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Sunday, August 06, 2006

FTM: Mnookin: David Ortiz is not a clutch hitter: A primer in how to lie with statistics

War of the Clutch-God (put a Milo Hastings on them!)...Mnookin has a problem with Sussman’s Questioning David Ortiz’s Clutch Hitting bit.

With pretty much the entire world acknowledging that Ortiz has had a three-year run that will remembered for the ages, why do pieces like Sussman’s bother me so much? The main reason is that misinformation drives me nuts. And, as I learned in ninth grade when my journalism teacher made my class read Darrell Huff’s 1954 classic How To Lie With Statistics, you can use statistics to prove pretty much anything. One day, much smarter people than me will hopefully find ways to accurately measure the impact of things like baserunning ability and clutch hitting (and will come up with better ways to measure defense). Until then, we’ll need to make do with the statistics we have. And we’ll need to use them intelligently.

Repoz Posted: August 06, 2006 at 11:51 AM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, sabermetrics

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   1. pkb33 Posted: August 06, 2006 at 12:27 PM (#2128945)
That Sussman posting is really awful...it's like he doesn't understand anything about sabermetrics or analysis of 'clutch' and instead heard the stat "Batting verage with runners in scoring position" from Joe Morgan and figured he'd just run with it. There's several ways you can argue Ortiz is overrated, or that his 'clutch' rep is overstated. But none of them appear in that posting, unfortunately.

Please, Sussman, spend some time reading the basic source material before you write about baseball statistics in the future!
   2. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2006 at 01:22 PM (#2128956)
If you're a clutch superstar, why not hit like that all the time then? All PA:s are valuable, Ortiz shouldn't get away with mailing it in on the early innings. :-)
   3. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 06, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2128962)
Ugh, the Sussman article is almost unreadable. What an irritating gimmick.
   4. Astro Logical Sign Stealer Posted: August 06, 2006 at 01:50 PM (#2128969)
Sussman also writes that Baseball Prospectus’s Nate Silver thinks “hardcore sabermetricians” think “clutch hitting is an illusion, and such an ability doesn’t exist.” Silver actually wrote the exact opposite, saying, “Clutch hitting exists, more than previous research would indicate.”

This isn't a contradiction, though. Silver could think both that clutch hitting exists, but hardcore sabermetricians deny it.
   5. Dash Carlyle Posted: August 06, 2006 at 01:52 PM (#2128970)
...you can use statistics to prove pretty much anything.

Forty-percent of all people know that.
   6. buddaley Posted: August 06, 2006 at 02:13 PM (#2128974)
While I do not like the way the article is written, and he does make errors, your response is no better. Your fundamental argument is based on 19 ABs. The stats in those 19 ABs are remarkable, but it is still only 19 ABs. Suppose Ty Cobb had a streak when he went 2 for 19, something I am guessing must have happened. Would we say he was a lousy hitter?
Ortiz is a terrific hitter who is being lionized by a media that loves to beat a good story line to death. Whether some players are better in clutch situations is still very much open to debate, but it needs a lot more refining of definitions and statistics to make a case for it. Absent that, we should at least ask what is the logical connection between certain players and clutch hitting. Why would a player hit better in those situations, however defined, than overall? Is it a character issue, and if so, how widespread is it in the major leagues and how wide is the gap between the best, the good, the ordinary and the poor? If we can only guess at some link of cause and effect, we cannot assume there is such a thing. Rather we need to chalk it up to coincidence. If I do a rain dance 20 times and it rains 16 of those times, does it mean I caused the rain? What possible link could there be between my dance and the weather? So if I get hits 17 of 20 times late in close games, what possible link can there be between my hitting and my character, especially at this level of play? It may simply be coincidence or perhaps other factors, such as opportunity as suggested in the article.
   7. buddaley Posted: August 06, 2006 at 02:53 PM (#2128990)
I will go further. The following paragraph from your article verges on dishonesty. It is a typical gimmick, to segregate % from the raw numbers to make the case seem stronger. Now you did present the actual numbers in the previous paragraph, but using these kinds of rate stats based on just 19 plate appearances suggests a lot more than it should. It lends heft to an argument that does not deserve it. I remember a meeting once in which a teacher was severely criticized because 25% of his students had failed his class. This fact was part of a huge statistical analysis of the district's performance. What was not discussed was that he had 4 students in that class, and the one failure almost never attended school. Perhaps you should reread Huff's book.
   8. buddaley Posted: August 06, 2006 at 02:55 PM (#2128992)
I will go further. The following paragraph from your article verges on dishonesty. It is a typical gimmick, to segregate % from the raw numbers to make the case seem stronger. Now you did present the actual numbers in the previous paragraph, but using these kinds of rate stats based on just 19 plate appearances suggests a lot more than it should. It lends heft to an argument that does not deserve it. I remember a meeting once in which a teacher was severely criticized because 25% of his students had failed his class. This fact was part of a huge statistical analysis of the district's performance. What was not discussed was that he had 4 students in that class, and the one failure almost never attended school. Perhaps you should reread Huff's book.

Think about that for a second. Over the past two years, Ortiz is hitting .875 when he has a chance to end the game with one swing. His on-base percentage is .923. His slugging percentage is 2.556. And his OPS is 3.479.
   9. Passed Ball Posted: August 06, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2128993)
I will go no further. Sounds like clutch. Looks like clutch.
   10. 2ndedition Posted: August 06, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2128994)
My irritation would be that the submitter chose to misquote Mnookin's whine rather than Susman's ignorance as the basis for this thread. ("FTM: Mnookin: David Ortiz is not a clutch hitter: A primer in how to lie with statistics" indicates to me that it's Mnookin, not Sussman, saying Ortiz is not clutch).

I'd also like to know the legitimate arguments that pkb33 states exist against Ortiz clutchiness. This should be a fertile area for analysis - everyone who has competed in any sport KNOWS some players step and others step down when the pressure is on.
   11. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#2128998)
I'd also like to know the legitimate arguments that pkb33 states exist against Ortiz clutchiness.

Are there any? My guess is that whatever explanation offered in their zeal to defend their "science" (not necessarily by pkb33, but by anyone defending the notion that Ortiz is not a clucth hitter) will be an exercise in sophistry.
   12. CiC Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2129014)
If you're a clutch superstar, why not hit like that all the time then? All PA:s are valuable, Ortiz shouldn't get away with mailing it in on the early innings. :-)

Silly argument. Outdated also, you know.

Okay, so here's some conjecture. Say Papi is more comfortable than the average bear in high leverage situations. Not necessarily any better, and not necessarily any more comfortable than he would be in an early situation, but as comfortable. Would you prefer he, or someone who is less comfortable in high leverage situations than normal spots be up?

I know my answer.
   13. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2129017)
Silly, and also facetious, I think.
   14. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:22 PM (#2129023)
Smiley faces usually indicate at least a modicum of playfulness, Clutch.
   15. Swedish Chef Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2129024)
No, I'm not seriously criticizing Ortiz for not producing like that always.

But I'm interested in what the mechanism behind clutchiness would be.

Let's say the pitcher and hitter is normally affected by a certain amount of nervousness in an important situation, this tends to balance out, but there are some who are very calm and will have an advantage in these situations....
   16. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2129030)
Obviuosly, my sporting experiences haven't been on a professional level. In all my years of playing whatever (baseball, softball, golf, bowling), the better the players performed well under stress much more often than the mediocre players. It's a no brainer. How someone could make the argument that this is either A) not the case, or B) doesn't carry over to professional sports, is beyond me.
   17. Flynn Posted: August 06, 2006 at 04:50 PM (#2129034)
While I do not like the way the article is written, and he does make errors, your response is no better. Your fundamental argument is based on 19 ABs. The stats in those 19 ABs are remarkable, but it is still only 19 ABs. Suppose Ty Cobb had a streak when he went 2 for 19, something I am guessing must have happened. Would we say he was a lousy hitter?

Ortiz has been doing this a little longer than this year. The Ortiz gets big hits bandwagon has been running since at least 2003, when the Boston writers basically campaigned for him as MVP because he got so many big hits. His close and late numbers from 2003-2006 are exceptional. The man has more walkoff home runs than any active player and he's been a major league regular for about six seasons.

At this point, anybody who doesn't admit that for whatever reason Ortiz is significantly more likely than the average hombre to get a big hit is either a liar or an idiot.
   18. buddaley Posted: August 06, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#2129049)
Joe, that is precisely the point. Better players perform better while mediocre ones do not. That is a tautology. We can expect the outstanding hitters-Pujols, A-Rod, Bonds, Hafner, Ortiz, Manny, Vlad et al-to perform well in "clutch" situations because they are excellent hitters. If in one year, or even 3 years, we see a discrepancy between their overall numbers and their so called clutch numbers, there are most likely many reasons for it, coincidence being the most likely, selective memory and hype being the next most likely. As a matter of fact, for all the nonsense about Ortiz vs A-Rod last year in clutch performance, but nearly any legitimate measure of clutch, A-Rod's numbers were equal to or better than Ortiz's. So there we had perception issues, not numbers issues. A-Rod's overall numbers this year are down and our memories of him in the clutch similarly seem negative. I do not know if they are truly so or not, but the reporting certainly emphasizes his failures. How often does an article or report focus on a poor Ortiz day? He does have some, you know. In any case, the sample size, whether using one year or three remains too small to make any judgements. It seems sufficient to say that Ortiz is an excellent hitter who has delivered in many dramatic situations.
   19. CrosbyBird Posted: August 06, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2129058)
At this point, anybody who doesn't admit that for whatever reason Ortiz is significantly more likely than the average hombre to get a big hit is either a liar or an idiot.

Well, of course he's more likely than the average guy... Ortiz is an exceptional hitter.

Here's the question for you... let's say the next 20 times he's up in those sorts of situations, he makes 17 outs... after all, even great players have 3-for-20 runs. What happened then? Did his magical clutch skills go away?

We aren't really considering that Ortiz's true talent level in walkoff situations is in the .875/.923/2.556 range, are we?

The man has more walkoff home runs than any active player and he's been a major league regular for about six seasons.

Is there any other active guy who has had as many opportunities as Ortiz to hit walkoff HR?

I can't lie, Ortiz's numbers are eye-popping. But we're still talking about three problems:

1) A very small sample size. Even over his Red Sox career, we're talking about a relatively short pool of PA. These PA aren't meaningless (they did happen), but they aren't enough to be the beginning and end of the discussion.

2) Opportunity. There's no question Ortiz is the beneficiary of great opportunity in the sense of playing on teams with great offenses, in a good hitting park, and in a great offensive era. There is the very difficult question (which I have not yet seen in any analysis) of if these opportunities are historically great (to match his historically great production) and how they compare to the opportunities of his peers.

3) Talent. Ortiz is a great hitter any time in the baseball game. We should expect him to be better than average (relative to his peers) in every hitting situation. How do we separate the greatness that comes from Ortiz's overall talent level from any sort of "extra clutch" ability?
   20. DSG Posted: August 06, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2129060)
Obviuosly, my sporting experiences haven't been on a professional level. In all my years of playing whatever (baseball, softball, golf, bowling), the better the players performed well under stress much more often than the mediocre players. It's a no brainer. How someone could make the argument that this is either A) not the case, or B) doesn't carry over to professional sports, is beyond me.

Because the only ones who make it are the better players. Once you get to the majors, you only have players who performed well under stress. Also, could the better players have been performing better under stress because they are better? I mean, didn't they perform better under all conditions?

My response to these two pieces is up here.
   21. pkb33 Posted: August 06, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2129061)
If you study 'clutch' across many players you tend to find it's a relatively small skill possessed by relatively few players, and generally not consistently for multiple years in a row. Thus, it's not something that deserves the attention it gets, because it's simply not a 'big deal' for any one player across their own career.

That's the argument, anyway...there's a lot of research saying more or less that, IIRC. Personally, I don't think anyone who has watched David Ortiz the last three years doubts that there's some real differential skill he possesses at this point in his career. But the larger proof problem, across a big sample of players, is tougher to work out.
   22. Bizarro ARod Posted: August 06, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2129069)
Whether clutch hitting is a skill is relatively unimportant. Clutch situations exist and for the last three years Ortiz has been more successful in those situations than anybody in baseball.
   23. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 06, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#2129131)
My response to these two pieces is up here.

One of the most astonishing numbers quoted in the David-Ortiz-is-a-clutch-hitter arguments is that Ortiz has come to plate 19 times since the end of the 2004 regular season, and gotten on-base in 16 of those plate appearances.


That IS astonishing!
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 06, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2129177)
The typical hitter (non-pitcher), in a situation with a leverage index less than 2, hit .269/.335/.428 in 2005. In a situation with a leverage index of 2 or greater, the typical hitter hit .264/.337/.413. The reason for the increase in OBP is that more hitters are intentionally walked in high-leverage situations; if you remove IBB from the mix, the adjusted OBP is .331 for leverage index situation less than 2, .326 for LI 2 or greater. If you look only at such situations from the seventh inning on in 2005, hitters batted .257/.327 (.322 w/out IBB)/.401 in lower-leverage situations, .256/.338 (.323 w/out IBB)/.393 in higher-leverage situations.

One could therefore argue that a hitter who performs as well in high-leverage situations as he does in lower-leverage situations has actually done "better" than expected.

-- MWE
   25. Jeff K. Posted: August 06, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2129254)
One could therefore argue that a hitter who performs as well in high-leverage situations as he does in lower-leverage situations has actually done "better" than expected.

And it should also be pointed out that in high-leverage situations, hitters are typically facing better pitchers. It's the same argument as postseason success.
   26. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2129288)
Because the only ones who make it are the better players. Once you get to the majors, you only have players who performed well under stress. Also, could the better players have been performing better under stress because they are better? I mean, didn't they perform better under all conditions?


The inference here is that all players in the majors hit equally well in "high leverage" situations. I don't believe that.

Is there any other active guy who has had as many opportunities as Ortiz to hit walkoff HR?

So it's coincidence. I see.
   27. CiC Posted: August 06, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2129301)
At this point, anybody who doesn't admit that for whatever reason Ortiz is significantly more likely than the average hombre to get a big hit is either a liar or an idiot.

Well, of course he's more likely than the average guy... Ortiz is an exceptional hitter.

Here's the question for you... let's say the next 20 times he's up in those sorts of situations, he makes 17 outs... after all, even great players have 3-for-20 runs. What happened then? Did his magical clutch skills go away?

We aren't really considering that Ortiz's true talent level in walkoff situations is in the .875/.923/2.556 range, are we?

The man has more walkoff home runs than any active player and he's been a major league regular for about six seasons.

Is there any other active guy who has had as many opportunities as Ortiz to hit walkoff HR?

I can't lie, Ortiz's numbers are eye-popping. But we're still talking about three problems:

1) A very small sample size. Even over his Red Sox career, we're talking about a relatively short pool of PA. These PA aren't meaningless (they did happen), but they aren't enough to be the beginning and end of the discussion.

2) Opportunity. There's no question Ortiz is the beneficiary of great opportunity in the sense of playing on teams with great offenses, in a good hitting park, and in a great offensive era. There is the very difficult question (which I have not yet seen in any analysis) of if these opportunities are historically great (to match his historically great production) and how they compare to the opportunities of his peers.

3) Talent. Ortiz is a great hitter any time in the baseball game. We should expect him to be better than average (relative to his peers) in every hitting situation. How do we separate the greatness that comes from Ortiz's overall talent level from any sort of "extra clutch" ability?


The problem with your anti-clutch, and all anti-clutch arguments is that the type of clutch that members of this forum tend to support is generally backed by psychological and physicall stress and comfort factors, and is not as easily defined by mathematics. Once your mathematics falls short, your brain is a small sample size. That's unfortunate.
   28. CiC Posted: August 06, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2129308)
If you study 'clutch' across many players you tend to find it's a relatively small skill possessed by relatively few players, and generally not consistently for multiple years in a row. Thus, it's not something that deserves the attention it gets, because it's simply not a 'big deal' for any one player across their own career.

That's the argument, anyway...there's a lot of research saying more or less that, IIRC. Personally, I don't think anyone who has watched David Ortiz the last three years doubts that there's some real differential skill he possesses at this point in his career. But the larger proof problem, across a big sample of players, is tougher to work out.


Again, these arguments are very outdated. I'm not going to make any claims toward anyone in specific, but I appreciate it when people do some research of their own instead of basing their conjecture solely on regurgitated and dated thesis.
   29. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2129320)
Today was a good example. Madden IBB's Ortiz to get to Manny with Crisp on 2nd and 2 outs, and Manny flies to RF. When a manager decides that they'd rather pitch to Manny than Ortiz, that tells you something, beyond the obvious desire to have a righty-righty match-up. Manny was 3 for 4 with a HR against the Camp. Small sample size? Maybe, but it's a D-Rays scrubini, and Manny's OPS is 1.095 vs righties and .985 vs lefties this year. 1.095, and Madden still walks Ortiz to get to him.
   30. Bizarro ARod Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#2129322)
3) Talent. Ortiz is a great hitter any time in the baseball game. We should expect him to be better than average (relative to his peers) in every hitting situation. How do we separate the greatness that comes from Ortiz's overall talent level from any sort of "extra clutch" ability?

At the clutchiness blog, the ability of the hitter and his opportunities are taken into account when determining what a hitter's WPA should be. This pretty much eliminates the biases in favor of above average hitters, so that some good hitters are clutch and some good hitters are not.
   31. CiC Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#2129328)
Today was a good example. Madden IBB's Ortiz to get to Manny with Crisp on 2nd and 2 outs, and Manny flies to RF. When a manager decides that they'd rather pitch to Manny than Ortiz, that tells you something, beyond the obvious desire to have a righty-righty match-up. Manny was 3 for 4 with a HR against the Camp. Small sample size? Maybe, but it's a D-Rays scrubini, and Manny's OPS is 1.095 vs righties and .985 vs lefties this year. 1.095, and Madden still walks Ortiz to get to him.

Joe, I understand your point perfectly, but the way we're making the argument seems to play into the 'sabermetrician's bag of old tricks' so to speak. You can't just say, "You just get that feeling with Ortiz", because the base sabermetrician contingency (those who don't care to look anything up for themselves) will cry foul.

The point is this: Is Ortiz/Jeter/any notorious "clutch hitters" approach in leverage situations better than Manny/A-Rod/any pile-on player's numbers? The answer: Psychologically, physically, who knows. They, in fact, may be more comfortable. They may not be. But that is what makes the difference. I think anyone would be absolutely hell pressed to convince me that someone who is 11 for 14 in 19 walk-off plate appearances with 20 RBI's since 2003 isn't stepping up there with confidence.
   32. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2129344)
CiC, I think the argument may come down to semantics. In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski had a year much like the year Ortiz is having this year, except he hit for a higher BA all year long. It was Yaz' peak year. If "clutch" is objectionable to some folks, let them call it whatever they want. Those with higher baseball IQ's (would anyone deny that Manny Ramirez knows more about hitting than they do?) understand what "clutch" is, because they talk about it. They are the experts in their field, are they not? They may be idiot savants, but I think you have to focus on the savant aspect of that characterization and listen to them.
   33. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:41 PM (#2129348)
I think anyone would be absolutely hell pressed to convince me that someone who is 11 for 14 in 19 walk-off plate appearances with 20 RBI's since 2003 isn't stepping up there with confidence.

CiC, I think the other side's point is that ALL players step up with confidence, but they all will perform to their mean result over a long enough period of time. That is, given enough PA's in those situations over time, a lifetime .850 OPS hitter will have put up an OPS of close to .850 in those high leverage situations. If I'm mistaken in this assumption, I'm sorry.
   34. CiC Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2129349)
I agree that, that's what they think. I just think it's silly to assume all players step up with confidence.
   35. salajander Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2129350)
Joe, do you really think Madden had any idea that Manny's numbers versus righties was better than lefties? I can almost guarantee the IBB was solely to set up a force and get a righty-righty matchup. In this case, at least, I think you're overestimating most ML managers
   36. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2129353)
Sal, I think the scouting reports made available to managers had Manny hitting righties better than lefties. But, I agree he probably had the force in mind when he walked Ortiz, in addition to not wanting to let Ortiz beat them.
   37. CrosbyBird Posted: August 06, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2129388)
The problem with your anti-clutch, and all anti-clutch arguments is that the type of clutch that members of this forum tend to support is generally backed by psychological and physicall stress and comfort factors, and is not as easily defined by mathematics. Once your mathematics falls short, your brain is a small sample size. That's unfortunate.

You define the word "backed" differently than I do. I would say that people refer to those psychological and physical stress and comfort factors, but then make the unsupported leap that they are the cause of the success. Those factors and their effects are just as intangible as what some people are calling luck.

I'm not saying Ortiz hasn't performed in an exceptional manner. Nor am I even saying that it is impossible for Ortiz to have some sort of skill that makes him better able to perform in clutch situations than other great hitters.

I am saying that there's a lot of missing information (and much of it is available, if not simple to obtain) that can help clarify what Ortiz is really doing relative to his peers (which is really what matters). A .380 BA is impressive not because of some mystical connection to the universe, but because it's extremely high relative to the rest of the players.

If the question comes down to "has Ortiz had the best clutch production in baseball in the last few years," then it seems like a pretty meaningless discussion. Of course he has. We can play with leveraging factors or WPA to attempt to quantify what it is that Ortiz did with his opportunities. What we are not yet doing (or at the very least, not doing on a mainstream level) is attempting to figure out how his opportunities compare with other players.

If Ortiz does indeed have a repeatable skill in this area, then we should be working to figure out which other players have such skills, and how much that skill is worth relative to other skills. Is Ortiz a better overall player than Travis Hafner? Is he better than Manny Ramirez? Not speaking in the sense of who has performed better adjusted for leverage, but who is more likely to perform better in the future?

I'm sorry if you think that the search for more information represents some mental deficiency. Perhaps if I just jumped right to a conclusion you would have more respect for my thought process.
   38. Joe Bivens, Floundering Pumpkin Posted: August 06, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2129410)
Not speaking in the sense of who has performed better adjusted for leverage, but who is more likely to perform better in the future?

Predicting what player X is going to do in the future is a fun guessing game, and, like a flip of the coin, projections will likely be wrong as often as right, as the sample grows.
   39. CrosbyBird Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:50 AM (#2129569)
Predicting what player X is going to do in the future is a fun guessing game, and, like a flip of the coin, projections will likely be wrong as often as right, as the sample grows.

There are degrees of wrong. Certainly you would have had a certain degree of confidence greater than 50% in the prediction that "ARod will outhit Neifi Perez in 2006," no?

Nobody will ever be able to predict what a player will do exactly in a given year, but if there was no predictive value in any methodology, there wouldn't be good trades or bad trades, or good signings and bad signings.

Don't you mean, as the sample shrinks, projections will likely be wrong as often as right? After all, when a guy is 1 for 4 in his career, it's a lot less likely that his true talent is .250, give or take, than when he's 1000 for 4000.
   40. Cowboy Popup Posted: August 07, 2006 at 12:55 AM (#2129579)
"Is Ortiz/Jeter/any notorious "clutch hitters" approach in leverage situations better than Manny/A-Rod/any pile-on player's numbers?"

Manny is not a "pile-on" run producer.
   41. salajander Posted: August 07, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2129690)
Neither is A-Rod.
   42. pkb33 Posted: August 07, 2006 at 02:26 AM (#2129772)
Again, these arguments are very outdated. I'm not going to make any claims toward anyone in specific, but I appreciate it when people do some research of their own instead of basing their conjecture solely on regurgitated and dated thesis.

This from the guy whose contribution was:

I think anyone would be absolutely hell pressed to convince me that someone who is 11 for 14 in 19 walk-off plate appearances with 20 RBI's since 2003 isn't stepping up there with confidence

which is neither remotely original nor anything but pure conjecture, either. Ahh, the irony.

You don't have to like the recent research that's been summarized here, but geez...don't ask what has been written if you are just going to dump on it because you don't like the conclusions.

The reason people look at the broader numbers (even those of us who do think that David Ortiz has demonstrated an ability to produce in clutch situations) is that we want to understand the larger phenomenon and how Ortiz fits into it. I don't think anyone doubts that psychology could be a real reason different players produce differently in certain situations but the only way to assess it is the results, isn't it? Suggesting "maybe they have a different approach" is fine, but it's totally meaningless unless we can understand 1) when that approach 'works' and 2) that the approach generates legitimately different results.
   43. Chris Dial Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:01 AM (#2129844)
I appreciate it when people do some research of their own instead of basing their conjecture solely on regurgitated and dated thesis.

Could you post the research you did on your own so we could read it? A link would be fine.
   44. Passed Ball Posted: August 07, 2006 at 03:16 AM (#2129862)
I still think I summarized it all very well in post #9. What more could be said?
Madden walked Ortiz cuz he didn't want to look as stupid as Eric Wedge does. Nothing wrong with that.
   45. rluzinski Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2131604)
"Clutchness" or "clutchiness"?

MS Word says clutchiness and I don't like it.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#2131644)
Manny is not a "pile-on" run producer.
Yup, he's among the leaders in the league with over 300 WPA. He's not Papi, but he's got a lot of big hits.
If Ortiz does indeed have a repeatable skill in this area, then we should be working to figure out which other players have such skills, and how much that skill is worth relative to other skills. Is Ortiz a better overall player than Travis Hafner? Is he better than Manny Ramirez? Not speaking in the sense of who has performed better adjusted for leverage, but who is more likely to perform better in the future?
The problem here is that I think the way you stated the question misses most of hte complicating factors. There are a lot of possibilities in between "David Ortiz is not clutch" and "David Ortiz has an inherent, context-neutral clutch skill of X."

As "clutch" is so fundamentally context-dependent, it seems most likely to me that players are clutch only within certain circumstances, places, times. I'm pretty sure Ortiz's clutch stats in Minnesota are unimpressive. The combination of factors in Boston, from the fans to the lineup to his development as a hitter to the now-evident fears of pitchers and managers, all play a part in making Ortiz clutch.

That it's contextual doesn't mean it's fake - it just means it's really, really hard to isolate, just like almost everything else in the world. We're a bit spoiled by how relatively easy it is to isolate a guy's OBP. That's not going to be the case with clutch.
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2131677)
Manny is not a "pile-on" run producer.

Neither is A-Rod.


I really need to post the numbers on this...but they are at home, and I am at work.

To some extent, ARod has in fact been a "pile-on" run producer. He did have a disproprtionate amount of his performance in low-leverage (LI <.5) situations, at least in 2005; he was much better in those situations than he was overall, where Ortiz was much worse. His performance in what I call crucial high-leverage situations (LI >=2.0) wasn't bad, either. Where ARod was horrible was in situations with LI between 1.5 and 2.0 - relatively high leverage, but not the big-swing situations. Ortiz, OTOH, was a monster in those situations.

-- MWE
   48. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2131696)
I probably ought to use Tango's definitions rather than my own, and rerun the numbers anyway. Tango uses:

Low leverage: 0.7 and below
Medium leverage: 0.8-1.5
High leverage: 1.6-2.9
Very high leverage: 3.0 and above

I'm not particularly happy with Tango's definition, because IMO the median situation of 1.0 ought to be right in the middle of the medium leverage range and low-leverage should be the reciprocal of high-leverage, but he's done a lot more work with this than I have.

-- MWE
   49. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 08, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2131698)
Actually, 3.0 is high, above 3.0 is very high.

-- MWE

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