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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bryce Harper, the clutch god

- Harper with runners on base in 2019 had a pre-Thursday slash line of .345/.439/.645.

- With runners in scoring position this season, he batted .378/.484/.653.

- With runners in scoring position and two outs, he batted .410/.540/.744.

I admit I was wary when the Phils signed Harper, but if he keeps the momentum flowing he’ll wind up with a fine first campaign in the City of Brotherly Love.

Go Phillies!

Lest we forget Posted: August 17, 2019 at 03:53 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, clutch, god

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   1. it's hittin' 53450n. Posted: August 17, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5872116)
ryan howard was also persistently better at hitting with runners on base than he was with the bases empty. for his career:

bases empty: .244/.311/.488
men on: .274/.375./544

in general, hitters are better with runners on base, but for guys like howard and harper, there may be an additional factor in that teams are more likely to shift heavily when the bases are empty.

harper has now hit 6 HRs in his last 7 games, raising his OPS by nearly 40 points.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5872200)
Looking at his splits -- in the last 5 seasons, with men on, his worst OPS has been 949; worst sOPS+ of 153. The big difference this year vs. those previous years is that the walk rate is much lower, basically they have pitched around him less this year. In 2016 he had 48 BB (20 IBB) in 116 PAs; this year it's just 21 in 102. It's quite common of course that good hitters have sky-high BB rates when 1B is open.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: August 17, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5872202)
in general, hitters are better with runners on base

This is at least part mirage - with men on base, some routine outs are sometimes recorded as Sac Flys.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: August 17, 2019 at 05:54 PM (#5872203)
This is at least part mirage - with men on base, some routine outs are sometimes recorded as Sac Flys.

The infield playing in would also boost BA.
   5. Sunday silence Posted: August 17, 2019 at 06:39 PM (#5872206)

This is at least part mirage - with men on base, some routine outs are sometimes recorded as Sac Flys.

the sac fly rate is hovering around 0.5% of plate appearances. Since its not counted as an AB, its only going to be cutting into BA by like 1.5 pts (.0015).

I dont seem to be able to quickly find how much BA increases w/ men on. Im guessing its like 20 pts (.020) I know its not huge. SO effectively something like a boost of 18 pts+ or so. Its very little of a mirage.

Also GB error rates increase a lot with men on base, namely when the DP is on. it goes from like 2% to 6% or more. Not sure if this has much relevance to your idea.
   6. Sunday silence Posted: August 17, 2019 at 08:12 PM (#5872224)
OK its .264 w/ runners on and .247 w/ no one on. Add in (or substract) preservedfish factor, and it works out to +15.5 pts of batting w/ runners on.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2019 at 09:39 PM (#5872244)
There are a plethora of potential reasons. (I figures it's been a few years since I used "plethora")

1. That there are men on base is a (mild) sign that this is not the pitcher's best day plus poorer pitchers are more likely to put guys on
2. Hinted at above, IF positioning. Not just IF in, but 1B holding runner, IFs at "DP depth" and possibly other positioning (e.g. do you still shift?).
2a. Probably extremely trivial but OFs sometimes playing closer in to cut down the runner in a close game or playing deeper to prevent doubles, etc.
3. Batters getting pitched around more when 1B is open. This boosts walk rates (no direct effect on BA) and allows them to also be more selective in what they do swing at.
4. SFs

#1 would be interesting to try to tease out. The pool of total PAs is probably 50/50 between above- and below-average pitchers but the pool of on-base PAs will tilt towards pitchers who are more likely to put guys on base. On the other hand, pitcher BABIP doesn't differ a lot so putting extra guys on base is primarily about walks and contact.

2019 AL (to keep pitchers out of it as much as possible) the walk rate with nobody on is 8%; with a runner on first, it drops to about 7.4%; with runners on and 1B open it's 12.5%.

The overall BA gap is 13 points; 5 points of that is due to SF (250 vs 263 vs 258). That effect is much bigger with a man on 3B of course. Overall with a man on 3B, the BA is 282 (a 32 point gap); adding SFs drops that to 261, an 11 point gap. (The men on but nobody on 3B gap should be about half that given only about 22% of these situations have a man on 3B).

The SLG difference between nobody on and men on is already pretty small at just 5 point (446 vs 441). Adding back in SFs drops the men on SLG to 439, slightly lower. It brings the "man on 3rd" SLG down to 444. Given the boost in BA this represents a small drop in ISO.

So SFs are (this year at least) having a pretty big impact. Without men on base, average AL is 250/317/441; with men on base, it's 258/333/439. The difference then is really just the walk rate which only applies to men on with 1B open, suggesting it's pitcher strategy not batter strategy.

I don't know if this is typical, I suspect not. If this bucks the trend it is possible it's due to batters not treating men on situations much different than nobody on situations.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2019 at 09:49 PM (#5872247)
With regard to #5: SFs are 0.7% of ALL ABs (AL 2019); they are 1.7% of men-on ABs, 8.2% of man-on-3rd ABs. They are a fairly important adjustment in comparing men-on to nobody on situations. (SFs are counted as PAs so no need to adjust OBP.)
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 17, 2019 at 10:00 PM (#5872250)
Further, we've been discussing the clutchiness of Bryce Harper in terms of hitting with men on. He also hits SFs in 2.2% of his men-on ABs. If those are included as ABs, he drops from 302/423/541 to 295/423/530. That's still very, very good obviously and way better than 256/356/486 with nobody on although the ISOs are nearly identical. Anybody know if BABIP includes SFs? Looks like it does so the 344 vs 296 BABIP difference seems to need no adjusting.
   10. puck Posted: August 17, 2019 at 10:21 PM (#5872251)
Nolan Arenado has big career splits bases empty vs men on:

.271/.318/.498/.060 bbrate: bases empty
.319/.384/.593/.010 bbrate men on

   11. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 18, 2019 at 01:37 AM (#5872271)
There is a simple answer, personal character.
   12. Lest we forget Posted: August 18, 2019 at 03:48 AM (#5872273)
"there may be an additional factor in that teams are more likely to shift heavily when the bases are empty"

I hadn't considered that consciously. Thanks.
   13. BrianBrianson Posted: August 18, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5872336)
Batters on base is more likely to occur with lousy pitchers. So of course your OPS should be higher ;)

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