Ever wonder how baseball batting performance is best measured and judged? You must undoubtedly be aware of the importance of a batting role in baseball. It is perhaps one of the most important roles in the game.
And since it is a crucial role, it needs to be analyzed, such as by using the OPS. But what does OPS mean in baseball? In this article, we will dive into the complex system of this statistical tool and hopefully simplify it for our readers.
What Is OPS in Baseball?
What does the OPS stand for in baseball really?
The OPS is an abbreviation for On-base (percentage) Plus Slugging. This significant sabermetric statistical tool works to get the total of a batter/hitter’s slugging and on-base percentage fast and easily. Others would refer to it as the “dirty way” of rating a batter’s full ability.
Personally, though, I would refer to it as a shortcut method for determining a baseball batter’s performance. Why shortcut?
Getting the OPS result is relatively easy! All you have to do is to add the player’s on-base result with his slugging result. The sum of both percentages is the OPS.
Moreover, delving into the specifics of the OPS statistics should not only tell about the batter’s capacity to get maximum hits and on-base reach. The sub-skills are also put to light.
- Hits by pitch (for on-base percentage)
- Walk (for on-base percentage)
- Hits (for on-base percentage)
- At bat (for on-base percentage)
- Sacrifice fly (for on-base percentage)
- All needed techniques and strategies for getting extra hits (for slugging)
In other words, the OPS in baseball means a lot because it can calculate the batter’s overall offensive skills.
What is an On-Base Percentage (OBP)?
The on-base percentage (OBP) determines how often a batter has reached a base. Moreover, it presents the relationship between the frequency of the player’s plate appearances and times-on-base. The times-on-base (TOB) represents the number of instances a batter got on base through walks, hits-by-pitch, and hits.
The OBP doesn’t always stand alone as an actual percentage since it is added to the on-base and slug percentage. Moreover, it does not score a player’s on-base reach that is done through catcher interference, dropped third strikes, fielding errors, fielder’s obstruction, and fielder’s choice.
The on-base percentage can be calculated using the formula below:
What is a Slugging Percentage?
The slugging percentage (SLG) measures and determines the player’s (batter) ability to earn the extra bases at each at-bat occurrence. Meanwhile, the SLG distinguishes itself from OBP as other strategies or occurrences like hit-by-pitches and walks cannot be included in its calculation.
The slugging percentage also departs from the batting average in terms of hit valuation. In the case of SLG, the value of hits differs depending on the extra bases earned per at-bat; the value is never equal.
In other words, SLG (given its capacity to rate beyond home runs) proves to be an appropriate measurement of the batter’s productivity, efficiency, and power.
To get the SLG result, one has to divide the total bases by the number of at-bats (as represented by the formula below):
Who Developed the OPS, OBP, and SLG in Baseball?
Pete Palmer is first credited with developing, inventing, and popularizing the OPS, OBP, and SLG. But he did not do it alone. Later on, he documented the intricacies of the measuring systems with John Thorn.
Together, they published the book The Hidden Game of Baseball (1984) that forever catapulted the stats, including the baseball OPS definition, to popular and official platforms.
However, the stats had yet to encounter a massive spread and implementation until later, when they were used by baseball journalist Peter Gammons.
What Is a High OPS Score?
Now that you know the OPS baseball meaning, to understand what’s a high OPS score, it is essential to deal with figures based on ranges.
Fortunately, baseball statisticians and experts came up with a table that classifies qualities and their respective OPS ranges. And these qualities go up in succession from (G) very poor, (F) poor, (E) below average, (D) average, (C) above average, (B) very good, to (A) great.
- A: Great= Higher than .9000
- B: Very Good= from .8334 to .8999
- C: Above Average= from .7667 to .8333
- D: Average= from .7000 to .7666
- E: Below Average= from .6334 to .6999
- F: Poor= from .5667 to .6333
- G: Very Poor= Lower than .5666
Can OPS Be Used to Evaluate the Pitcher’s Performance?
Yes. Only very rarely, the OPS (as per baseball OPS meaning) can be used to evaluate a pitcher’s performance. In this case, OPS assumes the name “OPS against” or “OOPS” (opponent on-base plus slugging).
The OPS or On-Base percentage Plus Slugging encapsulates the performance of a batter or hitter. Moreover, it succeeds as an integrated means of determining, evaluating, and assessing the player’s efficiency in the field.
Knowing the answer to the question “what does OPS mean in baseball” satisfies not only the curious viewer but also the determined baseball player (especially the batter or hitter).
Certainly, OPS comes as a very handy stat as it involves simply adding the player’s on-base result with his slugging result.