Last week’s Sprots Gloss tackled the plate appearance in baseball, today we will look at the rules of the “at bat” statistic. The at bat or AB is the most used and misused stat in baseball. Whenever you see that your favorite player went 2/4 or 2 for 4, that is a measure of his at bats meaning that of the 4 AB’s your player got, he got on base 2 times. The part that trips everyone up, however, is that an AB is not recorded every time your player steps up to the plate–that would be a plate appearance (see last week’s article). An at bat is only recorded if the batter successfully puts the ball in play or strikes out. HOWEVER, there are caveats because why wouldn’t there be?
An AB is not recorded if:
- The batter is walked (duh, walking would not count as putting the ball in play)
- The player is hit by a pitch (see above)
- The batter is awarded first base due to catcher interference (you will see this maybe 2 times in your life)
- **He hits a sacrifice fly or sacrifice bunt** (biggest reason people get this stat wrong)
- The batter is replaced in the middle of his at bat (unless the batter leaving had 2 strikes and the replacement batter completes the strikeout, the SO is credited to the original batter)
These fun stipulations are why you will often hear that Eric Hosmer went 2 for 3 with a walk meaning he had 4 plate appearances, 2 of which resulted in a hit, one was a walk, and one was an out of some sort. This may help you understand why all of the players on your team have such varied AB numbers in the same game.
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