1.000 OPS as measure of success

Posted on May 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One of the more interesting stats in baseball is who is above 1.000 in OPS during and at the end of the season. It is a stat that generally includes only the true hitting elites and is becoming more difficult to attain as power numbers slide backward. Typically, players who accomplish this feat are patient at the plate and accumulate walks that boost their OBP. First of all, OPS is the combination of On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. There are only nine players ever with career OPS higher than 1.000. Two are active: Pujols and Ramirez. There are a few other guys on the list, named Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Bonds, Foxx and Hornsby. It is a Hall of Fame level caliber of play, but many can only stay there for a year and never return.

For some historical perspective, there were 13 players who finished 2000 over 1.000 and only 3 in 2008. Since 2000, 31 players have combined for 67 instances of it. The leaders since 2000 are Manny Ramirez (7) and Albert Pujols (6). For the most part, the number hovered between 5 to 8 players per year. There were some who only broke through for a year, such as J.D. Drew and Magglio Ordonez. These are very quality players, but they only reached this milestone one time.

All of the players who made it only a few times this decade show how difficult it is to do. That is what makes it so interesting to check it out at this stage of the season. Right now, there are 17 players over 1.000. With the exception of Albert Pujols, they would all be new. Some of them have been great players for a while, such as David Wright and Miguel Cabrera, but never been over it for the whole season. Some of the others are surprised, such as Russell Branyan and Jason Bartlett. It is interesting how some players, like David Wright, are doing this without much power. He has a very high OBP and that is sustaining him with only 3 home runs. The leader is Raul Ibanez, who has been come closer than 130 points from it. If history tells us anything, the list will shrink to between 5 and 8 by the end of the year and many of these players will have fallen back a bit. The players who do stick around above 1.000 the whole season (Adam Jones, Joey Votto?) will have proven themselves capable of greatness. Just don’t expect them to repeat too often unless they are an all-time great.

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