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Quality At-Bats Key to Success at LLWS

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Quality at-bats have been an extremely accurate indicator of a team’s likelihood to have success during the LLWS series.

On a very consistent basis, teams that have produced more Quality At-Bats have produced more runs, and teams that have had a positive Quality At-Bat Differential in comparison to their opponents have had the best chance of winning, and by the most comfortable margins.           

One team has had more Quality At-Bats than the other in 26 of the 28 Little League World Series games prior to the weekend championships (the teams were equal in two other games). In those games, the team with more Quality At-Bats won 22 times and lost just 4 times, for a .846 winning percentage.          

Coaches Toolkit by GameChanger

All 16 teams that have had at least five more Quality At-Bats than their opponents have won those games.        

GameChanger defines a Quality At-Bat as a plate appearance that meets any of the following criteria: 

  • Batter sees three pitches after two strikes
  • Batter sees six or more pitches
  • Batter gets an extra-base hit
  • Batter produces a hard-hit ball
  • Batter draws a walk
  • Batter produces a sacrifice bunt
  • Batter produces a sacrifice fly

To summarize, the statistic emphasizes working the count, without automatically requiring the batter to have a long at-bat. If the batter can choose the right pitch early in the count for a hard-hit ball or extra-base hit – or if he helps his team by moving a runner along – it counts as a Quality At-Bat regardless of the number of pitches seen.  

Teams at the Little League World Series have produced anywhere from 5 to 31 Quality At-Bats in a game. The two games in which a team had just five Quality At-Bats resulted in those teams producing just one run combined. When Bowling Green Eastern, the Great Lakes champion from Kentucky, produced 31 Quality At-Bats in its game against Johnston, the Midwest champion from Iowa, it also matched this year’s series scoring high with a 14-3 win.         

A look the number of Quality At-Bats and how it correlates to runs scored at this year’s Little League World Series:

Number of

Quality At-Bats

Number of

Occurrences

Total

Runs Scored

Average

Runs Scored

5, 6 or 7

9

7

  0.78

8, 9 or 10

11

22

  2.00

11, 12 or 13

14

48

  3.43

14, 15 or 16

12

70

  5.83

17, 18, 19 or 20

6

47

  7.83

21, 22, 24 or 31

4

53

13.25            

Note how the runs consistently increase with the number of Quality At-Bats.            

A similar trend is easy to spot in the Quality At-Bat Differential:

Differentials

Occurrences

Wins-Losses

Total Margin

Average Margin

+1, +2

5

3-2

+2

+0.40

+3, +4, +5

6

4-2

+12

+2.00

+6, +7

6

6-0

+23

+3.83

+8, +9

4

4-0

+22

+5.50

+10, +12, +13

5

5-0

+48

+9.60             

From GameChanger and Tom Robinson.

Photo Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball.

Baseball, Baseball Stats & Scorekeeping

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