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Staturday: OPS and OPS+

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

Hooray you made it! Last Staturday wasn't so bad (besides the fact that it was a little long). I dove into the basic stats that surround the game of baseball and if you need a refresher, just go back and take a look.

Today we will be talking about two stats: OPS and OPS+.

On-base Plus Slugging (OPS) and On-base Plus Slugging Plus (OPS+) are siblings. OPS is just what it sounds like; take a player's on-base Percentage (OBP) and add it to their slugging percentage (SLG).

Let's take a look at Kris Bryant's career and see what his OPS was each season.

Those are some high OPS numbers... or are they low... or league average? Usually anything over 1.0 is amazing. Great hitters will be above .900 and average hitters are somewhere around .700. The issue with OPS is that you have no idea how a player compares to the rest of the league. This is where OPS+ is beneficial.

OPS+ normalizes all of baseball's OPS so that an OPS+ of 100 means a player was league average. OPS+ takes into account the league average OBP and SLG and also factors in batting park factors. (Batting park factors look at the differences in runs scored between a team's home and away games so it doesn't matter how good a team's offense or defense is).

OPS+ of 100 means league average and the + sign lets us know that a player with a number higher than 100 means he was better than an average player (vice versa if it's below 100). If a player has an OPS+ of 115 then he is 15% better than a league aver player. If a player has an OPS+ of 94, then he was 6% worse than a league average player.

Lets go back and take a look at Kris Bryant's career but put in OPS+.

We see that Kris Bryant's MVP season (2016) he had an OPS+ of 146, so he was 46% better than league average. That season, Bryant was 10th in baseball in OPS+ as Mike Trout led baseball at 172 (dude is a freak) and Joey Votto (Staci's boyfriend) led the NL with 160. That is some pretty good company to be in.

Again, no stat should ever be the one stat to evaluate a player. OPS and OPS+ are just two more tools for you to use when trying to figure out how good or bad a player is. OPS+ also starts to introduce us in league average stats like wRC+ or ERA-. We will get to those within the next few months, but next week we are going to breakdown wOBA and wOBA alone. It is quite an interesting stat so we will just focus on it next Staturday!


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