What is OPS and why is the Braves' team OPS so remarkable?

The Braves offense is obviously nuts, but their team OPS shows just HOW nuts it is.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

There is no shortage of people out there talking about how insane the Atlanta Braves' offense in 2023 has been. If you look up virtually any team offensive measure for 2023, you are extraordinarily likely to see the Braves at the top of the list. Atlanta has had two MVP-level guys in Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson and that doesn't even account for how good players like Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, Sean Murphy, and Marcell Ozuna have been.

To gain a greater appreciation for how good this Braves offense has been when up against the other great offenses in baseball history, an explanation of OPS and what it means is required.

What is OPS in baseball?

OPS is among the more misunderstood metrics out there and it's actually pretty straightforward once you get past the confusing abbreviation. A player's OPS is simply adding up a player's on-base percentage and his slugging percentage (OBP Plus Slugging). On-base percentage is simply the percentage of plate appearances that a player reaches base via hit, walk, or HBP and slugging percentage is the number of total bases a player records per at-bat. Add both of those up and you get a player's OPS.

The idea behind using OPS is to give us a better, more complete picture of a player's offensive performance. However, OPS certainly has it's own problems and limitations. Given that it is just adding OBP and slugging together, that implies that the two measures are equal weight when it comes to run production and that isn't the case as OBP is nearly twice as valuable. That doesn't mean that OPS doesn't have value, but it is important to keep in mind that it does have some limitations.

The Braves' team OPS is legitimately insane

Now that the explanations are out of the way, what the Braves have done as a team offensively in 2023 stacks up with the best offenses in baseball history. As of today, the Braves have a team OPS of .844 and they have one more game to go. During the expansion era, only three teams have posted a better mark than that: the 2003 Red Sox, the 1996 Mariners, and the 2019 Astros.

The Braves outpaced all of those teams in slugging as they have a very good chance of being the first MLB team in the modern era to end a season with a slugging percentage of .500 or better. Unfortunately, the Braves' team OBP of "just" .344 lagged behind those three teams.

Given all of that plus all of the other things this Braves offense has accomplished in 2023 including threatening the single season home run record, it is no wonder that many are already calling them the best offense in baseball history. How far that offense will take them in the playoffs, though, is very much to be determined.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built