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Quality At-Bats Can Make a Huge Difference

As baseball continues to evolve, more and more teams are relying on some basic statistics to help with player and team development. As a parent or a fan, it's also important to realize how those stats can be applied to real life situations that help kids grow off the field as well.

Teams are turning their attention to quality at-bats (QABs), which are defined as a at-bat in which the hitter does something productive based off the situation they are i. In a sport that can feel very focused on the individual, this is a great way for coaches and parents to hightlight how connected each play is to the success of the entire team.

GameChanger defines a QAB as any of the following: a hard-hit ball, an at-bat lasting six or more pitches, seeing three or more pitches after two strikes, knocking in a run with two outs, or a successfully executed sacrifice (bunt or fly).

A relatively new concept, some coaches have tried their hand at it and have been successful. Three years ago, Quincy (Mass.) Little League coach Cody MacLeod began experimenting with the concept and last year began using it full-time. Now, it is a stat he plans to stick with for a long time.

“Let’s just put it this way: I don’t think my team lost any games where we had more quality at-bats than our opponents,” he said. “That’s the key there. some guys and gals don’t look at too: it’s just as important for your team to prevent the other team from getting them as it is getting them yourself.”

For his team to produce as many quality at-bats as possible, MacLeod said it takes a team hitting philosophy that revolves around patience and extra practice on fundamentals during the season. This is something parents can echo at home as well. Practicing fundamentals and putting in the hard work not only lead to success on the field, but also very clearly off the field as well. 

“You can’t really complain if the kid hits the ball hard and digs it out, regardless of what happens,” MacLeod said. “Sometimes, it’ll go straight to a fielder but hey, that’s baseball. There’s a reason they align the way they do defensively. You never want to discourage kids if they’re doing everything right and it just doesn’t go their way.”

As players grow and develop, it's important that they don't forget that they can positively impact the game in many ways that aren't always highlighted with more traditional stats. QAB provides a powerful reminder of this.

From GameChanger and Tom Joyce.

Baseball, Softball, Baseball Player Development, Softball Player Development, Softball Fan Corner, Baseball Fan Corner

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