If before the season started you were told the 2024 Mets would be 12-8 at the 20-game mark, you might have been mildly surprised but it would have been believable. Yet, if you were told that they would start out 0-5 and play nothing but teams over .500 in this 20-game stretch, including three in Atlanta and two in Los Angeles against the Dodgers – well, you’d probably say no way. But here we are.

There are dozens of things about this start which don’t make sense. The one that jumps out to me this morning is that three separate guys – Harrison Bader, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo, each have a .726 OPS. It’s not a great mark. It’s a pretty disappointing one for Nimmo, a sigh-inducing one for McNeil and a “what, wait … really?” one for Bader. Let’s take a deeper look into the trio’s output to date:

Bader 65 .383 3.1 21.5 .084 101 0.2
McNeil 75 .273 10.7 10.7 .125 112 0.2
Nimmo 92 .255 16.3 21.7 .151 117 0.6

We use OPS and OPS+ often here for two main reasons. It’s a very simple thing to understand and it gets you most of the way to the right answer. But the right answer is wRC+ and here you can see the separation among these three players, even if the difference isn’t all that big here after three weeks.

Furthermore, we can see how it is that these three players all have the exact same OPS. It’s because of their BABIPs. Quite simply, the hits are falling in at a great rate for Bader, who has a lifetime .302 mark in the category. And while Bader is enjoying good fortune here, the same can’t be said for either McNeil or Nimmo.

Lifetime, McNeil has a .320 BABIP while Nimmo has a .331 mark.

None of our three hitters got off to a great start, with Bader having the best beginning with a .485 OPS thru seven games. McNeil was next at .454 and Nimmo brought up the rear with his .333 OPS. Since then, it’s been a different story. Here are their numbers since April 6:

Nimmo has an .887 OPS with a .331 BABIP
McNeil has an .837 OPS with a .359 BABIP
Bader has an .824 OPS with a .389 BABIP

Nimmo is exactly at his career mark in BABIP while McNeil is 39 points above his lifetime rate. And Bader is at the top of the heap with a BABIP 87 points above what we would expect.

What’s encouraging to me in these past 13 games is that we see the power from Nimmo that we’re hoping for, as he has a .212 ISO in this span. Six of his 14 hits have gone for extra-bases, including three doubles and two homers. The ultimate mark of a hitter who can do it all is a .300/.400/.500 line and it’s something that’s within reach for Nimmo if he can produce his lifetime BABIP with this type of power. He’s not there in this current streak because of his AVG. He’ll need to cut down on his strikeouts to get above the .300 mark in the category.

McNeil is having good fortune with his balls in play but one thing that’s encouraging is that he’s pulling the ball more. Overall this season, 12 of his 16 hits have come to the right of the second base bag, including Saturday when he hit two doubles to right field. According to Baseball-Reference, McNeil has a lifetime 1.071 OPS when he pulls the ball, compared to a .756 mark when he goes up the middle and a .679 mark when he goes the opposite way. That’s a pretty normal split for a hitter. It’s just that announcers and fans get so excited when McNeil flips a single to the opposite field. A hit is much better than an out. But a double or homer is simply better than a single. And McNeil hits those when he pulls the ball. The doubles have started to come for McNeil.

Bader is off to a great start and he’s done it by turning on fastballs. Statcast shows 29 PA for Bader ending on a 4-seamer and he’s 11-27, with a walk and a hit by pitch. It’s tough not to throw fastballs to a hitter batting in the lower third of the order. But why anyone would throw Bader a strike with the pitch right now doesn’t make much sense. He’s a combined 2-13 against sliders and sweepers and 1-5 versus changeups. It will be curious to see how pitchers attack Bader going forward.

Another thing driving Bader’s early success is his production against RHP. Typically, Bader has done significantly better against lefties but here in the first 20 games of the season he has a .764 OPS versus righties, compared to a .651 mark against southpaws. Two of his three XBH have come off righties, including his only homer. A .444 BABIP versus RHP hasn’t hurt, either.

At first glance – Bader, McNeil and Nimmo are having similar production here in the early part of 2024. But they get there in different ways. The extremes are Bader and Nimmo, with the former having his hits fall in, while the latter has done it with walks and power. Few doubt that when all is said and done that Nimmo will be the most-productive member of this trio. The jury is still very much out on the other two. Can McNeil pull the ball for power? Can Bader continue his success versus righties?

It will be a great year if they can.

8 comments on “How Harrison Bader, Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo have the same OPS

  • TexasGusCC

    Thank you for the info, but I’d like to have a discussion on why OPS is such a good stat. To begin with, it was derived by MLB during the years of shifts to take attention from the very low batting averages. It’s is much cooler to use the two higher numbers derived from the three true outcomes, that make a baseball game a yawnfest. Notice, once you take away the shifts, encourage stealing bases, and speed up the game, it’s fun again! What a concept!

    Batting averages are usually a result of the LD% success rate which shows just how well a batter is striking the ball. Yesterday, with a man on second and two outs, Marte gets a base hit to drive the runner in; does a walk suffice? No. But, it works the same for OPS. OPS is a stupid stat to me. It hides a player’s inefficiencies. For example, our favorite scrub is on the Blue Jays now and his OPS on April 12th was .795! But, they won’t play him? Are they fools? No, they see the truth we refused to. Vogelbach is still looking to take a walk. He still passes on hittable pitches. His WPA is close to 0 because of that. But, why would a team only start a hitter with a .795 OPS only one time in over a week? Because he is hurting the offense and quite honestly should be out of baseball because he isn’t willing to understand how damage is done. Someone lied to this man at a younger age and he is still believing it, and it’s hurting him. OPS is a big lie that MLB is trying to deceive us with. RC+ is in fact a way better number to use.

    • Brian Joura

      FWIW – The Blue Jays signed Justin Turner for $13 million to be their DH. They signed Vogelbach to a minor league deal. Vogelbach had a really good Spring Training, the only reason he made the team at all. Here in the regular season, he’s had 3 starts and 5 PH appearances, which sounds about right for a guy who made the team as a minor league free agent

      Turner has a .938 OPS and has been more productive than what they possibly imagined. Vogelbach has a .620 OPS. You want to construct this fancy narrative about a stat and a player – both of which you don’t like – but the facts simply show something entirely different.

      • José Hunter

        “Few doubt that when all is said and done that Nimmo will be the most-productive member of this trio.”


        In the 7 season in which he’s had > 80 PAs (2017-2023), his lowest OBP is 0.363, and that was last year

        In Mets team history, Nimmo racks 28th in BA, tied with Cliff Floyd and… Amed Rosario? (!)

        However, in OBP, only Olerud, Magadan and Mex rank above him

  • NYM6986

    Interesting thought on OPS Gus and that there are some flaws with the measurement as it gives credit for a walk in the same way it does a hit. I’d think a hit has the chance to knock in a run versus a walk unless the bases are loaded. As an old timer, I still like the simple statistic known as batting average, even though it ignores any contribution to the offense by drawing a walk. While Alonso had a .821 OPS last year, his .217 batting average to go along with 151 Ks indicates that he could have contributed much more to the team if he struck out less and put the ball in play. Yes 46 HR was fine but he could have had more RBI with more hits. in 2022 his OPS was higher at .869 and with a .271 batting average, Alonso knocked in 131 runs with 6 less HR. The flaw in OPS can be seen with DJ Stewart who has an OPS of around 1.0 but a batting average of just .219. The OPS is inflated by his three HR. What does OPS plus in baseball measure?
    So while I have come to appreciate OPS and its value, Lindor batting .188 and Nimmo .200 are dragging down the offense. Thankfully McNeil’s up to .250.

    • TexasGusCC

      I agree with the comment and would like to point out that WPA of Baseball Reference has a single as a value as 1 for the plate appearance (as does OBP) but it has a walk as only worth .78, which is at least a bit more realistic.

    • Paulc

      Though I prefer OPS+ because it’s weighted for league performance and park effects, OPS accounts for batting average because BA is a component of slugging percentage. While no stat is perfect, OPS is a simple stat to calculate that reveals a player’s offensive production.

  • Metsense

    wRc+ is the best way to measure a player’s offense value. The definition for it is found in the Fangraphs glossary. This definition explains why wRC+ is better than BA, RBIs, OPS or wOBA. Baseball is all about run produced and runs prevented.
    Bader’s high .306 BA his better than Nimmo’s of .205 but Nimmo’s runs created is 16% better than Bader’s output because he created more runs. Runs win ballgames.

    • Brian Joura


      It’s disheartening to have to have this discussion in 2024. It’s the type of discussion that smart people were having 40 years ago and one that was definitively answered at least 25 years ago. Despite any objections that anyone might have to how OPS is calculated, the simple fact is that OPS >>> AVG because it correlates much better to run scoring and winning.

      At the same time, wRC+ > OPS because it uses 12 inputs, while OPS uses two. It’s a tradeoff of precision for simplicity.

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