Batted Ball Direction (Pull%, Cent%, Oppo%) categorizes the percentage of batted balls hit to a particular part of the field. The field is divided up into three equal slices with the pull field being defined as the right field for left-handed hitters and left field for right-handed hitters. The opposite field is left field for left-handed hitters and right field for right-handed hitters.
The location of the batted ball is based on data from Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) and is available dating back to 2002 for hitters and pitchers in the leaderboards and on the player pages.
There are a lot of stats available on the site which require a fair amount of math, but batted ball direction stats are very easy to understand. The landing spot of every batted ball is identified by video scouts at BIS and then the total number of batted balls to each part of the field is divided by the player’s total batted balls. In other words:
Pull% = Pulled Balls/Total Batted Balls
The field is divided into three equal sections (30 degrees each) and home runs are included.
Why Batted Ball Direction:
Batted ball direction stats are descriptive tools more than evaluation tools. You can be an effective hitters by pulling the ball frequently or by spraying the ball around a lot. These statistics can give you an indication of which batters might be vulnerable to shifting, or these stats might be a way to infer something about batters who are changing their approach or their swing.
These stats are summaries of a hitters spray chart. Knowing something about a hitter’s batted ball direction distribution helps you determine the type of hitter they are, and they are best when used in conjunction with batted ball type (line drive, fly ball, ground ball) and quality of contact (soft, medium, hard).
How To Use Batted Ball Direction:
Batted ball direction is the kind of statistic you want to use in the context of other statistics like batted ball type and quality of contact and in the context of the player’s own history. You can’t just look at batted ball direction (unless it’s very extreme) and know if the hitter is good or bad. Instead, you want to use batted ball direction stats to look for tendencies and spot changes in a player’s game. It’s one dimension of the broader topic of batted ball profile.
As noted, there isn’t a “good” or “bad” batted ball direction profile. But here are some benchmarks for your reference. These are guides.
|Extreme Opposite Field||30||30||40|
Things To Remember:
● These stats are for batted balls, so home runs are included.
● The field is divided into three equal slices.
● There isn’t an ideal distribution.
Links To Further Reading:
Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.