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In baseball statistics, fielding percentage, also known as fielding average, is a measure that reflects the percentage of times a defensive player handles a batted or thrown ball properly. It is calculated by the sum of flawless chances (putouts plus assists) (also called chances accepted) divided by the number of total chances (putouts plus assists plus errors) [also called chances offered.
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 slow-footed first baseman, for example, might have a high fielding percentage simply because he rarely drops a thrown ball or makes an errant throw. Likewise, a relatively slow outfielder might have a high fielding percentage even though he doesn't reach many of the fly balls which a faster player would catch. 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, a player 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); catchers must appear in at least half their team's games, and pitchers must pitch at least one inning for each of their team's scheduled games (however, a pitcher with fewer innings may qualify if they have more total chances and a higher average). In practice the pitcher who leads in fielding percentage is the pitcher who handles the most total chances without an error (percentage: 1.000) 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.