MLB Draft, Quality At Bats


Liam Carroll

The MLB Draft began last night.  I wasn't expecting to get picked early on, what with being eight months removed from shoulder surgery. But there's lots of action left so I'm sitting by the phone.  For any front offices paying attention, I'd sign below slot value.  I'd sign for a plane ticket.  In fact, I'll pay you a signing bonus to play.

Kris Bryant is a Vegas kid who chose to go to college instead of signing after his senior year of high school.  In his third season at University of San Diego, a great academic school, he put up monster numbers, hitting 31 homers in 62 games.  He was selected number two overall last night by the Cubs.  But the most amazing stat for me isn't his home run total.  This stat isn't even officially recorded: it's his Quality At Bat percentage.

I've written about QABs before; the teams I coach hear about QABs all the time.  I'm not going to stop: we play a "game of failure."  It's going to eat you up, especially if you get caught up in Batting Average.  Focussing on having QABs will improve the experience of many, many players.

Bradley Marcelino, long-time GB player, is on staff at USD.  He's also big on Quality At Bats.  When he visited London a couple of summers ago he preached hitting approach and QABs to a group of young GB players

Brad noted that Bryant's QAB percentage was 71% this season.  If we go by batting average as a measure of success, we fail 70% of the time - if we're good.  Bryant turned that on its head!  How about succeeding that much of the time in a task that's considered one of the hardest things to do in all of sport? 

If you're getting caught up with your batting average, there is only one way to be successful.  Make the game easier:

Hard hit ball. Base Hit.  Base on Balls.  Hit By Pitch.  Advance a runner.  Score a runner.  Sacrifice.  Eight + pitch At Bat. 

I'll record QABs throughout a game and note how many we have each time through the lineup.  If we're under 50% we're not scoring runs.  If we are scoring, it's because the defense is giving away freebies and that's not something you want to hang your hat on.  When we get up above 50%, we score - simple stuff.  If we have players like Bryant at 71%, then we're putting up crooked numbers.  Keeping track gives me specific information to help players to focus their approach if needed - or to be quiet and let them stick with the process if they're grinding out QABs.

Focussing on having Quality At Bats will not only keep you sane at the plate, especially when the hits aren't coming, but it also promotes a team-first culture.  Guys will pull for each other.  Coaches - this will be reinforced if you make it important and celebrate the At Bats that aren't hits, giving you more ways to encourage your players and give them positive feedback.



tagged under: baseball, coaching, mlb, softball, hitting, draft

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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