I was listening to one of the XM Sirius Fantasy Baseball shows last week. Can't remember which one but the host was (rightly) railing against OPS as a stat due to the fact that the stats being added together have different denominators. That got me thinking - could we create a stat that made sense, conveyed some useful information, and didn't have that different denominator issue. My answer was a resounding yes - and easily!

First, I'm coming at this from a FanDuel perspective. While this stat would be very useful in baseball in general it's invaluable in FanDuel - more on that later. Basically though, with OPS we're trying to look at a player's ability to hit for power and average both (slugging percentage) along with their ability to get on base (on base percentage). There's a ton of overlap, different denominators, etc. in OPS but it does what it sets out to do, however flawed. However, what would be really useful to know is how many bases the batter gets per time at the plate. That's simple and a far more valuable stat than OPS! Simple formula too, though you can't create it on the fly like you can OPS:

BPA (Bases per Plate Appearance) = (HBP + BB + 1B + 2 * 2B + 3 * 3B + 4 * HR) / (HBP + BB + AB). You can obviously fudge some numbers here - leave out the HBP if you don't have it available or lower the multiplier by 1 on every extra base hit if you're adding hits instead of singles, etc, but basically the formula is just a ratio of bases gained either through a walk, hit by pitch, or a hit of some time, to the number of opportunities the batter had to collect those bases.

Putting this into action, let's take a look at Paul Goldschmidt's numbers so far this year:

181 AB, 64 Hits, 12 Doubles, 1 Triple, 15 Home Runs, 37 Walks, .354/.463/.680/1.143 slash

I didn't have his HBP numbers so we'll exclude those. Running the numbers we get a BPA of .734. This tells us that every plate appearance (leaving out sacrifices and HBP in this case) Goldschmidt is producing .734 total bases. Clearly a more valuable stat than OPS which only tells us that he has an OPS of 1.143 which actually tells us nothing more than that he's doing very well this year. Now, coming full circle back to FanDuel, this stat is actually by far the most valuable batter stat for FanDuel. Everything besides stolen bases and runs/rbi's on the hitter's end is completely encapsulated in that single stat. Having a split-stat version of BPA would give you a number that, when multiplied by the batter's expected at bats, gives you how many points you should expect from the batter that day. So from Goldschmidt, who's averaging 3.69 at bats per game, you could expect 2.7 points before adding in steals, runs, and rbi's against a neutral pitching matchup (and you could easily do the same for vs lefties and vs righties with split-stat BPA).