What Is OPS In Baseball?

Baseball enthusiasts around the globe are often inundated with statistics, and one key term that stands out is OPS. This acronym represents an important performance metric that helps assess a player’s offensive prowess. Delving into its significance can provide valuable insights into the game.

OPS, or On-base Plus Slugging, combines a player’s on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG) to produce a comprehensive evaluation of their batting skills. This single number reflects a player’s ability to get on base and hit for power, making it a crucial aspect of the sport.

Unlock the secret behind this indispensable statistic and elevate your understanding of baseball. With this article, you’ll uncover the formula, relevance, and historical context of OPS. Prepare to become an expert in analyzing the offensive capabilities of your favorite players.

Understanding Baseball Statistics: The Role of OPS

The Evolution of Baseball Metrics

Baseball has a long history of using statistics to measure player performance. Traditional metrics such as batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBIs) have been staples for decades. 

However, these metrics only tell part of the story, and new analytics approaches have emerged to provide a more comprehensive view of a player’s offensive value. OPS is one such metric that has gained prominence in recent years.

On-Base Plus Slugging: The Components of OPS

OPS is an acronym for On-Base Plus Slugging, a metric that combines two critical offensive components: the player’s ability to get on base (on-base percentage, or OBP) and their ability to hit for power (slugging percentage, or SLG). By combining these two measures, OPS provides a single number that encapsulates a player’s overall offensive value.

On-Base Percentage (OBP)

OBP is a measure of how often a batter reaches base, either by a hit, walk, or hit by pitch. The formula for calculating OBP is:

OBP = (Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitch) / (At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitch + Sacrifice Flies)

Slugging Percentage (SLG)

SLG is a measure of a batter’s power, accounting for the total number of bases a player achieves through their hits. The formula for calculating SLG is:

SLG = (1B + 2*2B + 3*3B + 4*HR) / At Bats

where 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR represent singles, doubles, triples, and home runs, respectively.

Calculating OPS

With OBP and SLG calculated, finding a player’s OPS is as simple as adding the two values together:


What is a Good OPS?

Now that we understand the components of OPS and how it’s calculated, what constitutes a good OPS score?

OPS Ranges and Player Rankings

OPS values generally range from around 0.600 for weak offensive players to 1.000 or higher for elite hitters. Here’s a rough breakdown of OPS ranges and the corresponding player rankings:

  • Below 0.700: Poor
  • 0.700 – 0.749: Below average
  • 0.750 – 0.799: Average
  • 0.800 – 0.849: Above average
  • 0.850 – 0.899: Very good
  • 0.900 – 0.999: Excellent
  • 1.000 or higher: Elite

It’s important to note that these ranges are not absolute, as factors such as the player’s position, ballpark, and league context can influence OPS scores.

League Average OPS

To better understand what constitutes a good OPS, it’s helpful to consider the league average. In the 2021 MLB season, the league-wide OPS was 0.740.

OPS+ and Adjusted OPS

While OPS is an insightful metric, it doesn’t account for external factors such as the ballpark or the era in which a player plays. 

To address these limitations, an adjusted version of OPS, called OPS+, has been developed. OPS+ compares a player’s OPS to the league average OPS while adjusting for park factors, making it easier to compare players across different time periods and ballparks.

The formula for OPS+ is:

OPS+ = (OPS / League OPS) x 100

An OPS+ of 100 represents a league-average performance, while an OPS+ of 120, for example, indicates that the player’s OPS is 20% better than the league average.

The Importance of OPS in Player Evaluation

Comprehensive Offensive Metric

OPS is valuable because it provides a more comprehensive view of a player’s offensive contributions than traditional metrics. 

By combining on-base and slugging percentages, OPS accounts for both a player’s ability to reach base and their power-hitting prowess. This versatility makes OPS a useful tool for evaluating and comparing players’ offensive performances.

Correlation with Run Production

Another reason OPS is widely used is its strong correlation with run production. Research has shown that teams with higher OPS tend to score more runs, making OPS an effective predictor of a player’s ability to contribute to their team’s success.

Limitations of OPS

While OPS is a powerful metric, it’s essential to recognize its limitations. For instance, OPS does not account for baserunning or situational hitting, which can significantly impact a player’s offensive value. 

Additionally, OPS treats on-base percentage and slugging percentage as equally valuable, which may not always be the case. Despite these drawbacks, OPS remains a valuable tool for evaluating player performance and comparing players across different eras and contexts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is OPS a perfect measure of a player’s offensive ability?

No, OPS is not a perfect measure of a player’s offensive ability, as it doesn’t account for factors like baserunning or situational hitting. However, it is still a valuable tool for evaluating a player’s overall offensive contributions.

How does OPS+ differ from OPS?

OPS+ is an adjusted version of OPS that accounts for park factors and compares a player’s OPS to the league average. This adjustment makes it easier to compare players across different time periods and ballparks.

Can OPS be used to evaluate pitchers?

OPS is primarily used to evaluate hitters, not pitchers. However, in leagues where pitchers are required to hit, their OPS can provide some insight into their offensive contributions, albeit with limited sample sizes.

Final Thoughts

OPS has emerged as a vital metric in understanding a player’s offensive contributions in baseball. By combining on-base percentage and slugging percentage, OPS provides a comprehensive view of a player’s ability to reach base and hit for power. 

While not without limitations, OPS remains a valuable tool for player evaluation and comparison. So the next time you’re watching your favorite team take the field, keep an eye on their OPS scores – you might just discover a hidden gem or a rising star.

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