Where singles go desperately hoping to not feel so alone. Or, in baseball terms, when a fast guy like . . . oh, I don’t know, Ozzie Albies . . . actually gets on base enough to let fans, teammates and himself fall in love with his speed.
Let’s start with 4 truths.
1. Ozzie Albies is currently the leading 2b on NL All-Star ballots.
2. Ozzie Albies is currently leading off for the Atlanta Braves.
3. Ozzie Albies has an OBP of .293.
Ergo, 4. Ozzie Albies should not be either 1 or 2.
So, so many people think a low OBP means an inability to walk. That can be true. Jeff Francoeur, Salvador Perez, Starlin Castro (especially early in his career), Alcides Escobar, early Andrelton Simmons – all have had varying degrees of baseball success. All also flirted with All-Star and fan favorite territory. All have had trouble drawing a walk.
Casual fans, and people absorbed in the action side of baseball tend to forget walks. No one made contact, no defender made a play, nothing happened. So an inability to draw walks doesn’t really negatively effect “fan favorite” status on a game to game basis, because people don’t remember the walks anyway.
On the other hand, there are people who have a low OBP because . . . they can’t hit a freakin’ single! Ozzie’s drawn a mere 17 walks this year, which is not great. It means there’s scarcely .40 difference between his BA and his OBP.
However, given that we’ve already told you his OBP is below .300, it follows that his BA must then be a further .40 or more below that. In other words, while Ozzie isn’t drawing a ton of walks, part of the reason his OBP is so low is because he’s not getting on base by the more conventional means of hits very often either.
Thus far the 5’8″ Albies has 77 hits. Which include 22 doubles, 2 triples, and an astonishing 16 home runs. 40 of his 77 hits are extra base hits. Which looks great on the back of a baseball card. Until you see the .249 batting average and .293 on base percentage.
Because both of those tell you, that for all his success in the power department, the vast majority of the time Ozzie fails at primary goal of baseball – to get on base.
Let’s end this with another 4 truths.
1. Ozzie has struck out 58 times.
2. Ozzie has hit 37 singles.
3. Ozzie likes to run so hard that his helmet flies off.
Ergo, 4. If Ozzie would hit more singles, he’d have a lot more chances to run, and we’d have a lot more chances to watch his hat fly off, and a lot more reasons to bat him leadoff and vote him into All-Star games.
(Ozzie, I highly doubt you ever read this, but you’re a super fun and entertaining player to watch, both in terms of talent and personality. So don’t take it personally, and please, please make me look like an idiot.)