it this far, thank you!! You will know why I pull bats from the hands of babes and tell you to find another bat. It’s not that I am a psychic. It’s because I’m playing the odds. And yes, it is possible for you to hit just as well with a $8 aluminum bat as a $300 composite bat. But the margin of error is exponentially bigger for the composite than the aluminum (ie you will get 2 great hits with the aluminum for every 10 great hits with the composite).
Hopefully this gave you some insight on bats, as well as myself!!
Love ya !!