What is OPS in baseball? Explaining one of MLB's advanced statistics and more.

Major League Baseball viewership has gradually declined since its peak in 2007, according to Baseball Reference.

Because of what MLB commissioner Rob Manfred calls “organic changes,” the game’s most exciting plays, such as base-stealing, now happen less often, according to Bleacher Report. Strikeout rates have also increased.

Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage said  in a 2018 Bleacher Report article , “I try to watch a baseball game, and I find it very difficult to be able to watch today."

Baseball also has plenty of statistical jargon first-time viewers may not immediately understand. If you’re new to baseball lingo, here’s what you need to know:

Because of what Commissioner Rob Manfred calls “organic changes,” the game’s most exciting plays, such as base-stealing, now happen less often.
Because of what Commissioner Rob Manfred calls “organic changes,” the game’s most exciting plays, such as base-stealing, now happen less often.

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What is OPS in baseball?

OPS stands for “on-base plus slugging.” This metric exists to combine on-base percentage and slugging percentage into one number, according to MLB’s glossary of baseball terms.

OPS can also be used to evaluate pitchers. In that context, it is called “OPS against,” according to MLB’s glossary.

OPS can be calculated by adding on-base percentage (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG), according to MLB.

Who has the highest OPS in baseball?

The best career OPS in baseball history belongs to none other than Babe Ruth, who boasted an OPS of 1.164 at the time of his retirement, according to Baseball Almanac.

As of September 2022, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout has the highest career OPS among active MLB players, at 1.002. Trout is also ranked eighth in baseball history by career OPS, according to Baseball Almanac.

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What is OBP in baseball?

OBP stands for “on-base percentage.” This term refers to the frequency with which batters reach base per plate appearance – including hits, walks and hit-by-pitches. It can also be called “on-base average.”

To calculate this number for each player, divide a player’s number of plate appearances by the number of times the player reached base.

The metric does not include errors, times reached on a fielder’s choice, dropped third strikes or sacrifice bunts.

Who has the highest OBP in baseball?

The highest career OBP in baseball history belongs to Ted Williams, who retired with an OBP of .4817, according to Baseball Reference.

Ted Williams retired with an OBP of .4817.
Ted Williams retired with an OBP of .4817.

In addition to highest OPS, Trout also has the highest career OBP of all active MLB players, at .4154. Trout is also ranked 26th in baseball history by career OBP, according to Baseball Reference.

What is SLG in baseball?

SLG stands for “slugging percentage,” a term which represents the number of bases a player earns per at-bat

The biggest difference between a slugging average and a batting average is that a slugging percentage does not value every hit equally. Batting averages are calculated by dividing total hits by at-bats, but the formula for SLG is more complex.

According to MLB’s baseball terms glossary, the formula for SLG can be expressed as (1B + 2B x 2 + 3B x 3 + HR x 4) / AB.

Mike Trout is ranked eighth in baseball history by SLG.
Mike Trout is ranked eighth in baseball history by SLG.

Just curious? We're here to answer your everyday questions.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is OPS in baseball? Explaining one of MLB's advanced statistics