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Thread: Quality At-Bat Formula

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    I can talk softball all day reagansdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Quality At-Bat Formula

    I know there are a variety of formulas that coaches use to determine quality ABs but almost all that I have ever seen include some nod to long ABs. Gamechanger uses both 6+ pitch ABs and 3+ pitches after two strikes as quality ABs. I recently saw Matt Lisle post a Notre Dame formula that included 8+ pitch ABs and 4+ pitches after going down 0-2 as quality ABs.

    Why are these important in softball? I get that in baseball you benefit from driving up pitch counts whenever possible, but this is not a big part of softball. If an AB lasts 10 pitches and still ends in a strike out looking, that is not a quality AB in my mind. In Gamechanger, a batter does not get credit for hitting a groundball behind a runner to move that runner up but they get a quality AB for striking out looking with a runner on 2nd if they see 3 pitches after having two strikes. Just doesn't make any sense to me. Am I missing something?

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    Certified softball maniac GunnerShotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reagansdaddy View Post
    I get that in baseball you benefit from driving up pitch counts whenever possible, but this is not a big part of softball.
    Why do you think that pitch count is not a part of softball? Pitch count during the game and not during play is a frequent discussion on my teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GunnerShotgun View Post
    Why do you think that pitch count is not a part of softball? Pitch count during the game and not during play is a frequent discussion on my teams.
    In my experience, which may be more limited and different than yours, pitch counts play a far smaller role in softball than baseball. While we do think in terms of fatigue when making pitching decisions, softball pitchers, in my experience, are rarely on the hard pitch counts that you see regularly in baseball. On my son's baseball team, we adhere strictly to Pitch Smart guidelines while I don't know that there is anything similar in the world of softball. Generally, I believe softball pitchers pitch more and more often than their baseball counterparts.

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    I think these "process-based" stats, in which I'd also include things like hard-hit balls (HHBs) and first pitch strikes (FPS%), are meant to be taken as a measure over time and not viewed as individual events. You can certainly argue that a stat like QAB may be more relevant in baseball where driving up a pitch count can push that pitcher out of the game sooner, but they are not meaningless in softball.

    Remember, QABs in GC also include extra-base hits, HHBs, walks, sac bunts and sac flys, which are not dependent on the number of pitches.

    Ultimately, this kind of stat is designed to measure the results of a player's developmental process and the situational impact of that development on their success. "Situational" is the key word here. A batting average out of context doesn't provide much data re: results and impact. Things like SLG and OBP provide a bit more. QAB provides a greater overall measure of development as a batter. Team with a higher QAB win more games because the impact of those at bats is greater.

    Believe me, I've also questioned the value of QAB, especially after seeing my daughter go 0-3 with 3 strike outs but the stats show 3 QABs. But over time, the batter will win more of the high pitch count ABs than the pitcher.

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    Excellent points TMD! I do know that when I look at team QAB totals the team with the most almost always wins. Looking at this as a team stat rather than as an individual stat is an eye opener.

    As a scorekeeper, I struggle more with HHBs than anything else. Absent Statcast exit velos, it becomes very subjective. I agonize over that probably more than any other decision during the course of a game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reagansdaddy View Post
    In my experience, which may be more limited and different than yours, pitch counts play a far smaller role in softball than baseball. While we do think in terms of fatigue when making pitching decisions, softball pitchers, in my experience, are rarely on the hard pitch counts that you see regularly in baseball. On my son's baseball team, we adhere strictly to Pitch Smart guidelines while I don't know that there is anything similar in the world of softball. Generally, I believe softball pitchers pitch more and more often than their baseball counterparts.
    It's not about fatigue and pitch counts for me, I want my kids to see 3 - 4 more pitches after being 0-2 because 1, it tells me they are making adjustments and battling for me, and 2, the more pitches we see the more likely of a chance that the pitcher will make a mistake and leave the ball over the plate more than she wants. (Especially at the younger ages) We have a dry erase board hanging in the dugout with QAB on it. They know my criteria for a QAB. If they get one they check it off. It's valuable, just depends on how you use it, and what's important to your team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SB1221 View Post
    It's not about fatigue and pitch counts for me, I want my kids to see 3 - 4 more pitches after being 0-2 because 1, it tells me they are making adjustments and battling for me, and 2, the more pitches we see the more likely of a chance that the pitcher will make a mistake and leave the ball over the plate more than she wants. (Especially at the younger ages) We have a dry erase board hanging in the dugout with QAB on it. They know my criteria for a QAB. If they get one they check it off. It's valuable, just depends on how you use it, and what's important to your team.
    I certainly won't argue that a battling AB fouling off pitches when down in the count is a very good thing and can lead to a batter getting "their" pitch. Battling ABs in the right situation can turn the tide of a game. However, we talk about winning ABs not just battling. I'd have a really hard time seeing a kid who just struck out looking coming into the dugout and checking off a QAB board.

    As I have read the responses and thought a little more about this (thanks to the great responses), I think what this really boils down to is that I loathe strikeouts. I am a big put the ball in play guy. I value contact percentage as a stat. This probably makes me a bit old school in the modern game. I have a really hard time seeing any AB that ends in a strikeout, especially a strikeout looking, as being a quality AB no matter what came before it.

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    I guess I'm more of a process minded coach over outcomes with my younger players. Older ones, sure I get it. I also believe in the positive over the negative. If we can take something from their extended at bat, and learn from it, even if it was a strike out, then I'm ok with that. I've seen a 13 pitch at bat, that went for a strikeout, she learned on every extra pitch she saw. Also had a few 11 pitch at bats, one that saw the 12th leave the park.

    It's ok being old school, now a days even in softball, some coaches believe that bunting ( /putting the ball in play) is a wasted at bat. It's all about how you want to build your team! Best of luck!

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    Basically a stat used to help ineffective hitters feel good about themselves.

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    I look a it a little differently. A QAB means the other team is baking in the sun longer while our team chills in the dugout. String a few QABs together with a few walks and the other team gets weary from being on the field longer than usual. We treat time in the dugout similar to time of possession in football. Whichever team wins that battle has a better chance of winning the game.

    On another note, I believe hitting is very much mental. If a player is slumping, I try to find some sort of moral victory for that player so that he/she can use it to build momentum. For a player suffering a string of strikeouts, a QAB can lead to a base hit, which can lead to a double...

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