Baseball Stats for Beginners – Part 1
Slugging Percentage (SLG)
Now, in Matt’s fourth at-bat, he hits a double into the corner. Since he has two hits in three at-bats, his batting average would be .667; since he’s been on base three times in four plate appearances, his OBP would be .750. These make up 2/3 of the slashline, the final percentage being slugging.
So, since he’s gotten two hits in three at-bats, his average stands at a nifty .667. Since he got a double, though, his slugging percentage would be higher. When calculating slugging percentage, a single counts as one point; for a double, two; a triple, three; a home run, four. Since Matt has a single and a double in three plate appearances, figuring out his slugging is simply a matter of dividing 3 by 3, so his slugging percentage would be 1.000. If he’d hit a triple instead of a double, you’d add 3+1 and then divide that by 3 to get 1.333. If he hit a home run, you’d add 4+1 and divide by 3 to get 1.666. In theory, the highest slugging percentage a person could ever have is 4.000, if a player hit home runs every at-bat.
What’s a good slugging percentage?
This is a little murkier, but generally speaking, .450 or above is pretty darn good. A slugging percentage of over .500 means the batter’s probably hitting 25-30 home runs in a season. A slugging percentage of over .600 is very rare. Albert Pujols had a slugging percentage of .617 in his 11 years in St. Louis. Babe Ruth holds the career record at .690.
When combined, these three percentages make up the
If you ever hear me say “so and so slashed” or “this guy had a slashline of” followed by three percentages, it’s simply the three aforementioned percentages, batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, in that order. In our hypothetical, after those four plate appearances, Matt’s slashline would be .666/.750/1.000.
From this, you can take the last two percentages to get
On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS)
You may see a higher percentage mentioned as a player’s OPS. This is a relatively new metric intended to define the effectiveness of a hitter. You’re simply adding the on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as the name suggests. In our example, Matt’s OPS would be 1.750.
What’s a good OPS?
Again, it’s a little harder to define here, but anything over .750 would be considered pretty good. .800 or above is very good; .900 or above is All-Star caliber; anyone with an OPS of 1.000 or above is a contender for MVP. Bill James (the man who helped fuel the ideas in Moneyball) has a slightly different scale.