What Is OPS in Baseball: Understanding On-Base Plus Slugging

OPS, or On-Base Plus Slugging, is a key metric in baseball used to evaluate a player’s overall hitting performance. It combines two important stats: on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG), giving a clear picture of how often and how well a hitter reaches base and hits for power. Understanding OPS can help fans and analysts compare players’ offensive abilities more effectively than using stats like batting average alone.

A baseball player throws the ball to a teammate at first base while the batter runs to beat the throw

Knowing a player’s OPS can tell you more about their contribution to the team.

For example, an OPS of .800 or higher is typically considered excellent, placing a player among the top hitters in Major League Baseball.

This metric highlights players who not only get on base but do so with power, making it easier to spot standout athletic performances.

To calculate OPS, simply add a player’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

This straightforward formula has become a favorite among modern baseball analysts due to its ability to encapsulate a player’s offensive value in a single number.

For more in-depth details and historical context on OPS, check out this detailed explanation.

Key Takeaways

  • OPS combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • An OPS of .800 or higher is considered excellent in baseball.
  • It provides a clearer measure of a player’s hitting performance.

Breakdown of On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS)

OPS in baseball combines a player’s on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG).

It provides a comprehensive view of a player’s ability to both get on base and hit for power.

On-Base Percentage (OBP)

On-Base Percentage (OBP) measures how frequently a player reaches base.

This includes hits (H), walks (BB), and hit-by-pitches (HBP), but not errors or fielder’s choices.

OBP is calculated using the formula:

OBP = (H + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + HBP + SF)

Here, AB stands for at-bats, and SF stands for sacrifice flies.

It’s important to note that a sac fly does not count as an at-bat.

This metric is key to understanding a player’s consistency in getting on base, which is crucial for scoring runs.

Slugging Percentage (SLG)

Slugging Percentage (SLG) calculates a player’s power-hitting ability by measuring the total bases they earn per at-bat.

Each type of hit is weighted differently: singles (1B), doubles (2B), triples (3B), and home runs (HR).

The formula is:

SLG = (1B + 22B + 33B + 4HR) / AB*

SLG gives more value to hits that generate more bases, thus highlighting players who can hit for extra bases.

This metric is explained further in this guide.

Formula and Calculation

OPS combines OBP and SLG to give a single value representing a player’s offensive abilities.

Here is the basic formula:


For example, if a player has an OBP of .350 and an SLG of .450, their OPS would be .800.

This single number helps gauge a player’s contribution to their team’s run production.

It merges the ability to get on base with hitting prowess, offering a holistic view of offensive performance, as detailed in this comprehensive explanation.

Analyzing and Interpreting OPS

On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) is a valuable metric in baseball, combining a player’s ability to get on base with their power-hitting capabilities.

This section will discuss various aspects of interpreting OPS, from understanding its values to how it stands in historical and league contexts.

Understanding OPS Values

OPS combines on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG).

For example, if a player has an OBP of .350 and a SLG of .450, their OPS would be .800.

A higher OPS generally indicates a better offensive player.

Good OPS values vary by era and league conditions.

A .900 OPS is often considered excellent, while an OPS below .700 might be seen as below average.

In recent seasons, the league average OPS was around .734, but historical averages can differ.

OPS+ and Adjusted OPS

OPS+ is an adjusted metric that accounts for league and park factors.

It standardizes OPS across different seasons and ball parks.

An OPS+ of 100 is league average, while an OPS+ above 100 indicates above-average performance.

This adjustment makes it easier to compare players from different eras.

Legendary players like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig often had OPS+ scores well above 150, showing their dominance.

Modern players like Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani also boast impressive OPS+ numbers.

Historical and League Contexts

The significance of OPS can vary depending on historical and league contexts.

In the high-scoring eras of the 1920s and 1930s, players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig posted extremely high OPS values.

In contrast, during lower-scoring periods, even slightly lower OPS values could still indicate elite performance.

OPS also enables comparisons with other advanced metrics, such as weighted on-base average (wOBA) and Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

These comparisons provide a fuller picture of a player’s performance.

For example, a high OPS along with a strong WAR indicates a well-rounded, valuable player, making metrics like OPS a vital part of baseball analysis.