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What Does Slugging Percentage Mean In Baseball And How Is It Calculated?

By / 2 March 2023 08:04 AM

Slugging percentage denotes a player's ability the hit the ball for extra pitches, in the picture Barry Bonds celebrates after hitting for a HR
Source : instagram

The slugging percentage in baseball is used to measure and evaluate players in terms of their ability to hit the ball for extra bases.

For instance, if the hitter manages to hit the pitch for the extra bases, including the second base, the third base, and a home run, these efforts are multiplied according to their importance, which helps in upping a player's slugging percentage.

However, when a hitter hits the ball for a run to the first base, the effort does not add up and is added as it is. It is included while calculating the slugging percentage, but it does not hold as much value as the hits for the extra bases.

Hence, the slugging percentage differs from a player's batting average as the slugging percentage values different hits on their own importance and not equally.

Likewise, while calculating the percentage, the walk to the first base or the hit by a pitch and any other things that do not include the batter's hitting is not considered.

The more the percentage, the better it is for a player. In theory, the slugging percentage can reach up to 4.000. However, no one has ever reached that number in their career or a single season, obviously.

As a matter of fact, no one has ever reached the 1.000 mark because to reach that milestone, one has to basically hit a home run every time they're on home plate and face a pitcher.

How Is Slugging Percentage Calculated?

The slugging percentage is calculated by dividing the total bases by the at-bat stats of the player.

Every season the MLB players slugging percentage is calculated to see how efficient they are when it comes to hitting for extra bases.

Since a good slugging percentage represents the hitter's quality and his capabilities, it is no doubt that every player would want to have a good percentage at the end of the season.

When calculating the percentage, the total bases include the hit for a single, a double, a triple, and a home run.

The formula to calculate the slugging percentage would be: Total Bases / At Bats

Total bases = Hit for a single + 2* Hit for a second base + 3* Hit for a third base + 4* Hit for a home run

We can see that since it mainly focuses on the hit for extra bases, it adds value to the player's ability to do such compared to hitting for a single.

What Is At Bats?

At bat is simply the hitter's opportunity to hit the ball pitched by the pitcher toward him when he is on home plate. However, at-bats is not equivalent to the hitter's plate appearance.

Kike Hernandez at bat hits the pitch thrown out by the pitcher
Source : instagram

A hitter is awarded the plate appearance no matter what happens when he's at the plate. If the hitter gets a walk, is hit by a pitch, hits a sacrifice fly, or in case any other irregularities occur while he is on the home plate, it is counted as a plate appearance.

But the player's at-bat is only counted if his time at the plate as a hitter is not marred by any of the above-mentioned irregularities and he gets an opportunity to hit the pitch against the pitcher.

What Is A Good Slugging Percentage?

A good slugging percentage in MLB is anything starting from .450. 47 players had a .450 or more slugging percentages in 2022.

Barry Bonds has the best single-season slugging percentage of .863 in 2001, which is generally regarded as the best offensive season by an individual ever in MLB history, with his career slugging percentage ranking eighth all-time with .606.

Many players have their slugging percentage from .400 to .450, which is considered an average slugging percentage.

Some players have slugging percentages below the .400 mark and in the .300 range. Any slugging percentage under the .350 is generally considered weak in the major league.

For a great player, a proper slugging percentage would be .500, and anything above .600 is usually seen as a stat line for an elite player.

Barry Bonds recorded the single season best slugging percentage in 2001 with .863
Source : instagram

The best slugging percentage in their career goes to the legendary Babe Ruth with .690, followed by the great Ted Willimas at .634 and Lou Gherig at .632.

Babe Ruth leads all players on the career slugging percentage with .690
Source : instagram

Of the current players, Mike Trout has the highest career slugging percentage with .587, coming in at number 11 all-time. Trout is followed by Aaron Judge with a slugging percentage of .582, coming in at number 13 all-time.

Aaron Judge led last season with a slugging percentage of .686
Source : instagram

Judge finished the previous 2022 season as the slugging percentage leader with .686, which was definitely boosted by his 62 home run season.

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