Adventures in Advanced Baseball Statistics, Part 2: ‘You down with OPS?’

What do you want? He's the king.

So, I figured I would continue the sabermetrics column (leading up to the start of the baseball season) with a statistic that might be somewhat familiar to people.  OPS, or On-base Plus Slugging, is a term that is starting to become more known among the lay-men sports followers (like me) and is actually a combination of two already familiar statistics: OBP (on base percentage) and Slugging percentage.

OPS is essentially the greatest possible measure of a player’s offensive worth as it shows not only how often a player reaches base, but also how often a player reaches a base and goes beyond first base (giggity giggity!).  I have lifted the very simply mathematical equation used to compute this from wikipedia and placed it below:

OPS = OBP + SLG \,

where OBP is on-base percentage, and SLG is slugging percentage. These percentages are defined

SLG = \frac{TB} {AB}


OBP = \frac{H+BB+HBP} {AB+BB+SF+HBP}


Since OBP and SLG have different denominators, it is possible to rewrite the expression for OPS using a common denominator. This expression is mathematically identical to the simple sum of OBP and SLG:


So that’s OPS in a nutshell.  For those of you who are curious, the top OPS players (I guess offensive players) of all time are:

1.) Babe “Drunk” Ruth

2.) Ted “Cryo” Williams

3.) Lou “the Greek Tragedy” Gehrig

4.) Albert “Number-1-Fantasy-Pick” Pujols

5.) Barry “Dangly-earring” Bonds


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