It used to be simple, didn’t it? The only thing we ever cared about was batting average for hitters and ERA for pitchers. Now you can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing someone yammering about WHIP, OPS and other exotic statistics. Not to worry, we’re here to help you understand the common baseball statistics. Part One will cover hitting stats. Part Two will cover pitching statistics.

Common Hitting Statistics

Plate Appearance (PA) – A Plate Appearance is credited any time a player completes a turn batting, no matter what the outcome. Compare this to an At-Bat.

At-Bat (AB) – Your hitter is scored an official At Bat when he reaches first base (or more) on a hit, reaches base on an error, there is a fielder’s choice, or is called out for any reason other than as part of a sacrifice. The most common reason an At-Bat is NOT counted is a walk (base on balls).

Batting Average (BA or AVG) – Number of hits (of any kind) divided by the number of At-Bats. Make sure to take the rules for counting At-Bats into account for your calculation.

Runs Batted In (RBI) – An RBI is credited to a hitter when the outcome of the at-bat results in a run being scored. There are a few exceptions, such as being walked, hit-by-pitch, or catcher’s interference with the bases loaded (and thereby driving a run home), or an error on a play that should have resulted in an inning-ending double play.

Fielder’s Choice (FC) – A fielder’s choice is marked when a hitter reaches a base due to the defense’s attempt to put out another baserunner.

On Base Percentage (OBP) – On base percentage is meant to help a manager understand what percentage of the time a batter reaches base. Here’s the formula.

(Hits + Walks + Hit-By-Pitch) divided by (At-Bats + Walks + Hit-By-Pitch + Sacrifices)

Slugging percentage (SLG or SA) – An indicator of a batter’s power since batting average doesn’t take extra base hits into account. Here’s the formula

(Singles + [2 x Doubles] + [ 3 x Triples] + [4 x Home Runs]) divided by At-Bats

On Base + Slugging (OBPS or OPS) – OBPS is a measure of a player’s hitting ability, power and ability to reach first base. It can be calculated by simply adding a player’s OBP to SLG. When reported, the decimal point is sometimes dropped.

Understanding baseball statistics, Part Two will cover pitching stats.