Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging, and OPS+ – Baseball Basics


Hey guys! Welcome back to 90 Feet From
Home. I’m your host Ashley, and today we’re going to pick up on something that we
started out with in our very first episode, where I talked about hits, walks, runs,
RBIs. And today we’re gonna get a little bit more advanced, and we’re going to talk
about batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, and then we’re gonna get a
little bit more advanced and I’m going to talk about on-base plus slugging, and OPS+, which is kind of an advanced stat, but I think once we get through the
first little bit of this it’ll be pretty easy for you guys to figure out. Before we
jump into this, if you haven’t watched that video on hits, walks, at-bats, and all
of that, I’m gonna suggest you jump below, I’m gonna leave a link there. and watch
that video, because it does deal with some of the basic statistics that we’re
gonna deal with here. So if you’re not sure what constitutes an at-bat, what
constitutes a hit, that sort of thing might be good for you to know.
Jump down below into the description box, watch that video first. If you already
feel comfortable with those basic stats, let’s get started on what batting
average is. Batting average is the most basic of the batting statistics, and it’s
calculated very simply by taking all of the players hits, and dividing them by
their at-bats. So it really is that easy. You look at how many times a player gets
to the plate and has a successful hit, and it actually happens less than you
might think, because a player with a .300 batting average — which is considered to
be very good — means they’ve only actually collected a hit three out of every ten
times they go to the plate. Ted Williams, a Hall of Famer and considered to be one
of the greatest hitters of all time, once said something I think really summarizes
this beautifully. “A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, will go
through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten
times.” And I thought that really nicely summarized what a good batting average
is. Tt really just means that you are unlucky over half the time, and three out
of ten times or four out of ten times you get up there you have success. On-base percentage is considered to be slightly more valuable stat than batting
average alone, because it does take into account some things that batting average
does not. Where batting average only considers hits,
on-base percentage factors in any result aside from an error that gets a batter
onto base. On-base percentage considers not only hits, but also walks, intentional
walks, and hits by pitch. Basically, the most common outcomes that would see a
hitter getting onto base. Kind of literally right there in the name:
on-base percentage. It gives a more complete picture of a batter’s success,
because in terms of scoring runs a walk is just as good as a hit when it means
you’re getting on base. So the math here is a little bit more involved. I’m gonna
throw it up on the screen, but it’s basically your hits, plus your walks, plus
your hit by pitch, divided by your at-bats, plus your walks, plus your hit by
pitch, plus sacrifice flies. And when you do the math there — which I will not do
because I’m not a math brained person — that’s how you calculate a player’s
on-base percentage. Slugging is the big boy of the batting statistics, and I
actually kind of like how this one’s done. Slugging considers all the bases
gained by a batter, and gives extra weight to extra base hits.
Basically scoring the value of each base as being higher than the last. Single
base hit will give you a certain value, a double — which means getting to second
base — will double the value that you receive, a triple triples the value that
you receive, and a homerun quadruples it. So here’s what the formula for that
looks like, I know it’s a little bit daunting. When you break it down by
understanding that each base gained gives you one multiplier extra, then you
can kind of understand how they’re valuing the extra base hits here. The value
here of this stat is that it really tells you when you have a power hitter who’s
able to get more of those extra base hits throughout a season. Because then
their value is expressed by a higher slugging percentage. So if you actually
add together your on-base percentage, and your slugging percentage, you are now
adding in everything from your hits, your walks, your hit by pitch, and then also
factoring in those weighted points for extra base hits. So when you add your
slugging percentage and your on-base percentage together, you get another
statistic which is referred to as on-base plus slugging, which gives then a
much more complete picture of a batter’s overall values. Because on-base plus
slugging is literally your on-base percentage plus your slugging percentage
added together, it’s not usually reflected when you’re looking at a
player’s line, but it is a more complete number that represents their total value.
Typically when looking at a batter’s statistics, it’s represented in
terms of what’s called a slash line, or a triple slash. I’ll throw an example up,
and it basically gives you their batting average, their on-base percentage, and
their slugging divided by slash lines. So when a player is said to have “slashed” a certain
value, what they’re referring to is the combination of those three statistics.
On-base plus slugging isn’t usually shown there because it’s just adding
those final two numbers together. What they’ve done however… those fun stat-brained people, is that they’ve turned on-base plus slugging into a different
statistic known as OPS+, which is adjusted OPS. And this number actually
factors in something that the other ones don’t, in that it takes into account
external factors like parks. Because some parks are actually better and more
suited to those extra base or homerun hits, because shortened out fields or
different factors like that. That sometimes make parks more hitter
friendly. By factoring in the external forces and turning it into a number
based around 100, you’re able to get a more easy to read number that’s able to
tell you how good a player is in comparison to the league average. When
you look at a number like OPS+, 100 is considered to be the league average.
So if a player has a 130 OPS+, that means that they were 30% better
than the average player in the league. Anything over 100 is considered to be
very good because it’s better than average. Anything below 100 is considered
to be not so great, because it means they’re not even meeting up to the
average. And again, OPS+ is adjusted for park factors, so it is a more genuine
portrayal of a player’s actual value overall. Now later we’re gonna get into
two stats that are even more advanced than this, and factor in a whole bunch of
other things, and those are wOBA, which is weighted on-base average, and wRC+, which is
weighted runs created plus. Not going to get into these right now, because we’re
looking at really basic statistics, but of all of them weighted runs created
plus — wRC+ — is considered to be the most advanced measurement of a player’s
actual contributions on the field. It’s a huge topic, and there’s a lot of
different things that go into it mathematically, so for now just stop at
OPS+ before you get really bogged down in things.
Because it’s definitely good enough to get you started when talking about
baseball players and understanding their quality on the field. Really in order to
understand the most basic box scores and discussions about the game, just knowing
batting average is a great place to start, but being able to talk about
batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage means that you
understand how the value is calculated by factoring in everything from walks, runs,
hit by pitches, to a player’s ability to get those extra base hits. And with that
we’ve actually covered all of the most basic parts of a box score when it comes
to batting. Now you guys are kind of pros when it comes to talking about the most
basic parts of batting statistics. Now while we’re still talking about OPS+, I
want to give like a concrete example of how it plays out in the actual game. So
if we look at a player like Mike Trout, who’s widely considered to be one of the
best players in baseball, his OPS+ for 2018 was 199, meaning he was 99% better
in the category of OPS+ than any average player in baseball. That is like
bonkers good. As far as all-time. Babe Ruth has the all-time OPS+ record
at 206, which is his career OPS+. Which is means he’s a hundred and six
percent better than every average player during his time frame. That’s nuts. As always,
if you liked this video give it a thumbs up. Head down to the comments and let me
know what you liked, if there’s any topics you want to see discussed in
future episodes, or if you just want to say hey. I always reply to those, so feel
free to leave a comment, hit subscribe, hit that bell next to subscribe if you
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much and have an awesome day. Bye!

8 thoughts on “Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging, and OPS+ – Baseball Basics

  1. Your videos help me very much, thank you.
    I have a few questions 🙂
    1. I noticed the first base coach has a stop watch, for what?
    2. Some offensive players put on a “cooking mitt” , cant describe it better. But only on one hand. What is that for?
    Thank you in advance

    Philip

  2. Thank you so much! I’m trying to understand the game of baseball a lot more and your advice helps out a lot!

  3. My brain is going to explode 😁.
    My wife bought me an MLB game for my PlayStation, being from Scotland, I don’t know the 1st thing about Baseball….. hence the reason I’ve been trawling YouTube for days now trying to find out what everything means.
    Thanks for your help!

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