QAB is a lesser-used yet equally significant statistic in baseball that measures a batter’s performance. Since it’s not an officially reported stat, there isn’t a specific baseball QAB meaning or definition on rule sheets. So, exactly what does QAB mean in baseball?
Put simply, QAB (%) is a metric used to assess how batters contribute to the team’s total effort at winning a match during their plate appearance, as to whether their bats are productive.
- What Does QAB Stand for?
- What Are Probable QABs in Baseball Scenarios?
- How Do You Calculate Quality at Bat Percentage?
- What Is Good Quality at Bat Percentage?
What Does QAB Stand for?
QAB is short for Quality-At-Bat, a concept in baseball that gives credit to a batter for helping advance the team towards scoring a run. It is not to be confused with batting average, which merely focuses on the skills of a batter at making a hit.
Winning a baseball match is more about how many batters get to the home plate rather than how good, how far, or how fast they hit the ball.
A good QAB in baseball is ascribed whether a batter hits or misses the ball, or in some instances, even when the batter is ruled out.
What Are Probable QABs in Baseball Scenarios?
The main goal of a QAB is to move the batter or another runner into a scoring position. It doesn’t matter if the batter gets a base hit or is ruled out. Quality at bats can be credited as long as the batter makes an effort to help the team score.
Let’s take a look at different instances where a player can make a quality-at-bat and change the outcome of a game.
1. Making a base hit
Hitting the ball successfully and reaching first base without getting ruled out is undoubtedly the best plate appearance for any batter. This is also the best scenario for an easy QAB.
It will not matter how hard you hit the ball or how many pitches were thrown prior to that base hit. You’re definitely fine as long as the ball doesn’t get caught before it hits the ground.
2. Making a sacrifice bunt
Opting for a bunt over a standard hit is considered a QAB if it successfully allows a runner on the first or second base to advance to the next base.
A batter may decide to sacrifice himself with an out if one or multiple base runners can move closer to making a score, hence the term “sacrifice bunt.”
3. Hitting a sacrifice fly (sac fly)
Sometimes, a batter may decide to put the ball at play with a fly ball, which will be easier to catch than a power hit. This is usually ideal when there is a runner on the third base.
It will be easy for the base runner to advance to the home plate, especially if the ball flies far into the outfield without landing on a glove.
Alternatively, there may still be enough time for the runner to tag up before speeding off to the home plate in case the outfielder catches the ball.
4. Tiring the pitcher out with a long plate appearance
A batter can increase a pitcher’s pitch count to wear him off. Six to eight pitches without the batter striking out (or nine or more with a strikeout) are considered good QABs in baseball.
The opposing pitcher will often lose accuracy when delivering more throws. On the batter’s end, he’ll typically foul off a lot of the pitches considering there is no limit to the number of foul balls.
Hitters usually opt for this move to allow a runner to steal a base or enable the rest of the team to assess the delivery style of the opposing pitcher.
5. Getting an RBI
RBI is short for “run batted in” and refers to a batter’s action resulting in one or more runs to score. An example would be hitting the ball to the right field with a runner on third base.
Just like a sacrifice fly, an RBI increases the chances of a third base runner advancing to the home plate. It will not matter if the batter gets out as he is helping the team score.
6. Getting a Hit-by-Pitch
A batter may sometimes get hit by the ball without swinging at it. This often arises from an erroneous pitch that gives the batter a free trip to first base.
Some conditions have to be met, however. First, the pitched ball must be outside the strike zone when it hits the batter. The batter must not also swing the bat.
Second, the batter must make a reasonable attempt to avoid getting hit. Otherwise, it shall be ruled only as a ball, and the batter is not awarded first base.
7. Getting a Base on Balls
Commonly referred to as a “walk”, a base-on-balls is awarded to a batter when a pitcher throws a total of four pitches outside the strike zone without the batter swinging at any of them.
A free walk to first base resulting from this instance is considered a QAB because it helps the team advance to score a run.
A batter may also be credited with an RBI if all bases are loaded and the runner on third base is forced to the home plate for a run scored.
How Do You Calculate Quality at Bat Percentage?
Calculating QAB percentage is similar to computing batting average. You get a hitter’s batting average by dividing his number of hits by the number of at-bats or actual attempts at hitting the ball.
However, note that a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly are not counted as at-bats.
The quality at-bat percentage, on the other hand, is computed by dividing the number of quality at bats by the number of plate appearances. A plate appearance refers to one completed turn at batting regardless of the outcome.
For instance, if a batter made 120 QABs during 300 plate appearances in one season, his QAB will look like this:
- 120 ÷ 300 = .4 or 40%
Coaches and individual players customarily keep a QAB chart to assess their batting performance and arrive at good quality at bat percentage.
If you want to have a QAB spreadsheet to help you track how many QABS your team gets and if each one is making a good QAB percentage, you can take into consideration the scenarios above.
What Is Good Quality at Bat Percentage?
QAB is a subjective statistic because you’ll need to consider different scenarios to arrive at a good percentage. Some say hitters should target 60%, but even the best MLB players are just within the 40-55% range. All things considered, a 40% quality-at-bat percentage seems to be more sensible and workable.
In an era where much focus is directed toward individual player performance, quality at-bat is often a forsaken metric. But QABs can alter a game’s outcome when done at the proper time.
We hope we’ve given clear answers to the question, “What does QAB mean in baseball?” If you found this article informative, don’t hesitate to share it with others.
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.