The evolution of baseball has increased the value of on-base percentage. Long viewed as a barrier to getting a hit, a walk is now perceived as a valuable move that increase a team’s chances of scoring. Coaches of young ballplayers can use team websites to outline the importance of drawing a walk.
On-base machine returns from injury
Joey Votto missed 100 games last year because of knee and quad injuries, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. However, heading into the new season, Votto feels normal and ready to go. This is welcome news for the Cincinnati Reds, a team that was badly missing the slugger with an elite on-base percentage.
“That’s a pretty big presence in your lineup - a guy that’s on base at .420, .430 clip, that gets a lot of extra-base hits, produces a lot of runs - either scoring them, driving them in or both,” Reds manager Bryan Price told the news outlet. “We were under .300 as a team in on-base percentage. There were really area where we needed to improve. That’s one guy we weren’t able to make up for. That was a pretty big-impact loss.”
After finishing with a .327 on-base percentage as a team in 2013, that figure dropped to .296 last year. With Votto healthy and slotted into the middle of the lineup, the Reds should be well equipped to improve that mark. While fighting for a playoff spot in the increasingly competitive NL Central will be quite difficult, the team should at least get on base more often.
Donaldson rises to the top with power and good batting eye
Josh Donaldson was one of the biggest surprises last season with the Oakland A’s. He was previously perceived as a prospect with a bunch of question marks. But after making the American League All Star team and establishing himself as one of the best power hitters in baseball, he quickly became a hot commodity.
The Toronto Blue Jays traded for Donaldson in the offseason, and surely value him not just for his ability to hit plenty of home runs, but also for his on-base prowess.
“I don’t know that anybody foresaw this, but his talent level was always there,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin told the news outlet. “He moved over to third and had some struggles at the big league level offensively - he’s learning a position he hasn’t played every day - and then once he got comfortable with the position, all of a sudden, the bat started to come around.”