While there are many ways to measure the quality of a player and the contributions they make to their team, there is nothing quite like "ops" – or on-base plus slugging — which consists of using a simple mathematical formula to obtain statistics – and while adored by some, many argue there are better means to measure success in baseball, such as batting average (AVG) or at-bats (AB) and home runs (HR). Let's break down what exactly baseball ops mean and how they are measured!
Here's how the MLB details what ops are in baseball.
According to the MLB, “OPS adds on-base percentage and slugging percentage to get one number that unites the two. It's meant to combine how well a hitter can reach base, with how well he can hit for average and for power. It can also be used in evaluating pitchers; when used in that context, it is referred to as OPS against.” It can be used as a means to measure a player’s contribution to their organization.
You can calculate ops in baseball based on a simple formula.
Ops is calculated based on on-base percentage (OBP), which is based on hard stats. The Stadium Reviews explain counts the number of times a player makes it to base (no matter what circumstance) compared to their total at-bats.
This number gets added to the slugging average (SLG), which measures the quality of the hit and how it rates. The site also notes that “exceptional circumstances,” such as “sacrifice flies,” will not have much impact on either stat as these are not considered at-bats.
Here's how you know if a player has good ops in baseball.
An ops score of .800 ops or higher will place a player among a higher rank of hitters. The lead of the league typically scores close to 1.000 ops. Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies held the best ops record in 2021 with a total score of 1.044.
Who has the best ops in baseball of all time?
Babe Ruth is the all-time leader in baseball ops, with a career total of 1.1636 ops. Ted Williams is right behind him with a career total of 1.1155, followed by Lou Gehrig with 1.0978. Meanwhile, Barry Bonds holds the record of highest ops in a single season with 1.4217 ops in 2004 – beating his previous 2002 score of 1.3807.
Here is the issue with calculating ops in baseball.
While on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging average (SLG) are two crucial components to evaluating a player, however these are not equal components when it comes to percentage. While OBP measures on a 1.000-point scale, the SLG actually uses a 4.000-point scale. This is why many argue that while Ops is a great stat to use to measure the quality of a player, it is not a perfect method by any means.