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Best OPS+ in 2009

Posted by Andy on October 6, 2009

Here are the top finishers for OPS+ in 2009 (among players qualified for the batting title):

  Cnt Player            **OPS+** Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Albert Pujols        188   2009  29 STL NL 160 700 568 124 186 45  1 47 135 115  44  64   9   0   8  23  16  4  .327  .443  .658 1.101 *3/D      
    2 Joe Mauer            176   2009  26 MIN AL 137 600 519  94 189 29  1 28  96  74  13  62   2   0   5  13   4  1  .364  .442  .586 1.028 *2D       
    3 Prince Fielder       164   2009  25 MIL NL 162 719 591 103 177 35  3 46 141 110  21 138   9   0   9  14   2  3  .299  .412  .602 1.014 *3        
    4 Adrian Gonzalez      163   2009  27 SDP NL 160 681 552  90 153 27  2 40  99 119  22 109   5   1   4  23   1  1  .277  .407  .551  .958 *3/D      
    5 Joey Votto           152   2009  25 CIN NL 131 544 469  82 151 38  1 25  84  70  10 106   4   0   1   8   4  1  .322  .414  .567  .981 *3        
    6 Hanley Ramirez       151   2009  25 FLA NL 151 652 576 101 197 42  1 24 106  61  14 101   9   1   5   9  27  8  .342  .410  .543  .953 *6        
    7 Derrek Lee           147   2009  33 CHC NL 141 615 532  91 163 36  2 35 111  76   6 109   3   0   4  12   1  0  .306  .393  .579  .972 *3/D      
    8 Mark Teixeira        146   2009  29 NYY AL 156 707 609 103 178 43  3 39 122  81   9 114  12   0   5  13   2  0  .292  .383  .565  .948 *3/D      
    9 Pablo Sandoval       144   2009  22 SFG NL 153 633 572  79 189 44  5 25  90  52  13  83   4   0   5  10   5  5  .330  .387  .556  .943 *53/2D    
   10 Ryan Braun           144   2009  25 MIL NL 158 708 635 113 203 39  6 32 114  57   1 121  13   0   3   6  20  6  .320  .386  .551  .937 *7        
   11 Ben Zobrist          144   2009  28 TBR AL 152 599 501  91 149 28  7 27  91  91   4 104   2   1   4   7  17  6  .297  .405  .543  .948 *496/783D5 

There are a few surprises here.

  • Joey Votto makes it with just 25 homers, but of course he didn't play a full season.
  • Hanley Ramirez makes it with 24 HR and did play a full season. Lots of hits and doubles helped him out.
  • After playing well in limited time in 2008, Ben Zobrist posted an awesome first full season. Given that he's already 28 years old, though, don't be surprised if 2009 turns out to be the best year of his career.
  • It's a different story for Pablo Sandoval, who also also had a fantastic first year. He's only 22, though. (Actually 23 right now.) The similarity scores are not yet updated through 2009 but I'll be very interested to see to whom Sandoval compares--my guess is that it's going to be some famous dead people.
  • Finally, below are the top OPS+ figures among qualified batters over the last 6 seasons (going back to 2004.) Barry Bonds is the last guy other than Pujols to post such high OPS+ figures.
  Cnt Player            **OPS+** Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Barry Bonds          263   2004  39 SFG NL 147 617 373 129 135 27  3 45 101 232 120  41   9   0   3   5   6  1  .362  .609  .812 1.421 *7/D      
    2 Albert Pujols        190   2008  28 STL NL 148 641 524 100 187 44  0 37 116 104  34  54   5   0   8  16   7  3  .357  .462  .653 1.115 *3/D4     
    3 Albert Pujols        188   2009  29 STL NL 160 700 568 124 186 45  1 47 135 115  44  64   9   0   8  23  16  4  .327  .443  .658 1.101 *3/D      
    4 Travis Hafner        179   2006  29 CLE AL 129 563 454 100 140 31  1 42 117 100  16 111   7   0   2  10   0  0  .308  .439  .659 1.098 *D/3      
    5 Albert Pujols        178   2006  26 STL NL 143 634 535 119 177 33  1 49 137  92  28  50   4   0   3  20   7  2  .331  .431  .671 1.102 *3        
    6 Alex Rodriguez       177   2007  31 NYY AL 158 708 583 143 183 31  0 54 156  95  11 120  21   0   9  15  24  4  .314  .422  .645 1.067 *5/D      
    7 Joe Mauer            176   2009  26 MIN AL 137 600 519  94 189 29  1 28  96  74  13  62   2   0   5  13   4  1  .364  .442  .586 1.028 *2D       
    8 Chipper Jones        174   2008  36 ATL NL 128 534 439  82 160 24  1 22  75  90  16  61   1   0   4  13   4  0  .364  .470  .574 1.044 *5/D      
    9 Derrek Lee           174   2005  29 CHC NL 158 691 594 120 199 50  3 46 107  85  23 109   5   0   7  12  15  3  .335  .418  .662 1.080 *3        
   10 Alex Rodriguez       173   2005  29 NYY AL 162 715 605 124 194 29  1 48 130  91   8 139  16   0   3   8  21  6  .321  .421  .610 1.031 *5/6D     

OK, I know I just wrote "finally" above, but here's one more tidbit: highest OPS+ numbers for guys catching at least 50% of the time:

  Cnt Player            **OPS+** Year Age Tm  Lg  G   PA  AB  R   H  2B 3B HR RBI  BB IBB  SO HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions
+----+-----------------+--------+----+---+---+--+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+
    1 Mike Piazza          185   1997  28 LAD NL 152 633 556 104 201 32  1 40 124  69  11  77   3   0   5  19   5  1  .362  .431  .638 1.069 *2/D      
    2 Joe Mauer            176   2009  26 MIN AL 137 600 519  94 189 29  1 28  96  74  13  62   2   0   5  13   4  1  .364  .442  .586 1.028 *2D       
    3 Mike Piazza          172   1995  26 LAD NL 112 475 434  82 150 17  0 32  93  39  10  80   1   0   1  10   1  0  .346  .400  .606 1.006 *2        
    4 Mike Piazza          166   1996  27 LAD NL 148 631 547  87 184 16  0 36 105  81  21  93   1   0   2  21   0  3  .336  .422  .563  .985 *2        
    5 Johnny Bench         166   1972  24 CIN NL 147 652 538  87 145 22  2 40 125 100  23  84   2   0  12  18   6  6  .270  .379  .541  .920 *29/35    
    6 Art Wilson           166   1915  29 CHI FL  96 351 269  44  82 11  2  7  31  65   0  38   1  16   0   0   8  0  .305  .442  .439  .881 *2        
    7 Mike Grady           166   1904  34 STL NL 101 363 323  44 101 15 11  5  43  31   0   0   2   7   0   0   6  0  .313  .376  .474  .850 *23/45    
    8 Chris Hoiles         162   1993  28 BAL AL 126 503 419  80 130 28  0 29  82  69   4  94   9   3   3  10   1  1  .310  .416  .585 1.001 *2/D      
    9 Carlton Fisk         162   1972  24 BOS AL 131 514 457  74 134 28  9 22  61  52   6  83   4   1   0  11   5  2  .293  .370  .538  .908 *2        
   10 Ernie Lombardi       161   1942  34 BSN NL 105 347 309  32 102 14  0 11  46  37   0  12   1   0   0  17   1  0  .330  .403  .482  .885 *2        

Johnny Bench posted by far the lowest batting average in this group but also mashed 40 HR at a time when that was a mind-boggling total.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 9:20 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.

25 Responses to “Best OPS+ in 2009”

  1. Just a heads up that today's play-in game does count in the season stats so Mauer's numbers are not quite final. Just 4-5 more plate appearance so it won't move much.

    Also, huge games from Jason Kubel and/or Miguel Cabrera could let them crack the top ten. Both have OPS+'s of 142 right now.

  2. Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding me. I feel like today's game doesn't matter because I really cannot imagine either the Tigers or Twins beating the Yankees.

  3. Ryan Braun was quietly great this year...the only 200H / 100R / 100 RBI guy in the Majors...since '07 actually. If he can repeat that in '10, he'd be the first back-to-back since Mattingly ('85-'86). How underrated was Mattingly? And on that note, the last to do it before him was Cecil Cooper ('82-'83)...and before him, Jim Rice, who did it in three straight seasons ('77-'79). Before this year, none was a HOFer. Maybe Cooper and Mattingly will get their due as their eligibility nears the end.

  4. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Park factors have not been finalized, so these OPS+ numbers are not accurate yet.

    Mattingly was underrated? That's a new one on me...

  5. Yeah...Mattingly was my favorite player and yet I still cannot see any sensible argument that he was underrated. He doesn't deserve HOF consideration because he didn't stay good for long enough, thanks to his back injuries. Mattingly DID have what many other HOF candidates lack, which was a period where he was unquestionably the best player in the majors--I don't think many would argue that he was the best combination power/average hitter from 1985 to 1987. But by 1990 his career as a star player was over, giving him only 6 such years.

  6. Mauer took home the quad-fecta by leading the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. He also led in OPS+ and finished 6th in hits while batting most of the season in the 2nd and 3rd position of a (possibly) playoff bound team that scored the 6th most runs in the league. Yet he finished 15th in RBIs with 96. He didn't even have the most RBIs on his team, with Jason Kubel coming in at 102. I wonder if that discrepancy is because of time missed or if there's something going on in the background.

    Digging a little bit deeper into his splits...
    OPS+
    RISP: 179
    Men On: 170
    12-: 167
    1-3: 34
    -23: 163
    123: 210
    Ok, so other than with runners on first and third (15 PA) he was great in most RBI situations. Even his clutch stats are impressive.
    2 out, RISP: 229
    Maybe no one was on base when he came up. Looking at MIN splits this season, 1st batter had an OBP of .381, 2nd batter had an OBP of .307. That .307 is pretty bad, but the .381 should provide ample opportunity.

    I guess those 25 games he didn't play made a big difference. He averaged 0.7 R/G so if he had played a more typical 155 game season he would have about 108 RBI which would put him tied for 5th. Makes you wonder if this playoff game would even be happening if Mauer hadn't been injured.

  7. Amazing how many guys who lead in OBP and SLG also lead in OPS. Truly AMAZING!

  8. Queens Qrew Says:

    If you look at Mattingly's player comps by age, his Hall of Fame case (which hasn't much water) loses credibility.

    In his early 20s, he may have played like a Frank Thomas. But as he aged he became more like a Will Clark or Steve Garvey, before retiring at 34.

    How many Hall of Famers retired at 34?

  9. Johnny Twisto, Andy, et al, OPS+ is a flawed statistic because it applies a subjective multiplier (the "average" PF for a park) to an individual's objective statistics (his observable OPS), without any attempt to measure how the park helped that specific player.
    - David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis get the same PF even though two hitters could scarcely be less similar.
    - OPS+ treats Joe Mauer as if he's hitting in a pitcher's park even though his OPS is an incredible 246 points BETTER at home. In a neutral park his offensive value would be behind Pujols, Fielder, Votto, Gonzales AND Braun.
    - Teixeira was 131 OPS points better at home. A-Rod, however, was not helped at all by Yankee Stadium and in fact hit better on the road. The average PF for their park is irrelevant to these two players.

    These are just a few examples.

    Here instead are the MLB leaders in Neutral Field OPS (NFOPS) below. NFOPS = (ROPS * 15 + HOPS)/16. (The multiplier itself isn't that crucial, although it would have been easier if the leagues were balanced). This statistic comes a lot closer to approximating a player's value a neutral park based on his actual statistics, instead of an average PF.

    1. Pujols 1.094
    2. Fielder 1.041
    3. A. Gonzales 1.033
    4. Votto .989
    5. Dunn .980
    6. Braun .970
    7. Mauer .968
    8. Howard .948
    9. Lind .938
    10. A. Rodriguez .937

  10. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Djibouti, look at Mauer's gamelogs page. He had about 6% fewer runners on base than the average batter with his number of plate appearances. I assume if you compare him to other #3 hitters, the discrepancy is even greater.

    Jksesq, you seem to ignore every past response I've make to your comments. Every statistic is "flawed" if you use it to measure things it doesn't measure. You are making assumptions about how parks affect certain players based on samples too small to be useful. Your NFOPS implicitly penalizes players simply for hitting better at home (which most players do) over 70-80 games.

  11. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    For example: Take two players on the same team. Player A has a season OPS of .825, Player B's is just .713. But A has a normal split of .850 at home, and .800 on the road. B had an OPS of just .600 at home, but .825 on the road. Your NFOPS for A would be .804, and for B would be .809. Are you arguing that B actually had a _better_ season than A? When his road OPS was only slightly better than A's, and his home OPS was horrible? And there is no reason to assume his home OPS was low because the park hurts him. Most likely, a large part of it is because it's only 300 AB and he just didn't hit well in those AB. It is _possible_ the park hurts him, but you need more evidence.

  12. kingturtle Says:

    And here are the lowest OPS+s for qualifying batters, by position, by league...think of this as the sliver sluggers awards:

    AL:
    C: A.J. Pierzynski, 93
    1B: Aubrey Huff, 79
    2B: Placido Polanco, 90
    3B: Jhonny Peralta, 79
    SS: Yuniesky Betancourt, 66
    OF: B.J. Upton, 78
    OF: Alexis Rios, 80
    OF: Vernon Wells, 87

    NL:
    C: Jason Kendall, 70
    1B: Daniel Murphy, 94
    2B: Kazuo Matsui, 75
    3B: Emilio Bonifacio, 63
    SS: Edgar Renteria, 67
    OF: Randy Winn, 76
    OF: Chris Young, 81
    OF: Garret Anderson, 85

  13. jksesq1: The rationale for adjusting based on park factor (not on the individual player's actual home/ road split) is that we want to evaluate a player's contribution to his team's ability to win games. To create the same number of wins, a hitter in a park that averages 5 runs a game per team needs to create more runs in that park than in a park that averages 4 runs a game per team. Ortiz and Youkilis both have their OPS adjusted to reflect the degree to which Fenway requires more runs per game per team in order to win than the average park. That adjustment is the same for every player whose home park is Fenway. The idea is that such an adjustment puts all hitters acorss the league on the same scale in which the number of runs they create are adjusted to reflect a common contribution to their team's ability to win games. The OPS+ park adjustment is not "flawed" from that point of view -- it is set up to accomplish exactly what it sets out to do.

    The adjustment you propose does something very different. It tries to do a "what if" adjustment -- what if player X had played in X park, what would he have done? The park adjustment in OPS+ is not a "what if" adjustment. It is an adjustment intended to reflect what the player did in fact accomplish. It simply tries to reflect that accomplishment in a common currency of wins that can be applied to all players playing in various parks that require more or fewer runs to achieve wins.

  14. I'd also point out to jkesq1 that over Mauer's career his OPS has been better on the road than at home, and that his home/road split difference in 2009 is .146, not .246. There is no reason to think that his home park has helped him -- we're just looking at a small sample. But the principle remains: to the extent it takes fewer runs to win a game in the Metrodome than in an average park, then if Mauer's skills are such that he hits especially well there, we still want OPS+ to be adjusted to reflect that when he creats 10 runs in the Metrodome that is more valuable to the Twins in helping them win than the same 10 runs created in an average park.

  15. Queens Qrew asked, "How many Hall of Famers retired at 34?"

    I don't know. Addie Joss died at 31. Ross Youngs died at 30. Tommy McCarthy retired at 32. So did Ralph Kiner. Freddie Lindstrom was done at 30. There were probably others.

  16. TheGoofyOne Says:

    Mattingly and Puckett are almost exact, other than SB (favoring Puckett) and Ks (favoring Mattingly); both were not only great fielders, but field generals.

    Oh, sure the argument is that Puckett's peak was cut short by injury...but so was Mattingly's! And don't forget, that means that Mattingly was so good at his peak that even the faltering later in his career left him with the same numbers as Puckett.

    Frankly, I'm not sure Puckett belongs, though he was my favorite non-Yankee, but I think it's a travesty to have one in and one out.

  17. I ran a PI search for seasons by a player with 0 or more PAs, checked Hall of Fame, and set it for ascending order. That gave me the Hall of Famers with the shortest careers and the display also shows the ages of the players, so you can see pretty quickly the young retireees. Post-WWII early retirees: Koufax at 30 and Drysdale at 32, Bobby Doerr at 33, Catfish Hunter 33, Lefty Gomez 34, Hal Newhouser 34, Lou Boudreau 34, George Kell 34

  18. Sandberg also retired at 34, but he came back. :-)

  19. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    Goofy, Puckett was a CF and Mattingly a 1B. Mattingly's career offensive numbers comparing to Puckett's is not really a point in his favor.

    Moreover, the cut-off for borderline HOFers has to come _somewhere_. Some players in that echelon are going to be in, and some will be out. It's not a "travesty" that one makes it and another doesn't unless one is obviously better than the other.

  20. Puckett and Mattingly do have similar numbers, but Puckett clearly has the edge. They played almost the exact same number of games but Kirby had 150 more hits.

  21. The other thing is that Puckett was very solid through his whole career. Mattingly had a few incredible years, a few other good years, and a bunch of so-so years.

  22. none of you have mentioned mattingly's fielding prowess. nine gold gloves over a ten-year span.

  23. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    You're right King. I wasn't going to get into an expansive discussion of all his merits in this forum. I do like Mattingly and he was an excellent fielder. But I'm not sure how much value that adds at his position. And while it hurts me to admit it, he probably didn't deserve the '85 MVP.

  24. Queens Qrew Says:

    I understand that there were some young Hall of Famers. But with some notable exceptions (Kiner, Koufax) they were mostly the bottom of the group.

    And still, Mattingly would be far towards the bottom of the list, playing-time wise. And he just didn't put up good enough numbers in those years.

  25. Gold gloves, schmold schmloves. Mattingly was a great fielder, yes. One of the best, yes. Voting for gold gloves goes only on reputation, not merit. Defense, especially from a position like 1B, is overrated in terms of overall value to the team.