His resume and stats are impressive, and his impact on the game is undeniable.
These three stats, however, illustrate his greatness as a player.
3. .931 OPS
OPS, which combines OBP with slugging percentage, is one of the best stats to measure offensive performance in baseball.
It’s not too complicated, and it covers two of the most valuable outcomes for an offensive player: getting on base and hitting extra-base hits.
Ortiz was a master of both situations, so naturally, his OPS was extremely high.
A .380 OBP is amazing, and lots of players would love to get on base that much in a single season.
Ortiz had that mark as a career average.
He was a true beast, and opposing pitchers had a great deal of respect for him.
They didn’t want to catch too much of the plate because they knew Ortiz would send one to the bleachers if they did.
2. 424 RBI Over A Three-Year Span
Hall of Fame voters like to see final career lines and numbers as a whole at the time choosing a candidate.
They also love accolades and awards, which Ortiz has plenty.
But there is another factor they look at: peak performance.
They like to select players who were absolute monsters when they were in their best years.
In Ortiz’s case, this peak occurred between 2004 and 2006.
This is not to say he wasn’t productive before or after: in fact, he remained elite until 2016.
But that three-year stretch was marvelous.
A run-production machine, Ortiz totaled 424 RBI in those three seasons: 139 in 2004, 148 in 2005, and 137 in 2006.
From '04-'06 …Ortiz – 424 RBIs (1st), 142 HRs (1st), 1.011 OPS (4th), .614 slugging percentage (2nd), 154 wRC+ (5th),
— Brian Barrett (@itsbrianbarrett) January 26, 2022
Oh, and he also hit 142 home runs over that span.
Lots of Hall of Famers hit fewer homers during their entire careers.
He slugged over .600 in each of those three seasons.
1. 3.2 Win Probability Added (WPA) In The Playoffs
As you know, Ortiz was a beast in the postseason.
He won three World Series, one American League Championship Series MVP in 2004 against the New York Yankees, and one World Series MVP award in 2013 versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
He hit 17 home runs and drove in 61 runs in October.
But neither stat leads the league.
Where Ortiz paces everyone is the postseason is in Win Probability Added, or WPA, with 3.2 over a marvelous playoff career.
WPA tries to measure a player’s contribution to getting a win by determining how much a specific play made by that player changed the outcome of a game.
Ortiz may not lead MLB in all-time homers or RBI, because, among other reasons, he wasn’t among the league leaders in postseason plate appearances.
However, he did have the highest impact in October baseball judging by his 3.2 WPA.
Ortiz is the all time leader in postseason WPA (3.2). A career .392 wOBA and 140 wRC+ in the regular season. His 51.0 fWAR is impressive considering he was a DH that did not run well and only played 2166 innings at 1st base…the least valuable defensive position #HOF2022
— Jake Brannen (@jakebrannen42) January 26, 2022
The second-ranked player, Albert Pujols, had 2.8 WPA, and then there are two players with 2.7 and one with 2.6.
The difference between Ortiz and the rest of the pack is unbelievable.
He may very well be the best postseason performer in the history of the game.