Baseball is a game of stats...it drives the game. From the very beginning, tracking players has been a big part of the game and the fans rightfully focus on them. Prove you can consistently get a base hit just 3 times out of 10 ABs and you can make millions in the big leagues.
Going beyond the usual stats, base hits, strikeouts, doubles, homers, etc. takes us to one of the most overlooked and valuable sta
ts in the game: Quality At Bats. Year in and year out, at every level of the game, this stat is a predictor of a win as much as the scoreboard itself.
A Quality At Bat is defined as the result of an at bat that includes: seeing 3 or more pitches after 2 strikes; an AB with 6 or more pitches; any extra base hit; any hard hit ball (regardless of outcome); drawing a walk; or a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly ball. What is counter to most ways of thinking in baseball, only two of the outcomes to qualify for a QAB requires a player to reach base: an extra base hit and drawing a walk.
We took a look at the games from Sox teams for last season and found that the team that wins the QAB battle almost always wins the scoreboard. In looking at the 6 games that were played last weekend by two Sox teams, the results are solid:
Sox QAB: 52.38% and +6
Result: Sox team won 11-3
Sox QAB: 43.75% and -11
Result: Sox team lost 13-1
Sox QAB: 72.73% and +10
Result: Sox team won 12-0
Sox QAB: 48.15% and even
Result: Sox team lost 8-5
Sox QAB: 40.74% and +3
Result: Sox team won 7-6
Sox QAB: 19.05% and -8
Result: Sox team lost 7-1
In every game, the team with the highest QAB rate won the game. It's important that every player understand how these results make contributions to their team and help with a win. No player will ever play perfectly and it's never one thing that causes a win or a loss. Rather, its the accumulation of all of these things that determine the outcome. And it starts with NEVER taking an AB off, approaching the plate with a plan and execution of that plan. For instance, if a runner is at 2nd with one out, and the next batter hits a sharp ground ball to 2nd base advancing the runner, then he has done his job with a QAB. A player in one of the games played this past weekend walked 6 times in 7 plate appearances for a 100% QAB rate. He made a solid contribution to his team without a base hit. It takes every at bat to win games...not just hits and home runs.