What is Slugging Percentage in Baseball?

Find out what this important baseball statistic means and how to improve your slugging percentage
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

If you are a fan of baseball, you may have heard of the term slugging percentage before. Slugging percentage (SLG) is one statistic used to describe how well a particular hitter is hitting, specifically for power. Slugging percentage measures the total number of bases a batter records per at-bat.

This statistic is different from the batting average because slugging percentage assigns a different weight to specific hits. A home run for example is calculated with a higher score than a single, whereas in batting average all hits regardless of type or weighted the same.

Slugging percentage is a statistic that measures how skilled you are at getting extra-base hits: doubles, triples, and home runs.  Your slugging percentage represents the number of bases you earn in each at-bat. You calculate this stat by taking the number of total bases you have and dividing that by the number of at-bats you have. 

Why it’s Called Slugging Percentage

The term slugging percentage is used because it describes how much power a hitter produces. If you have a high slugging percentage, that means you produce a high number of power hits. The term “slug” or “slugger” often refers to a player that hits for a great deal of power. That is why the statistic representing power is termed slugging percentage. 

The Purpose of Slugging Percentage

The purpose of slugging percentage is to determine how much power a hitter produces. If the hitter has a high slugging percentage, then that means they produce a high percentage of extra-base hits. 

How is the Slugging Percentage Calculated? 

Slugging percentage is formulated differently than batting average. Slugging percentage is not necessarily a true percentage. To calculate total bases, you take a batter’s total number of hits and add one additional base for each double, two for each triple, and three for each homer. The formula for slugging percentage is: (1B + 2Bx2 + 3Bx3 + HRx4)/AB. This formula is used because each hit is assigned a different score in slugging percentage. A single is not weighted. A double is weighted by a multiple of 2. A triple is weighted with a multiple of 3. A home run is weighted by a multiple of 4. 

Example calculation

An example of a slugging percentage calculation can be seen in looking at Babe Ruth’s historic slugging percentage. In 1920, Babe Ruth had 172 hits. Ruth had 73 singles, 36 doubles, 9 triples, and 54 home runs. Ruth had 458 at-bats. There for the calculation would look like  (73×1) + (36×2) + (9×3) + (54×4)= 388. 388/458= .847 which was Ruth’s slugging percentage. 

What Is a Good Slugging Percentage?

Slugging percentage is a stat that is largely dependent on the type of hitter a player is. If you are more of a contact hitter then you probably won’t hit for an extremely high slugging percentage because your hits won’t be weighted the same as a power hitter. If you are a power hitter, you will likely have a high slugging percentage. With that being said, a good slugging percentage would be .450. A slugging percentage of .550 would be outstanding and anything .650 and above would be elite. On the other end of the spectrum, a .350 slugging percentage is fairly poor. 

Career Slugging Percentage Leaders

You may be wondering who has the highest slugging percentage of all time. Babe Ruth has the highest slugging percentage of all time with a career mark of .6897. Ted Williams follows him with a career mark of .6338. Third on the all-time list is Lou Gehrig with .6324. Jimmie Foxx is on the all-time slugging percentage list at number 4 with a .6093 slugging percentage, and Barry Bonds rounds out the top 5 with .6069.  

1Babe Ruth0.6897
2Ted Williams0.6338
3Lou Gehrig0.6324
4Mule Suttles0.6179
5Turkey Stearnes0.6165
6Oscar Charleston0.6145
7Jimmie Foxx0.6093
8Barry Bonds0.6069
9Hank Greenberg0.605
10Mark McGwire0.5882
11Manny Ramirez0.5854
12Mike Trout0.5845
13Joe DiMaggio0.5788
14Aaron Judge0.5784
15Rogers Hornsby0.5765
16Larry Walker *0.5652
17Albert Belle0.5638
18Johnny Mize0.562
19Juan González0.5607
20Stan Musial0.5591


What is OPS and how is it Related to Slugging Percentage?

OPS combines both on-base percentage and slugging percentage. This is done simply by adding the two together.  The letters stand for on-base plus slugging. This statistic is becoming a very popular way of determining how good of an overall hitter the player is. This is because the OPS statistic looks at how well a player gets on base, hits for average, and hits for power. 

Who has the Highest Slugging Percentage in a Season?

Barry Bonds has the highest slugging percentage in a season with a slugging percentage of .863 in 2001. This is often considered the best offensive season by an individual player. 

Who has the Highest Slugging Percentage of all Time?

Babe Ruth has the highest slugging percentage of all time with a career mark of .6897. Babe Ruth is considered to be one of the greatest hitters of all time. 

What is a Good Slugging Percentage?

A good slugging percentage would be .450. A slugging percentage of .550 would be outstanding and anything .650 and above would be elite. On the other end of the spectrum, a .350 slugging percentage is fairly poor. A good slugging percentage will be different for different types of hitters, however. A good slugging percentage for a power hitter should be higher than a good slugging percentage for a contact hitter. 

What is the Difference Between Batting Average and Slugging Percentage?

Batting average is determined by dividing a player’s hits by his total at-bats for a number between zero. Comparatively, slugging percentage represents the total number of bases a player records per at-bat. Both statistics can be used separately or combined to determine the value of the batter. 

Who invented slugging percentage?

A statistic was invented by Henry Chadwick in 1867 that pre-dates slugging percentage but figured the average of total bases. This was the basis for the modern slugging percentage. The modern slugging percentage that we use today uses that total bases per at-bat rather than per game as Chadwick’s statistic used in the 1800s. The modern slugging percentage was adopted by the National League in 1923 and by the American League in 1946. 

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