Total average

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Total average is a baseball statistic devised by sportswriter Thomas Boswell in the 1970s. The statistic is designed to measure a hitter's overall offensive contributions.

The definition of the statistic is simple. A player gets a credit for every base he accumulates and a penalty for every out he makes. So a player gets one credit for a single, walk, stolen base or being hit by a pitch; two for a double; three for a triple; and four for a home run. A player's Total Average is calculated by adding all the bases together and dividing them by the number of outs the player makes.

The formula is:

TA = \frac{TB+HBP+BB+SB}{AB-H+CS+GIDP}

where

  • TA = Total average
  • TB = Total bases
  • HBP = Hit by pitch
  • BB = Walks
  • SB = Stolen base
  • CS = Caught stealing
  • AB = At bats
  • H = Hits
  • GIDP = grounded into double play

Because Total average emphasizes walks and extra base hits - and de-emphasizes singles - it has much in common with statistics developed by Bill James and other sabermetricians. Like OPS, total average gives credit to players who draw a lot of walks and hit with a lot of power: Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams and Frank Thomas for instance. James himself was critical of total average.[citation needed]