How does APBA determine Fielding Ratings?

Matt asked this question about fielding on The APBA Blog’s Facebook wall.  I thought I’d tackle it here in a post:


  "I’m sure this is already answered someplace, but I’m not sure where or how to look. How are fielding grades determined? I’m just trying to get a feel for what positions I’ll need to fill for next season (15-49 with the team that I took over midseason, so I’m anxious and getting a head start on planning for the future). Is there a set number of games that need to be played this season for a player to be given a grade at a position?


It’s a good question, Matt (sorry to hear about the 15-49 record). A lot of APBA fans are still figuring out how APBA determines fielding sometimes.  That said, maybe we can help.  I say “we” I’d like anyone else to comment if they have helpful advice/info.  Rawlings

Here are some factors that determine a player’s fielding grade:

Tradition: a player will generally not stray more than one point from their previous year’s grade.  Also, it would take a lot for a player who has been rated highly for years to begin to decline in his rating. 

Playing time:  The amount of time in the field does make a difference.  The most impact is when a player has such little time at one position that APBA is forced to downgrade his fielding rating.

Team performance:  it doesn’t hurt if the team the player’s MLB was a playoff team.  I wouldn’t always count on this but if he’s on the fence, it might give him the extra push he needs.

I’ve heard that APBA will use the pitchers’ fielder ratings to balance the total fielding for teams that might need it (or perhaps vice versa). 

Player’s role:  if the player’s role was a defensive replacement, APBA might give him the better rating over his replacement (assuming he is that much better in the field).

and of course…

Fielding ability: I really don’t know where APBA gets their scouting info from.  No doubt, we all have our opinions when the cards come out.  All in all, they do a pretty good though.  Those who pay more attention than I can tell you which if any fielding stats are consistent with APBA’s fielding ratings.  I can tell you it’s more than just errors or fielding percentage. 

Either APBA is being super scientific about it or they are throwing everything out the window and judging players subjectively.  Again, comments are welcome on this one. 

Matt, I hope this helps at least as a starting point.  Good luck nest year!


  1. I think you have it right.

    What I try to do when I make card sets is to set fielding ratings so a players error totals will be approximately accurate. This can be tricky for some eras and some leagues where the error averages are greater than 1 error per team per game. I don’t think APBA has ever done it, but some eras should properly require more than one error number per card (excluding 22s), if you’re looking for accurate replays.

  2. I just started playing APBA for the first time in 28 years as I took over for a friend who was a long time member of a league I’m now in. Example I’m using is Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli. Hanley’s rating at 1B is a 2 even though he played more games and had a higher fielding percentage than Mike.

    This year Hanley is just starting to play first and looks great there but he’ll have limited games. Can someone explain how he was rated lower than Mike last year and what will happen this year? Thank you for the great work.

    • That’s a good question. My guess is that APBA doesn’t use Fielding % as a strict rule for Fielding ratings. That said, I’m not sure what they use. In the past, it was very subjective (using “scouts” who were APBA fans that sent in their input). Also previous ratings plays a big part.

      Anyone else want to take a stab at it?

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