Baseball Basics: Can you explain the term OPS?

Can you explain the term OPS?

This is a question I get asked about all the time, as the term has become more used in everyday baseball lingo. So, I will do my best to explain OPS and why it is has become so beneficial.

Definition of OPS:

OPS, is the abbreviation for the batting stat on-base plus slugging, which is the sum of a hitter’s on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG).

Since a batter’s success is mainly attributed to hitting for power (SLG) and getting on-base (OBP), the statistical answer to combine both is OPS.

Ultimately, it is like killing two birds with one stone.

OPS formula breakdown:


Debate about OPS:

The debate about OPS is how accurately it actually measures a player’s offensive worth because the formula counts OBP and SLG the same amount.

OBP gives a more accurate measurement to a hitter’s ability to score runs than SLG. This is proven by the fact that on average a player’s SLG number is always much higher when compared to OBP.

There is also the human element of whether a player comes up big in critical situations.

For example if a hitter’s overall stats are only league average but he consistently excels in-game changing or pressure situations it adds more to his value.

And compared to a hitter with a slightly higher OBP but doesn’t get on-base in big game circumstances would inevitably make his significance less paramount.

Personally, I see OPS as a better judge of hitters overall abilities than batting average (.AVG). The reason is that OPS determines both a player’s ability to hit the ball, as well as getting safely to base.

  1. According to Fangraphs:

    If you have the choice, use Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) instead of OPS. OPS weighs both OBP and SLG% the same, while wOBA accounts for the fact that OBP is actually more valuable for scoring runs.

    – Since it provides context and adjusts for park and league effects, OPS+ is better to use than straight OPS, especially if you’re comparing statistics between seasons.

  2. Well, what is the difference everyone talks batting average, which is not a good tool to measure a batter by. At least OPS incorporates OBP and SLG, which gives a more accurate account. Not foul-proof but better, at least in my opinion.

  3. I just explained the difference but yes, OPS is better than BA. But I thought you were reaching out to the more educated baseball fan. And it's foolproof.

  4. I understand what you are saying but the section is called "Baseball Basics" and it is there for readers to email me questions that they have about baseball. When I came up with the section it was intended for my friends who are "newbie" baseball fans, so the first few posts are about the very basics of the game. And from there it has become just a Q & A section…..for anyone who has a question. The questions tend to NOT come from educated baseball fans.

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