Take the 2-minute tour ×
Sports Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for participants in team and individual sport activities. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While watching a New York Mets game early this season, before one plate appearance the broadcast graphics displayed that catcher John Buck had a batting average (AVG) of .400 and an on-base percentage (OBP) of .396. Several games later I saw a similar phenomenon for Buck, whose OBP was again several points lower than his AVG. (In other words, the stats presented were very likely to be actual and not an on-screen typo.)

How is this possible? By my understanding, the two are calculated as follows:

AVG = (hits) / (at-bats)

and

OBP = (times reaching first base) / (plate appearances)

It would seem to me that the conditions by which a plate appearance does not count as an at-bat would always result in the batter reaching first.

What could have happened to cause Buck's on-base percentage to drop below his average?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sacrifice Flies

It can happen because Sacrifice Flies are in the denominator of the on-base percentage

OBP=(H+BB+HBP)/(AB+BB+HBP+SF),

but not in the batting average

AVG=H/AB.

For small numbers of at-bats, it is possible (though unlikely) for a player's on-base percentage to be lower than his batting average (H/AB). This happens when a player has almost no walks or times hit by pitch, with a higher number of sacrifice flies (e.g. if a player has 2 hits in 6 at-bats plus a sacrifice fly, his batting average would be .333, but his on-base percentage would be .286). The player who experienced this phenomenon with the most number of at-bats over a full season was Ernie Bowman. In 1963, with over 125 at-bats, Bowman had a batting average of .184 and an on-base percentage of .181.

Source

share|improve this answer
    
That makes perfect sense; a sac fly shouldn't count against you for batting average, but since you didn't actually get on-base, it wouldn't count favorably towards OBP. –  Tenner Oct 14 '13 at 12:55
    
Thank you so much! –  Tenner Oct 14 '13 at 12:55

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.