The Most Worthwhile Hitting Statistic

Yankees’ OF Aaron Decide; Photograph through Keith Allison

One of many extra attention-grabbing stats of the day, OPS appears to be a bridge of types between in the present day’s superior stats (wOBA, xwOBA, wRC+) and the previous, primary stats of baseball (BA, OBP). This bridge, the simplicity of the stat, and the convenience at which it may be used to guage gamers make it the premier offensive metric.

What’s OPS?

OPS has been round for for much longer than most individuals know. It was first drummed up in 1979 however didn’t instantly develop into extensively used. Baseball has an extended historical past of being towards change, so it is smart that such a standard and necessary statistic in in the present day’s recreation took some time to first catch on.

Earlier than inspecting why OPS is so useful, it must be rapidly defined. OPS stands for “On-Base plus Slugging” which merely means on-base share plus slugging share. On-Base share is as described, the proportion at which a participant will get on base. Slugging is a bit more tough however nonetheless simple to digest. It’s the variety of bases a participant hits for per AB. If a participant’s SLG is .650, then, on common, they hit for .650 bases per AB. Including these two stats collectively will get you OPS.

That’s simply comprehensible, and most baseball followers are conversant in OPS. What most followers aren’t conversant in is that OPS is an all-encompassing stat that can provide a whole image of a hitter’s capability. Earlier than OPS, batting common was thought of a very powerful hitting stat, nevertheless it has clear holes. First off, batting common utterly ignores walks, which could be a massive a part of a hitter’s recreation and are a vital a part of hitting. It additionally utterly neglects energy, and there’s no manner of realizing a participant’s extra-base hit capabilities by his batting common. OPS eliminates each of these flaws and exhibits how typically a participant will get on base and the ability a participant displays.

Methods to use OPS accurately:

Similar to another stat, OPS should be used accurately to be able to correctly consider gamers. As an example, OPS will be seen from two completely different angles. It makes use of two different stats in its computation, which may result in some ambiguity when evaluating gamers. There will be two gamers with comparable OPSs who’re very completely different hitters. For instance, in 2022, Corey Seager and Steven Kwan had the very same OPS at .772, but they have been utterly completely different hitters. Seager’s .772 resulted from a really excessive SLG, because of 33 HRs and an amazing energy swing. Kwan’s .772 was boosted by his 62 walks and .373 OBP, not by energy numbers. One may take a look at these two OPSs and assume Seager and Kwan are comparable hitters, however that would not be farther from the reality. This is the reason you will need to use OPS within the appropriate context.

One other subject in using OPS is making an attempt to set a baseline for hitters that they have to attain to be able to be thought of profitable. For instance, I heard a school coach say that his hitters need to get to a .800 OPS to be good for the season. This mindset must be modified, as OPS, regardless of its deserves, is just not the end-all, be-all baseball statistic. As seen with my Seager and Kwan instance above, hitters will be very completely different however nonetheless produce worth. Each hitter is completely different and may deal with what makes him good. A excessive OPS will comply with. Having a baseline OPS as a aim may probably make a hitter do stuff that isn’t part of their recreation. If Steven Kwan, for instance, determined his OPS wasn’t excessive sufficient and tried to extend it by hitting for extra energy, that may doubtless harm his plate self-discipline and elite OBP. The most definitely results of that state of affairs is a counterproductive lower in Kwan’s OPS. Hitters have to deal with and create their very own skillset with out utilizing OPS as a particular aim.

Why OPS is finally extraordinarily useful:

OPS is an important stat in baseball in the present day and can be for years to return. It’s one stat that anybody can take a look at and perceive simply, and it is likely one of the few stats on the market that may present a hitter’s on-base and energy talents in only one quantity. On prime of this, OPS is a very simple stat to grasp and calculate, making it relevant throughout all ranges of baseball. When used and understood accurately, it’s the finest stat for any fan to guage hitters.


Aaron Judge in 2017” through Keith Allison licensed underneath CC BY-SA 2.0