Slugging percentage is an important baseball statistic to gauge a hitter's power. Just as batting average is to a singles hitter like Ichiro, so a slugging percentage is to a slugger like Albert Pujols. The calculation is very simple and will help you make better baseball fantasy league draft selections or just help you keep more accurate records for the neighborhood baseball team. Slugging percentage is commonly used these days with on base percentage to calculate OPS (on base + slugging). A good rule of thumb is a great hitter will be over .600 in slugging and over .400 in on base percentage. The OPS for a great hitter will top 1.00 when the two are added. Baby steps are first! Let's learn how slugging percentage is calculated.

The formula:

Slugging Percentage = Total Bases / At Bats

Now if you are not given a player's Total Bases, relax it is easy to calculate. Let us look at St. Louis Cardinal's best slugger's totals from 2009:Albert Pujols

AB= 568

H = 186

1B = 93*

2B = 45

3B = 1

HR = 47

*We will need to know his singles, so to calculate, just take (Hits – 2B – 3B – HR) and you get (186-45-1-47) or 93 singles. In statistic logs, singles aren't generally given (fortunately Total Bases are given often which saves you the lengthier calculation below).

Once you have this information, we can expand the formula to be:

Slugging Percentage = {(1 x Singles) + (2 x 2B) + (3 x 3B) + (4 x HR)} / At Bats

So for Pujols in 2009:

Slugging Percentage = {(1x 93) + (2 x 45) + (3 x 1) + (4 x 47)} / 568;

Slugging Percentage = (93 + 90 + 3 + 188) / 568;

Slugging Percentage = 374 / 568

or a remarkable .658 which was good enough to lead the majors!!

Currently, for a career Albert ranks only behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. Quite good company to keep. Ruth's single season record stood for 80 years until bested by Barry Bonds' .863 in 2001. However New York Yankee great Ruth's career slugging of .6897 will probably remain one of baseball's unbreakable records. The absolute highest slugging percentage obtainable is 4.00 which means you would have to hit a homerun every time at bat. This would give you 4 Total Bases / 1 At Bat or 4.00. There have been instances of people hitting a single homerun and finishing the season in this manner. Needless to say, the figure falls rather quickly.

With a little practice you can calculate slugging percentage with ease. If you keep team stats in a spreadsheet it is even easier. Always remember to only use At Bats for slugging and never add in walks.

Also, even though it is called slugging percentage that is a bit of a misnomer as the number is almost always represented as a decimal rounded to three digits. Once you master slugging, you can move on to calculating batting average and calculating e.r.a. They are all useful and you can finally teach your little slugger what all the numbers on the back of baseball cards mean!