POINTS

- Batting average is a statistic in baseball that gauges a hitter’s success in reaching base safely on base hits.
- Batting average is popular with baseball fans, but players and coaches often ignore it because the formula does not include many aspects of the game-walks, total bases, extra-base hits, etc.
- Ty Cobb has the highest all-time MLB batting average (.366).
- A player’s batting average means his ratio of hits to times at bat or the percentage he gets a hit to reach base per every at-bat.

In this article...

## Batting average explained

The batting average is an offensive statistic in baseball that gauges hitters’ success in reaching base safely on base hits. The batting average is popular with baseball fans.

Still, players and coaches often ignore it because the formula does not include many aspects of the game-walks, total bases, extra-base hits, etc.

## What does batting average mean?

A player’s batting average means his ratio of hits to times at bat or the percentage he gets a hit to reach base per every at-bat. The batting average measures a hitter’s performance, and a .400 average means a player earned a base hit on four out of every ten at-bats.

## How do you calculate batting average?

Calculating the batting average is dividing a player’s hits by his total at-bats. For example, if a player had 50 hits and 200 at-bats, his batting average would be 50 ÷ 200 = 0.250.

A hit occurs when the batter reaches first base without the defense making an error or a fielder’s choice.

Players do not get credit for an at-bat on walks, hit-by-pitches, sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, and catcher interference calls.

## What is a good batting average?

A good batting average for a MiLB or MLB player is .300 since most professional hitters average .250 or below. A good hitter at the collegiate level will have a batting average over .400, while a good batting average for a high school player is over .500.

## How important is batting average?

The batting average is still an important statistic in baseball. However, it is not as valuable as OPS, OBP, wRC+, or wOBA when analyzing how vital a player is to their team’s success. The batting average does not include walks and is limited to showing the ability of hitters to reach base on their swings. But since walks are a vital component of run-scoring, statistics that indicate how much players contribute to scoring runs are more important than the batting average.

## Batting average records

### Top all-time MLB batting averages

Rank | Player | Batting Average |
---|---|---|

1 | Ty Cobb | Batted .366 over a 24-year career, including 4,189 hits and a .433 on-base percentage. |

2 | Rogers Hornsby | Hit .358 with 2,930 hits and a .434 on-base percentage in a career that spanned 23 seasons. |

3 | Joe Jackson | Batted .356 and played 13 years in the big leagues with 1,772 hits and a .423 on-base percentage. |

4 | Ed Delahanty | Finished his 16-year career with a .346 batting average with 2,596 hits and a .411 on-base percentage. |

5 | Tris Speaker | Hit .345 with 3,514 hits and a .428 on-base percentage in a career that spanned 22 seasons. |

6 | Ted Williams | Batted .344 and played 19 years in the major leagues with 2,654 hits and a .482 on-base percentage. |

7 | Billy Hamilton | Finished his 14-year career with a .344 batting average with 2,159 hits and a .455 on-base percentage. |

### When was the last time someone had a .400 batting average?

The last time someone had a .400 batting average was Boston Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams in 1941. He went 6-for-8 in a doubleheader on the last day of the regular season to finish with a .406 average. Williams won the MVP award twice and was a 19-time All-Star who retired with a career .344 batting mark.

### Who has the highest batting average in major league baseball history?

The highest batting average in Major League Baseball history belongs to Ty Cobb. He played 24 seasons in the big leagues and finished his career with a .366 batting average. The hall of fame outfielder also led the American League in batting a record-setting 11 times and won nine consecutive batting titles from 1907 to 1915.

### Is batting average a misleading stat?

The batting average is misleading because it does not reward hitters for extra-base hits based on balls, sacrifice bunts/flies, or RBIs. Players who drive in runs or get on base via a walk or hit-by-pitch do not receive the batting average formula credit.

First, two batters with 100 hits in 300 at-bats both have the same batting average. But the hitters are unequal since one hitter posted 90 singles and the other slugged 40 home runs and 30 doubles. The batting average does not factor in that an extra-base hit is more valuable than a single.

Another example of the batting average being misleading is when two players have significantly different batting marks. Player A batted .280, while Player B batted .245. Although player A appears to be the better hitter, he is only a slap hitter who drove in 40 runs. Player B is the better hitter because he hit 35 homers and tallied 115 RBIs.

## FAQ

### Who Developed The Batting Average Statistic?

Henry Chadwick, an Englishman and cricket reporter devised the average batting formula in the late 19th century.

### Highest Batting Average In A Season?

Boston Beaneaters’ outfielder Hugh Duffy finished the 1894 season with a .440 batting average and 606 plate appearances.

### What is the lowest batting average in MLB history?

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis batted .168 in 2018 to set the single-season record for the worst batting average in MLB history. Former Cincinnati Reds and Brooklyn Superbas/Dodgers catcher Bill Bergen hold the record for lowest career batting average with a .170 average in 3,028 career at-bats.

### What’s a good batting average in high school?

Although it depends on the quality of competition, a batting average over .500 is considered a good batting average for high school players.

### What is a good batting average for a 14-year-old?

A good batting average for a 14-year-old is between .400 to .500.

## No longer the best way to measure a hitter’s value

While the batting average remains an essential statistic for baseball fans, it has become less helpful in measuring a hitter’s overall value. The batting average is not valued as much today because other offensive statistics such as OPS, OBP, and WAR better measure a hitter’s performance.