Baseball Wiki
Baseball Wiki

In baseball, an at bat (AB) is used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average. It is a more restricted definition of a plate appearance. A batter has an at bat every time he faces a pitcher, except in the following circumstances:

  • He receives a base on balls (BB).[1]
  • He is hit by a pitch (HBP).
  • He hits a sacrifice fly or a sacrifice hit (also known as sacrifice bunt).
  • He is awarded first base due to interference or obstruction, usually by the catcher.
  • The inning ends while he is still at bat (due to the third out being made by a runner caught stealing, for example). In this case, the batter will come to bat again in the next inning, though he now has no balls or strikes on him.
  • He is replaced by another hitter before his at bat is completed (unless he is replaced with two strikes and his replacement strikes out).


An at bat is counted when

  • the batter reaches first base on a hit
  • the batter reaches first base on an error
  • the batter is called out for any reason other than as part of a sacrifice
  • there is a fielder's choice

At bat as a phrase

"At bat," "up," "up at bat," and "at the plate" are all phrases describing a batter who is facing the pitcher. Note that just because a player is described as being "at bat" in this sense, he will not necessarily be given an at bat in his statistics; the phrase actually signifies a plate appearance (assuming it is eventually completed). This ambiguous terminology is usually clarified by context. To refer explicitly to the technical meaning of "at bat" described above, the term "official at bat" is sometimes used.


  1. In 1887, Major League Baseball counted bases on balls as hits. The result was skyrocketed batting averages, including some near .500, and the experiment was abandoned the following season.

See also