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Plate appearances is the total number of times a player has stood at the plate ... regardless of outcome. At-bats are counted when a batter either scores an 'out' or scores a 'hit'. If the batter receives a Base-on-balls, hit by pitch, or reaches base as the result of an error or Fielder's choice, it doesn't count as an at-bat. Batting average is figured as hits/at-bats. On-base percentage is figured as #of times on base / plate appearances

This answer is wrong... If the batter reaches base as a result of an error or fielder's choice it still counts as an at bat, if the batter records an out that results in a sacrifice fly it does not count as an at bat. Also a base on balls includes the possibility of hit by pitch in its definition.

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Q: What is the difference between appearances and at bats when reviewing baseball statistics?

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