The Math of Softball: Understanding the Stats

The Math of Softball

Understanding the Stats

The following is Lovey Howell’s down and dirty on softball stats.  You can find the current and past stats listed on our webpage at TheAtlantaTalons.com on the main menu under the stats tab.

GP – Games Played – just as its name implies, this is the number of games that you have played in.

PA – Plate Attempts – This is the number of time you have been up to bat.

AB – At Bats – This is the number of official times you have been up to bat.  This number is your Plate Attempts (PA) less any at bats that you have walked.  So, if you have been up to bat 5 times, but walked 2 of those times, your official At Bats will be 3.

H – Hits – This is the number of times you have officially reached base safely by hitting the ball.  If you reached base because of an error (short stop over threw the ball to first) or because of a fielder’s choice (you reached base but your hit caused the runner at first to get out at second), you do not receive credit for a hit.

1B, 2B, 3B, HR – This is the number of singles, doubles, triples and Home Runs.  A side note:  if you try for extra bases and get thrown out, you get credit for the last base you reach safely (ie, you get credit for a double if you are thrown out at third).

RBI – Runs Batted In – This is the number of runs that were scored during your at bat (ie, you hit the ball deep and 3 people made it to home plate).

R – Runs – This is the number of time you yourself crossed home plate safely.

ROE – Reached on Error – This is the number of times you made it to base due to an error by the defense.  You do not get credit for a hit.

FC – Fielder’s Choice – This is the number of times that you hit the ball and made it safely to base, but one of the runners ahead of you was forced out.  You do not get credit for a hit.  The reasoning is that the fielder could have chosen to get you out, but instead took the lead runner (it was the “fielder’s choice”).

BB – Base on Balls – This is the number of times you were walked.  I do not know why they don’t just call it a walk.

SO – Strike out – This is the number of times that you struck out at the plate.

Now it’s time for the math:

AVG – Batting Average – this is the percentage that you hit the ball and make it safely to base.  This is found by dividing your Hits (H) by your At Bats (AB).  Walks are not considered in this computation.  Thus, walks do not improve or worsen your batting average.

OBP – On Base Percentage – this is the percentage that you reach base safely.  The difference in this stat and your batting average is that this stat includes walks.  To find this stat, you take your Hits (H) plus your Base on Balls (BB), and divide by your At Bats (AB) plus your Base on Balls (BB).

SLG – Slugging Percentage – This percentage is a power stat.  It basically tells you how many average bases you reach per at bat.  If you have a 1.000 SLG, you average 1 base per at bat (you average a single each at bat).  If you have a 2.000 SLG, you average a double at each at bat.  A .500 SLG means that each at bat you average half a base (therefore it takes you two at bats to get a single, on average).

So how do we use these numbers?  I use these numbers to help me with my line up.  I want my first and second batters in the order to have a high OBP (and also good runners).  I want batters that can get on base more often than not.  Batters three, four and five I tend to look for the higher SLG (fourth batter normally has the highest SLG).  I want these power batters to hit deep so batters 1 and 2 can score.  After that, I normally start selecting batters based on AVG.

How can you use these numbers?  Look at the players that have higher averages than you.  Watch how they bat.  Their stance.  Where they hit the ball.  Do you have a high number of Fielder’s Choices?  If so, concentrate on clearing the ball out of the infield, or work on placing the ball.  Striking out too much?  Spend some extra time in the cages, or ask one of the Talons Coaches for some extra practice time before or after practice.  Use these numbers to improve your game!!

I hope this helped to explain some of the numbers that we toss around from time to time.  As always, feel free to ask anyone on the coaching staff any questions that you may have.  We might not always know the answer right away, but we will find out for you!

Coach Lovey

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