Baseball Statistics
As with many sports, and perhaps even more so, statistics are very important to baseball. A seemingly intrinsic part of the game is the keeping of statistics on the achievements of the players. The practice was started by Henry Chadwick in the 19th century who devised the concepts of batting average and earned run average based on his experience of cricket. Statistics have been kept for the Major Leagues since their creation.
General managers and baseball scouts study player statistics to decide what players to try to get for their team. Managers, catchers and pitchers study statistics of batters on opposing teams to figure out how best to pitch to them and position the players. Managers and batters study opposing pitchers to figure out how best to hit them. Managers often base their personnel decisions during the game on statistics, such as choosing who to put in the lineup, or which relief pitcher to bring in.
Traditionally, statistics like batting average for batters (the number of hits divided by the number of at bats) and earned run average (approximately the number of runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings) have governed the statistical world of baseball. However, the advent of sabermetrics brought an onslaught of new statistics that better gauge a player's performance and contributions to his team from year to year.
Some sabermetric statistics have entered the mainstream baseball world. Among statistics that do an excellent job of measuring a batter's performance, Onbase plus slugging (OPS) is the easiest to calculate. It adds the hitter's on base percentage (number of times reached base by any means divided by total plate appearances) to his or her slugging percentage (total bases divided by at bats). Some argue that the OPS formula is flawed and that more weight should be shifted towards OBP (on base percentage). Regardless, OPS still stands as the most direct means of evaluating a hitter's performance using readily available statistics.
OPS is also useful when determining a pitcher's level of success. 'Opponent Onbase Plus Slugging' (OOPS) is becoming a popular way to evaluating a pitcher's actual performance. When analyzing a pitcher's statistics, some useful categories to consider are: K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings), K/BB (strikeouts per walk), WHIP (walks+hits per inning pitched) and OOPS (opponent onbase plus slugging). When viewing all these categories together, you gain a much clearer picture of the pitcher's success level (as opposed to simply considering WL and ERA).
Since 2001, more emphasis has been placed on DefenseIndependent Pitching Statistics. These statistics, such as DefenseIndependent ERA (dERA), evaluate a pitcher solely according to those events governed solely by the pitcher's performance, regardless of the strength of the defensive players behind him.
Also important are all of those statistics in certain ingame situations. For example, a certain hitter's ability to hit lefthanded pitchers might cause his manager to give him more chances to face lefties. Other hitters may have a history of success against a given pitcher (or vice versa), and the manager may use this information to engineer a favourable matchup.
Comprehensive, historical baseball statistics were difficult for the average fan to access until 1951, when researcher Hy Turkin published "The Complete Encyclopedia of Baseball". In 1969, MacMillan Publishing printed its first Baseball Encyclopedia, using a computer to compile stats for the first time. "Big Mac" became the standard baseball reference until 1988, when Total Baseball was released by Warner Books, using even more sophisticated technology. (This led to discovery, and expulsion, of several players who didn't belong in the record books  "phantom ballplayers", like Lou Proctor.)
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Commonly used statistics
Most of these terms also apply to softball. Commonly used statistics with their abbreviations are explained here. The explanations below are for quick reference and do not fully or completely define the statistic; for the strict definition, see the corresponding article for each statistic.
Batting statistics
 1B  Single  hits on which the batter reached first base safely without the contribution of a fielding error.
 2B  Double  hits on which the batter reached second base safely without the contribution of a fielding error.
 3B  Triple  hits on which the batter reached third base safely without the contribution of a fielding error.
 AB  At bat  Batting appearances, not including bases on balls, hit by pitch, sacrifices, interference, or obstruction
 BA  Batting average (also abbreviated AVG)  hits divided by at bats
 BB  Base on balls (also called a "walk")  times receiving four balls and advancing to first base
 BBP  Walk percentage  number of base on balls divided by plate appearances
 BB/K  Walktostrikeout ratio  number of base on balls divided by number of strikeouts
 EBH  Extra base hit (Sometimes EB or XBH)  doubles plus triples plus home runs
 FC  Fielder's choice  times reaching base when a fielder chose to try for an out on another runner
 G/F  Ground ball fly ball ratio  number of ground balls divided by number of fly balls
 GIDP  Ground into Double play  number of ground balls hit that became double plays
 GS  Grand Slam  a home run with the bases loaded, resulting in four runs scoring, and four RBI credited to the batter.
 H  Hit  times reached base because of a batted, fair ball without error by the defense
 HBP  Hit by pitch  times touched by a pitch and awarded first base as a result
 HR  Home run  hits on which the batter successfully touched all four bases, without the contribution of a fielding error.
 K  Strike out  number of times that strike three is taken or swung at and missed, or bunted foul
 LOB  Left on base  number of runners not out nor scored at the end of an innning.
 OBP  On base percentage  times reached base (H + BB + HBP) divided by at bats plus walks plus hit by pitch plus sacrifice flies (AB + BB + HBP + SF).
 OPS  Onbase plus slugging  onbase percentage plus slugging percentage
 PA  Plate appearance  number of completed batting appearances no matter the result
 RBI  Run batted in  number of runners who scored due to a batters's action, except when batter grounded into double play or reached on an error
 SAC  Sacrifice bunt  number of times bunts advanced other runners (sometimes called sacrifice hit or SH)
 SF  Sacrifice fly  number of fly ball outs which allow another runner to score
 SLG  Slugging percentage  total bases divided by atbats
 TA  Total average  total bases, plus walks, plus steals, divided by plate appearances plus caught stealing
 TB  Total bases  one for each single, two for each double, three for each triple, and four for each home run
 TOB  Times on base  times reaching base as a result of hits, walks and hit by pitches
Baserunning statistics
 CS  Caught stealing  times tagged out when attempting to steal a base or when picked off
 SB  Stolen base  number of bases advanced other than on batted balls, walks, or hits by pitch.
 R  Run  times reached home base legally and safely
Pitching statistics
 AVG  Opponents batting average  hits allowed divided by atbats faced
 BB  Base on balls (also called a "walk")  times pitching four balls, allowing runner to advance to first base
 BB/9  Base on balls times nine divided by innings pitched
 BS  Blown save  number of times entering the game in a save situation, and being charged the run which ties the game.
 CG  Complete game  number of games where player was the only pitcher for his team
 dERA  DefenseIndependent ERA  a measure of a pitcher's effectiveness that doesn't include balls hit within the field of play
 ER  Earned run  number of runs that did not occur as a result of errors or passed balls
 ERA  Earned run average  earned runs times innings in a game (usually nine) divided by innings pitched
 GIR  Games in relief  number of games pitched where player was not the starting pitcher for his team
 GF  Games finished  number of games pitched where player was the final pitcher for his team
 GP  Games pitched  number of games in which the player pitched
 G/F  Ground ball fly ball ratio  ground balls allowed divided by fly balls allowed
 GS  Games started  number of games pitched where player was the first pitcher for his team
 H/9  Hits per nine innings  hits allowed times nine divided by innings pitched
 HA  Hits Allowed  total hits allowed
 HB  Hit batsman  times hit a batter with pitch, allowing runner to advance to first base
 HLD (or H)  Hold  number of games entered in a save situation, left in save situation, recorded at least one out, and not having surrendered the lead
 HRA  Home runs allowed  total home runs allowed
 IBB  Intentional base on balls
 IRA  Inherited runs allowed  number of runners allowed to score who were on base when pitcher enters the game
 IP  Innings pitched  number of outs recorded while pitching divided by three
 K  Strikeout (also abbreviated K)  number of batters who received strike three
 K/9  Strikeouts per nine innings  strikeouts times nine divided by innings pitched
 K/BB  Strikeouttowalk ratio  number of strikeouts divided by number of base on balls
 L  Loss  number of games where pitcher was pitching while the opposing team took the lead and went on to win
 R/9  Runs per nine innings  number of runs allowed times nine divided by innings pitched
 SHO  Shutout  number of complete games having allowed zero runs
 SV  Save  number of close games finished where the pitcher's team won
 TBF  Total batters faced  opponent's total plate appearances
 W  Win  number of games where pitcher was pitching while his team took the lead and went on to win (also related: winning percentage)
 W+S  Relief wins plus saves  wins plus saves
 WHIP  Walks plus hits per inning pitched  bases on balls plus hits divided by innings pitched
 W/9  Walks per nine innings  bases on balls times nine divided by innings pitched
 WP  Wild pitches  charged when a pitch is too high, low, or wide of home plate for the catcher to field, thereby allowing one or more runners to advance or score
See also
 List of pitches
Fielding statistics
 A  Assists  number of outs recorded on a play where a fielder touched the ball, except if such touching is the putout
 DP  Double plays  one for each double play during which the fielder recorded a putout or an assist.
 E  Errors  number of times a fielder fails to make a play he should have made with common effort, and the offense benefits as a result
 FP  Fielding percentage  total plays (chances minus errors) divided by the number of total chances
 INN  Innings  number of innings that a player is at one certain position
 PB  Passed ball  error charged to the catcher that occurs when the ball is dropped and one or more runners advance
 PO  Putout  number of times the fielder tags, forces, or appeals a runner and he is called out as a result
 RF  Range factor  ([putouts + assists]*9)/innings played. Used to determine the amount of field that the player can cover
 SB  Stolen bases  number of times a runner advanced on the pitch without being thrown out by the catcher
 TC  Total chances  assists plus putouts plus errors
 TP  Triple play  one for each triple play during which the fielder recorded a putout or an assist
General statistics
 G  Games played  number of games where the player played, in whole or in part
 WW  "Wasn't Watching"  used by nonofficial scorekeepers when their attention is distracted from the game  said to have been invented by Phil Rizzuto
See also
 Triple Crown in Major League Baseball
 MLB Most Valuable Player Award winners
 Cy Young Award winners
 MLB Rookie of the Year Award winners
 Gold Glove Award winners
Other terminology
 Ball
 Strike
 Strike zone
Category: Baseball
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