Baseball BeatDecember 20, 2005
OOPs, Here It Is!
By Rich Lederer

Who are the most Overrated Offensive Players in the game? Well, to answer that question, we developed the following simple equation:

(Batting Average > League Average) + (On-Base Percentage < League Average) + (Slugging Average < League Average) = Overrated Offensive Players

These Overrated Offensive Players are also known as OOPs. We're not in the business of adding more acronyms into the broth of alphabet soup that already exists. OOPs is different. It's not one of these newfangled stats. Instead, it's just a fun way to identify those players who aren't nearly as good as advertised.

By definition, the players who meet the above criterion are singles hitters who only walk on occasion and rarely slug home runs. In other words, batting average makes up the lion's share of their value. Put another way, the qualifying hitters have low Isolated Discipline (IsoD) and Isolated Power (IsoP). IsoD equals OBP minus AVG, and IsoP equals SLG minus AVG. These isolated stats tell you what's not a part of batting average.

Here are the players who met the above equation in 2005:

2005 SEASON: AVG > .264, OBA < .330, SLG < .419 w/ MIN 400 PA

                              YEAR      AVG      OBA      SLG
1    Willy Taveras            2005     .291     .325     .341
2    So Taguchi               2005     .288     .322     .412
3    Toby Hall                2005     .287     .315     .368
4    Terrence Long            2005     .279     .321     .378
5    Edgardo Alfonzo          2005     .277     .327     .345
6    Juan Pierre              2005     .276     .326     .354
7    Neifi Perez              2005     .274     .298     .383
8    Shannon Stewart          2005     .274     .323     .388
9    Jose Reyes               2005     .273     .300     .386
10   Darin Erstad             2005     .273     .325     .371
11   Orlando Hudson           2005     .271     .315     .412
12   Royce Clayton            2005     .270     .320     .351
13   Aaron Rowand             2005     .270     .329     .407
14   Angel Berroa             2005     .270     .305     .375

The 2005 All-OOPs team is as follows:

 C: Toby Hall
1B: Darin Erstad
2B: Orlando Hudson
SS: Neifi Perez
3B: Edgardo Alfonzo
OF: Willy Taveras
OF: So Taguchi
OF: Terrence Long

Although Darin Erstad is conspicuous by being the only first baseman in the table, Willy Taveras wins the Baseball Analysts' OOPs Player of the Year award by virtue of having the highest batting average among those who qualify. Earning the OOPs POY award does not equate to being the worst player in baseball. It just signifies the most overrated offensive player in the game.

The All-Active OOPs team (minimum of 2,500 PA):

 C: Paul LoDuca
1B: Darin Erstad
2B: Mark Grudzielanek
SS: Jimmy Rollins
3B: Joe Randa
OF: Mark Kotsay
OF: B.J. Surhoff
OF: Quinton McCracken

I'm sorry to disappoint the Kansas City Royals but Mark Grudzielanek is the Most Overrated Offensive Player among those who are still active. The shortstop-turned-second baseman has a career AVG that is 6% above the league norm with an OBP and SLG that are 4% and 9% below the mean.

Erstad is the only player who made the 2005 and All-Active OOPs teams. In the comments section at 6-4-2 earlier this month, my son corrected another reader who called newly acquired Angels reliever J.C. Romero the team's LOGGY. Joe remarked that "Romero is a LOOGY, not a LOGGY. Erstad is the team's LOGGY (Low Offense, Gold Glove Yokel)."

The All-Time OOPs team (minimum of 5,000 PA):

 C: B.J. Surhoff
1B: Lou Finney
2B: Glenn Beckert
SS: Alvin Dark
3B: Enos Cabell
OF: Lance Johnson
OF: Willie Wilson
OF: Doc Cramer

B.J. Surhoff made the All-Active team as an OF but was forced onto the All-Time team as a catcher, given that no other backstop qualified.

Based on the OOPs methodology, Glenn Beckert is the Most Overrated Offensive Player ever. Beckert had a career AVG that was 9% above the league norm with an OBP and SLG that were 2% and 10% below the mean. What is it about these former Chicago Cubs second basemen?

That'll about rap it up. OOPs, there it is!

Source: Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia

* * * * *

Update: I missed Terry Kennedy the first time through. He belongs as the catcher on the All-Time OOPs team. Surhoff can stake his claim as on OF on the All-Active OOPs team.

[Additional reader comments and retorts at Baseball Primer.]


Oh, this is too good. Nice work, Rich!

Gotta say, Rich, that Neifi! could end up on any list that combines the words "overrated" and "offense" is frightening to the point of disorientation and nausea.

And I'm just sooooo happy that I can count two, TWO!, of these fine gentlemen among the denizens of the Land 'O Cub.

Now, if only Jim Hendry can somehow snag Terrence Long for right field........

This may be the most entertaining article I've read all off-season.

Taveras and Perez should also get "kudos" as the players on the 2005 list with the lowest SLG and OBP, respectively.

Neifi and Pierre... something to look forward to in 2005.

Before I knew you were limiting this to 400 PAs, my first thought was Jose Macias, who is forever getting praised as a guy who can hit .280 off the bench. Before Dusty gave him a rash of starts the last week of the season (and don't ask why, because no one knows), Jose was hitting .270/.284/.324 - which should be good enough to earn him the utility player spot on the all-OOPs team from 2005 (unfortunately, his lousy starts that last week dropped his final BA to .254, so that takes him out of the running).

FWIW, Orlando Hudson was only at -5 RCAA, and when you factor in his defense, he's not that bad.

OOPs isn't trying to identify the worst offensive players. It is designed to measure the most Overrated Offensive Players.

Hudson is the only LOGGY (Low Offense, Gold Glove Yokel) on the 2005 team. Erstad is a former GG winner and is on the All-Active OOPs and LOGGY teams.

Beckert and Wilson are members of the All-Time OOPs and LOGGY teams.

Speaking of all-timers, set your SBE to:

Non P
AVERAGE "greater than/equal to" 0 vs. the league average
OBA "less than/equal to" 0 vs. the league average
SLG "less than/equal to" 0 vs. the league average

Who is the top of the list?

Luis Aparicio. Pretty interesting.

Dave Concepcion and Bert Campaneris are in the top 5 too.

Sticking with career marks, Adam Kennedy and Bengie Molina have been "OOPS" players all the time they've been with the Angels. Shawn Wooten too.

It's a shame there's no way to factor in BAw/RISP into the mix. That's what the Angels look for, no? Maybe OOPS doesn't matter if the guy can hit w/RISP?

I'm just thinking out loud on all this - which, yes, I know is dangerous.

Luis Aparicio has the most plate appearances (11,230) of any player on the All-Time list. He and Red Schoendienst are the only players on the All-Time list who made their way into the Hall of Fame.

Yes, Concepcion and Campaneris are in the top five. Other prominent names on the list include Garry Templeton, Terry Pendleton (former MVP and batting champ who was an average to below-average hitter other than in 1991-92), Bill Virdon, Vince Coleman, and, as Repoz has mentioned at Baseball Primer Newsblog, Bobby Richardson.

I would call this a list of overrated "hitters". Offense takes into account other important stats such as runs scored and RBIs. Possibly even stolen bases and sacrifices -- especially those that lead to runs being scored.

Don't know what effect that would have on these lists, but if they're going to be referred to in terms of offense, their needs to be a more complete accounting.

I would call this a list of overrated "hitters". Offense takes into account other important stats such as runs scored and RBIs. Possibly even stolen bases and sacrifices -- especially those that lead to runs being scored.

I disagree. AVG/OBP/SLG takes into account all elements of offense other than baserunning. Stats such as R and RBI are highly team and lineup dependent. In most cases, SB and SF/SH add very little, if any, extra value. SB need to be netted against CS and, generally speaking, only those baserunners who are successful more than 67% of the time are a positive force.

As a result, the vast majority of a player's offensive value can be gleaned from his AVG/OBP/SLG rate stats.

Isn't OBP usually considered 3 or more times as valuable as slugging? Neyer had an article last year rating it more than 3 times as valuable as slugging, and Beane seems to rate it as much as 6 times as valuable. I'm not sure if that's because SLG can be 0 to 4.000 and OBP can be 0 to 1.000, or simply because OBP correlates to team run scoring much more closely than SLG does.

What would the rankings look like if you weighed OBP 3 or 6 times SLG?

I'd like to nominate my Kansas City Royals for the ultimate OOPs Franchise. Note two of the top fourteen (Long and Berroa) were Royals. The Active list includes newly acquired Mark Grudzielanek and recently departed Joe Randa. And in the all-time category, we have the estimable Willie Wilson. OOPs; we lost 100 games again!

In defense of Wilson, at least as it relates to his career as a Royal, his career OBP dipped below league average during the last four years in OAK and CHC.

But you also have Ken Harvey to kick around. He fits the bill perfectly. If he had more plate appearances, Harvey would give Erstad a run for his money every year.

What would the rankings look like if you weighed OBP 3 or 6 times SLG?

The OOPs rankings wouldn't really change because they are designed to find players with AVG greater than Lg plus OBP and SLG less than Lg. Weighting OBP and SLG doesn't change whether a player's rate stats are greater than or less than the league average.

It would change the order of futility. You just put them in order of Batting Average, I was figuring on ordering them by HOW overrated they are:

(exceeds BA) + ((3 * OBP shortfall) + (SLG shortfall)) = Overrated Offensive Player Score

Rank. First Last AVG+/3xOBP-/SLG- = OOPs Score

1. Neifi Perez .010/.096/.036 = .142

2. Jose Reyes .009/.090/.033 = .132

3. Angel Berroa .006/.075/.044 = .125

4. Willy Taveras .027/.015/.078 = .120

5. Toby Hall .023/.045/.051 = .119

6. Royce Clayton .006/.030/.068 = .104

7. Edgardo Alfonzo .013/.009/.074 = .096

8. Juan Pierre .012/.012/.065 = .089

9. Terrence Long .015/.027/.041 = .083

10. Darin Erstad .009/.015/.048 = .072

11. Shannon Stewart .010/.021/.031 = .062

12. Orlando Hudson .007/.045/.007 = .059

13. So Taguchi .024/.024/.007 = .055

14. Aaron Rowand .006/.003/.012 = .021

All overrated players any way you slice it.

Jason - I see your point now. Yes, that would be another way to rank them. Like you said, they are all overrated, especially by the more casual fan and those who still value batting average so highly.