Why OPS Should Be Your Favorite Analytic To Use In Your MLB Picks

Friday, April 22, 2016 6:08 PM GMT

This article & video explain how the “spin rate” of a pitcher’s slider or the “exit velocity” of a batted ball serve to analyze the success of a team, and apply it when making your MLB Picks.

2016 OPS AS A MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS
In the last 10 to 15 years, a myriad of statistics have evolved as a way of measuring the success and efficiency of MLB teams and players.  Every year the numbers seem to go to greater extremes. This year, we can even use the “spin rate” of a pitcher’s slider or the “exit velocity” of a batted ball to analyze the outcome of success. There would not be enough hours in the day to find a way to successfully use every metric available to analyze a MLB game. One of my favorite analytics is the OPS, which is the combination of the OBP (on base percentage) and SLG (slugging percentage) of a team.

In an article I penned in late May of 2015, I showed how the combination of OPS numbers for both team batting and team pitching, as compared to a team’s won/loss record can be a reliable indicator of whether a team is over-performing or under-performing at any point in the season. By the time we get to September, you will find that this OPS formula is an accurate representation of most every team’s won/loss record. The formula I use is relatively simple. If you are looking for a way to determine a team’s true strength, consider this formula. 

Use the SUM of a team’s offensive OPS with the inverted pitching OPS of that team to determine a team’s true value. We “invert” the pitching OPS because, unlike the offensive OPS, the lower a team’s pitching OPS is…means the better it is.  

The chart below will list each team followed by their won/loss record thru Wednesday, April 20th, 2016.  I will then show the combination OPS, as well as the individual batting and pitching OPS that were used to obtain that number.  This list will be presented by strength of Combined OPS.  A quick analysis will follow which shows from the chart, which team’s won/loss fortunes are heading up and which team’s won/loss fortunes are heading down based on the performance year to date.   

TEAM

W/L RECORD

COMBINED OPS

BATTING OPS

INVERTED PITCHING OPS

Washington

11-3

1174

.757

.417

St. Louis

8-7

1167

.826

.349

Baltimore

9-4

1153

.866

.287

Chicago Cubs

11-4

1151

.723

.428

LA Dodgers

9-6

1121

.711

.410

NY Mets

7-7

1097

.745

.352

CWS

10-5

1065

.613

.452

Pittsburgh

7-8

1032

.788

.240

Colorado

8-7

1032

.824

.208

Detroit

8-5

1030

.783

.247

Toronto

8-8

1026

.689

.337

Kansas City

9-5

1021

.701

.320

Boston

7-7

999

.726

.273

Seattle

6-8

996

.651

.345

NY Yankees

5-8

994

.716

.278

Oakland

8-7

992

.627

.365

Miami

4-9

985

.705

.280

Arizona

8-8

980

.741

.239

Minnesota

4-11

972

.714

.258

Tampa Bay

6-8

970

.617

.353

Cleveland

6-6

966

.673

.293

Houston

5-10

961

.755

.206

San Fran

7-9

958

.732

.226

Cincinnati

8-7

949

.716

.233

Texas

9-6

924

.699

.225

San Diego

6-9

905

.665

.240

Philadelphia

7-9

891

.618

.273

LA Angels

6-9

890

.590

.300

Atlanta

4-10

843

.579

.266

Milwaukee

7-8

785

.702

.085

To determine which teams are on the rise, consider which teams have top 10 Combined OPS records, yet are ONLY within one game of .500 for the season.  Your conclusion will be that St. Louis (No.2), the NY Mets (No. 6) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (No. 8) are clearly due to improve their fortunes based on their combined OPS number.

At the other end of the spectrum, teams who rank in the bottom 10, but are showing a won/loss record no worse than one game under .500, are due for a tumble.  Look for these three teams’ won/loss records to decline in the coming weeks, Cincinnati (No. 25), Texas (No. 26) and Milwaukee (No. 30). The data found above should be a great tool when stuying the MLB odds boards to make your MLB picks.