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Geeking Out: OPS Minus Batting Average

It's pretty rare when you read me writing about any advanced statistics. I don't mind reading them and trying to understand what they mean and what they are telling me about a player. But I very rarely use more than a Triple Slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) with the OPS in parentheses. I like OPS, but like all stats, it needs to be used in context, and it's OK to ask questions about it.

For instance, OPS is a combination of On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG). On-Base Percentage looks at the number of times a player gets on base by hit, walk or hit by pitch. Slugging Percentage basically assigns a value to all hits. A single is one base. A double is two bases. A triple is three bases and a home run is four bases. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]


Attached Image: Joe Mauer 2.jpg It becomes apparent quickly that Hits are included in both of these numbers. I am certain that others have evaluated the following idea: since it is really included in both OBP and SLG, what if we subtracted Batting Average from the OPS to avoid duplication? How would an OPS ranking look differently than an (OPS-BA) ranking?

I admit that I went into the analysis not knowing what it would show, but I thought I would share it with Twins Daily's readers just to get some thoughts and your analysis along with mine. How much will the ranking change, and what does it mean?

To do so, I looked at two lists, and there was one common name. I looked at the numbers for a dozen Minnesota Twins hitters this season. I then took a look at the Top 20 MLB hitters in OPS. The common player, of course, is Joe Mauer who is currently 14th in the big leagues in OPS.

Here are 12 Twins hitters, ranked by their OPS and also looking at their (OPS-BA) and how that ranking changes:

[TABLE="class: grid, width: 500, align: center"]

Name
OPS
BA
OPS Rank
OPS-BA
Rank


Joe Mauer
.916
.330
1
.586
1


Oswaldo Arcia
.823
.271
2
.552
2


Trevor Plouffe
.778
.271
3
.507
4


Josh Willingham
.751
.216
4
.535
3


Justin Morneau
.725
.286
5
.439
8


Ryan Doumit
.718
.238
6
.480
5


Clete Thomas
.716
.278
7
.438
9


Chris Parmelee
.703
.238
8
.465
6


Brian Dozier
.678
.229
9
.449
7


Eduardo Escobar
.664
.236
10
.428
10


Pedro Florimon
.633
.230
11
.403
11


Aaron Hicks
.575
.179
12
.396
12

[/TABLE]

Analysis: Joe Mauer is good. No matter how you look at it. Oswaldo Arcia has hit well. Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Florimon and Aaron Hicks have been pretty poor offensively, again, no matter how you evaluate it. Where there is some difference in the rankings really come in the middle. Justin Morneau has the 5th highest OPS, but his OPS-BA drops him to 8th on the list. It appears to me that what this analysis does is makes the value of extra base hits stand out more. Morneau has a decent batting average, but doesn't have a lot of extra base hit power, so his numbers drop in this analysis. I think that is a fair statement. It also shows that although Chris Parmelee and Brian Dozier have not hit for average, they have hit for some power.

So, what does it look like when we analyze the Top 20 hitters in baseball? Can we make similar statements?

[TABLE="class: grid, width: 500, align: center"]

Name
OPS
BA
OPS Rank
OPS-BA
Rank


Chris Davis
1.116
.331
1
.785
1


Miguel Cabrera
1.106
.370
2
.736
2


Troy Tulowitski
1.048
.347
3
.701
3


David Ortiz
1.005
.316
4
.689
5


Carlos Gonzalez
.992
.300
5
.692
4


Michael Cuddyer
.968
.339
6
.629
8


Joey Votto
.957
.326
7
.631
7


Paul Goldschmidt
.956
.306
8
.650
6


Adam Lind
.939
.330
9
.609
15


Carlos Gomz
.925
.313
10
.612
13


David Wright
.923
.309
11
.614
12


Evan Longoria
.923
.301
11
.622
9


Mike Trout
.918
.306
13
.612
13


Joe Mauer
.916
.330
14
.586
16


Yadier Molina
.899
.353
15
.546
20


Jean Segura
.897
.336
16
.561
19


Edwin Encarnacion
.893
.271
17
.622
9


Shin-Soo Choo
.890
.274
18
.616
11


Ryan Braun
.890
.304
18
.586
16


Carlos Beltran
.879
.305
20
.575
18

[/TABLE]

Analysis: These guys are all having very good years, so this is not meant in any way to degrade what they are accomplishing. But again, we see that this analysis does minimize the value of batting average. The higher the batting average, the lower the OPS-BA, which, just makes sense since that's what we are subtracting. But that's exactly what we are trying to do as it is duplicated in the OPS calculation. What it is saying is that the higher the OPS-BA, the more often that a player walks or gets a hit that is more than a single.

So, what do you think? Is OPS overvaluing batting average? If you were a GM, would you use OPS or OPS-BA to evaluate a player's value to the organization or in trade discussions?

Discuss.


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