First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday whether that is Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Hopefully you are feeling refreshed and ready to learn more about our stat of Staturday, wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average.
wOBA is one of the few offensive stats in baseball that tries to take into account everything a batter can do and boil it down to a single number. Below is the formula for wOBA (screenshot from Fangraphs) and we will break it down further until it no longer looks scary.
Alright, what the heck do all these numbers mean? Some very smart people calculated how many runs a specific event in baseball generates. For example a double is worth more than a single not only because it has a better chance of driving in runs, but it also puts the batter in scoring position for the next guy. Now each season of baseball is different, and that means the total number of runs scored is different for each season. wOBA's coefficients will change from season to season but only slightly. HOWEVER, there is no need for you to remember the coefficients for each season, and that's because it is weighted.
Much like OPS+ there is a number that means a player is league average. Every year, wOBA is weighted in a way so that league average is about 0.320 (not as nice or easy to remember as 100 but it works). If a player is above 0.320 like 0.350 then they are above average.
Unlike OPS+, wOBA does not take into account batting park factors. That means if a hitter plays in a hitter friendly park (Coors Field) then they will tend to have a higher wOBA than a player who plays in a pitcher friendly park (Marlins Park).
That's wOBA. Just remember that 0.320ish is league average or the higher the number the better the hitter. Next week we will look at wRC+ (my favorite offensive stat)!
I hope you all have a great and safe New Year's.