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What in the hell are “OPSBIs”?

Jun 16, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT


Fact: two Major League Baseball teams gave Jim Bowden the keys to the entirety of their baseball operations.  Just thought you should remember that when you read one of the ways in which he likes to evaluate players:

I get asked all the time which two or three common statistics I would pick to evaluate a team or players. My quick answer would be the following:

1. For a team: Run differential
2. For a hitter: OPS + RBIs, or OPSBIs
3. For a pitcher: ERA, WHIP, SO

Yeah, it’s number two that stands out.  He says “OPS + RBIs gives me a general feel for the level of player.”  Setting aside why, from a hardcore statistical point of view, combining those stats makes no sense (it’s beyond apples and oranges; it’s in the realm of apples and nickel-metal hydride batteries), I’m struggling to thing what such a metric would even tell Bowden.  Yes, when you add up those numbers you get a list of good players.  But there are a lot of numbers that will do that for you while telling yourself something else useful too, which this does not.

And, thinking more broadly, if a man with decades of player development experience needs some complicated number to give him “a general feel for the level of player,” than there are much bigger problems afoot.

  1. Joe - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    I’m about to do a bunch of accounting journal entries, and this f—ing ass clown is getting paid to analyze baseball.

    “OPSBI’s”???? Holy mother of Christ.

    • kopy - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM

      Hey, me too!

      *high five*

      • Joe - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:49 AM

        *high five*

  2. yankeesfanlen - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    I’ve got one as well: HRW/OBB. So far it’s one. Which leads to a 16 run differential in two games.

    • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      Home Runs With Out Beep Beep?

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:42 AM

        Well certainly. Hope Wrigley’s mechanical scoreboard has enough numbers for this weekend.

        BTW, I thought north of the border Stanley Cup games had audiences that behaved like this:

      • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Yeah, sure they do. Breaks down by city. In Vancouver they riot. Edmonton they Race Riot. Calgary they get naked on the street. Ottawa; no one knows. Toronto; it’s been so long I have no idea. Montreal; the poutine starts a flyin’, they race riot, AND they get naked.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Oh, I must have been thinking of Phillie Phans.

      • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        ‘Round these parts we call Philly “Vanc-Lite”. Nobody out riots those guys. Nobody.

  3. halladaysbicepts - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    OPSBI’s? Hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahaahah!!!!!!!!

    WBSWHEs = What bicepts sees with his eyes.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Just as useful as OPSBIs.

    • tomemos - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      Of course you missed why it’s funny. Of course you did.

  4. Joe - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    After clicking through, I see that it actually gets worse:

    “The key for me is breaking down the RBIs to differentiate the ones that came against pitchers who throw with the most velocity, change in velocity, late-breaking action, change in planes or deceptive deliveries. How often do the RBIs occur in one-run games against Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning as opposed to a 12-0 blowout in the fourth inning against a mopup reliever. It is essential to break this down in detail.

    Statistics can be misleading unless you blend them with the scouting aspect of baseball. When you get to October, hitters need to hit Jon Lester, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum, so you need to have hitters who can hit the best pitchers in the game rather than hitters who put up good numbers against mediocre or below-average pitching. Still, OPS + RBIs gives me a general feel for the level of player. (Of course, with leadoff hitters, OBP+R+SB would be a better barometer, so you have to know the type of hitter your looking at). ”

    Mind you, this is his “simple stat” to evaluate players.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the OPSBI leaderboard almost exactly matches the OPSALLONITSOWN leaderboard.

    Ye cats.

    • kopy - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      I just noticed too that Bowden is defending himself in the comments of the article. This could get ugly.

      • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Hey commonman is getting into it now. Bowden is TOAST.

      • ThatGuy - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:22 AM

        I kind of respect that atleast he is willing to answer every comment(even though 90% of them are ripping on him) as opposed to writing the article and walking away so to speak.

    • FC - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      I can more or less understand the concept he’s trying to push (How successful your hitter is vs good pitchers than bad pitchers) but the way he’s doing it is… unique… to put it nicely.

  5. shaggylocks - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Y’all are going to feel stupid when OPSBIs becomes the next hot stat!

  6. kopy - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    I have a similar stat for pitchers: GSWP, Grand Slams plus Wild Pitches. It gives me a good feel for the overall level of the pitcher. All other pitching related statistics are just fodder.

  7. oikosjeremy - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    As glad as I am to have a new excuse to mock Bowden, are we 100% sure he didn’t just mean “I look at OPS, and at RBI”, not “I look at the sum of OPS and RBI”?

    • Joe - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      He has a leaderboard of OPSBI. So yes, we are 100% sure.

      • oikosjeremy - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        Okay then, mock away!

    • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:15 AM

      He’s pretty much defending it as an added figure not a side by side. I’d feel sorry for him right now if he wasn’t an a$$-clown.

  8. Ace - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Since we’re all piling on Bowden now, it seems like a perfectly good time to bring up his mind-boggling proposal for realignment. Highlights include an “American Conference East” division consisting of the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets and Blue Jays, and 12 teams making the playoffs!

    • kopy - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      His realignment plan really irks me as a Twins fan. Putting them in a division with Det, Cle, Pit, and Cin? The Twins would have to fly over Milwaukee and both Chicago stadiums to play a division game, and it would be in a different time zone. Not cool.

    • FC - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      Short Round said it best: “He no nuts! He CWAZY!”

  9. drunkenhooliganism - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Everytime I think of a signing/trade/whatever by the nationals, I wonder if Mike Rizzo’s only qualification was that he was smarter than Jim Bowden.

    Then I think that it’s a good thing my three year old wasn’t walking past Ted Lerner’s office when they didn’t have a GM. He’d be so full of himself, “look daddy, I get to sit in the suite every game. I pooped. change me. Trade for the Shane Victorino, he’s Hawaiian. and small like me.”

  10. thefalcon123 - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Rickey Henderson nabbed a career 1,935 OPSRBI (or 1115.82, depending on how you calculate hit). According to Jim Bowden, the following players were better than Rickey Henderson:

    Juan Gonzalez: 2308 OPSRBI
    Dante Bichette: 1876 OPSRBI
    Gary Gaetti: 2082 OPSRBI
    Garrett Anderson: 2150 OPS RBI

    Ect, ect, ect

    • hamispig - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:27 AM

      But Rickey is a leadoff hitter, so you have to use the OBPRSB statistic, by which measure he is the best there’s ever been.

      • thefalcon123 - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Good point! I always knew Lou Brock (1281 OBPSB) was better than Babe Ruth (597 OBPSB).

    • dwishinsky - Jun 16, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      I wonder if for career OPSRBI you should take the OPS and multiply it by seasons? Nothing beats nice neat tidy statistics like Rickey Henderson’s career 21,615 OPSRBI using that method.

      Stay away from any team I like Bowden!

  11. Gardenhire's Cat - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    No wonder Bowden’s unemployed by MLB

  12. bigxrob - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Bowden said that for post-realignment play-offs, he would take 6 teams per league, that way no teams would have byes. um, really?
    Does he lack a fundamental undersatnding of sports in general?

    • Kevin S. - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      How about lacking a fundamental understanding of division?

      Although if we wanted to go really off the wall, I could see a six-team round-robin in each league replacing the LDS, then going into the LCS with the top two teams. That would be fun.

  13. jj - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    This reminds me of a stat my buddies came up with to evaluate leadoff hitters: Steals plus On-Base percentage = SPO.

    This was in a conversation mocking some Joe Morgan commentary, mind you.

  14. blacubed - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Hurry! Someone find me the OPSBI of Wily Mo Pena!

  15. paperlions - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    The content Bowden provides on ESPN is pretty pathetic, the written content is bad, but he is just as bad on radio. He never sounds like he has any idea what he’s talking about and regularly puts his ignorance on full display. It’s embarrassing stuff to read/listen to….and the whole time I just want to know how he was involved in helping to cheat Latin American kids out of their signing bonuses.

  16. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 16, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    I just love to LOL at all the stat geeks up in arms about this. The guy was a GM in baseball twice while all you bozos live in your mom’s basements wearing green shades so you don’t go blind from looking at your Excel spreadsheets never watching a second of actual baseball being played. Then when mommy doesn’t have your meatloaf downstairs to you in a timely fashion, you go ballistic on her yelling from downstairs for her to hurry the #$#%@ up.

    All the while, Jim Bowden was twice a GM of a Major League Baseball team making millions of dollars. And he cares what you idiots think why???

    And yes, I am not in a good mood today and this type of nonsense puts me in an even worse mood. Just sit in the basement, wearing your team’s colors on your underoos worshipping your Excel spreadsheets and keep ripping Bowden while he spends his millions.

    • Paul Zummo - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      And he cares what you idiots think why???

      He obviously cares enough because he keeps responding to the comments.

      Tough day at the drive through, Chris? Drivers getting surly because you didn’t bring them their fries fast enough. Chin up and all that.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        I laugh at you Paul, only because you are sitting there in your parent’s basement, thinking about what could have been if you did not tear your ACL in your Senior year of High School and dropped out. How you could have been drafted by the Royals or White Sox, but instead, because you tore your knee up, you banged the local high school slut in the back of your candy-apple red 1984 Iroc-Z and knocked her up. Now you live in the basement, drinking PBR and Natty Lights while your stripper girlfriend baby’s momma works third shift at the local truck stop and keeps your spawn under the counter of the smoky restaurant. You sit there on the under-stuffed couch, hand-me-down from the local thrift store that your mom bought you for $8 3 years ago. You smoke some weed with the few bucks you get working odd jobs here and there and you dream of what could have been…what might have been…had God not ripped your knee up all those years ago.

        I feel for you Paul…I truly do. I hope that one day, you rise up and get out of your parent’s basement. You get that GED and eventually that Associates degree from the local community college. I hope you win the roofer’s softball championship, which is what, a week from this Friday night, right? I hope everything works out for you…I really do.

    • cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:13 PM

      Well Chris, here’s the problem. I’m sitting around the University’s Graduate Lounge getting some useful work done and auditing this here site. Actually I’m getting f-all done but I’m having a great time on HBT, so whatever. I’m not a stat geek. I’ve had stats forced upon me; so I was not born into them nor do I take to it naturally nor does anyone who knows me think of me as a good resource for help with their statistics problems. Also Mom’s basement was a LONG time ago. I do however know that adding an integer like RBIs to a fraction like OPS is STUPID and MEANS NOTHING OF ANY USE WHATSOEVER.

      You do understand that’s what Mr. Bowden is doing, right? In case you don’t, here’s how I think this works; Say you have 100 RBIs last year and your OPS is .780. Depending on how you do it, using Bowden’s OPSBI stat this is 100 + either .780 (= 100.780) or 100 + 780 (= 880). WTF use is this?

      You say you hate all the hardcore sabermatricians and stat geeks? They ruin the beauty of the game and try to dry it out into numbers or some such? Well this guy is the ultimate wannabe sabermatirican stat geek. He’s inventing a meaningless number and claiming to make baseball decisions based on it. You really want him in charge of teams do you?

  17. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 16, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Bowden has one of the worst hair pieces of anyone in sports. It makes Marv Albert’s hair look natural.

    • lanflfan - Jun 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      True, but no one can touch The Donald for bad hair pieces. All that money, and a 1 cent piece.

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