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nccwsfan
01-23-2005, 04:57 PM
I've got a question for those who are knowledgeable on stats such as OBP & OPS. There was a thread earlier in the week about the lineup where some were concerned with the White Sox's potential OBP and OPS, and it got my interest going...

What do you consider to be an average and above average OBP for the leadoff hitter, the #2 hitter, and the 7/8/9 hitter? What is considered below average?

Second question- what is an average or acceptable OPS for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hitters? Should people look at OPS/SLG or is OBP a better barometer of performance?

I would like to get a better grasp on these types of statistics for 2005 and beyond- I've seen the numbers for the league leaders but I'm trying to get an informed idea on what our reasonable expectations should be.

Thanks for the help! :D:

johnny_mostil
01-23-2005, 06:12 PM
I've got a question for those who are knowledgeable on stats such as OBP & OPS. There was a thread earlier in the week about the lineup where some were concerned with the White Sox's potential OBP and OPS, and it got my interest going...

What do you consider to be an average and above average OBP for the leadoff hitter, the #2 hitter, and the 7/8/9 hitter? What is considered below average?

Second question- what is an average or acceptable OPS for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hitters? Should people look at OPS/SLG or is OBP a better barometer of performance?

I would like to get a better grasp on these types of statistics for 2005 and beyond- I've seen the numbers for the league leaders but I'm trying to get an informed idea on what our reasonable expectations should be.

Thanks for the help! :D:


For a player whose home park is USCF, average OPS is about 790.
OPS is somewhat defective because it counts SLG as being the same weight as OBP, wheresd a point of SLG isn't really equal to a point of OBP for most players. That said, it's still back-of-the-envelope useful for most players.
1000 is a good borderline for "brilliant" for an OPS.
You'd expect a good #3 hitter to have an OPS of at least 950 in USCF.
Your leadoff and #2 hitters' OBP is super-critical, their SLG is even less important than for the other hitters. You want something north of .360 for both if you can get it.
The 6-9 hitters offense doesn't have a "floor", but you want all the hitters to at least be better than AAA players.
Remember, OPS's real importance is it is the "percentage of plate appearances not resulting in an out". Outs are the cost of an offense.

A. Cavatica
01-23-2005, 10:06 PM
Your leadoff and #2 hitters' OBP is super-critical, their SLG is even less important than for the other hitters. You want something north of .360 for both if you can get it.



Slugging percentage is still important for the #1 and #2 hitters. A leadoff hitter with a .370 OBP and a .290 SLG is not acceptable. Reason: the leadoff hitter is only guaranteed to lead off the first inning.

ssviland
01-23-2005, 10:58 PM
There are some ultra-traditionalists who absolutely will not look at anything more than batting average, homers, wins and ERA. In the 70s some managers, like Earl Weaver, started doing moves that looked silly to some, but worked with excellent results. He would use lefty pitchers against lefty hitters, or even bat someone like Mark Belanger, despite a low batting average, lead-off simply because he did well against a certain team or pitcher.

More conventional managers put the fast runners 1st and 2nd, the best contact hitter 3rd, and power hitters 4th and 5th. Before the 80s most teams had no more than 5 or 6 good hitters, so you would often have your best defensive players 7th and 8th (and 9th after the DH in the A.L.). Managers like Tony LaRussa took Weaver's approach further and even platooned players based on whether they batted left or right handed.

In Boston in the 80s Wade Boggs usually batted leadoff, and Brian Downing batted leadoff for the Angels. In both cases it was because of the player's ability to get on base. Neither was particularly fast, but were good base runners and hit a lot of doubles, which are better than a hit and a SB.

Now, most managers look for high on-base hitters for the top of the order. The players with the highest OBP are usually sluggers like Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds, who are walked intentionally and pitched around, in addition to having good judgement of the strike zone. If you look only at players who bat 1st and 2nd, the number of players with a .350 or better OBP is surprisingly low. I haven't checked 2004 stats, but I remember at the time Ray Durham was traded in 2002 his OBP was exactly .350 and I believe there were only 3 or 4 lead off batters with a higher OBP. One was Ichiro, one was Bobby Abreu. I don't remember the others off hand.

Yes, OBP and SLG (or OPS, which combines the two) matters everywhere in the lineup. But, statisticaly, the 1st batter will end up with more close to 162 more plate appearances than the 9th batter, and the further up in the order the more plate appearances and the more it matters. But a lineup has a flow as well. Players with high OBP tend to work the count more, which wears down pitchers and allows on-deck batters to see more pitches. A runner with speed will distract a pitcher who must hold him on. Any runner on base forces a pitcher to pitch from the stretch, which is a disadvantage for some pitchers.

As you go down in the order batters tend to drive in runs more with extra-base hits than with walks or singles. A high SLG reflects that. So I wouild generally put my high OPS batters 3rd and 4th. From among the remaining I would put my highest OBP guys with decent or better speed 1st and 2nd. If I have a guy who steals 70 bases but has only a .340 OBP I would bat him leadoff, but not if his OBP was only .310 (which of these two is Posednik?) After these four spots are chosen I put the highest SLG 5th and 6th. I try to go lefty-righty as much as possible, and that often determines 7th and 8th. At 9th I like a guy with decent speed, to not clog the basepaths with speed at the top of the order. Ozzie Guillen was a perfect #9 hitter. He was a very good base runner, low OBP, and a pesky hitter who could foul off severl 0-2 pitchers and then bloop one over the infield. That is a killer for a pitcher to have that happen in the 9-hole.

The Sox have not had a true leadoff hitter since Durham. Pods is not yet proven, as last season's numbers are more in line with his minor league stats. For better or worse, he is our leadoff batter.

It sounds like Ozzie is leaning toward Uribe in the 2-hole. If so, he's wrong. Uribe, as a middle infielder with decent (not great) speed seems more prototypicall for 2nd than an F with power like Arron Rowand, but Rowand is better to bat 2nd. He has better speed, but more importantly, he works the count better than anyone on the team other than Frank. The more pitches the 2nd batter sees, the more chances for the 9th and 1st hitters to steal, and the more pitches the 3rd and 4th hitters see while on deck. Uribe's OBP wasn't bad, but he is too much of a free swinger.

Another option would be to bat Rowand 3rd, which would be alright until Frank returns. Dye and Konerko are similar types of hitters. Neither has speed, but both hit well in the clutch, hit for power, and make contact. If either hits behind Frank that guy could lead the league hitting into double plays. This lineup could be helped a lot from a solid year from Crazy Carl. As a left handed bat int he middle of the lineup he could do some damage and keep other teams from shutting us down with a tough righty - although Frank and Pauly hit righties better some years.

It's interesting that no one wants Willie (including me) and many are excited abouit Pods (not me). But Willie's OBP was over .340 last year, while Pods's was around .310. A lot is riding on Pods' ability to get on base. KW said taht he expects something in between Pods' excellent rookie year and last year's disappointing season. Hopefully that will heppen and Pds' OBP will be .350 or higher. If not, we may see more of what has plagued us the past couple of years - solo home runs and too many men left on base.

MisterB
01-24-2005, 01:44 AM
It sounds like Ozzie is leaning toward Uribe in the 2-hole. If so, he's wrong. Uribe, as a middle infielder with decent (not great) speed seems more prototypicall for 2nd than an F with power like Arron Rowand, but Rowand is better to bat 2nd. He has better speed, but more importantly, he works the count better than anyone on the team other than Frank. The more pitches the 2nd batter sees, the more chances for the 9th and 1st hitters to steal, and the more pitches the 3rd and 4th hitters see while on deck. Uribe's OBP wasn't bad, but he is too much of a free swinger.

This is the second time I've seen this claim about Rowand. It's just not true. Rowand is an aggressive, 'see-ball, hit-ball' kind of hitter. He doesn't walk at any higher rate than Uribe. Last year Crede and Perez were the only Sox players (min. 300 PA) that saw less pitches per plate appearance than Rowand. I'd rather see ARow in a position lower in the order where he can drive in runs.

As a general comment on the original question, the American League average in OBP last season was about .335, and AL leadoff hitters averaged roughly .350. I'd say .360 OBP and up would be ideal for a leadoff man, but there aren't many of them around.

Foulke29
01-24-2005, 02:04 AM
I read something that worries me. A.J. Piersaakdjlkclei is the #1 worst player in the league at number of pitches seen per AB. Now, I hope that trend ends, because guys who don't take a lot of pitches fade quickly...

Mohoney
01-24-2005, 02:26 AM
I read something that worries me. A.J. Piersaakdjlkclei is the #1 worst player in the league at number of pitches seen per AB. Now, I hope that trend ends, because guys who don't take a lot of pitches fade quickly...

But the flip side is that he only struck out 27 times. The guy may not see many pitches, but he's amazing at making contact.

If we put somebody with speed, like Rowand, at #6 ahead of Pierzynski at #7, AJ will keep rallies going simply by not striking out like Valentin did in the #7 spot. I hope he gets ample opportunities with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs, because with his ability to make contact, he could really rack up some RBIs.

Whoever is hitting in that #6 spot better be stealing bases, though, to negate the double play ball as much as possible.

MisterB
01-24-2005, 02:31 AM
I read something that worries me. A.J. Piersaakdjlkclei is the #1 worst player in the league at number of pitches seen per AB. Now, I hope that trend ends, because guys who don't take a lot of pitches fade quickly...

AJ's career BA is .294, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. He's just not a guy I'd want batting immediately behind a notorious basestealer. Vlad Guerrero and Nomar both have about the same pitches/PA rate as AJ, so it's not that big a deal.

nccwsfan
01-24-2005, 08:16 AM
Whoever is hitting in that #6 spot better be stealing bases, though, to negate the double play ball as much as possible.

Thanks for all of the great replies, and I'd love to hear more....so if I understand right here's what I see:

#1 and #2 guys should have an average OBP of .335 to .340; if they can be .350 or above that's icing on the cake. Finally, you also want to make certain that they have a respectable SLG.

#3, #4, and #5 guys should have a high OPS (which makes perfect sense), average OPS should be .790, and if you're over .950 you're having a pretty darn good year.

#6 would ideally be a high OPS guy that has speed and can work the count.

Does that sound about right? Thanks again- I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts on this. Seems like the Uribe/Rowand positioning in the order is something that will be debated throughout the year...certainly something worth watching.

ssviland
01-24-2005, 10:02 AM
Thanks for all of the great replies, and I'd love to hear more....so if I understand right here's what I see:

#1 and #2 guys should have an average OBP of .335 to .340; if they can be .350 or above that's icing on the cake. Finally, you also want to make certain that they have a respectable SLG.


Pretty much, except that OBP for #1 & #2 should be AT LEAST .340, and most winning teams have a guy at .360 or better. As MisterB said, those guys are rare. Slugging is secondary at 1 & 2, as OBP is secondary at 6 and below. Icing on the cake would be .380 or better. Durham was .390 in 2001. We miss him. Of course, Rickey Henderson was over .400 every year, and is easily the prototype for a leadoff batter.

MisterB:
I haven't looked at where guys ranked last year as far as pitches per plate appearance, but in past seasons Aaron was up there. But watch his at bats! He and Konerko are both tough with 2 strikes. I have seen AR draw the count full on many occasion, and force 8 or 9 pitches. Last season Walker might have had him being more aggressive, but he is better at working a count than Uribe. I will say that Uribe does tend to foul off a lot of pitches, looking for a certain pitch. So either one could do well at 2.

Ol' No. 2
01-24-2005, 10:23 AM
This is the second time I've seen this claim about Rowand. It's just not true. Rowand is an aggressive, 'see-ball, hit-ball' kind of hitter. He doesn't walk at any higher rate than Uribe. Last year Crede and Perez were the only Sox players (min. 300 PA) that saw less pitches per plate appearance than Rowand. I'd rather see ARow in a position lower in the order where he can drive in runs.

As a general comment on the original question, the American League average in OBP last season was about .335, and AL leadoff hitters averaged roughly .350. I'd say .360 OBP and up would be ideal for a leadoff man, but there aren't many of them around.Pitches per PA:

Uribe: 3.83
Rowand: 3.58

We can argue about the relative importance of SLG for 1-2 hitters etc., etc. all day. There's no right or wrong answer. Fact is, you can't manufacture players like you can in a video game. You have who you have. No one has an "ideal" team.

It all has to work together, and the relative importance of one stat or the other depends on who else you have in the lineup. If you have very good sluggers in the 3-4-5 spots, then high OBP in the 1-2 spots becomes more valuable than SLG. If the 3-4-5 guys are just average SLG, then you need more extra base hits from the 1-2 guys to get them into scoring position. The bottom of the order is where it's important to not make outs and turn the lineup over. You also need "protection" for your big boppers.

Dadawg_77
01-24-2005, 11:09 AM
OBP is about 1.8 times as important then SLG. OPS is easy to calculate, reads like a traditional baseball stat and does good job in rating the ability of player so people like to use it even with better stats out there.

Anything under .340 OBP for a leadoff man is horrible. Last year the Sox produce a .349 OBP form the leadoff spot.

A good way to see how patient a hitter is ISOWalk (OBP-AVG). Frank Thomas's was .161 in 2004 while Rowand's was .051 and Uribe's was .044. Hitters lose the ability to make contract quicker then the ability to take a walk thus slap hitters are more likely to become busts then other types hitters. This is a major question as the Sox acquired a lot of slap hitter this off season. One of the reasons Frank Thomas has been good for so long is he gets a good portion of his production from walks.

Flight #24
01-24-2005, 11:20 AM
OBP is about 1.8 times as important then SLG. OPS is easy to calculate, reads like a traditional baseball stat and does good job in rating the ability of player so people like to use it even with better stats out there.

Anything under .340 OBP for a leadoff man is horrible. Last year the Sox produce a .349 OBP form the leadoff spot.



Last year in MLB, there were 10 teams with leadoff guys over .360. Another 5 had guys over .350, so it looks like .350 makes for an "average" OBP for leadoff, at least based on 2004 stats.

Dadawg_77
01-24-2005, 12:09 PM
Last year in MLB, there were 10 teams with leadoff guys over .360. Another 5 had guys over .350, so it looks like .350 makes for an "average" OBP for leadoff, at least based on 2004 stats.

Did you look at runs scored or wins in corrolation with leadoff OBP? A leadoff hitter below .340 kills the team. The Mets and the DBacks were below .300 OBP for the leadoff hitter. Would you rather be closer to them or Boston (.370)?

Flight #24
01-24-2005, 12:24 PM
Did you look at runs scored or wins in corrolation with leadoff OBP? A leadoff hitter below .340 kills the team. The Mets and the DBacks were below .300 OBP for the leadoff hitter. Would you rather be closer to them or Boston (.370)?

Nah, I just ranked the MLB players by OBP and cherry picked the ones that I knew (or thought) were leadoffs. Quick & dirty. That eliminated some things like for example, BoSox having 2 potential leadoff guys (Damon & Bellhorn) with .360+OBP.

That type of correlation would be interesting to do, but I think it would eliminate a lot of other variables, like for example, the BoSox having Ortiz & M-Ram batting 3-4.