Is Catcher’s Interference an At Bat or Plate Appearance in Baseball?


Baseball’s official rules for an at bat and a plate appearance can be a bit confusing, especially for a unique play like catcher’s interference which doesn’t happen that often. How is catcher’s interference scored? Is catcher’s interference an at bat in baseball, or is it just a plate appearance?

Catcher’s interference does not count as an official at bat, but it does count as a plate appearance. For example, if you see a player is 1 for 3 with a catcher’s interference, that means the player has four plate appearances in the game. The player has three official at-bats but four total plate appearances due to the fact that the catcher’s interference counts as a plate appearance, but not an official at bat.

In this article let’s take a closer look at how catcher’s interference is scored in baseball. Let’s also discuss briefly how plate appearances differ from at-bats, and why it matters.

Catcher’s interference describes a scenario in which the catcher’s actions interferes with the batter’s attempt to hit the ball. The most common form of catcher’s interference is when the catcher puts his mitt too far out in front of him and the batter strikes the catcher’s mitt with his bat during the swing.

Catcher’s interference is considered a delayed dead ball situation much like a balk. Unlike a balk, where a pitcher is not charged with an error, a catcher is charged with an error for catcher’s interference. While the catcher is charged for an error, the batter is not considered to have reached base on an error so that it does not hurt the batter’s batting average.

For statistical purposes, catcher’s interference does not count as an official at bat. Similar to a HBP, the batter goes to first but the ball is dead. If there is a runner on first, that runner moves forward and any other player directly in front of that runner can advance as well.

When a catcher’s interference occurs, for statistical purposes, it is not considered an official at bat for the batter, but it is considered a plate appearance. While catcher’s interference does not help the bater with on base percentage, batting average, or any other statistic, it also does not help the batter in any of those areas either.

Does Catcher’s Interference Count as an At Bat or Plate Appearance?

Is Catcher’s Interference an At Bat in Baseball?

As we discussed above, catcher’s interference does not count as an official at bat in baseball.

If you see a player is 1 for 3 with a catcher’s interference, that means the player has four total plate appearances in the game. The player has three at-bats and four plate appearances due to the fact that the catcher’s interference counts as a plate appearance, but not an official at bat.

Is Catcher’s Interference a Plate Appearance in Baseball?

Yes, a catcher’s interference does count as a plate appearance in baseball (but it does not count as an official at bat). Catcher’s interference is consider a delayed dead ball situation.

Catcher’s interference describes a scenario in which the catcher’s actions interfere with the batter’s attempt to hit the ball. The most common form of catcher’s interference is when the catcher puts his mitt too far out in front of him and the batter strikes the catcher’s mitt with his bat during the swing.

Catcher’s interference is considered a delayed dead ball situation much like a balk. Unlike a balk, where a pitcher is not charged with an error, a catcher is charged with an error for catcher’s interference. While the catcher is charged for an error, the batter is not considered to have reached base on an error so that it does not hurt the batter’s batting average.

For statistical purposes, catcher’s interference does not count as an official at bat. Similar to a HBP, the batter goes to first but the ball is dead. If there is a runner on first, that runner moves forward and any other player directly in front of that runner can advance as well.

One difference in hit by pitch compared to catcher’s interference, is hit by pitch is factored into on-base percentage, but catcher’s interference is not. While catcher’s interference does not help the batter with on base percentage, batting average, or any other statistic, it also does not hurt the batter in any of those areas either.

At Bat Compared to Plate Appearance in Baseball

A plate appearance refers to a batter’s turn at the plate regardless of the outcome as long as that appearance is completed. For instance, if a player is thrown out on the base paths to end an inning while the batter is still up, it does not count as a plate appearance.

Similarly, if a balk or wild pitch scores the winning run of a game, the player at the plate also does not get a plate appearance. Any other time a player gets up to bat and completes, whether with an out or by reaching base, his time at the plate, he has had a plate appearance.

Plate appearances are statistically important because it is the measure that allows players to compete for year end awards or lifetime achievements. For instance, if a player has had 20 plate appearances during a year, and had nine hits and two walks, his batting average would be higher than any other player’s in history.

However, to qualify to be in contention for a batting title, which is given to the player with the highest batting average each year, that player must have at least 502 plate appearances. When average out for an entire year, that means a player must average 3.1 plate appearances per game for an entire 162-game schedule. Other than qualifying for year end and career awards, plate appearances do not have as much meaning as official at bats.

Any time you are watching a game in later innings and you see that a player is 1 or 3, that means that player has had three official at bats that game. Official at bats are used more often and spoken about more often than plate appearances.

In baseball, a walk and hit-by-pitch are similar to catcher’s interference in that they are not official at bats, but still count as a plate appearance. But the significant difference is walks and HBPs are used to calculate on-base percentage, but catcher’s interference is not.

To read about other scoring issues in baseball, visit our articles linked below:

Catcher’s interference is considered a delayed dead ball situation much like a balk. As we discussed in this article, catcher’s interference does not count as an official at bat, but it does count as a plate appearance.

Paul Johnson

Paul has been with us from our beginnings. He focuses on a wide range of sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB and golf.

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