OPS and ERA are considered by most to be the best single indicators of a players effectiveness. OPS is a combination of OBP and slugging, obviously, the higher a player’s OPS, the more damage he’s doing at the plate. On the pitching side, ERA is the ultimate measure of effectiveness. It measures how many honest runs a pitcher is giving up.
So, what happens when you factor in playing time? In my opinion, innings pitched is a highly underrated statistic. You want your most effective pitcher out there as often as possible, guys who stay healthy and can go late into games are just more valuable than guys who can’t. Same goes for hitters, the more a good hitter sees the plate, the better. That’s where my productivity index statistics come in. They combine effectiveness with availability.
I’ll start with hitting productivity index, or HPI. What I do here is multiply OPS by plate appearances to come up with a total hitting productivity number. The higher the HPI, the better. Using the top five OPS players in the AL, I come up with:
Miguel Cabrera – 641
Mike Trout – 540
Edwin Encarnocion – 545
Josh Hamilton – 547
Prince Fielder – 564
Please note that these numbers are as of the date of this post. What this shows is that when you look at total productivity at the plate, Miguel Cabrera has clearly separated himself from the pack.
For pitching productivity index, or HPI, I simply divide innings pitched by ERA. The reason I divide here is because a lower ERA is ideal. As with HPI, a higher PPI is desirable. Here is the PPI for the top 5 ERA players in the AL:
David Price – 73.9
Justin Verlander – 81.5
Chris Sale – 62.9
Jered Weaver – 62.5
Felix Hernandez – 77.4
As above, these numbers are of the date of this posting. This also shows the Verlander has been the most productive pitcher in the AL this season.