A note on traded players: all the numbers you see for a player are his stats with that team. When a player amasses ten at-bats with a new team, his numbers will appear on that team's page, and will be taken off his old team's page. So for all the most recent trades (Carlos Lee, Bobby Abreu, etc.), as of this update, they're all on their old clubs.
¶ 8:18 PM0 commentslinks to this post
27 July 2006
So, if you're reading this, odds are you're coming in from The Hardball Times, where studes deemed this little old project link-worthy, or from a site that picked up on THT's mention. However you got here, let me thank you for stopping by, and offer a huge thanks to studes and anyone who posted an entry anywhere about Clutchiness.
Now that you're here, you probably have some questions. Over on the right, you'll see links to The Stat, The Site, and The Inspiration. Each of these should help you make sense of the numbers you'll see around here, but if you have additional questions, hit up the comments or the email link, also on the right.
Finally, I should note that it's actually pretty fortuitous that you're all here today. The few pre-THT visitors will note that updates have been a bit sporadic over the last week or so. I've been finishing up a big project in that whole "real world" place, but it came to a close earlier this morning. Which means we should be back to nearly-daily updates starting today.
Check back towards the end of the day, when the numbers will be updated. Yes, though the formulas are automated, the data entry is still by hand.
Well, mostly updated. The seasonal WPA numbers for the Brewers and Reds have not yet been updated on FanGraphs, and thus are not updated here. Moreover, I had already updated their OPS numbers, so at the moment, their clutchiness numbers aren't even old -- just flat wrong. But I figured I've been unable to update for so long that I'd get this update up now, and finish the Brewers and Reds when FanGraphs updates. And if that happens before tomorrow's update, I will make a note of it here.
The good news is that my internet is back up and running. The bad news (depending on much you're in need of a Clutchiness update) is that it's 7pm on a Friday and I can think of a few more important things than banging out an update that will take longer than usual due to all the backlog. Tomorrow, all will be made good and we will be back to (usually) daily updates. I swear.
¶ 6:55 PM0 commentslinks to this post
Your First Half Chokers... All Of Them.
Deciding on the parameters to be a Clutch-Star was pretty easy: be great in all situations, and especially so in high leverage situations. But defining the chokers presents a few problems. Can someone who should be merely bad, but is terrible in WPA, be labeled a choker? By the same token, can someone who should be terrific, but is merely very good in WPA, really be considered a choker? Should it just be players with positive expected wins and negative WPA, even if there are others with worse clutchiness numbers? After the jump, I'll present the numbers; you make the decisions.
Perhaps the easiest way to start is to show you the shortlist of contenders, so here are the 27 players who have cost their teams at least one win because of their (lack of) performance in high leverage situations.
As you see, the names practically run the gamut of performers, from the best hitter in baseball by VORP to the worst hitter in baseball by WPA. Indeed, these two men deserve special recognition.
The perception seems to be that Hafner didn't make the All-Star Team due to a combination of the game's location (the NL's Pittsburgh) and his league's manager (hello Paul Konerko). But if, as I suggested last week, Mark Loretta's selection was helped by his perception by virtue of his clutchiness, it stands to reason Hafner finds himself on the other side of this coin. Not having a nightly highlight of late inning heroics doesn't help keep his name in the national consciousness. And if the MVP vote comes around, and people dismiss Hafner because of the Indians record, perhaps we will point to his clutchiness and say that he has no one to blame but himself. Well, himself and Aaron Boone... and Jhonny Peralta... and Jason Johnson... and... well, let's move on.
Again, can you really consider it choking if your numbers say you should be terrible anyway? As hard as it is to define a choker, it may be equally as difficult to pick the worst hitter on the Cubs. Juan Pierre has a .321 OBP, and yet that puts him smack in the median of Cubs batters with 100 PAs. Neifi Perez scrapes the bottom at .269, but has been allowed to waste "only" 173 plate attempts. And so my vote would go to Cedeno, with this scary note: as bad as so many Cubs have been, Cedeno is worst in both Leverage-adjusted OPS Wins and WPA Wins -- and it's not even close.
Now then, with those two out of the way, allow me to skip the Cedeno-esque "should be bad; are even worse" chokers (you can thank me later, Garret Anderson) and focus on the two other groups that stand out: the choking stars and the deceivers.
*The Choke-Stars* These are the men who choked away more than one win, but who have put up such good numbers that they're still adding positive total value on the season. In the interest of space, if you'd like to see their OPS Wins and WPA Wins, just refer back to the choker list
Miguel Tejada: -1.016 clutchiness Mike Lamb: -1.118 Chipper Jones: -1.224 Alex Rodriguez: -1.245 Trot Nixon: -1.248
And the captain of the Choke-Stars, proof that a lack of press hides both your good and your bad:
Jason Bay LevOPS Wins: 2.280 WPA Wins: 0.655 Clutchiness: -1.625
*The Deceivers* Yeah, the name leaves a lot to be desired. Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated. But I was trying to get across the message that, over the half-season, these men have put up OBP and SLG numbers that say they should have contributed positively to their clubs... when in actuality, they posted negative WPA. Thankfully, for my purposes, of those who qualified for the overall choker list, those with more than one LevOPS Win stayed positive and became a Clutch-Star. Which means that everyone you see here, while having a positive LevOPS Win expectation, should not have been expected to contribute an entire win. Thus, while the nature of being a Deceiver suggests their chokiness was especially harmful, their clutchiness numbers aren't necessarily any worse than the rest of the choker list.
Robinson Cano: -1.010 clutchiness Mark Teixeira: -1.024 Jonny Gomes: -1.090 Torii Hunter: -1.197 Austin Kearns: -1.237 Tim Salmon: -1.297 Troy Glaus: -1.317 Jamey Carroll: -1.373 Matt Diaz: -1.397 Shea Hillenbrand: -1.504 Jose Castillo: -1.510 Jose Vidro: -1.555
And the biggest Deceiver of them all, poster boy for sample size warnings:
Chris Shelton LevOPS Wins: 0.746 WPA Wins: -0.813 Clutchiness: -1.559
So there you have it. Who gets your vote for the biggest chokers of the half-season? Is it Bay, who was the least clutchy player overall but still posted a positive WPA? Is it Shelton, who closely follows Bay but does so while having the distinction of being a Deceiver? Is it Trot Nixon, only 4.1 WPA percentage points from being the only player to put up numbers worthy of one win while actually having negative added value? Or is it a player like Tejada, Teixeira, or A-Rod, whose reputations and contracts say they shouldn't be on the list at all? Hit up the comments with your thoughts.Read More.
¶ 10:45 PM2 commentslinks to this post
First-Half Clutch Stars
Between now and next week's All-Star Game, I'll examine the clutchiness numbers in various ways to determine some of the half-season's top players. Who's on the All-Clutchy Team? How about the All-OPSers? And the payoff post: the All-WPA Team.
But to start, I wanted to highlight just three men. Well, technically I wanted to highlight anyone who met a certain criteria; it turns out there are only three. But one could argue these are the three most valuable clutchy players so far: the Clutch-Stars. And their names shouldn't be surprising.
The criteria is simple: put up numbers worthy of more than one Leverage-adjusted OPS Win Above Average; add more than one win in terms of WPA; and still manage to have added one clutchiness win (as a reminder, clutchiness measures the difference between actual WPA Wins and expected LevOPS Wins). So without further Apu, the only three men to meet this criteria thus far, your Clutch-Stars:
David Ortiz - For all the talk about Big Papi's walk-offs over the past few weeks, he's actually been the least valuable and least clutchy of the three Clutch-Stars. Perhaps even more surprisingly, until recently, he wasn't even the clutchiest player on his team. People often criticize the actual All-Star fan vote for being based more on perception than reality, so with Mark Loretta topping Papi in clutchiness for most of the season, his selection as the AL's starting second baseman shouldn't surprise. But I digress. Papi's Clutch-Stars numbers:
Derek Jeter - Captain Intangibles served as the inspiration for this site, when his clutchiness pace as of June 21 caught the eye of Tom Tango. At that time, Jeter led the Yanks in win probability added with 3.2 wins. Here we are just short of two weeks later and Jeter... still leads the Yanks in win probability added with 3.2 wins. Meanwhile, he raised his rate stats a bit, so his clutchiness number has actually gone down. Regardless, as his Clutch-Stars numbers show, the Legend of Derek Jeter continues:
And finally, as if there weren't enough ways to say "he's been outstanding" already, may I present your leader in WPA:
Albert Pujols - Seriously, what else is there to say about Pujols at this point? His rate stats say he should have added an incredible three and a half wins thus far; instead he's actually raised his game in high leverage situations and is destroying everyone in WPA Wins with more than five (nearly two more than Jeter, second in the Majors).
What can you take from this, besides a sense of awe? One of the points you'll see again and again the "does clutch hitting exist?" debate is that the best hitters in the clutch are also the best hitters period. The Clutch-Stars agree. The three men you see here are also the three top hitters in terms of WPA, and recognized as three of the top hitters of the half-season by nearly any metric. But while others with that distinction have found it difficult enough to meet their seasonal numbers when in high leverage situations (and we'll examine them in the coming days), these three haven't just performed as well as they "should"; they've exceeded even those already excellent numbers. And that's what being a Clutch-Star is all about.Read More.
¶ 11:57 PM1 commentslinks to this post
Clutchiness UpdatedThe clutchiness numbers have been updated through June 30th, except for the Yankees. I will keep checking in with Fangraphs to see when the Yankees seasonal numbers are updated, at which point I can do my update. If it happens before tomorrow's update, I will make a note of it here.
Of note: Adam Dunn's Ultimate Grand Slam caps a tremendous three game run of win probability additions. At the start, Dunn had a negative WPA on the season. Then he just barely crossed into the positive with a 5.7 WPA. The next two games saw Dunn hit an eighth-inning, two-out double that drove in the game-winning run, and the aforementioned walk-off slam. And after the dust settled, Dunn's WPA reached 118.2, second on the team.
¶ 5:38 PM0 commentslinks to this post
Clutch hitting may or may not exist. Clutchiness most certainly does. By comparing a player's value in terms of win probability to his projected value based on OBP and SLG, we see how much he has over- or under-performed expectations due to performance in higher leverage situations. If clutch exists, it might just look like this.