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 kinds between as we speak’s superior stats (wOBA, xwOBA, wRC+) and the previous, fundamental 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.
OPS has been round for for much longer than most individuals know. It was first drummed up in 1979 however didn’t instantly turn out to be extensively used. Baseball has an extended historical past of being towards change, so it is sensible that such a standard and necessary statistic in as we speak’s recreation took some time to first catch on.
Earlier than inspecting why OPS is so invaluable, 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 troublesome 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 may give an entire image of a hitter’s skill. Earlier than OPS, batting common was thought-about a very powerful hitting stat, however it has clear holes. First off, batting common fully ignores walks, which could be a huge a part of a hitter’s recreation and are an important a part of hitting. It additionally fully neglects energy, and there’s no method of understanding a participant’s extra-base hit capabilities by taking a look at his batting common. OPS eliminates each of these flaws and exhibits how usually a participant will get on base and the facility a participant displays.
How one can use OPS appropriately:
Identical to every other stat, OPS should be used appropriately so as to correctly consider gamers. For example, OPS will 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 will 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 had been fully 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 it is very important use OPS within the right context.
One other concern in using OPS is making an attempt to set a baseline for hitters that they need to attain so as to be thought-about profitable. For instance, I heard a university coach say that his hitters should get to a .800 OPS to be good for the season. This mindset must be modified, as OPS, regardless of its deserves, shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all baseball statistic. As seen with my Seager and Kwan instance above, hitters will 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 observe. Having a baseline OPS as a objective might 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 can possible damage his plate self-discipline and elite OBP. The most probably results of that state of affairs is a counterproductive lower in Kwan’s OPS. Hitters have to give attention to and create their very own skillset with out utilizing OPS as a selected objective.
Why OPS is finally extraordinarily invaluable:
OPS is an important stat in baseball as we speak and will probably be for years to come back. It’s one stat that anybody can have a look at and perceive simply, and it is without doubt one of the few stats on the market that may present a hitter’s on-base and energy talents in only one quantity. On high of this, OPS is a very simple stat to know and calculate, making it relevant throughout all ranges of baseball. When used and understood appropriately, it’s the greatest stat for any fan to judge hitters.