clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Impact of a Small Increase in Hits Per Game

A small increase in hits-per-game is realistic and it will make a big impact on team success.

Josh Rojas
Josh Rojas
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Diamondbacks had five multigame scoring streaks.

Before we address hits, let’s list streaks of at least 5 games with the Diamondbacks scoring at least 3 runs in each game. Why streaks are important was explained in this AZ Snake Pit article.

  • April 8-14
  • April 18-May 4
  • May 26-30
  • July 18-24
  • September 14-20.

During those streaks, Diamondbacks’ hits-per-game were 9.08. Outside of those streaks, Diamondbacks’ hits-per-games were 7.68. If we assume hits-per-game caused the streaks, a seemingly small difference of 1.4 hits-per-game made the difference between a multi-game batting streak and games with batting inconsistency.

All data in this article was from Baseball Reference.

Which Diamondbacks had more 3-hit games?

For 2021. the following list shows the percentage of games with at least 3 hits (excluding games they did not start but instead entered the game later).

  • 15.2% Josh Reddick (Free Agent, no longer with Diamondbacks)
  • 13.4% Ketel Marte
  • 11.1% Nick Heath
  • 8.6% Josh Rojas
  • 6.6% Pavin Smith
  • 4.5% Josh VanMeter
  • 4.3% Asdrubal Cabrera (No longer with Diamondbacks)
  • 4.0% Christian Walker
  • 3.8% Tim Locastro (No longer with Diamondbacks)
  • 2.7% Daulton Varsho
  • 2.6% Kole Calhoun (No longer with Diamondbacks)
  • 2.5% Nick Ahmed
  • 2.4% David Peralta
  • 2.2% Eduardo Escobar (No longer with Diamondbacks)

Several points follow:

  • Ketel Mart’s 13.4% 3-hit games confirmed he is an All-Star.
  • Nick Heath’s 11.1% 3-hit games were based on 9 PAs, obviously a very small sample size.
  • PECOTA projected Daulton Varsho to hit better in 2022. Despite a pay wall that hid how much better, I am confident that his percentage of 3-hit games will be at least double what it was in 2021.
  • Josh Rojas (8.6%) and Pavin Smith (6.6%) ranked fourth and fifth highest. However, their hitting can make a huge difference next season. Let’s explore “why.”

Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith are fire-starters.

Get ready to be blown away amazed! In the 13 games when Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith each had at least 2 hits in the same game, the Diamondbacks averaged 12.38 hits-per-game compared to other games in the season with 7.62 hits-per-game. That’s a huge difference of nearly 5 hits-per-game. When they were hitting well, the team was hitting well. That’s why Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith are fire-starters.

Six of the 13 games with the fire-starters hitting well were during the five multigame scoring streaks we mentioned earlier. Rojas started 116 games and Smith started 122 games. The data suggests that a small increase in hits-per-game could be achieved by increasing the number of games with both fire-starters in the starting lineup. Nevertheless, the 12.38 hits-per-game happened from a team effort with many players contributing.

The skeptic might ask whether those 13 games were batted against less than excellent starting pitching. Some games were played against the best pitchers in baseball. Two games were against Yu Darvish, one game was against Shohei Ohtani, and one game was against Brandon Woodruff. In 2021, Woodruff’s 2.56 ERA and 5.7 bWAR ranked 4th in the NL. Other notable starters faced were Johnny Cueto and Dinelson Lamet.

Next season, if the Diamondbacks can get Rojas and Smith into the game and hitting well, the impact would be tremendous.

Looking beyond Rojas and Smith to the team in 2021, the Diamondbacks’ hits-per-game ranked 18th in the Majors. Not bad, but from the current level, improvement in hits per game is realistic and achievable, especially with the new hitting coach.

Summary.

Next season, a small increase in hits-per-game will make a big impact.

  • A seemingly small difference of 1.4 hits-per-game made the difference between a multi-game batting streak and games with batting inconsistency.
  • When fire-starters (Josh Rojas and Pavin Smith) hit well, the difference was nearly 5 hits-per-game for the Diamondbacks.
  • Looking at all Diamondbacks, from the current level, improvement in hits-per-game is realistic and achievable, especially with the new hitting coach.