In baseball, the meaning of OPS (On-base Plus Slugging) is the sum of On-base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Average (SLG). It gives us a fair idea of a player’s ability to get on base, as well as his power hitting. Let’s check out how to calculate OPS statistics in baseball.
In 1963, speaking of his slugging skills, Gaylord Perry’s Major League Baseball manager had said that man would land on the moon before he hit a home run. Incidentally, the first home run of Perry’s life was hit on July 20, 1969, an hour after ‘Apollo 11’ had landed on the moon.
The origins of the baseball can be traced back to the mid 18th century in England. It evolved from some older versions of bat and ball games. It is a preferred pass time of many Americans. The game was recognized as the national game of the nation in the latter parts of the 19th century.
Earlier, in Major League Baseball (MLB), teams were divided in two leagues: National League (NL) and American League (AL). These two leagues were governed by the same ‘Commissioner of Baseball’ from 1920. He was the head of the whole professional baseball fraternity. In the year 2000, the two leagues―NL and AL―merged into a single unit. The commissioner is still the head of the professional baseball fraternity.
One of the in-game statistics that is used for empirical analysis is On-base Plus Slugging (OPS). This gives a clear indication of how well a batter gets at base, and also how good his power hitting is. This means that it takes into consideration the On-base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Average (SLG). OPS is obtained by adding these two factors of a batter’s game.
|H = Hits|
|BB = Base on Ball|
|HBP = Times Hit by Pitch|
|AB = At Bats for a given player|
|SF = Sacrifice Flies|
|TB = Total Bases|
1B, 2B, 3B, and HR are singles, doubles, triples, and home runs.
A player with an OPS of 0.900 or above is considered to be an excellent player. Over the years, there have been many players with an excellent OPS. Barry Bonds had an OPS of 1.051 in his career ranging from 1986 – 2007. That of Lou Gehrig in his 17-year career from 1923 was 1.08. Over his career of 19 seasons, Ted Williams’ OPS was 1.116. The highest On-base Plus Slugging belongs to Babe Ruth. In his career spanning over 22 years, he had an OPS of 1.164.
Consider the following to be the statistics of player ‘A’ at the end of a season:
Base on Balls (BB) = 120
Times Hit by Pitch (HBP) = 3
At Bats (AB) = 500
Sacrifice Flies (SF) = 7
Singles Hit (1B) = 84
Doubles Hit (2B) = 53
Triples Hit (3B) = 34
Home Run (HR) = 15
The OBP of player ‘A’ for the given season is 1.137
OPS has not ranged high all the time. The turn of the 20th century is termed as the ‘dead era’ in baseball. During this period, the game was more strategy oriented, unlike the power oriented game that it is today. The focus was less on hitting home runs, and more on stealing bases and running the runs. Games generally used to be low-scoring affairs. The balls used during the games, which lacked design and were overused, were also a reason for this. The low scoring nature of the game changed with the arrival of Babe Ruth.
OPS, however, does not give a complete picture of a batter’s offensive play. Important factors in a batter’s play, like base-stealing and base-running are not taken into consideration. OPS also lacks to factor in the runs created by a player. In OPS, OBP and Slugging Average are factored in equally. OBP, however, correlates more with the runs scored by a player than to his slugging average.