One of the great things about baseball is all the different statistics that are out there. You can even find baseball statistics dating back to 1871! Recently, I started going through some baseball statistics and I found myself wondering “what is the average at-bats in a season?” To answer that question, I did some analysis on the 2019 MLB baseball season.
On average, MLB players had between 129 and 323 at-bats in the 2019 season. When analyzing all MLB players, the average number of at-bats was 129. When analyzing all MLB players who played in at least 50 games, the average number of at-bats was 323.
Let’s take a deeper dive into how I came up with those numbers.
Analyzing Batting Data From the 2019 MLB Season
To start off, I chose to analyze the 2019 season over the 2020 season for a few reasons.
The first reason for choosing 2019 over 2020 is that the 2020 season was an outlier year for games played in the MLB. In the 2020 MLB season, teams played a maximum of 60 games, with two teams playing only 58 games (Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals). During a normal season, teams will play 162 games.
The second reason for choosing 2019 over 2020 is that double-header games lasted only 7 innings during the 2020 season. This rule was implemented for the 2020 season because the pandemic limited playing time. So the MLB and the players agreed to use 7-inning double-header games in order to play more games in the 2020 season. During a normal season, double-header games would last 9 innings.
So, because of the pandemic forcing MLB teams to make changes to the length of the season and to the length of some games, I chose to analyze the 2019 season because it contained a normal, full season. At the time of this post, the 2019 season was the most recent complete season to analyze.
To analyze this data, I used the 2019 MLB Standard Batting data contained on baseball-reference.com.
Calculating Average At-Bats for the 2019 MLB Season
To calculate the average at-bats for the 2019 MLB season, I first wanted to answer two questions:
- On average, how many times does a player bat per game?
- On average, how many games does an MLB player play?
How Many Times Does a Player Bat Per Game?
In the 2019 MLB season, there were a total of 1,288 players I analyzed from Baseball Reference.
On average, MLB players batted between 2.73 times per game and 3.08 times per game during the 2019 season.
How to Calculate Average At-Bats Per Game
From the list I pulled via Baseball Reference, there were 1,288 players. From these 1,288 players, they had a total of 167,187 at-bats and 61,310 total games played during 2019. When these numbers are averaged out, I got an average of 2.73 at-bats per game when all MLB players were included.
To dig deeper into the average amount of at-bats per game, I also analyzed players who played 50 games or more.
When we only include those players who played in 50 or more games, we get 465 players that we can analyze. From these 465 players, they had a total of 150,296 at-bats and 48,767 total games played. When these numbers are averaged out, we know players who played in 50 games or more get 3.08 at-bats per game on average.
How Many Games Does the Average MLB Player Play?
Not all players play the same number of games. In fact, this number can vary widely.
On average, MLB players played between 47 and 104 games during the 2019 MLB season.
How to Calculate Average Games Played
Similar to above, I took two approaches to finding the average games played during the 2019 season: the average for all players and the average for those players who played in 50 games or more.
When looking at all 1,288 players from the 2019 season, we can see that 61,310 total games were played. When these numbers are averaged out, we get an average of 47.60 games per season when we account for all players in 2019.
To dig deeper, I also looked at what the average number of games played were for those MLB players who played in at least 50 games.
When looking at the 465 players who played in 50 games or more in 2019, we can see that 48,767 games were played. When these numbers are averaged out for those players who played at least 50 games, we get an average of 104.88 games played in the 2019 MLB season.
What is the Average At-Bats in a Season?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers we now have from the calculations done above:
|All MLB Players in 2019||MLB Players who played in at least 50 games in 2019|
|Average At-Bats Per Game||2.73||3.08|
|Average Games Played||47.60||104.88|
To get to our answer of how many at-bats a season for an MLB player, we multiply the average number of at-bats per game by the average number of games played.
From the table above, we can see that when we look at all MLB players we need to multiple the 2.73 at-bats per game by the 47.60 games played. When these numbers are multiplied together, we get 129.95. This means that when we account for all MLB players, the average number of at-bats for the 2019 season is 129.95.
Also from the table above, we can see that when we look at MLB Players who played in at least 50 games in 2019, we need to multiply the 3.08 at-bats per game by the 104.88 games played. When these numbers are multiplied together we get 323.03. This means that when we only look at MLB players who played in at least 50 games during 2019, the average number of at-bats for the 2019 season is 323.03.
Therefore, we can now come to the conclusion that MLB players had, on average, between 129 and 323 at-bats during the 2019 MLB season.
Who Has the Most At-Bats in a Season?
To help give some context to the answer above, it’s good to know what the max number of at-bats in a season could be.
According to Baseball Reference, Jimmy Rollins holds the record for most at-bats in a season with 716. The record was set in 2007 while he was playing shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Also, Jimmy Rollins played in all 162 games when he set the at-bat record in 2007. This means he averaged 4.42 at-bats per game during the 2007 season.