There are many controversial issues in baseball stats analysis, ranging from the control a pitcher has over his BABIP to how much effect a catcher has on the performance of his pitcher. Former ESPN baseball analyst, Harold Reynolds, chose neither of these to attack when he decided the time was ripe for a stats counter-movement. He instead questioned the value of OPS in a less-than-coherent manner.
This from his very own blog:
“If you have a ball club that’s a great offensive team then that changes everything. But if you have a guy like Adrian Gonzalez, for example, his OPS is going to be high – he’s got a lot of home runs and walks a lot…because you’re not going to pitch to him…Big power hitters swing and miss and strikeout. Or they hit home runs and walk. And at the end of the year their OBP is always going to be higher than most of the other guys on the team because they clog the bases.”
Clog the bases? Yeah, I don’t want runners on base when I come up, either.
To be fair, Reynolds’ initial point was a good one. OPS cannot explain EVERYTHING about a player. However, there is substantial evidence – including this study of mine – showing that OPS is extremely important to offensive production. I can only hope that Harold will see the light someday so I don’t have to listen to his incoherent spiels on the MLB network.