Fielding percentage answers the question: How often does a fielder or team make the play when tasked with fielding a batted ball, throwing a ball, or receiving a thrown ball for an out. The formula is simple: the total number of putouts and assists by a defender, divided by the total number of chances (putouts, assists and errors).
For years, fielding percentage was thought to be the defining metric for evaluating defenders. And while it's certainly useful, it fails to take into account a defender's range. Only errors can negatively affect fielding percentage -- with an error defined as a play that should have been made with ordinary effort. But defenders with great range often make plays that require extraordinary effort. A fielder who is unable to make such plays is not penalized in fielding percentage, because the batter is simply awarded a hit.
The league's lowest fielding percentages typically come from shortstops and third basemen, who must deal with a wide array of tricky ground balls and tough throws across the diamond. Conversely, catchers, first basemen and outfielders often have the highest fielding percentages because of the ease of the plays they have to make.
Watch: Maikel Franco makes a play on defense without making an error, increasing his fielding percentage.
In A Call
"fielding average," "defensive percentage"