On-Base Plus Slugging
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Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
On-Base Plus Slugging
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on April 2, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) is a statistic used often in evaluating batters by combining their On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG).  The sum of OBP and SLG serves as an indicator of a player’s overall contribution to their team by their ability to get on base and create runs throughout a season and a player’s overall power which leads to knocking in runs.

OPS is an explanatory statistic, rather than a predictive statistic, that has become commonly used today by sabermetricians and serves as a baseline statistic in evaluating a player’s efficiency at the plate.  According to Neal Traven, former SABR Secretary, OPS “takes into account the two principal objectives of offense: avoiding outs by getting on base and advancing yourself (and any runners ahead of you) around the bases.  Do both of those well, and you’ll help your team score.”

The top 5 players last year in MLB in terms of OPS were:

1. Jose Bautista, 1.056

2. Miguel Cabrera, 1.033

3. Ryan Braun, .994

4. Matt Kemp, .986

5. Prince Fielder, .981

The league average OPS last year was .739 and the numbers these five players put up were better than excellent in terms of OPS.  What is even more impressive is the combination of Cabrera and Fielder who will pair up to be the best 3-4 combination in MLB since Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz in 2005 and 2006.

Detroit Free Press)

(Courtesy: Detroit Free Press)

One criticism I’ve heard of OPS was in Phoenix from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, who said that OPS measures OBP and SLG equally, but OBP is 2.5 times more important in terms of scoring runs which leaves room for improvement in the statistic.  In five years I’m sure there will be an even better statistic developed to measure a player’s efficiency at the plate that weighs OBP and SLG appropriately as sabermetricians are pushing analytics even further.

Also enjoy Opening Day this week (in the United States at least) as the 2012 season promises to be even more exciting with the expansion of the playoffs and top line free agents moving to new teams!

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  1. Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA)  on February 28th, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

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