To improve your baseball skills, you'll need to be familiar with some important stats. This guide will discuss key stats that will help you improve your batting and pitching skills. We'll also provide information on how to read and understand baseball graphs and charts. By familiarizing yourself with these stats, you'll be on your way to becoming a better player!
It can be tough for baseball writers to remember that some individuals don't stress over the minutiae of the game and simply appreciate it for what it is: a game, especially with terms like DRS and wRC+ being flung around in articles. With that in mind, we're going to dive deeply into what different baseball metrics represent to make life simpler for individuals who aren't familiar with baseball statistics.
At Bats (AB)
This one is very self-explanatory, yet it can be perplexing. At Bats, abbreviated as AB in a box score, are the number of times a player has come up to the bat and had one of the following outcomes: a hit, a strikeout, reaching on an error, or a fielder's choice.
What does not count as an At Bats: a walk, a sacrifice play, a hit by pitch. Hence the discrepancy in the numbers above - Jose Iglesias had fewer At Bats than the others in his lineup, but he also had one more walk. Similar to what counts as an At Bats is plate appearances, abbreviated as PA for short. Plate appearances encompass all instances where players appear out At Bats- including walks and sacrifices. If catcher interference during a play, that would not count as an At Bats or plate appearance.
Slugging percentage (SLG) measures a hitter's batting output in baseball statistics. The sum of a player's on-base and slugging percentage is measured as on base plus slugging (OPS), a sabermetric baseball statistic.
Total bases split by at bats is determined using the formula below, where AB represents the number of at bats for a certain player and 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR represent the number of singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, respectively:(1B + 2Bx2 + 3Bx3 + HRx4)/AB.
Slugging %, unlike batting average, gives extra-base hits like doubles and home runs more weight than singles. Plate appearances that result in walks, hit-by-pitches, catcher's interference, or sacrifice bunts or flies are expressly removed from this computation because they are not considered at bats (these are not factored into batting average either).
Run (R) and Runs Batted In (RBI)
When a hitter reaches home plate, either by their efforts (a home run) or via the efforts of another batter, a run (R) is recorded. The term "run batted in" refers to a run scored as a consequence of the batter's efforts. Confused? It's no issue. RBI is simply an acronym for the more detailed term of runs batted in.
While the concept of a run is quite simple, the calculation can be confusing if you don't understand the formula. That's because there are different formulas for calculating runs depending on the type of plate appearance (walk, strikeout, home run, sacrifice fly or hit by pitch). There is no universal formula to calculate runs; however, we can use one example from a baseball database to illustrate how this calculation is done.
When a batter reaches first base in their at-bat, it is called a hit (H). Because a hitter can reach first base on an error or a fielder's choice, which does not count as a hit, this becomes significantly more complicated.
Let's get back to the hit. Because a hit does not include an error or a fielder's choice, a hitter might reach first base and not be counted as a hit.
The hit stat is further split down into notations that show how far the batter has progressed. 2B stands for a double when the hitter reaches second base. A 3B represents a triple, which occurs when the hitter reaches third base. An HR is a symbol for a home run. All of them are considered "extra-base hits." The majority of basic game box scores only list hits. However, a player's stat page on a website like Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs will provide a more extensive breakdown.
Based on Balls (BB)
This statistic is just another way of stating "walks." This only applies to batters who see four balls and are awarded first base as a consequence. A deliberate walk (also known as an IBB or intentional base on balls) counts as a walk. When a hitter is struck by a pitch (hit by pitch or HBP) and receives tripe to first base. As a result, it is not considered a walk.
Strikeouts are rather easy; a strikeout occurs when a batter sees or swings at three strikes, terminating the batter's at-bat. This can be shown in a game by a K, which denotes a swinging strikeout, or a, which shows a strikeout looking, when the hitter does not take a swing at the final pitch of the At bat.
When a batter does not swing at the final pitch of the At-Bat, theirAt Bat (AB) is scored as 0.
On-base percentage (OBP)
If you've seen Moneyball, you'll understand why certain teams prize this statistic as being more important than the batting average. This statistic includes more than just batting average because it considers all a batter's at-bats.
Errors and fielder's choice aren't included in this total, but it does include hits, walks, and batters hit by pitch. Some prefer this metric over batting average because it provides a full view of a batter's effectiveness at the plate. A walk is equally as effective as a hit at putting a batter in scoring position.
On-base percentage is computed by dividing the total number of hits, walks, and hit-by-pitch At Bats by the total number of At Bats, walks, hit-by-pitch At Bats, and sacrifice flies. That's a lot, to be sure. It's no surprise that it's seen as more egalitarian.
Conclusion: In this post, we outlined some important baseball stats you should be aware of to improve your playing skills. If you don't know how to use them, then it is time to learn.