Batting Ratings determine the offensive skills, abilities, and ultimately the results that a batter will experience when he steps up to the batter's box or takes a lead at first base.
Skills are measured on a scale of 1-100, with 1 being the worst and 100 being the best. It goes without saying that a higher rating = more skill in that rated area, but it's also important to know that the scale is not linear
. The difference in ability gained between 50 and 60 is less than the difference in ability gained between 60 and 70. Starting with ratings of 50 or higher, the higher the number the larger the difference. The difference between a 95 and a 98 may be similar in scale to the difference between a 50 and a 70.
Discipline reflects how well the batter can recognize balls and strikes, and whether they are patient enough to swing at good pitches only. DI has a dramatic effect on walks and a lesser effect on strikeouts (usually on called strikes). High Discipline does not necessarily mean the player hits better - but it does mean their on-base percentage will be a lot higher. Also, Discipline makes them a little more (or less) likely to be hit by a pitch, since they are taking more (or less) pitches. An average player (.260 AVG, .330 OBP, 105 SO in 600 PA) with a DI=100 will typically walk a lot more and strike out a little less (.262 AVG, .427 OBP, 83 SO in 600 PA).
Famous players with high Discipline: Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan
Contact reflects how well the batter can make contact when he decides to swing. Whereas Discipline has a big effect on walks and a small effect on strikeouts, Contact does the opposite - dramatically affecting a player's strikeout chances, and slightly affecting their walk chances. Contact has a very small effect on their ability to get a single or double (sometimes just making contact is enough), and has a slight effect on the Ground Ball/Fly Ball ratio (high contact batters will keep the ball down a little better). Give the average player (.260 AVG, .330 OBP, 105 SO in 600 PA) a CN=100 and he's likely to come in with stats around .271 AVG, .349 OBP with 38 SO in 600 PA.
Famous players with high Contact: Tony Gwynn, Joe DiMaggio
Batting reflects how well the batter hits for average. This has the most pronounced influence over the ability to hit singles and doubles, and has a slight influence over the triple and home run totals. Batting also has a small influence over walks and strikeouts - the higher the Batting, the less strikeouts and more walks, though not nearly to the degree that DI/CN affect those outcomes. GB/FB ratio is also affected by this - again, presuming that when a player hits for average they tend to keep the ball down a little better. An average player (.260 AVG, .330 OBP, 15 HRs in 600 PA) with a BA=100 gets significantly better (.344 AVG, .429 OBP, 17 HRs in 600 PA). (Note that the increase in OBP is primarily due to the 84 point increase in batting average.)
Famous players with high Batting: Wade Boggs, Ted Williams
Slugging reflects how well the batter hits for power. If you want home runs, you want SL. Slugging basically converts singles to extra-base hits without increasing the overall batting average much. Think of a .330 hitter with 10 HRs and a .330 hitter with 40 HRs. Neither player had more hits, but the 40 HR guy simply had less singles (and maybe doubles) and more home runs. High Slugging also affects walks because pitchers try to pitch around power hitters more often. These players also tend to have more strikeouts because they miss the ball a little more often when swinging for the fences. Many high SL players have a low GB/FB ratio, since the home run shots that don't quite make it tend to be fly ball outs. The average Joe (.260 AVG, .330 OBP, 15 HRs in 600 PA) becomes a heck of a slugger with SL=100 (.262 AVG, .360 OBP, 60 HRs in 600 PA).
Famous players with high Slugging: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron
Speed reflects how well and how fast a player runs the bases. SP is not just a measure of raw speed - it's a combination of speed plus baserunning instincts. Aside from the obvious influence on stolen bases, Speed will also influence the rate and success of a player taking extra bases, tagging up, and breaking up double plays. The average player will attempt to steal approximately every 1 in 16 chances. A player with SP=100 will steal about 1 in 2 chances.
Famous players with high Speed: Lou Brock, Willie Mays