A Beginner’s Guide to Baseball Statistics: Batting

Baseball Statistics 101: Batting

Baseball is a numbers game and if you’re a beginner to baseball analytics, or sabermetrics, this guide to batting statistics will help you make sense of the commonly used terms.

Standard Batting Statistics

At Bats (AB)

An “At Bats” (AB) counts the number of times a player came to the plate and resulted in a hit, a strikeout, reaching on an error, or fielder’s choice.

Plate Appearance (PA)

A “Plate Appearance” (PA) is similar to AB but includes situations where the batter didn’t get an official at-bat, such as walks or a hit by pitch. However, if the catcher interferes, neither an at-bat nor a plate appearance is counted.

Run (R) & Runs Batted In (RBI)

The terms “Run” (R) and “Runs Batted In” (RBI) are related but distinct. A run is scored when the batter reaches home plate, either by their own hit (a home run) or through another batter’s efforts. An RBI is counted when a run scores as a direct result of the hitter’s actions.

Hit (h)

A “Hit” (H) is noted when the batter reaches at least first base in their at-bat, but it does not include instances where the batter reached first base due to an error or a fielder’s choice. This term also extends to ‘extra base hits’, such as doubles (2B), triples (3B), and home runs (HR).

Base on Balls (BB)

“Base on Balls” (BB), or walks, are counted when the batter is awarded first base after seeing four balls. ‘Strikeouts’ (K) are when the batter sees or swings at three strikes, ending their at-bat.

More Advanced Batting Statistics

Let’s delve into the main batting stats: batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging (SLG), often represented together as a “slash line”. The “On-base Plus Slugging” (OPS) is a combination of OBP and SLG.

Batting Average (BA)

The “Batting Average” (BA) is simple: it’s calculated by dividing the player’s total hits by their at-bats. A .300 average means a player got a hit in three out of every ten at-bats.

On Base Percentage (OBP)

“On-base percentage” (OBP) includes all instances when a hitter reaches base, including hits, walks, and being hit by a pitch. It gives a broader picture of the batter’s success at the plate. It’s calculated by dividing the total of hits, walks, and hit by pitch, by the sum of at-bats, walks, hit by pitch, and sacrifice flies.

Slugging (SLG)

“Slugging” (SLG) represents the total bases (including all extra base hits) divided by at-bats, adding extra weight to extra base hits. It paints a more comprehensive picture of a player’s performance at the plate.

On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS)

Finally, “On-base Plus Sluggin” (OPS) is a measure of a player’s overall production. It combines how frequently a batter reaches base (OBP) and how often they hit for extra bases (SLG). An OPS over 1.000 indicates an outstanding season at the plate.

Now you should be well equipped to understand the basics of baseball batting stats.

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