New metric measures power


I TRY NOT to foist too many of my own metrics on you. But hey, it's the middle of the summer, baseball is the only game around, and pennant races are still taking shape. So it's the perfect time to tinker with numbers that answer interesting questions like, "Who has the most pure power on the planet?" So I present to you: smashing percentage.

Smashing percentage (SMASH) is a hitter's slugging percentage divided by his batting average, which is another way of expressing his total bases per hit. SMASH doesn't measure the value of a player's power. (For that, you're better off looking at isolated power, which is SLG minus BA.) It doesn't care how often a batter reaches base, or whether he makes contact at all. It just basically looks at how hard he crushes each ball he hits safely. And in an offense-starved MLB, that may be just what GMs need to know.

I was inspired to look into smashing percentage when researching Dave Kingman's 1982 season. As a young Mets fan, I had never seen anything like Kong's stat line before, and I haven't since: Kingman cracked 37 homers to lead the NL that year and did almost nothing else. He hit just .204, by far the lowest batting average for a home run champ, with only nine doubles and one triple. That gave him an impressive smashing percentage of 2.119. (Since World War II, the MLB average has hovered around 1.5.)