|Kevin Youkilis' entire career has been built around|
not making outs. (Getty Images)
Out percentage answers a clear question: What percentage of the time does a hitter make an out? That’s all. Outs are the sands of time in baseball. You know this. You get 27 of them in a nine-inning game. You will lose some of them by strikeout, some by groundout, some by flyout. You will lose two of them at a time in double plays. You will surrender some of them moving a teammate a single base or scoring them from third base. You will forfeit some outs trying to get an extra base for yourself.
Through the years, it has always been the role of baseball analysts to tell us something about a hitter’s personality. This player is a clutch hitter, meaning he hits better when the situation demands it. This player is not a clutch hitter, meaning he shrinks when the team needs a hit most. This player is a run producer, meaning he has a distinct ability to score the runners already on base. This player is a table setter, meaning he has distinct ability to be one of those runners on base when the run producers come up. This player is a great teammate, meaning he is skilled at bunting and hitting behind runners and doing those “little things that don’t show up in the box score.” And so on. And so on.