Four for twelve (baseball jargon)

yads

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan)
Greetings, everyone.
I have a question related to baseball.
Obviously when we watch a sports game on TV, we hear a lot of numbers and jargon.
However, in the context of baseball, what does it mean when the commentator says a player is "four for twelve," "ten for twelve," and so on?
For example, "After a successful four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels that saw Ellsbury go six-for-twelve (.500) with five runs scored..."
Does it mean Ellsbury managed to hit half of the pitches?
(Source: New York Yankees: Top Of Order Is The Source Of Offensive Surge)

This expression seems to be used to describe the performance of a team as well, and I do not quite understand what it means in either case.
E.g., "The Astros were six for twelve with runners in scoring position."
(Source: It’s Raining Baseballs! Memorial Day Massacre, 2017, Continues. Astros 17, Twins 6.)

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    It means “six hits in twelve at-bats.” Typically a time at bat consists of more than one pitch. And a “hit” means hitting the ball and reaching (at least) first base safely.

    6 for 12 is very, very good (although a very small part of a season - each batter who plays regularly usually has well over 400 at-bats in a season.)
     

    yads

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan)
    It means “six hits in twelve at-bats.” Typically a time at bat consists of more than one pitch. And a “hit” means hitting the ball and reaching (at least) first base safely.

    6 for 12 is very, very good (although a very small part of a season - each batter who plays regularly usually has well over 400 at-bats in a season.)
    Thank you so much, Pob14.
    Does that mean later on the number goes as high as, for instance, 180 for 400?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In theory, yes, but the wording in the OP is only used when talking about short stretches of time. When the numbers get large a standard ratio is used. 180 for 400 would be 180/400 = 0.450

    In baseball talk that would be said as "He's batting four fifty". That means for every hypothetical 1000 times he bats, he would get 450 hits. It's more or less a form of percentage.

    (That's an impossibly high percentage for the whole season, but it is possible for short stretches.)
     

    yads

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan)
    In theory, yes, but the wording in the OP is only used when talking about short stretches of time. When the numbers get large a standard ratio is used. 180 for 400 would be 180/400 = 0.450

    In baseball talk that would be said as "He's batting four fifty". That means for every hypothetical 1000 times he bats, he would get 450 hits. It's more or less a form of percentage.

    (That's an impossibly high percentage for the whole season, but it is possible for short stretches.)
    That makes perfect sense!
    Thank you for your explanation, Kentix!
     
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