How to read Baseball Stats
Baseball is the best sport that has ever existed. There aren’t many sports that can provide you with hundreds of games — 162 to be exact – in a single season. The aggregate amount of NFL and NBA games in a year is nothing near the number of baseball games. In the current season, you may anticipate the start of a lot of baseball games. If you’ve ever played baseball, you must know how exciting it can be. The adrenaline rush you get from walking up to the home plate, focusing all your concentration on the pitcher, and seeing the baseball speeding towards you is unrivaled. You must also know that baseball is a game of numbers. Baseball, more than any other sport, has statistics, yet there’s something about it that makes it the ideal sport for statisticians everywhere. So much so that the study of baseball statistics has been given its own name: sabermetrics. With terms like DRS and wRC+ being bandied about in baseball stories, it’s easy for baseball writers to forget that some people don’t care about the details of the game and simply appreciate it for what it is: a game. With that in mind, we are going to take a deep dive into what different baseball metrics represent to make life simpler for individuals who aren’t familiar with baseball statistics
Reading the Baseball Stats:
Have you ever found it hard to keep track of the score while watching a Major League Baseball game? Well, you are not alone. Learning to interpret baseball data is a simple method to increase your pleasure in the game, especially if you’re excited about the outcome. In addition to the current score, baseball’s distinctive scoreboard is jam-packed with important information about the game. Each club is listed on the far-left side of a traditional baseball scoreboard. The away team will always be mentioned first, while the home team will be placed last (because the home team always bats second). There are at least nine numerically labeled columns as you move from left to right. Each inning symbolizes one game inning. The figures below represent the number of runs each side scored in that inning. The last column, which is commonly designated ‘EI,’ is used to count any extra-inning runs. Three columns labeled R, H, and E appear after the inning score boxes. These columns show, how many points each team has in Total Number of Runs Scored, Total Humber of Hits, and Total Number of Errors, respectively.
To make it simpler, let’s break down the stats in multiple headings.
- At Bats (AB): This one is fairly self-explanatory but can be a little 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. A walk, a sacrifice play, or a hit by pitch do not count as at-bats. As a result of the discrepancy in the figures above, Jose Iglesias seems to have fewer at-bats than the other members of the order, but he also has a walk. Plate appearances, or PA in a stat, are similar to at-bats. Also, It’s worth noting that if catcher interference happens during a play, the trip to the plate isn’t considered an at-bat or a plate appearance.
- Hits (H) and Run (R): 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. 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 state is further split down into notations that show how far the batter has progressed. 2B stands for a double, which occurs when the hitter reaches second base. while 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.” Another term that is commonly used is Run (R) or Run Batter In (RBI). When a hitter reaches home plate, either by their own 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.
- Base on Balls (BB) and Strikeouts (K): This is just another way of stating “walks.” It 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) it is not considered a walk. A strikeout occurs when a hitter 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.
The three most important hitting numbers are batting average (BA, or AVG above), on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging percentage (SLG) (SLG). These are sometimes depicted as three metrics next to each other, separated by slashes, earning them the moniker “slash line,” as in.220/.267/.314 (James McCann’s 2018 slash line). When you read that a player “slashed” a given number, it’s frequently followed by the three statistics listed above. On-base plus slugging (OPS) is a combination of on-base percentage and slugging percentage that is used as a fourth batting metric.
- On-Base Average (OB): The On-Base Percentage, or OBP, is an extension of the batting average that tracks whether a hitter advances to first base as a consequence of a walk or a hit-by-pitch. The average percentage of time a batter reaches base after stepping up to bat is known as OBP. It is a more useful metric of offensive production than batting average because it includes all instances in which a batter advance.
- Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA): It can be thought of as a more useful form of OBP. wOBA is a sabermetric statistic that assigns a numerical value to each hit or advance to the first base. The algorithm for calculating wOBA is complicated but be assured that it has been refined over many years. wOBA performs a better job of recognizing which batters are contributing the most to their team’s potential to score points by rating offensive events depending on their worth rather than considering them all equally.
- Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+): Similar to wOBA, this sabermetric statistic measures a player’s total offensive contributions. The number of runs a player is worth to his team in comparison to the league average is expressed as wRC+. As a league average, all players are weighed around a value of 100. When given the identical game conditions, a player with a wRC+ of 150 generated 50% more runs than the typical player.
You must first pick whether you’re looking at starting pitchers or relieving pitchers before diving into individual pitching statistics. Starting pitchers are expected to throw more pitches than relievers, and relievers are classified as “long” or “short” pitchers. Long relievers may be expected to cover numerous innings, whereas short relievers may only be called in for a few outs. We have already discussed some of the pitching stats like striking. Following is a brief list of some important pitching stats.
- Earned Run Average (ERA): The ERA is the most extensively used pitching metric. It is an approximate estimate of how many runs a pitcher has surrendered per nine innings thrown. ERA fails to account for a lot of bad defensive plays that result in runs when compared to more recently created comprehensive pitching measures (like FIP). This measure severely disadvantages pitchers who play on teams with poor defenses.
- Innings Pitched (IP): Innings Pitched, or IP, is the most effective statistic for determining a starting pitcher’s depth. You can roughly forecast when a starter will be relieved by the bullpen if you know their average IP each game. It’s worth noting that each out a pitcher gets while on the mound counts as 1/3 of an inning thrown. Pitchers are given an inning for every three outs they make throughout the game.
- Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA): SIERA is similar to FIP because it allows you to compare the total quality of two or more pitchers. It’s a sophisticated sabermetric statistic that incorporates extra inputs to avoid the limitations of classic ERA while still taking into account a pitcher’s responsibility for balls in play.
Some other Important Stats:
- Errors (E): Errors are one of the main statistics that can be found on almost every baseball scoreboard (look for a team’s total in the ‘E’ column throughout the game). When a player fails to make a defensive play that an average player would have done, it is called an error. Players that make a lot of errors often find themselves in tough situations.
- Fielding Percentage (FPCT): The number of opportunities a fielder is given to make or break a play is accounted for by Fielding Percentage or FPCT. It’s significantly more useful as a rate statistic than just looking at mistakes. The proportion of the time a player successfully fields the ball when given the opportunity is represented by the number you see.
- Outs and Assists: Players that record a high number of outs clearly contribute to their team’s defensive success. However, this metric does not give enough information to determine a player’s defensive worth. Consider how many assists a position player has racked up instead of only focusing on outs. Often, the player who first fields the ball and delivers it to the appropriate base gets the most credit.
- DRS or Defensive Runs Saved: It is a metric that captures the defensive efforts of a player. It shows how many runs they have compared to an average player at the same position. Remember that an average fielder will have a DRS rating of 0, while the top fielders will have DRS ratings greater than 15.
If you have ever heard a true baseball fan talking about his favorite game, you know how intense and emotional it can get. You will likely hear a lot about the game’s unmatched grace and elegance that makes this sport so unique. The only problem with some people is that baseball is not as simple as any other sport. We have compiled all those issues a common view of this game faces. So, grab your popcorn, turn on your screen, and start watching!