Slugging percentage

# Slugging percentage

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In baseball statistics
Baseball statistics
Statistics play an important role in summarizing baseball performance and evaluating players in the sport.Since the flow of a baseball game has natural breaks to it, and normally players act individually rather than performing in clusters, the sport lends itself to easy record-keeping and statistics...

, slugging percentage (abbreviated SLG) is a popular measure of the power of a hitter
Batting (baseball)
In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for one's team. A batter or hitter is a person whose turn it is to face the pitcher...

. It is calculated as total bases
Total bases
In baseball statistics, total bases refers to the number of bases a player has gained with hits, i.e., the sum of his hits weighted by 1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run.Only bases attained from hits count toward this total....

divided by at bat
At bat
In baseball, an at bat or time at bat is used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. It is a more restricted definition of a plate appearance...

s:

where AB is the number of at-bats for a given player, and 1B, 2B, 3B, and HR are the number of singles
Single (baseball)
In baseball, a single is the most common type of base hit, accomplished through the act of a batter safely reaching first base by hitting a fair ball and getting to first base before a fielder puts him out...

, doubles
Double (baseball)
In baseball, a double is the act of a batter striking the pitched ball and safely reaching second base without being called out by the umpire, without the benefit of a fielder's misplay or another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

, triples
Triple (baseball)
In baseball, a triple is the act of a batter safely reaching third base after hitting the ball, with neither the benefit of a fielder's misplay nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice....

, and home run
Home run
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process...

s, respectively. Walks
Base on balls
A base on balls is credited to a batter and against a pitcher in baseball statistics when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. It is better known as a walk. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08...

are specifically excluded from this calculation.

For example, in 1920, Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

played his first season for the New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

. In 458 at bats, Ruth had 172 hits, comprising 73 singles, 36 doubles, 9 triples, and 54 home runs, which brings the total base count to (73 × 1) + (36 × 2) + (9 × 3) + (54 × 4) = 388. His total number of bases (388) divided by his total at-bats (458) is .847, his slugging percentage for the season. The next year he slugged .846, and these records went unbroken until 2001
2001 in baseball
-Major League Baseball:*Regular Season Champions*World Series Champion - Arizona Diamondbacks*Postseason - October 9 to November 4Click on any series score to link to that series' page....

, when Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

achieved 411 bases in 476 at-bats, bringing his slugging percentage to .863, unmatched since.

## Significance

Long after it was first invented, slugging percentage gained new significance when baseball analysts realized that it combined with on-base percentage (OBP) to form a very good measure of a player's overall offensive production (in fact, OBP + SLG was originally referred to as "production" by baseball writer and statistician Bill James
Bill James
George William “Bill” James is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics...

). A predecessor metric was developed by Branch Rickey
Branch Rickey
Wesley Branch Rickey was an innovative Major League Baseball executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967...

in 1954. Rickey, in Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

magazine, suggested that combining OBP with what he called "extra base power" (EBP) would give a better indicator of player performance than typical Triple Crown
Triple crown (baseball)
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories. For batters, a player must lead the league in home runs, run batted in , and batting average; pitchers must lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average...

stats. EBP was a predecessor to slugging percentage.

Allen Barra
Allen Barra
Allen Barra is an American journalist and author of a number of sports books. He is a contributing editor of American Heritage magazine, and regularly writes about sports for the Wall Street Journal. He has also written for the New York Times and New York Observer, and was formerly a columnist...

and George Ignatin were early adopters in combining the two modern-day statistics, multiplying them together to form what is now known as "SLOB" (Slugging × On-Base). Bill James
Bill James
George William “Bill” James is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics...

applied this principle to his runs created
Runs created
Runs created is a baseball statistic invented by Bill James to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to his team.-Purpose:James explains in his book, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, why he believes runs created is an essential thing to measure:With regard to an offensive...

formula several years later (and perhaps independently), essentially multiplying SLOB × At-Bats to create the formula:

In 1984, Pete Palmer
Pete Palmer
Pete Palmer is a major contributor to the applied mathematical field referred to as sabermetrics. Along with the Bill James Baseball Abstracts, Palmer's book The Hidden Game of Baseball is often referred to as providing the foundation upon which the field of sabermetrics was built.Palmer began his...

and John Thorn
John Thorn
John Thorn is a noted sports historian, and the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.-Early life:Thorn was born in Stuttgart, West Germany. His Polish Jewish parents had come there as refugees. He immigrated to the United States in 1949...

developed perhaps the most widespread means of combining slugging and on-base percentage: OPS
On-base plus slugging
On-base plus slugging is a sabermetric baseball statistic calculated as the sum of a player's on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The ability of a player to both get on base and to hit for power, two important hitting skills, are represented. An OPS of .900 or higher in Major League...

. "OPS" simply stands for "on-base plus slugging", and is a simple addition of the two values. Because it is easy to calculate, OPS has been used with increased frequency in recent years as a shorthand form to evaluate contributions as a batter
Batting (baseball)
In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for one's team. A batter or hitter is a person whose turn it is to face the pitcher...

.

## Perfect slugging percentage

The maximum numerically possible slugging percentage is 4.000. A few dozen players throughout history (107 as of August 2010) have momentarily had a 4.0 career average by homering in their first major league at-bat. Two players have hit a grand slam on their first major-league at-bat: Kevin Kouzmanoff
Kevin Kouzmanoff
Kevin Kouzmanoff is an American professional baseball third baseman who is a free agent.Kouzmanoff had trouble with various sports in high school. He got special help for batting practice, just to learn how to swing a bat for three years, implementing a swing...

, then playing for the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

, off Edinson Volquez
Edinson Volquez
Edinson Volquez [VOL-kez] , is a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds. He bats and throws right-handed....

of the Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers (baseball)
The Texas Rangers are a professional baseball team in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, based in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League, and are the reigning A.L. Western Division and A.L. Champions. Since , the Rangers have...

on September 2, 2006 and Daniel Nava
Daniel Nava
Daniel James Nava is a professional baseball outfielder in the Boston Red Sox organization. He plays for the Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League....

, then playing for the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

, off Joe Blanton
Joe Blanton
Joseph Matthew Blanton is a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball.-College career:...

The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

on June 12, 2010. Both thus briefly achieved the best possible career offensive percentage in every category, including some esoteric categories such as "runs batted in per received pitch" (4.000).

No player has ever retired with a 4.000 slugging percentage, but four players tripled in their only at-bat, and share the ML record of a career slugging percentage of 3.000. The players (and the seasons in which they had their only at-bat) were: Eric Cammack
Eric Cammack
Eric Cammack is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played briefly for the New York Mets during the season. Listed at 6' 1", 180 lb., Cammack batted and threw right-handed...

(2000 Mets); Scott Munninghoff
Scott Munninghoff
Scott Andrew Munninghoff is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies during the season. Listed at 6' 0", 175 lb., he batted and threw right-handed....

, (1980 Phillies); Eduardo Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodríguez
Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé is a former president of Bolivia; prior to that appointment he was the chief justice of the Supreme Court.-Background:...

(1973 Brewers); and Charlie Lindstrom (1958 White Sox).

Seattle Mariners pitcher Félix Hernández
Félix Hernández
Félix Abraham Hernández , nicknamed "King Félix", is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners....

hit a grand slam in his only at-bat in 2008. His slugging percentage for the year was 4.000.

Houston Astros pitcher Gustavo Chacin
Gustavo Chacín
Gustavo Adolfo Chacín is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball.-Toronto Blue Jays:In 2004, Chacín led all minor leaguers with 18 wins, and was the 24th pitcher used by the Blue Jays, tying the team record set in the 2002 season...

hit a solo homer in his only at-bat in 2010. It was his first plate appearance in nearly 5 years and his first career hit.