What the Three Numbers Mean

An attempt to make things more intuitive

After putting all the stats together for this series, I realized that (though they made sense for me to calculate) they weren't necessarily "user-friendly."  The toughest thing was that -- for the stats based on the "necessary conversion rate" of "random-y" balls-in-play to "random-y" singles -- "low" was good for hitters and "high" was good for pitchers, which is completely counterintuitive to what we are used to.

That, plus the "Plate Skills" metric (indicator of OBP) was on a completely different scale from the "Production" metric (indicator of SLG).

So, what I have done is converted both those key stats to a scale that is intended to be similar to OPS+, which which most folks are familiar.

The key difference, however, is that for OPS+ the score of "100" is league average.  For prospects, the "100" score is what I have found to be roughly the minimum score for guys with a shot at the majors.

Therefore, for Plate Skills ("Hitter's +/-"), instead of "0" = "100" (which would indicate minor-league average), I set "+1.5" = "100" since that is "roughly genuine prospect minimum."

For Production ("Plausibility Index"), the average was more in the .360 range (higher some years), but I set "100" at .330, which is, again, about as high as one can get and be a reasonable year for an MLB prospect.

The third number is not initially as intuitive, but it is the composite of the two other numbers.  It is determined the same way that OPS+ can be determined from OBP+ and SLG+.

For example, Ichiro's career OBP+ (his OBP/leage avg. OBP) is 112 (.365/.325).  His career SLG+ is 101 (.419/.414).  Those two numbers contribute to his career OPS+ of 113.  It is "+12" plus "+1" that gets you the "+13."   The "100s" don't really matter ... it is the "plus" or the "minus" that matters.

Another example:  Brendon Ryan ... OBP+ of 95 (.306/.323) and SLG+ of 80 (.327/.407).  So that's "-5" and "-20" for a total of "-25", which produces an OPS+ of 75.

So you can always get the third number from the first two, but not by adding or averaging, but by combining the differences from 100 and then taking that combination as a difference from 100.


That gives us a series of three numbers: For MLB players ... OBP+, SLG+, OPS+.  For prospects ... Plate Skills, Production, Composite.


How to interpret, using examples from MLB vets:

Excellent at everything:  Prince Fielder ... 117-127-144

Not quite as excellent at everything:  David Wright ... 114-120-134

Plate skills, less power:  John Olerud ... 118-111-129

Fewer plate skills, more power:  Giancarlo Stanton ... 106-134-140

Fewer plate skills, not as much power:  Mark Reynolds ... 98-111-109


Here are the career scores from the 2012 Mariners veterans:

Miguel Olivo ... 83-100-83 (terrible plate skills, decent power, but not enough to make up for it)

Brendan Ryan ... 95-80-75 (tolerable plate skills, no power, better have a good glove)

Ichiro ... 112-101-113 (his career SLG is a point higher than Olivo's)

Chone Figgins ... 105-87-92 (career totals reflect a classic middle-infielder/leadoff profile, but it didn't happen in Seattle)

Franklin Gutierrez ... 95-94-89 (not bad for a gold-glove CF, really ... if he can stay on the field)


OK, I hope that gives you a sense of how the series of numbers works.  If one of the numbers is below 100, then the other number ought to make up for it ... or you'd better have a really good glove.

And for prospects, the 100 is set at the minimal for a guy with a real shot, so 102-100-102 (Kevin Rivers, at age 23 in Low-A) only indicates that he's on the fringe, even if he weren't old for his level (and I'm a Rivers fan).


Illustration adapted from Creative Commons

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Bat571If the Angels can't keep up their winning with the remaining pitching, they're vulnerable. And the A's keep losing (2-8 in their last 10). But Paxton and Elias have got to keep the M's in games, too. But Felix-Young-'Kuma in Boston is as good as it gets, especially with the Sawx pitching in some disarray also. Time to pick up some ground.11 hours 40 sec ago
SABR Mattwow...saw the highlight of that...he's done for the year, no question. brutal. Both Oakland and Anaheim showing us their keister...but if we play like we played today, we don't deserve to win.11 hours 6 min ago
MtGrizzlyReally ugly looking knee injury for Richards.11 hours 37 min ago
MtGrizzlyGarrett Richards got taken off the field on a stretcher. Angels pitching is a wreck.11 hours 40 min ago
SABR Mattwell this is a dog of a game. Mariners playing like the bad news bears again.16 hours 54 min ago
mojicianFollowing Pax on Gameday: He can't control his curve ball, his first hit in the third was from a changeup that was both hanged and tubed, the Phillies aren't swinging at any of his off speed, and Pax's pitch count is at 59 at the end of the third. The fast ball is located at both sides of the plate and velocity is topping out at 96. This start has one run five n' dive written all over it. What's wrong with that? Puzzling Pax is still better than most teams' number two starter. We haven't seen enough of the Bartender in a while anyway.17 hours 47 min ago
SABR MattPhilly is considered by many in the game to be the dumbest organization, from top to bottom, in all of baseball. Lots of folks heavily criticize their manager for not using his brain, for picking favorites, for ruining quality starts, etc. And of course, we all know what people think of Ruben Amaro.21 hours 14 min ago
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moethedogMinor league report: Romero is pretty amazingly hot! In his current 12-game hitting streak he is 26-53 with 4 2B's/2 3B's/4 HR's. In his last 21 games he has had 8 3-hit games and 5 more 2 hit games. His K rate is dropping. AAA #'s for the year: .371-.405-.716.... Nice! And with Blash in AA, Kivlehan played CF last night. Don't you get the idea that the M's are really high on him? Oh, Deej whacks two more homers as Bat pointed out.21 hours 51 min ago
OBFHaving watched Chris Taylor for a while... Brad Miller is not a very good defensive SS... :( Hopefully he refinds his bat...1 day 10 hours ago
OBFHe had looked... uncomfortable... that whole inning, doing more stretches than even usual... :/ Including some weird box squaty things... hopefully just a cramp or something...1 day 10 hours ago
MtGrizzlyI hope Iwakuma didn't hurt anything on that last play1 day 10 hours ago
OBFMean while Detroit storms back from down four to tie it up... :( :( :( come on Rays!1 day 10 hours ago
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OBFWhat's with all the steals tonight?1 day 10 hours ago
Bat571Tyler O'Neill with another HR tonight. Talk about doing penance - that's 3 this week and 7 since returning.1 day 10 hours ago
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merksJim Callis @jimcallisMLB · 6h New @MLBPipeline Perspective: Who's baseball's best corner OF prospect? I say it's Alex Jackson. http://atmlb.com/VDIGCU @Mariners Which is nice. Also DJ Peterson with 2 HR's tonight giving him a total of 28 on the year.1 day 12 hours ago
OBFGlad to see Ackley proving his little mini slump was just that... mini :) single and 2 doubles yesterday a walk (SB and run) and a double already today :)1 day 12 hours ago