Learning Baseball with The Usual Suspect Part II

When I first started writing this, it was my intention to write this series a bit more frequently then what it’s been.  Meaning, this second post wasn’t supposed to be 3 weeks after the first.  But it’s pretty much part of my laziness.  Those who have followed me in my years of internet writing on the internet know I am so extremely bad at consistency.  BUUUUUTTT, I have the motivation to go on to part 2 of this series now soooooo here we go.

LEARNING BASEBALL WITH THE USUAL SUSPECT PART II – SLUGGING AND ON BASE PLUS SLUGGING

Last time, I went over On Base Percentage (OBP) which in summary means, the percent of time a player doesn’t get out.  A good starting off point, but it doesn’t weigh the types of hits you get.  If a guy gets 20 hits, are they singles?  Are they doubles?  Basically, what type of power does a player have?

Slugging percentage (SLG) is a way to measure the types of hits a player gets.  Also done in a percentage/decimal form, it does have it’s intricacies.  This is the first stat I will be talking about where certain bits of the puzzle have weight to them.  In this case, a single has no weight, since it’s considered the “easiest” type of hit.  A double is considered harder to hit, so it’s worth double.  A triple is…. well triple that of a single and a home run is worth 4 times more then a single.  So to put it in layman’s terms, if we’re looking simply at points, a single is worth one point, a double is worth 2 points, a triple is worth 3 points and a HR is worth 4 points.  Basically, looking at the total number of bases a player has touched, then you divide that number by the players at bats, and that will give you their SLG.

Let’s go with an example!  Player A has 39 hits over the course of a month.  19 were singles, 9 were doubles (18), 2 triple (6) and 9 HR’s (36).  That’s 79 total bases.  This was done with 98 AB’s for the player.  This leaves his SLG at .804.  A SLG of .450/.500 is considering the average/median for baseball players.  This season, Miguel Cabrera leads the MLB in SLG with .645.  Barry Bonds holds the single season (ROIDS ROIDS ROIDS ROIDS ROIDS ROIDS PED PED PED PED PED PED BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH SHOOT NEEDLE IN ARM START LIFTIN CARS!) record for SLG at .863 (2001).  And Babe Ruth has the career high of .690.

What are some cons of SLG?  Walks don’t count.  Also that a lot of doubles and most triples aren’t based on power, but rather fast guys being able to get a break so their numbers can be pretty slanted.  There’s also no adjustments for parks or anything.  People always say Coors Field in Denver gives the Rockies an advantage because of the light air, or the Red Sox have a small park… or that the Padres have a huge outfield, so the teams that play there for half the season could either reap the benefits or suffer, and SLG doesn’t budge because of it

I guess to make up for the time in between these posts I’ll add another stat here.  It’s pretty simple, it’s called On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) aaaannnnnddddd it’s pretty self explanatory.   You just take the OBP…… THEN YOU ADD SLG!  But what’s the point?  Why can’t you just add HR’s and Batting Average?  Or Wins and Strike-outs to get some cumulative number?  Those examples don’t work because HR’s are already counted in Batting Average…. and well, wins are fucking stupid.

OPS works because the parts compliment each other when you get the whole.  You are taking the number of times the guy gets on base and you’re adding to it the type of hits he gets.  I’d give an example, but it’s really pretty simple.  An OPS of around .750/.800 is around the average (above average) for the league.  Currently, Miggy Cabrera (HI GONZ!!!) leads the MLB in OPS with a blistering 1.081.  The single season record is 1.421 by Barry GIMME THOSE PILLS SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORK ON MY MECHANICS TO SWING PROPERLY BECAUSE I”LL JUST MUSCLE ROIDS ROIDS ROIDS Bonds.  Babe Ruth has the career record of 1.163

What is wrong with OPS?  Since walks aren’t accounted for in SLG, it kinda dominates the OPS.  Weaker guys who do get on base frequently (Ichiro) have poorer number since lack of DINGERS (they make up for it with with triples and doubles… but you know… HOME RUNS).

We’ve now gone over the 3 more basic advanced statistics.  Like I mentioned before, these three (OBP, SLG, OPS) are used the most frequently, on TV/radio/ESPN because they’re the easiest to explain without going into much detail.  But next time, we’re going to be diving a little bit deeper.  I’ll be touching upon the “luck” aspect of baseball and while some people think you can’t account for luck…… believe it or not, there is a way.

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