In baseball statistics, fielding percentage, also known as fielding average, is a measure that reflects the percentage of times a defensive player properly handles a batted or thrown ball. It is calculated by the sum of putouts and assists divided by the number of total chances (putouts + assists + errors).
While a high fielding percentage is regarded as a sign of defensive skill, it is also possible for a player of lesser defensive skill to have a high fielding percentage, as it does not reflect or take into account a player's defensive range; a player that cannot get to a ball surrenders a hit instead of having an opportunity to make an out or an error. Conversely, a highly skilled fielder might have a comparatively low fielding percentage by virtue of reaching, and potentially missing, a greater number of balls.
In order to qualify for the league lead in fielding percentage, an infielder or outfielder must appear at the specific position in at least two-thirds of his team's games (games in the outfield are not separated by position). A catcher must appear in at least half his team's games. A pitcher must pitch at least one inning for each of his team's scheduled games (however, a pitcher with fewer innings may qualify if they have more total chances and a higher average). In order to qualify for major league career records for fielding average, a player must appear in 1000 games at the position; pitchers must have at least 1500 innings. The MLB record for team fielding percentage is currently held by the 2013 Baltimore Orioles with a .99104 fielding percentage.
- Rule 10.21(d). "Official Rules". Major League Baseball (MLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Center, Bill (March 31, 2010). "In defense of the Padres". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011.
- Fitzpatrick, Frank (September 30, 2011). "Phillies can rely on their defense ... or maybe not". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 6, 2011. "But there's a lot more to defense, obviously, than just not making errors. You have to get to the ball to not make an error in the first place."
- Rule 10.22(c)(2). "Official Rules". Major League Baseball (MLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Rule 10.22(c)(1). "Official Rules". Major League Baseball (MLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Rule 10.22(c)(3). "Official Rules". Major League Baseball (MLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-02.