Table of Contents

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Great Clutch Project

Tom Tango has officially kicked off his clutch project!

We talked about this last January, and got some initial feedback from folks at RedsZone about who they might select. Basically, the project asks you, the public, to choose the single best clutch hitter on a given team--the guy you most want to be up in an important game situation. The performance of these players will then be compared to the guy who projects to be the best overall hitter on each team, regardless of situation.

In the case of the Reds, the best overall hitter (by projection) will almost certainly be Adam Dunn. But I know there are a lot of Reds fans who would much rather have someone else--anyone else--up in a key game situation. This project will let us track how well the Adam Dunns of the world do in clutch situations against the public-chosen clutch players over the course of an entire season over at fangraphs. If clutch is a real skill, then clutch players should perform better than the non-clutch players! Should be fun!

Here's Tom Tango's introduction

So, you think you know who is the clutch hitter on your team? You think you know who you want at bat with the game on the line? Well, let's find out.

Go through your favorite team's roster, and select the one GREAT clutch hitter, the one guy you want at bat, when the game is on the line. One selection will do. If you like, you can go through each player, and note how good or bad a clutch hitter he is.

I will go through the same list of players, and simply select the best hitter on the team, period. We'll come into conflict in a few places, like with the Cardinals (Pujols), and Angels (Vlad). In that case, we'll go to our number 2 guys.

Then, let's see how each team's clutch hitter, and each team's best hitter does, when the game is on the line. Basically, we're looking at the late and close situations; technically, any game state where the Leverage Index is at least double the average. Fangraphs has agreed to track the performances on a page dedicated for us: a "team" of 30 clutch hitters, one from each MLB team, and similarly a "team" of 30 great hitters. Roughly 10% of all PA are in clutch situations, so we should expect some 1500 PA for each of our "teams". If clutch hitters exist, we should expect the 30 clutch hitters to perform better than the 30 otherwise great hitters.

Note: select the guy you want at bat, when the game is on the line, regardless of how good or bad he is otherwise. So, even if you believe that Darin Erstad or Willie Bloomquist can step it up a notch or two with the game on the line, they'd still be several notches below the other players on your team. Unless of course you really think otherwise.