What Does OPS Mean In Baseball? (Explained)
In baseball, there’s no shortage of stats that helps explain a player’s or team’s skill level and performance.
It’s an easy way to compare different players.
For teams, it means they can take a quick look at a player’s stats and determine if they’re a good fit.
For fans, it means they can see how their favorite player is performing during that season.
One such statistic that you might be unsure of is OPS.
What Does OPS Mean In Baseball?
OPS stands for on-base slugging.
It’s a statistic that describes how often a batter can reach base as well as how often they’re able to hit the ball.
It essentially adds a player’s on-base percentage with their slugging percentage.
This stat is useful for teams and fans because it can indicate how good a player is at hitting the ball and making it to base.
If the OPS isn’t strong, it indicates that the player is having a rough season.
It means they’re not hitting the ball well or very powerfully and that they aren’t reaching base that often.
Since a hitter’s goal is to either help other players who are already on base score runs or get to a base themselves, OPS becomes a pretty important stat to consider.
What Is A Good OPS In Baseball?
A good OPS in baseball is a score of 0.800 or higher.
The average OPS score in the MLB is between 0.720 and 0.780.
That number changes each season, but it tends to shift within that range.
As such, if a player has an OPS stat within that range, they’re performing on average with the other players in the MLB.
However, if a player manages to bring their OPS stat to 0.800, it indicates that they’re having a stronger performance against the average MLB player.
When a player has a 0.900 OPS, it means they’re likely going to have an All-Star season.
An OPS of 0.900 indicates a remarkable performance.
It’s the players who manage to receive a 1.000 OPS score, however, who are going to be considered for the MVP title.
This stat indicates that the player hit every ball and made it to at least one base each time they came to bat.
That can be a difficult feat to pull off for an average MLB player.
If you’re a baseball player, you should look to increase your OPS stat to 0.800 if you want to stand out from the others.
Who Has The Best OPS In Baseball?
Babe Ruth holds the record for the highest OPS score in baseball.
His OPS stat is 1.1636.
Behind him is Ted Williams.
He had an OPS of 1.1155.
In third place is Lou Gehrig.
His OPS was 1.0798.
It makes sense that some of baseball’s best stars also have the highest OPS scores.
Since the score is all about batting averages and scoring runs, it makes sense that the high-performing players are the highest on the list.
Considering that Babe Ruth played baseball decades ago, and no one has upset him as the leader on the OPS chart yet, it’s clear that receiving a high OPS stat isn’t that easy.
OPS stats above 1.000 typically indicate a legendary player.
How Do You Calculate OPS In Baseball?
To calculate a player’s OPS in baseball, you need two statistics.
The first statistic you need is their on-base percentage.
The second statistic is their slugging percentage.
Then you just add those two numbers together to receive their OPS.
To calculate their on-base percentage, you’ll need a few statistics.
First, you’ll need to add their box score.
This includes their hits, walks, and the number of times the pitcher hit them with the ball.
Then you’ll need to divide that number by their plate appearances.
To get their number of plate appearances, you’ll need to add their at-bats, their walks, the number of times the pitcher hit them with the ball, and their sacrifice flies.
Divide those two numbers together to receive your on-base percentage.
Next, you’ll need their slugging percentage.
The slugging percentage essentially indicates how well a player hits a ball.
It does so by assigning each base a number.
A single is first base, a double is second base, a triple is third base, and a home run is home plate.
To calculate the slugging percentage, you’ll need to use the following formula:
Singles + Doubles (x2) + Triples (x3) + Home Runs (x4)
Once you have the number there, then you need to divide it by their at-bats.
With those two numbers calculated, you simply add them together, and you have your player’s OPS score.
You can also use an online calculator if you don’t want to do the math yourself.
Is OPS More Important Than Batting Average?
OPS is certainly an important stat to consider alongside the batting average of a player.
A batting average essentially indicates how often a player hits the ball.
It’s important in that it shows which players can hit the ball more often.
Since hit balls often result in runs—and thus points—having a high batting average is usually a sign of a good player.
However, the batting average doesn’t indicate the player’s skill level as a whole.
For example, some players are more willing to take pitches and walk than hit the ball.
Some fans, especially those new to the game, might think that baseball is all about hitting the ball as far as possible.
That isn’t necessarily the case.
There’s some strategy involved, too.
If a player can make a pitcher pitch four balls, for example, then they receive an automatic walk.
They’re able to immediately go to first base unchallenged.
Sometimes this means they need to take a few strikes, too.
As such, it becomes a bit of a gamble.
However, excellent players know how to take pitches to earn a walk.
By automatically going to first base, if the bases are full, it means the player on third base is going to automatically score a run as well.
No one is able to be thrown out.
The problem with batting average is that it doesn’t include walks in its calculation.
This is where OPS comes in handy.
OPS includes walks and hits.
It combines two different statistics to give a better indication of the player’s strategy and style.
As such, you can see that even if a player has a low batting average, they might still have a higher number of on-base percentages because they know how to earn walks.
As such, OPS is just as important of a stat to consider as the batting average for a player.
How Can A Player Improve Their OPS Stat?
If you’re a player looking to join the MLB or just improve your own game, then you may be looking at how to improve your OPS stat.
A high OPS number can indicate to a team that you have what it takes to help them win.
Consider the following methods to improve your OPS stat.
1. Improve Speed
One of the first things to consider when improving your OPS stat is your speed.
OPS considers your on-base percentage.
After you hit the ball, if you can run fast, then you might be able to improve the number of bases you collect along the way.
By increasing the number of bases you collect, your OPS score will also increase.
2. Improve Strike Accuracy
One of the best ways to improve your OPS is to increase your swing accuracy.
This is where your slugging percentage comes into play.
It measures the quality of your hits.
To improve your OPS score, you’ll need to focus on hitting the ball harder and in the direction you want it to go.
Your OPS score won’t improve if all you’re doing is hitting foul balls.
It needs to hit within the bounds of play or count as a home run.
The best way to improve your strike accuracy is to spend time in the batting cage.
Hit pitch after pitch to get a feel for how to turn the ball in the direction that you want it to go.
While every pitcher is different, and every pitch is thus different, by spending time in the cage, you can help improve how you hit the ball.
As a result, your OPS score will increase.
3. Improve Quick-Thinking Skills
OPS includes both hits and walks.
As such, it’s also a good idea to learn how to think quickly on your feet.
You might find that it’s a better idea to go for a walk rather than a hit.
As long as you’re finding a way to get on base, you’ll improve your OPS stat.
However, that means you need to be able to think fast during a stressful situation.
You have to be able to read the pitcher and analyze the pitch as it’s coming to you at incredible speeds.
By knowing when to hit and when to walk, you can improve your OPS.
4. Improve Strength
A final way to improve your OPS stat is to become stronger.
This also comes down to your slugging percentage.
The more home runs you’re able to hit, the better your percentage.
However, hitting a home run means you need a lot of power behind your swings.
To get that power, you need strength.
Spend some time in the gym and in the batting cage to increase your power.
OPS is an important stat because it measures a player’s ability to hit the ball and make it to bases.
Some might even consider OPS a stat that’s just as important as a batting average.
As such, it’s always a good idea to know how to improve your OPS rating.