The Most Beneficial Hitting Statistic

Yankees’ OF Aaron Choose; Picture through Keith Allison

One of many extra attention-grabbing stats of the day, OPS appears to be a bridge of kinds between at present’s superior stats (wOBA, xwOBA, wRC+) and the outdated, primary stats of baseball (BA, OBP). This bridge, the simplicity of the stat, and the benefit at which it may be used to judge 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 change into extensively used. Baseball has an extended historical past of being in opposition to change, so it is sensible that such a typical and necessary statistic in at present’s sport took some time to first catch on.

Earlier than inspecting why OPS is so precious, 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 share at which a participant will get on base. Slugging is a bit more troublesome however nonetheless straightforward 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 accustomed to OPS. What most followers aren’t accustomed to is that OPS is an all-encompassing stat that can provide an entire image of a hitter’s skill. Earlier than OPS, batting common was thought-about crucial hitting stat, nevertheless it has clear holes. First off, batting common utterly ignores walks, which is usually a large a part of a hitter’s sport and are an important a part of hitting. It additionally utterly neglects energy, and there’s no approach of understanding a participant’s extra-base hit capabilities by taking a look at his batting common. OPS eliminates each of these flaws and reveals how usually a participant will get on base and the ability a participant displays.

Easy methods to use OPS appropriately:

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

One other situation in using OPS is making an attempt to set a baseline for hitters that they need to attain as a way to be thought-about 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 may be very totally different however nonetheless produce worth. Each hitter is totally different and may give attention to what makes him good. A excessive OPS will comply with. Having a baseline OPS as a objective might probably make a hitter do stuff that’s not part of their sport. If Steven Kwan, for instance, determined his OPS wasn’t excessive sufficient and tried to extend it by hitting for extra energy, that may probably damage his plate self-discipline and elite OBP. The most certainly results of that situation is a counterproductive lower in Kwan’s OPS. Hitters must give attention to and create their very own skillset with out utilizing OPS as a particular objective.

Why OPS is finally extraordinarily precious:

OPS is a crucial stat in baseball at present and can be for years to come back. It’s one stat that anybody can have 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 skills in only one quantity. On prime of this, OPS is an easy stat to know and calculate, making it relevant throughout all ranges of baseball. When used and understood appropriately, it’s the finest stat for any fan to judge hitters.


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