Wednesday, August 06, 2003



Looking at OBP, SLG and OPS
I've been reading a lot of baseball analysis and discussion since I started this blog about a month and a half ago and one of the notions I continually come across is that OPS is either inaccurated, outdated, or disliked. The primary reason is because the general consensus happens to be that OBP is worth much (3 to 4 times) more than SLG... or at least it should be. Thus lessening the value of an Ichiro and increasing the value of the Garret Anderson's and Juan Gonzalez's of the world. So what happens if you take OBP times 4 and add SLG? AOPS. That's right, AOPS, or Adjusted Onbase Plus Slugging. No, it's not revolutionary, and frankly, I'm not trying to be. I'm not looking for something totally groundbreaking like Dave Eisenberg's BAP, I just want to see what all the fuss is about.

So I opened the trusty Excel program and got to work. It wasn't too difficult and within 20-25 minutes, I was looking at AOPS and it's effects, if any. I then went to looking at the differences in OPS and AOPS rankings of the top 100 to find the biggest jumps. Off the bat, the top three of Bonds, Pujols and Helton don't change:


Rank & Player OPS AOPS

1. B.Bonds 1.234 2.767
2. A.Pujols 1.123 2.446
3. T.Helton 1.069 2.411

Part of the reason behind doing this was to see how far it went in bringing up Ichiro's value compared to the sluggers of the world. Since his game is getting on base with base hits instead of homers and doubles, his slugging percentage suffers greatly (.465, 84th). His .380 OBP is good for 38th, though. Again, I admit the system is very crude and simple, but I just wanted to get some sort of gauge and thus some insight into the OPS/OBP/SLG debate. So who were the top beneficiaries of AOPS? DIF = difference in rank between OPS and AOPS.


Player DIF OPS AOPS

1. L.Castillo +34 0.788 1.931
2. J.Olerud +33 0.787 1.920
3. M.Lieberthal +32 0.811 1.957
4. E.Durazo +31 0.822 1.974
5. M.Loretta +25 0.822 1.959
6. L.Walker +23 0.903 2.181
7. R.Durham +22 0.791 1.892
8. I.Suzuki +20 0.844 1.985
9. B.Abreu +18 0.903 2.124
10.J.Posada +18 0.871 2.065

Castillo gets a nice boost because his .407 slugging ranks 100th out of 100. None of those 10 guys are your typical home run hitting type. Posada leads the bunch with 19, followed by Abreu at 18. All of those guys listed are pure hitters or speed guys that excel at getting on base. Of those listed, only Durham has an OBP under .378 (.367).

Now, who are the most egregious offenders of the old OPS system that weights SLG and OBP equally? My guess is power hitters that smack doubles and homers when they do hit, but also strikeout more than their fair share of times. So let's look at the culprits:


Player DIF OPS AOPS

1. J.Gonzalez -34 0.901 1.888
2. R.Sanders -33 0.843 1.776
3. G.Anderson -31 0.924 1.953
4. V.Wells -25 0.903 1.939
5. C.Patterson -18 0.839 1.827
6. C.Lee -18 0.820 1.788
7. P.Wilson -17 0.939 2.019
8. J.Varitek -17 0.905 1.965
9. S.Hillenbrand -16 0.848 1.883
10.E.Chavez -16 0.846 1.875

The main "problem" with the above group? They don't walk. They average just 26.0 walks between the 10 of them with 6 below 30 and Chavez leading the bunch at 43. The AOPS big movers average 53.1 walks between them with 4 guys above 70 and only Ichiro (25) with less than 30. ALl o fthe players listed are regarded as good if not great because they rate in top 100 of OPS, but the effort to reward OBP more handsomely is in full force.

I don't know that weighting OBP four times as much as SLG is the answer, but it's a easy, crude measure to chew on until time can be spent on delving deeper into a better way. With that, I leave you with the top ten AOPS with their ranks in OPS, AOPS and the difference:


ORnk ARnk Dif Player OPS SOPS

1 1 0 B. Bonds 1.234 2.767
2 2 0 A. Pujols 1.123 2.446
3 3 0 T. Helton 1.069 2.411
6 4 -2 C. Delgado 1.029 2.304
7 5 -2 G. Sheffield 1.015 2.293
9 6 -3 M. Ramirez 0.998 2.264
10 7 -3 J. Giambi 0.984 2.253
17 8 -9 B. Giles 0.947 2.249
19 9 -10 M. Bradley 0.942 2.233

I'd like to also mention that I'm very new to statistical analysis beyond AVG, HR, RBI, R and SB for fantasy baseball purposes, so I'm going to ask for feedback again, but this time, I could really use it. If you think I'm off my rocker for even weighting OBP heavier or as heavy, tell me... but tell me why also. I'll continue to tinker and play around with this idea of rewarding OBP.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003



Trading Spaces
With the recent flurry of movement during the trading deadline, questions are always brought up about how guys will react to the change of leagues. Will there be a large adjustment? Can they handle the adjustment? Will it be easier? Harder? Not only does the trading deadline produce guys moving from league to league, but also free-agency does, so how do guys react to moving leagues? Is one league easier? Or does talent surpass all? Or, as I suspect, is it a mixed bag? Let's take a look at some case studies:

Jim Thome


Team and Year - G HR RBI OPS

Cleveland 02 - 147 52 118 1.122
Philadelphia 03 - 108 27 83 .913

After a shaky April in which Thome posted a .770 OPS, he quickly disspelled thoughts that he'd struggle in the NL with 8 homers and a 1.022 OPS in May followed by 9 and .964 in June. At his current pace, Thome is headed for 40 home runs and 122 runs batted in. The 40 home runs ties his 3rd highest and the RBI total would be his second highest (124, 2001). I'd say he's made the necessary adjustments to the NL.

Randy Johnson


Team and Year - IP ERA WHIP K/BB W

Montreal 89 - 29.2 6.67 1.85 1.0 0
Seattle 89 - 131.0 4.40 1.44 1.5 7
Seattle 98 - 160.0 4.33 1.29 3.6 9
Houston 98 - 84.1 1.28 0.98 4.5 11

RJ's first conversion was an improvement, but the accuracy of the analysis is suspect because he was so young back then. After he left Seattle in '98, he dominated the NL for Houston and hasn't had an ERA over 2.64 since, aside from this season's 4.15 through just 7 starts. His K totals of 364, 347, 372, and 334 in Arizona are his 4 highest.

Jim Edmonds


Team and Year - G HR RBI OPS

Anaheim 1999 - 55 5 23 .765
St. Louis 2000 - 152 42 108 .994

After an injury plauged season in '99, Edmonds left Anaheim and basically restarted his career setting career highs in HR, RBI, BB, R, SB, and OPS. Injuries since have kept from playing over 150 games, but he's continued to excel and his 1.052 OPS through 94 games played in 2003 would break his previous career high. Another case of a guy excelling after his move to NL.

Brian Giles


Team and Year - G HR RBI OPS

Cleveland 1998 - 112 16 66 .856
Pittsburgh 1999 - 141 39 115 1.032

Giles wasn't a bad player in Cleveland, but he was overshadowed by Thome, Kenny Lofton, and Manny Ramirez. Being overshadowed has been Giles' thing for his entire career though. Since joining Pittsburgh, he's hit 35 or more home runs each year while hitting about .300 and carrying a near 1.000 OPS. These days, Giles is arguably the most underrated hitter in the league. He made the transition perfectly.

Mark Redman


Team and Year - IP ERA WHIP K/BB W

Detroit 2002 - 203.0 4.21 1.29 2.1 8
Florida 2003 - 129.1 2.92 1.14 2.6 9

After making a genius move to trade Todd Jones for Mark Redman, the Tigers quickly let Redman flee to Florida. He, in turn, has excelled this season, improving in all the major categories.

This five case study is hardly a large sampling, but through it you can see that moving from the AL to NL is not only smooth, but in all five cases, greatly improves the career of the mover. I focused on ALers to the NL because there have been so many making that move over the years including these that I didn't include: Kevin Brown, Shawn Green, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Luis Gonzalez, Gary Sheffield and Ivan Rodriguez. There have been players that have gone from successful NL careers to successful AL, but the opposite has been much more prevalent. The main reason I decided to look at this was because all the questions about how Sidney Ponson, Damian Moss, and Aaron Boone will fare in their new leagues. While it's not the same thing, we can look at how they've performed against AL teams through interleague over the past 3 seasons:


Sidney Ponson

IP ERA WHIP K/BB W
2000-2003 60 3.15 1.20 1.9 1



Damian Moss
IP ERA WHIP K/BB W
2000-2003 18.2 3.38 1.13 1.8 2



Aaron Boone
AB HR RBI AVG
2000-2003 112 2 13 .241


So the pitchers have done all right, while Boone hasn't exactly lit up the AL foes in his 112 ABs. I'll monitor their progress and may delve further into the effects of "the switch" on players. It can be an interesting topic as some say the NL is easier for pitchers and the AL is easier for batters. If you have any thoughts on the matter, be sure to his the Feedback below and let me know.

Programming Note...
First off, my apologies for the lack of post yesterday. Soon, I'll have a more regular time of posting so that it is here in the morning when you come to view it. I've been moving and working overtime lately, so thus the delays and non-posts. Please keep reading and come back again tomorrow...