Mike Trout: Proof Slugging Percentage Plus is Not Broken

Updated: August 11, 2012

By any metric imaginable, Los Angeles Angels wunderkind Mike Trout is having one heck of a season.  He’s leading the world in WAR, and leading the AL in R, SB, BA, and OPS+.  He’s either second or third in all these categories too: OBP, SLG%, OPS, youngest player, and Win Probability Added.  And he made the All-Star Game.

Followers of this blog will remember that back on June 18th, I introduced Slugging Percentage Plus (SPP or Slug+), born of the idea that steals matter just as much as doubles.  I provided an update to the SPP standings on July 12th.

Well, guess what: it’s August 10th, and the time is nigh for another SPP update.  I’ve adjusted the algorithm a little bit.  Caught stealing is now subtracted from the top portion of the calculation, in deference to the immutable fact that getting caught stealing is bad.  I toyed with the idea of standardizing the “perfect season” at 1.000 by including a multiplier based on Barry Bonds’ 2004 for the ages, but eventually reneged for the sake of avoiding a damaging Bonds-ian assoication on the stat’s public image.  SPP will remain Bonds-free.

For a reminder, here’s the updated formula:

SPP = ((TB + SB + Walks + HBP- CS) / (PA))


Here are your SPP standings as of games completed Thursday:

Name SPP
Mike Trout 0.7105
Matt Kemp 0.6865
Joey Votto 0.6811
Andrew McCutchen 0.6652
David Ortiz 0.6596
Ryan Braun 0.6593
Edwin Encarnacion 0.6407
Carlos Gonzalez 0.6295
Miguel Cabrera 0.6247
Josh Willingham 0.6201
Josh Hamilton 0.6126
Jose Bautista 0.6091
Mark Trumbo 0.6086
David Wright 0.6081
Carlos Ruiz 0.6062
Carlos Beltran 0.6009
Matt Holliday 0.5996
Paul GoldSchmidt 0.5969
Robinson Cano 0.5962
Alex Rios 0.5868
Albert Pujols 0.5851
Buster Posey 0.5837
Josh Reddick 0.5815
Austin Jackson 0.5739
Adam Jones 0.5720
Melky Cabrera 0.5699
Adam Dunn 0.5699
Yadier Molina 0.5553
Jason Heyward 0.5508
Chase Headley 0.5311
Ian Kinsler 0.5218
Jose Reyes 0.5210
Michael Bourn 0.5097
Sean Morash 0.5079
Hanley Ramirez 0.5022
Drew Stubbs 0.4987
Shane Victorino 0.4881
Jason Kipnis 0.4842
Rickie Weeks 0.4778
Starlin Castro 0.4511
Jeff Franouer 0.4065
Dee Gordon 0.3945
Dave Robbins 0.3836


SPP proves a very good indicator of how well a given player is doing in an all-around offensive sense.  (Offensive wins above replacement (oWAR) is also a good indicator, but I prefer SPP because I made it up.)  In examining the SPP list, one gets a pulse on the offensive performances thus far this season; in compiling the data, I uncovered some interesting points .  Check out some of my notes:

I was happy to see Mike Trout at the top of the list given how unbelievable he’s been so far.  Consider this: his current 162 game projection has him on pace for 32 home runs, 100 RBI, 55 steals and a .345 average.  That he tops the SPP list proves that the stat is, at the very least, logical.

Alex Rios has as many walks as home runs (18).

Quick Quiz: who is having a better offensive season, Paul Goldschmidt or Robinson Cano?  According to SPP, the answer is Goldschmidt.

Jeff Francouer should stop trying to steal: 2 SB, 5 CS.

David Ortiz comes in at 5th in SPP despite the fact that the statistic is designed to reward base stealers.  He only has 11 career steals (0 this year), but is tops in the AL in Slugging, and that matters too.

In the first edition of the SPP leader board, Josh Hamilton was in 3rd place.  Second Edition: 5th.  His drop to 11th place this time around gives some context to just how poorly he’s played in recent weeks.

Stat of the Day: In Barry Bonds’ 2004 campaign (you know, basically the perfect offensive season) he posted a SPP of .890.

-Sean Morash


  1. Pingback: Angels’ Mike Trout The Unanimous ROY- Could Be The First Player Ever To Win Unanimous ROY and MVP In Same Season | Off The Bench

  2. Pingback: Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler Impress as April SPP Leaders | Off The Bench

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