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Batting Average vs. Quality At Bats

Ahhhh, the awkward conversation between teammates, parents, coaches, and scouts — What’s your batting average?

Personally, I highly dislike the idea of batting average. I think I dislike it because it doesn’t truly show how good a hitter is. Some of the statistics that I really like are:

QAB — Quality At Bat %

HHB — Hard Hit Ball %

OBP — On Base Percentage

OPS — On Base + Slugging

I really like these ones because they don’t show your average. Batting average only talks about how many times you get a hit. I talk all the time to the kids I train about how hard it is to get a hit, and how we can be productive in other ways. Baseball and softball are games that have such versatility. There are a TON of different things that could happen each pitch. Getting a hit is just one part of the game. I would like to break down the other statistics a little bit to explain why I like them better:

QAB — Quality At Bats is a stat that shows how productive each at bat is. When I was at Canisius, we had a list of things that would show as a quality at bat:

  1. Hard Hit Ball
  2. Walk
  3. Hit By Pitch
  4. Situational Execution (Runner on 2B, move them over)
  5. Sacrifice Bunt
  6. RBI
  7. 7+ pitch at bat (that produces any result, except a strikeout looking)

The one thing you don’t see on here is HIT. Sometimes a hit can be a bad at bat. If you get jammed on a pitch you should crush, is it really quality? I believe that QABs allow a player to be productive, even when they get out. They also allow players to have confidence in themselves, even when they don’t get a hit.

HHB — Hard Hit Ball % is a great stat that has been shown more and more in the MLB. I love this stat because when we hit the ball hard, that is something we should be proud of. I know that it might result in an out, but the more we hit the ball hard, the more we will get on base. We should strive to hit the ball hard every time we swing our bat, whether it results in an out or a hit.

OBP — On Base Percentage is what I made a living off of. My job as a hitter was to find any way on base. A lot of times, it was by the Hit By Pitch. I know, it’s crazy to think that I got hit by pitches for a career, but that’s what I needed to do to help my team. There are a bunch of ways to reach base. I think that if we focus on reaching base any way that we can, it helps our team more. If we only focus on the hits that we have, we are going to be very disappointed.

OPS — On Base + Slugging is a great stat because it shows your ability to get on base, plus the power you produce. This is creating the complete hitter, power + contact + ability to grind out at-bats and get on base. I love this stat because it brings in every facet of the game.

I know that the Batting Average is what everyone sees on TV and on their Apps, but at the end of the day, we should be focusing on quality.

I will take a kid who is 0-4 with 4 hard hit balls, then a kid who’s 2-4 with 2 bloop hits. I know that the 2-4 looks like a better game today, but the kid who is hitting the ball hard every at bat will be more successful in the end.

Baseball and softball are games that teach us how to fail. If we are constantly focusing on our batting average, we are going to be very disappointed. The best hitters in the world bat around .300. That means that they are failing 70% of the time. We have to look at things that we have control of. QAB, HHB and the other stats I mentioned are stats that have a higher success rate than the Batting Average.

Instead of focusing solely on how your son/daughter’s batting average is, focus on how many times they reach base, how many times they hit the ball hard each game, and ways that they helped their team win.