The Giants and OPS+


To sum up the first half of 2013, you could say we are living in some sort of bizarro world from what we’re used to with the Giants in the past few years: the hitters have been hitting, while the pitchers haven’t been pitching. Truly, the hitting has taken a nose-dive in June, but the good start with the bats has come as a welcomed happening while we have scratched our heads over what is going on with the arms that have done so much lifting, especially in carrying the Giants to two World Championships.

Jun 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA;San Francisco Giants first baseman

Buster Posey

(28) hits a game tying single during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at some numbers here and there, I happened to notice an interesting little bit about the Giants and their OPS+. For those that don’t know OPS+, it’s definitely important to know that regular OPS is On Base Percentage (OBP) Plus Slugging Percentage (SLG). OPS+ makes an attempt to giving us the opportunity to equally measure and compare hitters across the eras no matter the ballpark they played in. Their specific formula from Baseball Reference looks like this:

The “lg” stands for “league,” so by measuring one’s OBP and SLG against what the league is doing, we get an idea of how players are performing relative to their peers as well. A 100 OPS+ is considered league average. Going into Sunday’s game, nine of the Giants starters, that being Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro, Brandon Crawford, Pablo Sandoval, Andres Torres, Gregor Blanco, and Hunter Pence, have above a 100 OPS+. This is not easy to do, and hasn’t been done by any Giants team for a full season since the 1987 season when other household names like Will Clark, Candy Maldonado, Chili Davis, Kevin Mitchell, Bob Brenly, Jose Uribe, Robby Thompson, and Jeffrey Leonard were bringing it with the bats. That team went on to win 90 games, but most of their pitching (with help from their defense) in terms of ERA was also, for the most part, better than league average.

The Giants 2013 team already has 42 losses with 82 games to go, and a .634 win-pct. would be a tall task for any team, but it’s definitely possible. However, you don’t need to tell any Giants fan that it’s about speculation of how many games need to be won, but just that they get a playoff spot. Whether things hold like they’re looking now, or the NL West is able to grab a second playoff spot, it’s no doubt that the Giants need to find a way to turn all facets of their game up, otherwise 2013 will turn into a year we’ll see that the Giants didn’t hit so badly, but the whole package just couldn’t be put together in time.