The term “QAB,” or “Quality At-Bats,” is a statistic used to determine a hitter’s offensive value for his team. A “Quality At-Bat” is any plate appearance that results in a positive outcome. This does not necessarily mean that a player reaches a base. To determine a ‘QAB Percentage,’ the number of ‘Quality At-Bats’ is divided by a batter’s total plate appearances. This article will go in-depth about this baseball statistic.
- The term “QAB,” or “Quality At-Bats,” is a statistic used to determine a hitter’s offensive value for his team.
- Quality at-bats are the most important aspect of a team’s offense, and having players that excel at batting can have an impact on their ability to win.
- Examples of quality at-bats include: pitcher throws more than six pitches without striking out; pitcher throws more than nine pitches; the ball is hit hard; plate appearance results in walk; plate appearance results in hit by pitch; runner moved into scoring position from plate appearance result; batter gets an RBI from plate appearance result; run scores from a sacrifice fly and batter advances runner with a sacrifice bunt.
- A good QAB percentage for MLB players is 50–60%, while 40% may be considered good for youth, high school, and college levels.
How important are Quality at Bats?
Quality at-bats are the most important aspect of a team’s offense. A team cannot win unless their offense has consistent QABs. A team having players that excel at batting is one of the most important factors in a team’s ability to win.
Examples of Quality at Bats
There are many different types of quality at-bats. Here are a few examples.
1. Pitcher throws more than six pitches without a strikeout
The first example of a QAB is when a pitcher throws more than six pitches without striking out the batter. This QAB shows coaches that a batter can survive a plate appearance without striking out. If many batters achieve this, the pitch count will rise, making a pitching change more likely.
A batter can flyout or groundout after six pitches and still achieve a QAB. If a batter strikes out before nine pitches, the plate appearance is not considered a QAB.
2. Pitcher throws more than nine pitches
For this QAB, a batter does not need to reach a base. A pitcher throwing nine or more pitches in a plate appearance raises the pitch count significantly. Once a pitcher throws nine pitches without a strikeout, a batter can flyout, groundout, base hit, or strikeout, and the plate appearance will be a QAB.
3. Ball is hit hard
This QAB only requires that a batter make solid contact with a pitch. It can occur during any pitch in a plate appearance, and the batter does not need to hit. Solid contact does not have a specific definition. It requires that the ball be hit in its center and have a high velocity from the point of contact.
A fast line drives into a center fielder’s glove is a hard-hit ball. A soft flyball into the infield is not. Hard-hit balls show the coaching staff that the batter can make strong offensive plays.
4. Plate appearance results in a walk
This QAB is easy to understand. Any time a player gets a base on balls (BB) from a plate appearance, it is a QAB. A batter reaching base in any way is valuable for a team’s offense. A player can walk from four balls or by being intentionally walked. When a player walks, a pitcher’s pitch count increases, providing value for the team.
5. Plate appearance results in hit by pitch
When a player gets hit by a pitch (HBP) in baseball, the plate appearance automatically results in a walk. This is a QAB because, as mentioned previously, getting on base in any capacity is valuable to a team’s offense. Hitting batters with pitches is a negative stat for pitchers. Hitting too many batters with pitches can result in a pitcher’s ejection.
6. Runner is moved into scoring position
This QAB means that as a result of a plate appearance, a runner already on base moves into scoring position. ‘Scoring position’ in baseball is either second or third base. A batter can get out or reach a base as long as a runner reaches scoring position and the inning does not end.
7. Batter gets an RBI
An RBI in baseball is a “run batted in.” For this QAB, a batter assists a runner in scoring during his plate appearance. RBIs are valuable to a team’s offense and are ranked every season.
8. Run scores from a sacrifice fly
A sacrifice fly in baseball is when a batter intentionally hits a flyball so a runner can earn his team a run. This is a QAB as well as an RBI. For a sacrifice fly, a batter does not need to be retired if the batter reaches base from an error.
9. Baserunner advances from a sacrifice bunt
A sacrifice bunt in baseball is when a batter bunts to advance a runner into scoring position. Like a sacrifice fly, a sacrifice bunt does not require that the batter be retired if he reaches base on an error. If the batter reaches base without an error, the plate appearance is a hit.
10. Batter ‘battles back’ after receiving two strikes in the count
In baseball, ‘battling back’ means that a batter is not retired after receiving an 0-2 count. This demonstrates a batter’s composure and effort in a plate appearance. If a batter is retired after battling back, this can still be a QAB because the batter had a good performance despite having a disadvantage
11. Batter gets a base hit
This QAB is the easiest to understand. If a player gets a base hit, meaning that during a plate appearance, the batter gets on base from a hit, a QAB is registered.
What is a good QAB percentage and how is it calculated?
A player’s QAB percentage is calculated by taking a player’s QABs and dividing them by the player’s total plate appearances. For MLB players, a good QAB percentage is anywhere from 50–60% and above. For youth, high school, and college players, a QAB percentage above 40% may still be considered good.
The QAB percentage in baseball is a useful statistic for determining a batter’s offensive value. Because many different situations are analyzed, it can be more useful than a batting average as a way to understand a player’s value.
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