What is OPS in MLB?

OPS, or On-Base Plus Slugging, is a statistic used in Major League Baseball (MLB) to measure a batter’s overall offensive production. It is calculated by adding a player’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, and is represented as a decimal number. OPS is widely considered to be one of the most important hitting statistics in baseball, as it provides a better measure of a batter’s offensive output than traditional batting average.

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History and Development of OPS

OPS was developed in the early 1980s by baseball statistician John Thorn and first used by Bill James in his 1983 Baseball Abstract. It was initially called On-base Average Plus Slugging Average (OBA+SLG), and was soon shortened to OPS. The statistic quickly gained popularity among baseball fans and analysts, who saw its value in assessing a player’s offensive performance.

Today, OPS is widely used in baseball, and it is one of the most important hitting statistics. It is used to evaluate players, compare players, and is often used to determine a player’s worth in salary negotiations.

How is OPS Calculated?

OPS is calculated by adding a batter’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage together. On-base percentage is calculated by dividing the number of times a player has reached base (hits, walks, and hit by pitches) by the total number of plate appearances. Slugging percentage is determined by dividing the total number of bases a player has reached (singles, doubles, triples and home runs) by the number of at-bats.

OPS Example

To illustrate, let’s look at an example. Let’s say a batter has a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage. To calculate the player’s OPS, we would add the on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, which would give us a total of .900.

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What is an Average OPS in MLB?

The average OPS in MLB is approximately .750. This means that the average player is getting on base and slugging at a rate of .750. This number has fluctuated over the years, but the overall trend is that it has been increasing.

Factors Influencing OPS

OPS is influenced by several factors, including the type of league the player is playing in, the quality of the players in the league, and the quality of the pitcher the player is facing. Additionally, certain players may have higher or lower OPS due to their individual skill sets. For example, a power hitter may have a higher slugging percentage than an average hitter, which will result in a higher OPS.

Average OPS by Decade

The average OPS in MLB has increased over the years, from .716 in the 1980s to .764 in the 1990s and .769 in the 2000s. In recent years, the average OPS has been steadily increasing, reaching a peak of .777 in 2017. This trend is largely due to the rise of the home run in baseball, as more players are hitting for power than ever before.

Conclusion

OPS is a statistic used in Major League Baseball to measure a batter’s overall offensive production. It is calculated by adding a player’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage together, and is represented as a decimal number. The average OPS in MLB is approximately .750, and this number has been steadily increasing over the years. OPS is an important statistic for evaluating players, as it provides a better measure of a batter’s offensive output than traditional batting average.