Single Use Only

Use it once, and it’s used up. That’s what can happen to your normal, everyday contact making swing when you pull out your best Carlos Gomez-esque swing-from-the-heels-spin-around-until-your-helmet-comes-off impression. Hey – it worked for Gomez for years – I don’t blame you for wanting to imitate it. But I’ll spare you the sorrow here: Don’t. Unless you are Carlos Gomez, you do not possess the required myriad of tools and amazing coordination to do anything with such a swing – except fall down and strike out. And if falling down and striking out is your goal, you might want to look for a new line of work.

Here’s the thing. I know all 2.3 people who read this blog (still trying to figure out who .3 is by the way), are expecting me to address the Dodgers record-setting home run binge today of 7 solo home runs. You’re expecting some snarky response about how they wouldn’t have been solo home runs if everyone hadn’t been swinging for the fences, and the game wouldn’t have had to go to extras if even 1 of the first 6 home runs had come with men on.

But I ain’t doing that. Listen, if the ball is jumping enough for 7 home runs to be hit by 1 team and 2 by the other – I’m not looking to hit a single either. I’m not vilifying singles under any conditions, but if there’s ever a day to sit on a pitch you can drive and not worry about a pitch you can dump down the line or flare over an infielder’s head – well, it’s a day like this one. Don’t change your swing to try and hit one (that’s how slumps start and careers end), but it’s totally cool to narrow your focus down to pitches in whatever zone you consider your “wheelhouse”. Days like that don’t come often, might as well enjoy it.

It’s also possible you came (or at least 2 of you did, .3 probably missed the first post), expecting a post on Ozzie Albies singles success this weekend. He raised his batting average nearly 20 points by going 9-16. And all 9 hits were singles.

But you ain’t getting that one either. I was right, neiner neiner boo boo, etc, etc. He’s also making me look like a moron, and I’m good with that too.

Nope, today I’m just here to point out simple math. Orlando Arcia is having a rough year. His OPS (ON-BASE PLUS SLUGGING) is roughly equivalent to the OBP (ON-BASE PERCENTAGE) of superstars like Mike Trout and Freddie Freeman.

Needless to say, that ain’t good y’all.

But I’m not going to say that his path out of is through singles. I’m going to point this out instead:

1 home run equals 4 bases. 4 bases equals a 4.000 Slugging Percentage on that swing.

1 single equals 1 base. 1 base equals a 1.000 Slugging Percentage on that swing.

So you’d need 4 singles for every home run. However, if you go 1-4 with a home run, your OBP is .250, and your slugging is 1.000. Makes a 1.250 ops

If you go 4-4 with 4 singles, your OBP is 1.000 and your slugging is 1.000. Makes a 2.000 ops.

So here’s the thing obviously, for singles to be as valuable, or more valuable than a home run they have to come in much greater frequency than home runs.

So the math is something like this 3 singles = 1 home run. A 3-4 day with 3 singles would net you a 1.500 ops. Which is superior to the 1.250 ops of a 1-4 day with a home run. However, it is not so superior when you consider that a home run will drive in every runner, regardless of what base they are one or where it’s hit, and a single is only guaranteed to drive in a runner if they are on 3b. So there’s not enough difference there to worry about on a game to game basis (over the season, those numbers would also work toward the middle, as 3 hit games are substantially harder to come by than 1 home run games.)

So as a hitter, there’s really only 1 thing to do. Ask yourself “Am I giving up 3 OR MORE singles per every home run I hit with this swing?”

If the answer is “yes”, then . . . well, you’re an idiot. You are deliberately doing the wrong thing and being an unproductive baseball player.

If the answer is “no” – well, first ask yourself if the answer really is “no”. And here’s a hint: if your swing is so long small children could ride it as a roller coaster, or you are frequently hitting the catcher with your backswing – the answer isn’t really “no”. You’re lying to yourself, and you’re now you’re a lying, unproductive baseball player. You are not trending in a positive direction.

However, if the answer truly is “no”, then congratulations. You have found the swing for you, and are maximizing your talents as a professional hitter. You’re name is also Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, JD Martinez or anonymous utility guy who doesn’t have any power in the first place. So if you are one of the first 5, you are too good to be here. Leave. If you are in the second group, you’re beyond my aid, though you do have my sympathies. And if you are looking for quick ways to gain some weight in the hopes it will add some power, I recommend a diet heavy in Pizza, Doritos and Slushies. It’s worked wonders for me – and who DOESN’T want to look like a manatee?


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