What is a Fielder’s Choice? (Complete Guide)

Have you ever wondered what some of the details in baseball players’ reports mean? For instance, you’re wondering about the fielder’s choice (FC). After all, you can’t hear the umpires calling this decision during matches.

Fielders Choice is a range of baseball plays involving offensive players reaching bases because of defensive opponents’ attempts to put out baserunners. This statistic is in official player reports that the official scorer takes into account for each instance of these moves.

Take note that several instances and scenarios can warrant FCs. With that in mind, what’s considered a Fielders Choice in baseball? Also, is this metric considered a hit? Does it affect a player’s batting average? Find the answers to these questions as you continue reading this article.

Fielder’s Choice in Baseball

According to the official NFHS rules for baseball, Rule 2 Section 14 indicates the following about FC:

2-13-1 A fielder’s choice is the act of a fielder with a live ball, who elects to throw for an attempted put out or to retire unassisted any runner or batter-runner, thus permitting the advance of another runner(s). The scorer decides whether the batter is credited with a safe hit or an extra base hit in accordance with 9-2-2, 9-3-3. Scorers use the term in the following ways:

You can also check out the following video for an in-depth explanation of the rule:

Examples of Fielder’s Choice in Baseball

Examples of Fielder’s Choice in Baseball

Example 1

A batter hits the ball and goes straight to the shortstop while a runner is on 1st base. The shortstop catches the ball successfully and throws it to the 2nd base fielder. At this point, letting the baserunner receive a put out means throwing the ball to the 2nd base fielder instead of the 1st base fielder that’s closer to the shortstop. If so, the batter will not gain a point for the hit.

Example 2

A batter hits the ball with a runner on the 1st base. However, the shortstop decides to put out the batter but running to the 1st base. It’s because the athlete understands that the batter is flying down the line. The shortstop throws the ball to the 2nd baseman in an attempt to put out the baserunner. Unfortunately, the athlete doesn’t make it in time. In this scenario, the player won’t score an FC but a base hit.

Plus, officials may not credit the baserunner with a stolen base even if the player seems like it was a successful move. It’s because baseball has a broad scoring margin, especially in a match’s late innings. During these periods, allowing one extra base won’t incur significant impacts on the outcome.

Example 3

A batter hits a ground ball to the middle while a baserunner is in the 1st base. The shortstop chases and dives for the ball, saving it from heading to the center field. The athlete throws the ball to the 2nd baseman after realizing that time is of the essence to put out the runner from the first base. The throw doesn’t land in time and both 1st and 2nd baserunners are safe. The official scorer can grant the play as a base hit instead of an FC.

Example 4

A baseball game has runners on two bases and two outs. The batter swings and the umpire calls for a called strike twice. Then, the batter is indulged to run to first base while the other baserunners move one base ahead to help accommodate the new baserunner. Then, the catcher retrieves the baseball before stepping on the home plate. This forced play is both a strike-out and an FC.

Is a Fielder’s Choice a Hit?

Fielder’s Choice a Hit

Although the batter moves to the first base because of hitting the ball, the player won’t receive a point for hitting because of the FC. Therefore, hitters won’t be credited with a hit when an FC is called.

How Does Fielder’s Choice Affect a Player’s Batting Average?

Batting Average

FC is still added to the batting average because officials record it as an At Bat. However, since the play isn’t a hit, it doesn’t help with the batter’s base batting percentage. Therefore, batting percentages can lower the more batters receive FCs.

Final Words

A fielder’s choice (FC) happens when defensive players field fair balls, attempting to put out baserunners. Take note that an FC can take place in different scenarios. However, batters that receive FCs will be credited with an At Bat instead of a hit, which can reduce their overall batting percentage.

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