When you start dissecting the talent level on the Rangers major league roster to see where they need to improve, you look to the important statistics to help shape your understanding. One very good measuring stick of a hitter’s overall worth is OPS.
OPS is a hitter’s on-base percentage combined with his slugging percentage. The higher the number, the better. So, naturally, the upper end of this stat identifies the cream of the crop hitters. Not just guys who get on base, and not just power hitters, but guys who are real difference makers. They create offense, and offense creates runs. Offense also creates super stars.
The highest possible OPS would be 5.000. That’s because the highest on-base percentage anyone could possibly have is 1.000. That’s if you got on base every single time. And the highest slugging percentage anyone could have is 4.000. Slugging percentage is total bases per at-bat. So, the most total bases you could get in one at-bat is four if you hit a home run. And if you hit a home run every time, your slugging percentage would be 4.000.
If one wants to judge where the Rangers stand, just look at OPS. And that’s when you realize just how far from elite the offense is, and how many players are going to need to make that next step for the Rangers to budge from last place.
Of course, it’s easy to keep reminding yourself that these guys are young. But there will be a point where youcan no longer chalk up the Rangers offensive futility to youth and you need to start blaming it on inability.
That’s really what 2019 is all about.
I was curious as to how current Rangers fared when it came to OPS. And it wasn’t pretty.
But before we look at that, below is a guide to interpreting OPS. When you see a player’s OPS listed, here is a quick guide to know what it means:
For reference, the highest all-time career OPS belongs to Babe Ruth at 1.167.
Last season, only four players notched an OPS in the Elite level: Mike Trout (1.088), Mookie Betts (1.078), J.D. Martinez (1.031), and Christian Yelich (1.000). The Red Sox had two Elite OPS hitters. The Red Sox won the World Series. This is no co-incidence.
The highest a Ranger could finish in OPS was 53rd.
There are fourteen Rangers hitters in consideration for the twelve or thirteen spots on the roster. So, if we overlay the OPS guide with where each of those players finished last year, here’s what we get. Note that Ben Revere isn’t on the list because he wasn’t on a major league roster in 2018. And Carlos Tocci isn’t on the list because I don’t consider him and his .555 OPS to be a candidate.
So, what can we conclude from this? The Rangers have a long way to go just to be average.
The Rangers have a long way to go.