The “National Pastime” of the United States of America.
People of the united states have always considered baseball as an integral part of the USA’s history and culture. Baseball’s impact on pop culture can be seen in its impacts in movies, art, television, news, and more, over the years.
With its popularity amongst the native American population, Baseball needs no introduction to any age group whether starting it with a childhood hobby or just for fun to take it to play professional leagues or seasons and endorsements with famous teams.
Just like any other game, Baseball is just not about throwing a ball, hitting it and running to score.
With the new era of technology, there are several technicalities a player or a team looks at while making plans and strategies for a game. One such technical terms in Baseball is ‘OPS’ or On-base Plus Slugging.
You must be wondering, what is that? Or Hey! What are you talking about? Huh! Well, readers especially the ones who’ve just been looking either at the scoreboards in stadiums, their favorite sports channels on TV to watch the video streaming of these matches, or simply playing the game as a hobby, this is worth a read as we reveal more on Baseball technicalities.
Have you ever imagined how the pitcher decides to pitch the ball? Ever given a thought about what makes the hitter or batter hit a home run for the crowd to go all excited? Do you think a pitcher or a batter would start calculating the speed, power, timing, average, etc. while batting or pitching in? Of course not!
These calculations are monitored in real-time with the help of various gadgets and tools. Isn’t that a little too much so far? Yeah! Thanks to technology.
Well dig-in-more to read about OPS: On-base Plus Slugging, what it means, how it is calculated, how it plays an important role in the career of a professional Baseball player, and everything about it.
So, what is OPS or On-base Plus Slugging?
OPS is a Baseball stat that attempts to calculate a player’s offensive performance using a combination of On-base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG).
Lots of people look at the OPS as a valuable tool for assessing the player’s offensive skill. On the contrary, critics show that it undervalues on-base percentage and over-values extra-base hit thus misrepresenting a hitter’s value to his team.
Key components to calculate OPS
The first component of OPS is an on-base percentage (OBP) which calculates a player’s skill to get safely on base.
A player’s on-base percentage is the sum of hits denoted as (H) walks, or bases on balls (BB) and times hit by a pitch or HBP divided by the sum of official at-bats (AB) walks, sacrifice flies (SF) and times hit by a pitch. And the formula used to calculate OBP or On-base Percentage is:
OBP = (H + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + SF + HBP)
The other component of the OPS is Slugging Percentage (SLG), which calculates a player’s ability to get hits, most importantly extra-base hits for example (doubles, triples, and home runs).
Slugging percentage (SLG) is measured by dividing the total bases (TB) a player achieves on hits by the number of official at-bats (AB). A single (1B) is called one base, a double (2B) is two bases, and likewise, a triple (3B) is three bases, and a home run (HR) denotes four bases.
The formula of slugging percentage SLG = TB / AB
Calculating sluggin percentage in another way SLG = (1B + (2 x 2B) + (3 x 3B) + (4 x HR)) / AB
Don’t hate me beginners or aspiring players, you see your favorite time-pass has got some technicalities to deal with.
How to Calculate OPS?
Well, you would have already guessed it by now as OPS is a combination of majorly 2 components OBP and SLG included with many others as sub-components. That was tough and easy! I really wish I had been that good with calculations back in school. Just kidding!
Let us just make it a little easier for you to calculate the OPS:
“Formula: OPS = OBP + SLG”
I’m sure I would be hated for this but there is an extended version of the OPS formula with all the components included will be written as:
OPS Formula OPS = AB (H + BB + HBP) + TB (AB + BB + SF + HBP) / AB (AB + BB + SF + HBP). Just for your eyes!
OPS Against Batting Average
All the teams consider OPS to be useful for calculating a batter’s or a pitcher’s skills. Acquire on-base without an out being recorded correlates well with helping a team score runs.
Well, that is true no matter what and how the player gets on base, which is why the on-base percentage is more often considered a better measure of a batter’s contributions to the team than batting average. This is evaluated by dividing the number of hits by the number of at-bats Batting average, for instance, doesn’t give the batter credit for drawing a walk.
OPS also rewards a batsman’s ability to get hits. especially extra-base hits, by adding slugging percentage as a component. A double is generally more valuable to a team than a single, and this is also reflected in the OPS formula. Home runs are the most valuable type of hit Hence the OPS formula gives them the most weight.
OPS in Major League Baseball or MLB
In Major League Baseball or MLB, the average OPS is somewhere around .750 although this varies from season to season and can be especially dependent on the strength of MLB pitchers or hitters in a specific year.
An OPS of 1.000 is considered excellent for a major league player in most seasons of the baseball very few players who have batted more than 500 times achieve an OPS of 1.000.
As of 2020, there are just seven players in MLB history who retired with a career OPS of 1.000 or better. The career OPS record is held by slugger Babe Ruth who had a career OPS of 1.1636 when he retired in the year of 1935.
Players who retired with a career OPS of 1.000 or better in MLB
- Babe Ruth (1.1636)
- Ted Williams (1.1155)
- Lou Gehrig (1.0798)
- Barry Bonds (1.0512)
- Jimmie Foxx (1.0376)
- Hank Greenberg (1.0169)
- Rogers Hornsby (1.0103
OPS Outside of the Major Leagues
At the lower level of baseballs such as in high school or youth leagues highly skilled players are more often able to achieve much higher averages in several batting statistics including OPS also.
This is only because there is much more talent in the skill levels of batters and pitchers at this level than in the major leagues. Such as a great high school hitter may face lesser-skilled pitchers on a regular basis but in a major league, the hitter will usually face very talented pitchers.
Hence at lower levels of baseball, the players are more accurately assessed by comparing their statistics to those of their peers instead of those of major league players.
To call it a wrap, we would say that while considering OPS to be a very useful tool many experts have pointed out many potential shortcomings of this statistic. The stat relates to how precious hitter’s various outcomes are to the team and how well certain statistics match up to a team’s success.
Such as on-base percentage (OBP) is much more directly linked to team success than slugging percentage (SLG) however the OPS formula gives the two statistics equal weight and when used in context for pitchers is called ‘OPS against’.
Some more criticism of OPS is related to the formula for the slugging percentage (SLG).
According to the SLG formula, a double is worth twice as much as a single and a triple is worth three times and it goes on. In terms of value to the team, the difference between the types of hits has been found to be much less.
Depending on the method used to measure the value of each type of hit to the team a double has been found to be worth only about 40% – 60% more than a single with a triple being worth somewhere about 70% – 130% more and home run worth somewhere about 120% to 200% more. Thus, slugging percentage, and hence OPS is considered by few critics to overvalue extra-base hits.
It would not be wrong to say that OPS contributes to building strategies however, fitness other factors to be considered as important elements to winning games.