Glossary

Statistics are a sacred part of baseball. Numbers like 56, 2,632, .406, and 1.12 are widely recognized by people within the game, no explanation needed. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the most frequently used and referenced stats and their definitions. We have also included a list of the most widely recognized awards in baseball with a definition and qualifications for each award. Let us know if you don’t see a stat or award that we have referenced.

Standard Batting

These are the most commonly referred to and easiest stats to find.

At Bats (AB): The number of times a player bats. If the at bat results in one of the following the player is not credited with an at bat:

  • Walk
  • Hit by pitch
  • Sacrifice fly or sacrifice hit
  • If the inning ends in the middle of at bat (ex. runner thrown out trying to steal)
  • Batter is replaced by a pinch hitter before completion of at bat
  • If the defense is called for interference or obstruction

Batting Average (BA or AVG): A rate of hits per at bats. It is calculated by: H/AB.

Caught Stealing (CS): Number of times a base runner is caught stealing a base.

Double (2B): Any hit that results in the batter safely reaching second base that does not involve an error.

Games Played (G): Number of games a player has appeared in, either defensively or at the plate.

Grounded into Double Play (GDP): Number of times a batter hit into a double play. If the defense gets two outs on a hit but the batter is not one of the outs that does not count as a GDP.

Hits (H): The number of times a player hits a ball and reaches base safely. There are a few instances where a batter can reach base safely and not be credited with a hit. They included:

  • A ball hit to an infielder that chooses to get another runner out (called a fielder’s choice).
  • If a fielder makes an error that allows the batter to safely reach base.

Hit by Pitch (HBP): Number of times a batter is hit by a pitch. Not counted as an at bat.

Home Run (HR): Any hit that results in the batter safely reaching home plate that does not involve an error.

Intentional Walks (IBB): Number of walks issued when a pitcher deliberately throws completely unhittable pitches. A walk is only considered intentional if the catcher gives a clear sign that he is calling for an unhittable ball.

On Base Percentage (OBP): The rate at which the batter reaches base. This is calculated by: (H+BB+HBP)/(AB+BB+HBP+SF).

On Base Plus Slugging (OPS): A number that combines OBP and SLG by adding them. One of the first and most mainstream of all the sabermetrics.

Plate Appearances (PA): The number of times a player came to the plate.

Runs (R): The number of times the player scored a run.

Runs Batted In (RBI): Number of times a run scores as a result of a batter’s plate appearance, except when an error caused the run to score or the batter hits into a double play.

Sacrifice Flies (SF): Number of times a batter’s fly out (can either be fair or foul) allowed a runner to tag up and score. Not counted as an at bat. If a runner tags up but does not score the batter is not credited with a SF.

Sacrifice Hits or Sacrifice Bunts (SH): Number of times a bunt advances a runner and results in an out, or would have resulted in an out but for an error or unsuccessful fielder’s choice. Not counted as an at bat.

Single (1B): Any hit that results in the batter safely reaching first base that does not involve a fielder’s choice or an error.

Slugging Percentage (SLG): The average number of total bases per at bat. This is calculated by: TB/AB. This is often referred to simply as slugging (example: Mike Trout is slugging .537 this year).

Stolen Bases (SB): Number of bases successfully stolen by a base runner.

Strikeouts (SO): Number of times a batter has accumulated three strikes against the batter in a single plate appearance. Strikeouts are often referred to as K’s.

Total Bases (TB): Number of bases a batter accumulates during his at bats. Singles equal 1, doubles equal 2, triples equal 3, and home runs equal 4.

Triple (3B): Any hit that results in the batter safely reaching third base that does not involve an error.

Walks or Base on Balls (BB): Number of times a batter is awarded first base when a pitcher throws four balls before throwing three strikes or allowing a hit in fair territory during a plate appearance. This includes intentional walks.

 

Advanced Batting

These are most often referred to as sabermetrics. Most are ratio’s or percentage based. Some involve more simple calculations and we have included how to calculate each one.

Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP): Rate at which the batter gets a hit when he puts the ball in play, not including home runs. It is  calculated by (H-HR)/(AB-K-HR+SF).

Ground Ball to Fly Ball Ratio (GB/FB): Ration of ground balls a batter hits to fly ball. Calculated by: GB/FB.

Home Run Percentage (HR %): Frequency at which a player hits a home run. Calculated by: HR/PA.

Isolated Power (ISO): Average number of extra bases beyond first per plate appearance. There are several ways to calculate this, the simplest being: SLG – BA.

Strikeout Percentage (K %): Frequency at which player strikes out. Calculated by: K/PA.

Stolen Base Percentage (SB %): Frequency at which player successfully steals a base.

Walk Percentage (BB %): Frequency at which player walks. Calculated by: BB/PA.

 

Standard Pitching

These are the most commonly referred to and easiest stats to find.

Balks (BK): Number of balks called against the pitcher. A balk is an illegal motion made by the pitcher that the umpire views as an attempt to deceive a baserunner.

Batters Faced (BF): Number of batters a pitcher has faced.

Complete Games (CG): Number of starts in which the pitcher records every out of an official game.

Earned Runs (ER): Number of earned runs allowed by the pitcher. A run is determined earned or unearned by the official scorer. Though a run that scores with the aid of an error, catcher’s interference, or a passed ball are generally considered unearned.

Earned Run Average (ERA): Number of earned runs a pitcher allows per 9 innings. Calculated by: (ER*9)/IP.

Games or Games Pitched (G or GP): Number of games a pitcher appeared in. Had to have thrown at least one pitch.

Games Started (GS): Number of games a pitcher started.

Hit by Pitch (HBP): Number of batters the pitcher hit, whether intentional or unintentional.

Hits (H): Number of hits allowed by the pitcher.

Home Runs (HR): Number of home runs allowed.

Innings Pitched (IP): Number of total innings pitched. Each out a pitcher gets is worth 1/3 of an inning. If a pitcher pitches 6 full innings and record 2 outs in the seventh and is then replaced by a reliever he is credited with 6 2/3 innings pitched.

Intentional Walks (IBB): Number of times a walk was issued with no intent of ever allowing a hit.

Loss (L): Number of losses a pitcher is credited with.

Opponents Batting Average (BA or AVG): A rate of hits allowed per at bat. Calculated by: H/(BF-BB-HBP-SH-SF-Catcher’s Interference)

Runs (R): Number of runs (earned or unearned) allowed by the pitcher.

Saves (SV): Number of games a pitcher saves. The following is the set of criteria that must be met for a pitcher to earn a save

  • He records the final out of a game in which his team wins, and
  • He is not the pitcher who earned the win, and
  • He meets one of the following
  1. He entered the game with a lead less than four runs and pitched at least one full inning, or
  2. He entered the game with the tying run on base, at bat, or on desk, or
  3. He pitches effectively for the final three innings

Shutouts (SHO): Number of complete games in which the pitcher allows no runs.

Strikeouts (SO or K): Number of batters struck out.

Walks or Base on Balls (BB): Number of batters the pitcher issues a walk to (includes intentional walks).

Wild Pitches (WP): Number of wild pitches thrown. Wild pitch is charged by the official score keeper only if a runner advances a base and the ball could not be controlled with an ordinary amount of effort.

Wins (W): Number of wins a pitcher is credited with.

 

Advanced Pitching

These are most often referred to as sabermetrics. Most are ratio’s or percentage based. Some involve more simple calculations and we have included how to calculate each one.

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP): An estimate of a pitcher’s ERA based on strikeouts, walks/HBP, and home runs allowed, assuming league average results on balls in play. Calculated by: ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant. You can find a list of FIP constants by year here.

Hits Per 9 Innings (H/9): Average number of hits allowed per 9 innings. Calculated by: (H*9)/IP

Strikeouts Per 9 Innings (K/9): Average number of strikeouts per 9 innings. Calculated by: (K*9)/IP

Strikeout Percentage (K% or SO%): Rate at which a pitcher strikes out batters. Calculated by: K/BF

Walk Percentage (BB%): Rate at which a pitcher issues a walk. Calculated by: W/BF

Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitched (WHIP): Average number of base runners allowed via walk or hit per 9 innings. Calculated by: (BB+H)/IP

 

WAR

Wins Above Replacement (WAR): A measure of a player’s value – expressed in wins – over that which would have been contributed by a fictional “replacement-level player” in the same amount of playing time. There is WAR, Offensive WAR, Defensive WAR and WAR for Pitchers. (ex. If a player’s WAR is 5.2 then it is believed that if his team had to replace him with a replacement level player, think triple-A, then his team would have won 5.2 fewer games because a replacement level players WAR is 0.0)

This is one of the most misunderstood sabermetrics, due to a few reasons, mostly because of the perceived complexity of it’s calculations and the fact the it compares an existing player to a non-existent or “in theory” player. Baseball Reference and Fan Graphs have two different ways of calculating WAR. Each site has extensive articles on WAR calculations and the merits and validity of the metric. I recommend checking out both.

 

Awards & Recognition

All-Star Game (ASG): An exhibition game, usually on the second or third Tuesday in July. Fan voting determines the starters for each league and the managers for each team selects the starting pitcher and reserves. The game is held at different locations every year. The first All-Star game was held in Chicago in 1933 at Comiskey Park as part of World’s Fair.

Cy Young: An annual award given to the most outstanding pitcher in each league. Between 1956-1966 there was only one award given. Starting in 1967 one award was given per league. It is voted on and awarded by the Base Ball Writers Association of America.

Gold Glove (GG): An annual award given to one player at each position in each league that has exhibited “superior individual fielding performance. The awards were first given in 1957. The honors are voted on by managers and coaches in each league but they are not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Hall of Fame (HOF): The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States, displays baseball-related artifacts, and honors those who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. Players are inducted by appearing on three quarters of the annual ballots. An induction of a player, manager, umpire, or commissioner is the highest honor someone within the sport can receive.

Most Valuable Player (MVP): An annual award given to one player in the National League and one player in the American League. The award is voted on and given by the Base Ball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). BBWAA gave the first awards in 1931.

Rookie of the Year (ROY): An annual award given to the best first year player in each league. The first two years of the award only a single player was selected. Starting in 1949 they selected one from each league. The award is voted on and given by the Base Ball Writers Association of America.

Silver Slugger (SS): An annual award given to the best offensive player at each position in each league. The award was first given in 1980 and is voted on by managers and coaches but are not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.

 

Some definitions and calculations compiled from Baseball Reference, Fan Graphs, and Baseball Almanac.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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