Does OPS Correlate Better To Runs Scored Than RBI?

An article by posted on October 3, 2011

I’m sure regular readers here are familiar with the debate between XtreemIcon and me regarding the relevance of On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG) compared to Runs Batted In (RBI) as it correlates to Runs Scored (RS).

Now that the season is done I thought it was worth looking at the actual data to see what really correlates better to scoring runs: OBP, SLG, OPS(OBP+SLG) or RBI.

2011

(Click to enlarge)

The above chart shows the average differential in correlation between OBP, SLG OPS (OBP+SLG) and RBI.

RBI on average will correlate to RS ranking within plus or minus 0.800 of actual RS rank. It was never off by more than 4 for any team.

OBP will, on average, correlate to RS rank within plus or minus 2.600 of actual RS rank and was off by 12 in its worst prediction.

SLG was a bit better only missing by 2.467 on average with its worst prediction off by 6.

OPS (Which is a combo of OBP and SLG) fared not much better still missing by 1.600 on average but did not miss more than 5 to SLGs 6! Still worse than RBI did on prediction.

Neither OBP, SLG or OPS could predict who would be in the top 10 of RS but RBI was PERFECT as it predicted all of the top 10 teams.

What is significant though is the margin of error for any given team.

The Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds have no business being 6th and 7th in RS if OBP and SLG are the key. They should be much lower. Out of the top 10 for sure. But they are not and why is that? Their 7th and 9th ranked RBI of course.

XtreemIcon would like to limit the proof to the top 5 teams, I wonder why? Could it be that #6 team the Toronto Blue Jays, Whose RBI predicted would be there but his OBP and SLG said they had no business being in the top 10 at all?

He tries to argue against this by demanding a bottom 5 team in OBP has to be in the Top 5 to prove OBP wrong. If a bottom 5 team was top 5 in RBI then it would! Unfortunately most bottom 5 teams suck at everything including OBP and RBI.

In the end OPS predicted 9 out of 10 of the top 10 teams while RBI predicted them all.

2010

RBI on average will correlate to RS ranking within plus or minus 0.800 of actual RS rank. It was never off by more than 4 for any team.

OBP will on average correlate to RS rank within plus or minus 3.600 of actual RS rank and was off by 17 in its worst prediction.

SLG was a bit better than OBP but worse compared to 2011 missing by 2.933 on average with its worst prediction off by 11.

OPS fared better still missing by 2.600 on average but whose worse prediction was off by 11.

Neither OBP, SLG nor OPS could accurately predict who would show up in the top 10 of RS yet RBI was PERFECT.

If what XtreemIcon says is true then Tampa Toronto and the Phillies should not be in the top 10 under any circumstances. The Tigers and Brewers should be instead. They fall just short but where their RBI says they should pretty much be.

The Toronto Blue jays again throw a wicked wrench into the OBP/SLG theory of correlation. It also pretty much dowses the defended notion that OBP and SLG produce High RBI and not the fact that High RBi is merely recorded as an OB and in many cases is a hit that contains a heavier SLG as well but the SLG and the OB itself is not required for a high RBI result to occur.

Toronto was high in SLG low in OBP which tends to suggest they hit a lot of Solo HRs which is the one stat they lead the league in. And as I have proposed many times what gets you that HR happens LONG before any base is touched, No base is in play when he whacked the ball over the fence and the fact of the TIMING that the RBI was BUREAUCRATICALLY recorded after the OB is inconsequential. The act that CAUSED the RBI was done in the batter’s box not after he touched a base.

The Phillies shouldn’t have been in the top 10 at all if OBP and SLG is significant but the RBI being key relates their ranking quite well.

And Tampa should be no better than 10th in RS as their OPS is 14th and pretty much would predict them OUT of the top ten… Again it is the RBI that is the key and it really doesn’t seem to matter what your OBP, SLG or OPS is in regards to getting those RBIs.

2009

Hmm… 2009 doesn’t seem to disprove any of the above points I made. In fact it shows RBI is even better this year with a 0.400 differential its worst prediction was off by 2.

OBP correlated to RS rank within plus or minus 3.933 of actual RS rank (Its worst year) and was off by 14 in its worst prediction.

SLG was a bit worse this year missing by 2.533 on average with its worst prediction off by 11.

OPS came closer to average still missing by 1.533 on average with a miss of 6 as its worst prediction.

OPS and SLG could tell you who were going to be in the top 10 this year, but not what order, RBI was near perfect and only missed because it swapped the Rockies with the Blue Jays in the rankings.

OBP failed miserably in predicting the list of top 10 teams on its own.

Site Note: Charts were also created for 2008, 2007 and 2006, but not included so that the page will load for our dial-up friends. Email the site if you would like them. 

2008

Again RBI predicts plus or minus 0 .667 on average the correct ranking of RS compared to 3.900, 3.100, and 2.167 of OBP, SLG and OPS.

OBP worst prediction off by 11, SLG off by 16, OPS off by 13, RBI only 3.

Twins should not be in the top 5 if you read the OBP/SLG/OPS but RBI predicts precise placement.

Mets shouldn’t be there either if RS needs OBP and SLG to be produced.

St Louis did everything you claimed was important to scoring runs and increasing RS yet wasn’t even in the top 10 of Runs Scored. WHAT HAPPENED?

2007

Again RBI predicts plus or minus 1.133 on average the correct ranking of RS compared to 3.833, 3.300, and 2.300 of OBP, SLG and OPS.

OBP worst prediction off by 15, SLG off by 11, OPS off by 9, RBI only off by 3.

Only case where OBP/SLG/OPS come up with the correct answer when RBI does not is Atlanta.

But it also says Angels Rangers and Indians should not be there yet they are. RBI predicts them accurately as top 10 teams in RS

One more year just for good measure.

2006

RBI predicts plus or minus 1 .033 on average the correct ranking of RS compared to 4.800, 3.600, and 2.333 of OBP, SLG and OPS.

OBP worst prediction off by 16, SLG off by 11, OPS off by 10, and yet again RBI only off by 3 at most.

Damn those pesky Toronto Blue Jays who have in most years screwed up your assertion regarding OBP/SLG/OPS as in this year they should have been right at the top of RS yet only wound up 12th.

Now with all that data displayed and seeing how much of a crap shoot OBP/SLG/OPS is at predicting who is going to score the most runs does it really make using those crap-shoots as a good judge of who will help you score those runs?

Or is as the data clearly shows, that if you target players who consistently drive in runs, it will translate FAR BETTER in increasing Runs Scored than using OBP/SLG or OPS?

I think this should finally put to rest this supposed 30 years of research no one has ever seen that says OBP+SLG is the great prerequisite to Runs Scored when clearly it doesn’t correlate at all.

Good teams who score a lot of runs will in MANY cases have good numbers in OBP and SLG as well. And saying that higher OBP+SLG will result in higher Runs Scored is Simply Not True.

In the charts shown there are a ton of teams with higher OBP and SLG than so many other teams and yet they still did not score more runs.

I was challenged to name one team with a low ranked OBP that finished the season ranked high in runs scored. The Detroit Tigers had the sixth worse OBP in 2006 and they were eighth in runs scored. So much for the OBP.

This Fan Shot was submitted by Mike (Metsie). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over eleven-thousand Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com.

About the Author ()

Share your opinions with over 25,000 daily readers on MMO and write your own Fan Shot. If we like what we read, we'll feature you on our front page with the rest of of our great content. Simply email us at GetMetsmerized@aol.com and we'll take care of the rest. Then you can tell your all your friends and family that you were published on Mets Merized Online - the #1 Mets Fan Site on the web!

Comments are closed.