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Best OPS+ with no homers

Posted by Andy on April 2, 2009

Let's take a look at the best OPS+ numbers posted in a qualified season where the batter hit no homers. (For noobs, "qualified" means having enough plate appearances to qualify as champion for rate-based statistics such as batting average.)

Going back to 1901, here are the top such seasons:

  Cnt Player            **OPS+** HR Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+--+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Nap Lajoie           169    0 1906  31 CLE AL 152 655 602  88 214 48  9  91  30   0   0   6  17   0   0  20  0  .355  .392  .465  .857 *45/6
    2 Eddie Collins        156    0 1912  25 PHA AL 153 673 543 137 189 25 11  64 101   0   0   0  29   0   0  63  0  .348  .450  .435  .885 *4
    3 Tris Speaker         151    0 1915  27 BOS AL 150 652 547 108 176 25 12  69  81   0  14   7  17   0   0  29 25  .322  .416  .411  .827 *8
    4 Ginger Beaumont      149    0 1902  25 PIT NL 130 599 541 100 193 21  6  67  39   0   0   4  15   0   0  33  0  .357  .404  .418  .822 *8
    5 Matty McIntyre       148    0 1908  28 DET AL 151 672 569 105 168 24 13  28  83   0   0   7  13   0   0  20  0  .295  .392  .383  .775 *7
    6 Nap Lajoie           147    0 1912  37 CLE AL 117 500 448  66 165 34  4  90  28   0   0   7  17   0   0  18  0  .368  .414  .462  .876 *43
    7 Tris Speaker         144    0 1918  30 CLE AL 127 549 471  73 150 33 11  61  64   0   9   3  11   0   0  27  0  .318  .403  .435  .838 *8
    8 Johnny Evers         144    0 1908  26 CHC NL 126 509 416  83 125 19  6  37  66   0   0   5  22   0   0  36  0  .300  .402  .375  .777 *4/9
    9 Eddie Collins        140    0 1916  29 CHW AL 155 673 545  87 168 14 17  52  86   0  36   3  39   0   0  40 21  .308  .405  .396  .801 *4
   10 Roger Bresnahan      140    0 1906  27 NYG NL 124 506 405  69 114 22  4  43  81   0   0  15   5   0   0  25  0  .281  .419  .356  .775 *28/9

It's not surprising that all the leading seasons are from before 1920, as most players didn't hit any homers back then.

Out of the top 31 slots on the above search, all are from before 1927 except for Matty Alou in 1968.

So let's list the top 10 from 1968 onward:

  Cnt Player            **OPS+** HR Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+--+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Matty Alou           130    0 1968  29 PIT NL 146 598 558  59 185 28  4  52  27   6  26   2   7   4  10  18 10  .332  .362  .396  .758
    2 Willie Randolph      126    0 1991  36 MIL AL 124 512 431  60 141 14  3  54  75   3  38   0   3   3  14   4  2  .327  .424  .374  .798 *4/D
    3 Greg Gross           121    0 1974  21 HOU NL 156 676 589  78 185 21  8  36  76   4  39   1   9   1  13  12 20  .314  .393  .377  .770 *97
    4 Miguel Dilone        120    0 1980  25 CLE AL 132 566 528  82 180 30  9  40  28   1  45   2   6   2   7  61 18  .341  .375  .432  .807 *789/D
    5 Pete Rose            119    0 1981  40 PHI NL 107 484 431  73 140 18  5  33  46   5  26   3   1   3   8   4  4  .325  .391  .390  .781 *3
    6 Rod Carew            119    0 1972  26 MIN AL 142 591 535  61 170 21  6  51  43   9  60   2   9   2  11  12  6  .318  .369  .379  .748 *4
    7 Greg Gross           112    0 1975  22 HOU NL 132 558 483  67 142 14 10  41  63   1  37   0   9   3  11   2  2  .294  .373  .364  .737 79
    8 Ozzie Smith          105    0 1992  37 STL NL 132 590 518  73 153 20  2  31  59   4  34   0  12   1  11  43  9  .295  .367  .342  .709 *6
    9 Ozzie Smith          105    0 1987  32 STL NL 158 706 600 104 182 40  4  75  89   3  36   1  12   4   9  43  9  .303  .392  .383  .775 *6
   10 Lance Johnson        104    0 1993  29 CHW AL 147 579 540  75 168 18 14  47  36   1  33   0   3   0  10  35  7  .311  .354  .396  .750 *8
   11 Harold Reynolds      104    0 1989  28 SEA AL 153 677 613  87 184 24  9  43  55   1  45   3   3   3   4  25 18  .300  .359  .369  .728 *4/D
   12 Jerry Remy           100    0 1981  28 BOS AL  88 410 358  55 110  9  1  31  36   2  30   0  13   3   6   9  2  .307  .368  .338  .706 *4

These 12 seasons are, in fact, the only ones at 100 or better. That's really quite surprising to me as there are tons of productive players who aren't home run hitters. I guess the real issue is that even non-homer-hitters still often hit a few these days, and therefore wouldn't qualify for this list. If, for example, I relax the homer requirement to 3 or fewer, then 107 guys make it with an OPS+ of at least 100.

Here's more proof. In the last 10 seasons, only the below players have had a qualified season where they hit zero homers. Amazing!

  Cnt Player            **OPS+** HR Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+--+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Luis Castillo         98    0 1999  23 FLA NL 128 563 487  76 147 23  4  28  67   0  85   0   6   3   3  50 17  .302  .384  .366  .750 *4        
    2 Reggie Willits        96    0 2007  26 LAA AL 136 518 430  74 126 20  1  34  69   2  83   3  11   5   7  27  8  .293  .391  .344  .735 798D      
    3 Scott Podsednik       86    0 2005  29 CHW AL 129 568 507  80 147 28  1  25  47   0  75   3   6   5   7  59 23  .290  .351  .349  .700 *7/8      
    4 Jason Kendall         79    0 2005  31 OAK AL 150 676 601  70 163 28  1  53  50   0  39  20   0   5  27   8  3  .271  .345  .321  .666 *2/D      
    5 Juan Pierre           75    0 2007  29 LAD NL 162 729 668  96 196 24  8  41  33   0  37   6  20   2  10  64 15  .293  .331  .353  .684 *8        
    6 Rey Sanchez           63    0 2001  33 TOT ML 149 579 544  56 153 18  6  37  15   1  49   2  13   5  20  11  1  .281  .300  .336  .636 *6        

That's truly staggering to me, but I guess it makes a lot of sense.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 8:04 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Best OPS+ with no homers”

  1. I notice that every single player you listed hit at least 1 triple.

    Since 1901 there have been 43 players who have qualified for the batting title (as defined at the time) without hitting a home run or a triple. Only 4 players have done it since 1946; Ron Hunt (in '72 and '74), Frank Taveras in 1980 and Mike Squires in 1981. Of the 43 players only 3 posted an OPS+ over 100; Miller Huggins in 1913(118), Jimmy Collins in 1907(111) and Johnny Bassler in 1922(108).

  2. kingturtle Says:

    interesting also is how low their run totals are. hit 20 HRs a year, add 20 runs.

  3. On the first list, Nap Lajoie stands out. No. 2, Eddie Collins, drew 101 walks that year, which obviously helps his OPS. Lajoie had barely half that in his two seasons on the list combined. But with so many hits and so many doubles, he makes up for it.

  4. sfgiantsballin Says:

    These type of players are from a completely different era. The only player nowadays I could see making this list is Emmanuel Burriss, an I'm not even trying to be biased.