In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for one's team. A batter or hitter is a person whose turn it is to face the pitcher. The goals of batters are to produce runs, but the techniques and strategies they use to do so vary. The main three goals of batters are to become a baserunner, drive runners home, or advance runners along the bases for others to drive home.
In general, batters try to get hits. They may also draw a walk if they do not receive a pitch they can hit properly. In cases when there is a runner on third and less than two outs, they can attempt to hit a sacrifice fly to drive the runner in. When there are less than two outs and runners on base, they can try to sacrifice bunt. They might even be hit by a pitch, reach on an error or—if first is empty or there are two outs—on a dropped third strike.
The opposition attempts to get the batter out. The pitcher's main role in this is to throw the ball in such a way that he either strikes out or cannot hit it cleanly so that the defense can get him out.
Success in batting
Batting is often cited as one of the most difficult feats in sports as it works down to hitting a small round ball with a thin round bat. In fact, if a batter can get a hit in three out of ten at bats, giving him a batting average of .300, pronounced three-hundred, he is considered a good hitter. In Major League Baseball, no batter has hit over .400 in a season since Ted Williams in 1941, and no batter has ever hit over .367 in a lifetime—Ty Cobb hit .3664. In modern times, the statistic On-base plus slugging (OPS) is seen as a more accurate measure of a player's ability as a batter; this stat combines the player's On base percentage, a percentage of their plate appearances where the batter gets on base (by a hit, hit by pitch or base on balls), with the player's slugging percentage, an average of total bases with at-bats. An OPS at or near 1.000 is considered to be the mark of an exceptional hitter. A sustained OPS at or above 1.000 over a career is a feat only a few hitters have ever been able to reach.
Main article: batting order
The lineup or batting order is a list of the nine baseball players for a team in the order they will bat during the game. During the game the only way to change the lineup is via substitution, as batting out of turn is not allowed. Once the ninth person in the lineup finishes batting, the first person bats again; this is the top of the order. Lineups are designed to facilitate manufacturing runs. Depending on batters' skills, they might be placed in different parts of the lineup. Of course, when it comes down to it, all batters are attempting to create runs for the team.
The player currently batting in a game is said to be at the plate, at bat, or up to bat (shortened to up). To keep the game moving at an orderly pace, the next batter due up waits to take his turn in a circle (actually marked or imaginary) between his team's dugout or bench and the batter's box, and is said to be on deck, with the circle known as the on deck circle. The player in the batting order after the on deck batter is said to be in the hole.