wOBA: Baseball’s Boba

Boba is a trendy beverage common among young adults that is inexpensive and delicious, combining shaved ice, flavored powder and soft, chewy “boba” balls. The drink combines flavor, fun and functionality. Just like wOBA…

Weighted On-Base Average. Yes, you’re right it sounds a lot like On-Base Percentage, or Batting Average but “weighted,” whatever that means. 

According to Fangraphs “Beginner’s guide to deriving wOBA,” (http://www.fangraphs.com/library/the-beginners-guide-to-deriving-woba/) the stat is a better way to judge a hitter than batting average, OBP, SLG or OPS, “designed to weigh the different offensive results by their actual average contribution to run scoring.” It is similar in formula to slugging percentage as it multiplies singles, doubles, triples and homeruns and then combines them, but not to make them worth total bases. Here is the derivation from the Fangraphs library:woba-flash-e1459706071159

The leaders in wOBA in 2016 were:

  1. David Ortiz .419
  2. Mike Trout .418
  3. Joey Votto .413
  4. Daniel Murphy .408
  5. Josh Donaldson .403

All five of these hitters had a BABIP of at least .300, and the similarities continue. Four of the five walked over 12% of the time. Only Donaldson did not obtain a .300 batting average (.284), and Ortiz and Trout both hit .315. Four of the five also had an OBP of over .400 (Daniel Murphy .390, most likely due to his low BB% of 6%), with Donaldson and Ortiz finishing within .03 of each other at .404 and .401 respectively and Votto and Trout were at .434 and .441 respectively by the season’s end. In slugging percentage, Donaldson, Votto and Trout finished at .549, .550 and .550. All of these similarities just go to show wOBA’s ability to consolidate many of the offensive aspects of baseball into one compact statistic.



Statistics from fangraphs.com

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