What Is An AT Bat In Baseball?

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When considering the statistics for a baseball player. A hitter to be precise. To consider the stats, the number of hits and the number of times the hitter stepped up to bat would be considered. There are instances where there would be variances in these digits. A player can approach to bat 5 times and make 2 hits, but another batter can step up for 2 and hit 2. The latter is a better hitter than the former. This is because the latter has a 100% AB percentage. While the former has an AB percentage of 40%. Let us see what is an AT Bat in baseball.

What Is An AT Bat In Baseball?

What Is An AT Bat In Baseball?

AB is short for At Bat in Baseball. It simply means any plate appearance by the hitter that results in an error, hit or non-sacrifice. If the result of the pitch is contrary to this. If it is interference, sacrifice, or walk. It would not count as an AB. To understand what an AB means, it is important to know what a plate appearance means. It would make it easier to understand what an At Bat is. 

Official MLB definition

Major League Baseball has an official definition for At Bat. It means the number of times that the hitter bats. However, when the scenario ends with some situations, it would not be recorded as an At Bat. If the hitter is awarded the first base or hits a sacrifice, or the hitter is hit by a pitched ball. In such scenarios, the umpire often does not call an At Bat.   

Plate Appearance

Plate Appearance and At Bat are 2 stats that seem very alike. However, there is a significant difference between the 2. A plate appearance occurs when the player can complete their batting run. While At Bat occurs when the Plate Appearance leads to a successful hit, non-sacrifice, or a fielder’s choice. Any result apart from this does not count as an At-Bat. 

Types of Plate Appearance

There are some plate appearance that does not qualify as an At Bat. It is important to know and understand what qualifies as an At-Bat. It is also important that you understand why some plate appearance would not lead to an At Bat 

  • If the hitter hits a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly. 
  • If there is interference and the hitter is awarded first base. 
  • If the hitter gets hit by a pitch. 
  • If a pinch hitter completes the strikeout due to previous strikes received. 

It is a rare occasion for a pinch hitter to make a reappearance on the field. This might happen if the official batter gets injured during the course of play. If for some specific reason, the batter cannot complete the game. The pinch hitter would come in, and if he strikes out with the original batter out. The original batter would be awarded the At Bat and a strikeout. In instances where the pitch hitter completes the plate appearance. He would be credited for the plate appearance. 


While playing baseball, the umpire would never call a walk an At Bat. This has raised multiple eyebrows. However, the MLB rule book clearly states that a walk is not an At Bat. At Bats are used to measure a player’s batting average. Including walks as an At-Bat would considerably change the player’s batting average. 

In the early 1800s, a walk was classified as an error, and it is always pinned on the pitcher. While this happens the batter, is usually given the stat of an At-Bat. This rule eventually had a negative impact on the batting average of hitters that walked. Though walks were not common during this baseball era. This was because it was expected of the pitcher to make throws that the batter can hit. Eventually, walks were removed from the stats, but they were still known as errors on the part of the pitcher. They were not included in the stats because it is not official player statistics. 

Eventually, this rule changed, and a walk counted as a hit and At Bat. The motive behind this was to punish the pitcher for the walk. While rewarding the batter. This rule was clamored against, and it eventually reverted to the previous regulations everyone was used to. This prevented the stats issues that had occurred in the preceding year. Although there was still some sort of confusion. 

It was eventually agreed that a walk call would not be seen as an error on the part of the pitcher. This helped everyone clarify everything that needed clarity. The change in regulations also paved way for the seamless way of operations that is currently been employed by the MLB. The current rule is that a walk is neither an At Bat nor an error on the part of the pitcher. Though a strikeout and walk share similarities when recording At-Bat stats. However, they are recorded differently. 

Reach on Error 

Whenever a ball goes out of play, it is up to the defense to try any means possible to get an out. Occasionally, some errors might occur. This allows the batter to get on base. Would this count as an At Bat? This is a popular question among baseball lovers. The MLB rule book states that reached on error would also count as an At Bat. Although the batter was able to successfully get to the base. This happened because of a defensive error. If the defense had made the play. The batter would be out, and it would have been recorded as an unsuccessful At Bat. 

At Bats are used to calculate Batting Average

At Bats are usually utilized to discover a hitter/batter’s batting average. It can also be used to calculate a player’s slugging percentage. These are some of the most common use of the At Bat statistics. At Bat is very important in determining how well a player is performing, It measures the player’s batting average and slugging percentage. 


At Bats are commonly known as AB. They describe the total number of hits and flies, and the reached-on error for every player. It is common knowledge that a plate’s appearance is different from an AB’s. However, why this might be difficult for some professionals to answer. At bats are essential in calculating a player’s batting average and slugging percentage. It helps get factual data about the game being played, and the hitter/batter playing the game. Statistics like slugging percentage and batting average can be derived from the At Bat. While the plate appearances are used in calculating the on-base percentage. The At Bat statistics would be exclusive of details like sacrifice hits, walks, and hits by pitch.    

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of an At-Bat? 

An at-bat is a stat that is closely monitored. An AT Bat is a statistic used in recording the number of flies and hits made for every hitter and batter. Every time the batter makes a plate appearance, the motion is closely monitored to know if it is an At-bat or not. There is a thin line that separates an At Bat and a regular plate appearance. It is up to the umpire to carefully watch the actions to know which the right call is.

What counts and what does not count as an At Bat?

Different things are to be considered when differentiating between an At Bat and a regular plate appearance. These are some of the scenarios that would not be recorded as an At-Bat. If a walk is called, it would not be recorded as an At-Bat. If the hitter/batter is hit by a pitch. Such would not be recorded as an At Bat either. A sacrifice bunt or fly would also not be recorded as an At-Bat. If a catcher also interferes with the pitch. An at bat would not be called. 

Can a batter be substituted while an At-Bat occurs?

That an event/occurrence is strange does not mean it does not happen. Although it rarely happens. However, there are instances where the batter would be substituted during an At Bat. This mostly occurs because the batter is not in the right condition to finish the game. 

This is often due to injury and some other factors. The substituted batter would not be credited with the stat. Instead, the pinch hitter would be recorded the stat. However, in an instance whereby the pinch hitter hits a third strike and strikes out. The stat would be awarded to the former batter.   

Is At Bat a term used in only Baseball? 

At Bat is a sporting lingua, and it is not found in only baseball. The term can also be found in softball. The meanings of both sports have similarities. However, there are some slight changes. Though this does not mean that if you play baseball, you would find it difficult to switch. If you also play softball, you switching to baseball would not be that big a deal. There are instances where professionals in both sports switch sports. 

What Is An AT Bat In Baseball?
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