Clutchiness
07 August 2006
  Leaderboard Added, David Ortiz, Clutch Stars
No longer will we be left to jot down numbers on a napkin to determine that Curtis Granderson is the seventh clutchiest player in the bigs. Just check out the leaderboard for your MLB and league leaders in clutchiness.

A few things to note:
-- The MLB leaderboard lists all players with clutchiness numbers above 1. As of this update, it totals 22 players.
-- The AL and NL leaderboards are top tens. You'll note that this means some AL players on the MLB leaderboard are not on their league's page, while the NL leaderboard includes players with clutchiness numbers less than 1.

And perhaps most ripe for discussion: David Ortiz. His clutchiness has been the subject of quite a bit of talk recently. Hit the jump for what the numbers say, and to welcome a new member of the Clutch Stars.

Bill Simmons got some amazing numbers from Elias and ordained Ortiz "the best clutch hitter of his generation." Matt Sussman suggested that maybe that distinction isn't such an open-and-closed case. Seth Mnookin said Sussman's critique was... well, let's say, misguided at best.

So what do you see on the leaderboard? Ortiz sits 14th in the majors, 8th in his own league, and 2nd on his own team. Certainly the issue of Ortiz' "clutch" ability is based in more than just this season. But if these are the performances that are many are using to cement his legacy, clutchiness says not so fast my friend.

And finally, at the All-Star break, I examined a select group of players that I deemed Clutch Stars. These were the players who were already expected to be top players (1+ LevOPS Win) yet were going above and beyond that in high leverage situations (1+ clutchiness). Only three made the cut: Ortiz, Derek Jeter, and Albert Pujols, in ascending order of value and clutchiness. As of this update, that group would welcome one new member (Jermaine Dye), while also seeing Ortiz jump past Jeter in terms of total value (WPA).
 
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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.

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Author: Dan Smith
Email: clutchinessatmacdotcom
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