Maybe You Shouldn’t Fixate on Batting Average

Lots of old school baseball fans look at batting average as evidence of a player’s worth.  While not entirely wrong, batting average does not give a complete picture of a player’s value, much like temperature does not give a true indicator of comfort without humidity!  Batting average is a simple formula based upon the percentage of times a player gets a hit as compared to at-bats.  Who would you rather have on your team – Player A with a .347 batting average or Player B with a .329 batting average?

Before you answer, maybe you should look at their OB% as well.  Player A has a .417 OB% – pretty good.  Player B has a .448 OB% – better! But, let’s look at OPS.  Player A has a .968 OPS, which is incredible, but Player B has an insane 1.139 OPS!  Player A is a player everyone would like to have: Jose Altuve, but Player B is Here’s Comes the Judge!

Batting average is important and so is OB%, but if you really want to know a player’s true worth, look at OPS. OPS is OB% + SLG%.  Dee Gordon has a .295 BA but his OPS is .701.  Jonathan Schoop also has a .295 BA, but his OPS is .883.  Batting average in that case tells you nothing! Kike Hernandez is only hitting .215 but is OPS’ing .760.  Dee Gordon straight up for Kike – No way… and then we also got Austin Barnes… but I digress.

On-base plus slugging (OPS) is a sabermetric baseball statistic calculated as the sum of a player’s on-base percentage and slugging average. The ability of a player both to get on base and to hit for power, two important offensive skills, are represented. An OPS of .900 or higher in Major League Baseball puts the player in the upper echelon of hitters. Typically, the league leader in OPS will score near, and sometimes above, the 1.000 mark.

Bill James uses seven different categories for classifying a players’ OPS:

Category Classification OPS Range
A Great .9000 and Higher
B Very Good .8333 to .8999
C Above Average .7667 to .8333
D Average .7000 to .7666
E Below Average .6334 to .6999
F Poor .5667 to .6333
G Very Poor .5666 and Lower

The Dodgers have 14 players with an OPS over .700.  Well, Kenley Jansen should not count, so it’s actually 13.  They have 3 GREAT Players:

  • Turner – 1.056
  • Bellinger – .961
  • Barnes – .935

Corey Seager barely missed at .897 and with Chris Taylor at .844 the Dodgers have 2 VERY GOOD players.  Joc Pederson at .826 is an ABOVE AVERAGE PLAYER along with Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig.  Toles, Utley, Hernandez and Forsythe all qualify as AVERAGE players because they are all over .700 OPS.  Odds are, Joc, Yasmani and Yasiel have a shot at hitting over .8333 OPS as well before the season is done.  Corey Seager could be over .900 which would mean if Turner and Bellinger, the Dodgers have 3 Great Hitters.  It’s going to be a fun thing to watch.

While OPS does not tell the whole story, if I only had one stat to rely on, it woulds be OPS!

Off the Tracks

So, if you know me, you should know that I am not afraid to think outside the box.  So (don’t kill me yet), I was listening to MLB Radio and they were talking about how the new Marlins owners don’t want to do a fire sale – they want the current ownership to do a fire sale.  So, of course, I got to thinking about making a bold move.  Here it is:

Dodgers trade Yasiel Puig, Yadier Alvarez, Willie Calhoun and Yusniel Diaz and Yasiel Sierra (plenty of Cubans) to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.  That solves their salary issues.  The Dodgers could ship A-Gon in the deal to offset some salary, but I don’t think they would do that to Adrian… would they?


  1. Taylor 2B
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger  1B
  5. Stanton  RF
  6. Ozuna LF
  7. Grandal  C
  8. Pederson  CF

That’s a monster lineup, but it likely will never happen.


Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 32 Comments

  1. Building on your best moves are the ones that you don’t make theme. Since we have no baseball until Friday, I thought it would be interesting to look at the Second Baseman who the Dodgers realistically could of acquired last winter. Logan Forsythe had a horrendous slump when he first came off the DL, but has since righted the ship offensively and has been stellar all year defensively at 2B and 3B.
    Phillips-.280/.326/.737 7 HR/7 SB
    Harrison-.280/.361/.797 All-Star with 10 HR’s/10 SB
    Dozier-.242/.325/.745 13 HR/10 SB’s
    Kinsler-.240/.323/710 9 HR’s/6 SB
    Profar-.172/.294/.501 Bouncing back and forth from AAA
    Solarte-.268/.349/.775 10 HR’s.

      1. I would like to see Taylor be the 2nd baseman. If they could acquire JD while keeping Joc and Puig I like this lineup:

        1. Hawkeye

          That looks like a pretty good line up, because JD demolishes lefties, and because of that, his bat, along with Turner’s bat, might pick up for Joc’s and, Puig’s, lack of production against lefties.

          But I always worry about a player, that comes from the American League, to the National League, because they have to face, all new pitching.

  2. That actually COULD be your 2018 NL All-Star starting lineup, all in Dodger Blue? Man that would be beautiful

    Make it so Mark……

  3. Since OPS is just a combo of OB% and slugging I would think OPS kind of meaningless if you just look at the overall slash. All 3 numbers are important. What is just as important are the left right splits. They tell me that Barnes and Keekay are really getting the job done offensively vs lefts, which is why they were brought to the Dodgers. Also shows Turner has greatly improved his slash vs lefties which is why his overall slash is awesome this year. Puig is pretty so so vs lefts which is why his over all is tepid at best. Taylor has a noticeable edge vs lefts which tells me why Utley usually is in vs rights. And Joc is decent vs rights and less than decent vs lefts. Belly and Seager both do pretty well vs lefties. Dodgers doing a great job of having the right players vs the pitchers they’re facing. Thus the team victories in the 1st half. Hope they keep it up.

    1. Since 1958

      I agree with almost everything you said.

      And you are right about certain players having weaknesses, against lefties, and that their OPS stats alone, don’t reflect that, unless you look at their splits.

      And like you, I believe all three numbers, are important!

      OPS is one stat to look at, when it comes to offensive production, but with walks valued as the same as hits, it has some issues.

  4. Mark, that trade would be GREAT for the Dodgers, not sure how the fish would look at it. If we could get anything close to that we should jump at it. What a line up. Think they might want Toles in there too as a more established left fielder.

    Frankly, there are too many different stats. I am not sure I understand all of them. I think that shows us that evaluating a hitter is a very complex job. Use to be easier, but not so anymore. I’m sure that the arguement about which stat is the most important will go on for some time.

  5. Olney thinks it’ll be a play for McCutchen, who is destroying lefties of late.
    Will he play left?
    He’s got an option after this year, and his numbers would lead one to expect him to use it.
    Toles, Calhoun and something? Seeing as he’s a rental and it is, from all reports, a buyers market.

    1. Hmmmm, I’m not too high on making a big trade this year but if McCutchen would play left, that is a trade I’d be in favor of.

      1. I think Cutch would play LF to win a Championship. He was not playing CF until their CF got popped for PEDS.

        1. Mark

          I agree that most OPS’s tell a player’s production most of the time, but I don’t take a player’s OPS that seriously, when their production, is to dependent, on getting walks, way to much.

          Because walks are not equal to hits, in most situations in baseball, and sabers value walks, in this way.

          And like any formula OPS makes certain players, look like they are more productive then they really are, but over all, OPS is a good stat.

          And anyone rather have a player that can have good numbers, over all, and have a good batting average.

          And if we did have more hitters in this line up, that were hitting for a higher average, maybe we would have better numbers, of getting hits, when runners are in scoring position.

          And that would probably help us more, against good pitching, like we will face, in the post season.

          The Astros line up, not only has power in there line up, they have four everyday players hitting in the 300s, and one player, just hitting, under 300.

          And the Astros only have one player hitting below 250, in there everyday line up.

          And I think on a team like the Dodgers, it is not to much to expect, that our players, should have good overall numbers, including, a good batting average.

          With someone like Kike that is a part time player, and not getting consistent at bats, I can understand, it is harder to keep their average up.

          And about Toles, his OPS was in the 900s last year, and I am sure he was on his way to having a higher then average OPS, before he was hurt this year!

          His OPS was just under 800 this year, and he had brought his average up, from the low 200s to 270, once he was getting to play everyday, and he did that, in a very short time.

          And at the time he got hurt, his isolated power number, was good too!

          1. Toles OPS was 890 last year, and he was exhibiting much more power this year, then last year, and he was also hitting for a good, average!

  6. Offensely that looks great. Defense and pitching wins. We need to shore up our bull pen, if we are to go all the way. Our defense is good.

  7. I’d do Mark’s trade in a heartbeat if only to see Stanton bat every night.
    More realistically, if we could get Hawkeye’s lineup above, without giving up Joc or Puig then would have to be serious consideration.
    I’m sure the conversation for JDM would start with Alvarez & Verdugo…

    1. Watford Dodger: “I’m sure the conversation for JDM would start with Alvarez & Verdugo…”
      And the conversation ends with “CLICK”!

  8. Mark: “I was listening to MLB Radio and they were talking about how the new Marlins owners don’t want to do a fire sale – they want the current ownership to do a fire sale.”
    Reading this made me appreciate Guggs. I know Mark doesn’t like the banksters, but I do. Take a moment to reflect on the McCourts, then I think most will agree we have some GOOD owners!
    I guess Miami wants to rebuild the Theo way? I look at that team and they have a very nice core of young stud position players. Add some pitching and they could be a force, too bad Fernandez thought more of cocaine than baseball. I know it’s easier said than done, to add some pitching, but if I was buying the Marlins, I would hire a FAZ member as GM and “rebuild while competing”.
    But Mark’s statement just might indicate an opportunity for FAZ. We know Miami has been on their speed dial for awhile now.

  9. That trade looks good on paper. It does not address our needs. Yes, I would like to have someone better than Joc and Puig. But is that upgrade enough to give up that many prospects. I do not think it is. I would not do the trade.

    1. Yeah, one of our biggest needs is to reset the luxury tax clock. That trade ensures we are in luxury tax territory in 2018. Don’t we start paying a higher luxury tax rate in 2018 and lose draft picks if we don’t leave luxury tax territory?
      The link below just popped up at MLB Rumors. Seems everyone sees Stanton’s contract as a bit of an anchor. I still like adding Gonzalez and Kazmir to any Stanton trade. Reducing his approximately $292M future cost by about $40M also reduces 2018 payroll, allowing us to save draft picks and luxury tax, it might be a potential win/win situation. Also doesn’t seem like Stanton alone should cost many prospects.

      1. Trading AGon may make sense from a business standpoint, but it would be detrimental (IMO) from a baseball standpoint. AGon is the consummate professional who has been an outstanding representative for the Dodgers both on the field and in the community. Trading a veteran and vocal leader in that dugout this close to a potential WS would do more harm to disrupt the chemistry for the Dodgers. I posited that moving AGon before the season made sense, but not in the middle of THIS season. There is virtually no realistic opportunity for Adrian to return to the 25 man until September, so he can rejoin when the rosters expand. He would be just as instrumental as a mentor to Cody Bellinger and Chase Utley was to Corey Seager.

    2. Idahoal

      And we just never know what a player will do, once they come here, like Reddick, last year.

    Tulsa Drillers lost 7-4 to Northwest Arkansas Travelers (KC) – 7-4 — Henry Ramos continues to pillage AA pitching with 2 more hits and is now batting .568/.591/.946/1.537. Ramos is still 25, so while not a prospect, he can become more than organizational depth. Quincy Latimore (2nd) and Tim Locastro (6th) each hit HRs for the Drillers. There were no pitching highlights.
    RC Quakes won 5-4 over the San Jose Giants in 11 innings — Dennis Santana started and went 8.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. The 21 year old RHP now has an ERA of 3.55. Omar Estevez had two hits including his 15th double. Ibandel Isabel slugged his 18th HR of the year. The Quakes won it in the 11th. Luke Raley singled, followed by a walk to DJ Peters, and followed by a run scoring walk off single by Johan Mieses.
    Great Lakes lost 7-2 to Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers) – – Gavin Lux had a good night with the bat getting 3 hits, including his 5th triple. All except for Cody Thomas had at least one hit for the Loons. It was another tough start for Leo Crawford. Angel German had an unusual rough outing. Jeremiah Muhammad finished the game with 2.0 IP, no runs or hits or walks, and 3 strikeouts.
    Ogden Raptors won 11-1 over the Missoula Osprey (DBacks) – Luis Paz had three hits including in 8th and 9th HR on the season. For the Raptors, Paz is batting .400/.469/.886/1.355. Starling Heredia also had three hits and is now batting .519/.594/.889/1.483 for the Raptors. Including his time at AZL Dodgers, his 2017 batting line is .473/.547/.873/1.420. 2017 draft pick, Connor Heady also had three hits, including his first two professional HR’s. Adalberto Pena/James Carter/Devin Hemmerich/Miguel Urena combined for 2 runs on 6 hits 5 walks and 8 strikeouts.
    AZL Dodgers won 7-2 over the AZL DBacks – Alvaro Rubi 2-3 (2 doubles), Jair Camargo 2-5, and Preston Grand Pre 2-3 (double & triple) led the offense. Mitchell White had his 2nd rehab start and went 2.0 innings (plus one batter in third), allowing 1 unearned run on 1 hit, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. Dan Jagiello/Kevin Malisheski/Luis Pasen/Jasiel Alvino/Wills Montgomery finished the final 7 innings allowing 1 unearned run, 0 hits, 0 walks, and 9 strikeouts. The 2017 34th round draft pick out of LIU Post, Dan Jagiello, has now pitched 5.2 innings allowing 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. The 2017 6th round draft pick out of Connecticut, Wills Montgomery, pitched in his third game (all 1 inning outings), has allowed 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, and 6 strikeouts. It might be getting close for Jagiello and Montgomery to get the Ogden promotion. Jair Camargo is another catcher. He is 18 years old from Barranquilla, Colombia and his batting line is .361/.385/.472/.857. The big negative on Jair is that he is 5’10” 150 pounds. At 18, he still has time to grow and build out, but he cannot remain at catcher at the weight.

    1. This is a good trade for both Chicago teams. The Cubs needed a controllable starter to not only join the 2017 rotation, but also be insurance for when/if Arrieta leaves after this year. Quintana was a need.
      I have no idea if there was any discussion with LAD, but this would be close to an Alverez/Verdugo headliner package. Eloy Jimenez was the #1 Cub (#8 MLB overall and #3 OF prospect), while Dylan Cease was the Cubs #2 (and MLB #66 overall prospect). We now know what the cost for a Gerritt Cole or Sonny Gray are going to start at.

  11. Jair will fill out. That s what I weighed in HS, and I was a catcher. Now I’m 5′ 9″ lost an inch, and weigh 190. It will happen.

  12. There’s is a good aricle in Bleacher Report on Dodger Pitching. They have the Dodger pitching leading in almost every category. How do some of you copy the article and post it in your posting? I have an iPad. You use copy and paste I am think, but I do not see it on my iPad.0

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