NL East Report

Atlanta Braves: (66-48; Leader)

The Braves took two of three from the Houston Astros, and will open up a weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mike Minor made his debut against the Astros, going 6 IP with 4 Runs, 3 Earned. The big news out of Atlanta, though, is that we may have seen the last of Larry “Chipper” Jones. Jones, expected to retire after the season, suffered a torn ACL, ending his season. Jones, a former #1 overall pick, would retire as the only switch hitter to bat .300 with 300 HR’s, as well as being Public Enemy #1 in Queens for many years.

Philadelphia Phillies: (64-50; -2)

The Phillies took two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers, and will head to Citi Field. Wilson Valdez is having a pretty good August, batting .342 with an OPS of .796. In Carlos Ruiz’s last 15 games, he’s batting .377/.387/.639/1.026 with 3 HR and 17 RBI. Pitching matchups look like Hamels-Dickey, and Halladay-TBD(Misch?).

Florida Marlins: (57-56; -8.5)

The Marlins completed a sweep of the Washington Nationals, and will head to Cincinnati. Josh Johnson vs. Edinson Volquez in the opener.

Washington Nationals: (49-66; -17.5)

The Nationals were promptly swept by the Marlins, with Stephen Strasburg having his first really bad start. They play the Diamondbacks this weekend.

Stat School With Sach C.: OPS+

Okay, so there’s been a fair bit of debate on this site over the significance of OPS+. So for the uninitiated, what is it, and why is it so revered?

Well, I presume you’ve all heard of OPS, OnBase% plus Slugging%. Well, OPS+ is OBP normalized in relation to the league, plus SLG normalized in relation to the league. Essentially OBP divided by lgOBP and SLG divided by lgSLG. It is then multiplied by 100, to turn it from a percentage stat, to a whole number stat. Along the way, it is normalized for Park Factors, to equal out any variances in the dimensions of the ballparks.

An OPS+ of 100 is exactly the league average. Above 100 is above average, above 125 is approximately All-Star level, and above 150 is league-elite level. Below 100 is below average. Below 75 is not-worthy-of-starting.

Effectiveness: Just as with any stat, there are things you miss. For example, leadoff hitters will always have average, or below average OPS+’s, because of the style they play. Also, much like how OPS can be manipulated by intentional and “unintentional” intentional walks, the same is true here. Case-in-point, Barry Bonds’s absurd 268 OPS+ in 2002.

My judgment, is that this is a very good offensive stat because it really isn’t that flukey. I personally like this for any non-leadoff hitter.

As for the Mets, David Wright leads the team with an OPS+ of 127, with Angel Pagan at 125. Ike Davis and Jason Bay hover just above 100. Jose Reyes is just under 100. Jeff Francoeur sits at 82. BTW: he’s not the worst on the team, Luis Castillo’s 69 is.