How is this possible?

This is a repeat of an earlier post. Hopefully, the comments will work this time.

Usually when one of us here at THT Live links to a post it’s because there is something provocative in the writing of the post that we’d like to either point out or elaborate on. This isn’t really one of those times, but I’d like to point something out anyway. This morning at Beyond the Box Score, Sky Kalkman gave us some trivia questions to ponder from Baseball Reference. The answers to questions three and four are what confused Sky, myself, and I’m sure several other people. Here they are:

3. Which is better according to OPS+ and ERA+, the Padres offense or their pitching?
4. Which is better according to OPS+ and ERA+, the Rockies offense or their pitching?

3. Their hitting, and it’s not even close. Their OPS+ is 95 with a league average of 94 (explain that to me) while their ERA+ is 84 with a league average of 101.
4. They’re equally impressive, with their OPS+ at 100 with a league average of 94 and their ERA+ at 106.

Sky doesn’t quote ERA+ in question four, which is also confusing since he quotes it as 101 in the previous question. I had always thought that the league average OPS+ and ERA+ by definition had to be exactly 100. If an OPS+ 115, for example, is supposed to be 15% better than league average, then what’s going on here? If almost everybody is below average, then what’s average?

Anybody know what’s going on here?

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13 years ago

Could it be park adjusted some how?  That’s just a shot in the dark, but that would explain the drop in league average OPS+ and the increase of league average ERA+?

13 years ago

OK, scratch that.  My idea makes sense for the Padres, but not for the Rockies.

Dan Novick
13 years ago

It is park adjusted, but parks are adjusted relative to the average, which is 100.

13 years ago

Repeating what I said before:

My friend Jason and I figured out what’s going on. In BB-Ref, they remove pitchers when calculating league obp/slg. However, when calculating a team’s ops+, we think the pitchers are included.

Also, it appears that the league ops+ is actually the average of the 16 team ops+es – but that could also be doing the full league ops+ calculation: nl obp / league obp + nl slg / league slg = nl ops+.

Even last year, the NL league ops+ was 94.

Tom M. Tango
13 years ago

Depends if the pitcher is included in the calculation or not.

Ryan JL
13 years ago

Sean (or someone) has posted on BBTF in the past saying that pitchers are included in one calc and not the other.

Brandon Isleib
13 years ago

Yes, it’s the pitcher calculation issue as Tango says.  Sean Forman told me this personally in a Facebook conversation (or he told me digitally, if you prefer).

Adam W.
13 years ago

Peter already alluded to this, but OPS+ is calculated as (OBP+) + (SLG+) – 100. League average is not always going to be 100.

If you look hard enough, you can find players with a negative OPS+. Example: Laynce Nix 2007 and 2008.