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DrCrawdad
03-11-2005, 10:51 AM
Interesting article.

King Kaufman's Sports Daily
Bill James rocks bar stools across the land by changing his stance on a central question of sabermetrics: Is clutch hitting a skill?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

March 10, 2005 *| Bill James says clutch hitters just might exist after all.

This might not sound like a big deal, but what Copernicus was to astronomy, Bill James is to sabermetrics -- the application of the scientific method to baseball -- and the existence of the ability to hit in the clutch is one of the flash points in the war between the sabermetric crowd and traditionalists. It's a big deal. It's Copernicus saying, "Wait a second. Maybe the sun isn't in the middle."

Statheads, including James, have long argued that while there are obviously clutch hits, there's no such thing as a clutch hitter, someone who demonstrates the repeated ability to come through when the chips are down, the game is on the line, the season is in the balance, however you want to put it -- and we'll get back to that, how you define "clutch..."

The rest of the column can be found here. (http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/kaufman/2005/03/10/thursday/index.html)

Ol' No. 2
03-11-2005, 10:56 AM
Interesting article.Shocking. Just look at players' splits and compare BA with RISP against their overall BA. Some are consistently a lot better with RISP. Others aren't.

PaleHoseGeorge
03-11-2005, 11:00 AM
Shocking. Just look at players' splits and compare BA with RISP against their overall BA. Some are consistently a lot better with RISP. Others aren't.

Couldn't this be simply attributed to certain hitters being able to handle fastballs better than off-speed/breaking pitches? A pitcher usually isn't monkeying around with a hitter when an important baserunner has reached scoring position.

:?:

Randar68
03-11-2005, 11:02 AM
Couldn't this be simply attributed to certain hitters being able to handle fastballs better than off-speed/breaking pitches? A pitcher usually isn't monkeying around with a hitter when an important baserunner has reached scoring position.

:?:

Are you kidding? Almost everyone in baseball is a fastball hitter. You don't make it to AA without being able to hit (at minimum) a pretty good fastball.

Konerko is a great fastball hitter. How many more bases loaded situations does he have to end with a GIDP?

PaleHoseGeorge
03-11-2005, 11:09 AM
Konerko is a great fastball hitter. How many more bases loaded situations does he have to end with a GIDP?

Is Konerko grounding out on straight fastballs or simply low and inside crap? I don't know.
:?:

I do know one thing. Konerko is slower than molasses running to first base. A pitcher would be stupid not to pitch him down in the zone.
:wink:

daveeym
03-11-2005, 11:13 AM
Are you kidding? Almost everyone in baseball is a fastball hitter. You don't make it to AA without being able to hit (at minimum) a pretty good fastball.

Konerko is a great fastball hitter. How many more bases loaded situations does he have to end with a GIDP? Amen brother, but Konerko was better last year, stats proved it despite what the konerko bashers would have you believe.

Ol' No. 2
03-11-2005, 11:21 AM
Amen brother, but Konerko was better last year, stats proved it despite what the konerko bashers would have you believe.PK was so bad in 2003 that any comparison including that year is bound to be distorted. Taking out that year, he's had between 17 and 23 GIDP year from 1999 to 2004. He's not getting better or worse.

daveeym
03-11-2005, 11:27 AM
PK was so bad in 2003 that any comparison including that year is bound to be distorted. Taking out that year, he's had between 17 and 23 GIDP year from 1999 to 2004. He's not getting better or worse.Exactly. 28 the year before in 200 less at bats. Man i feel for the 2003 pauly.

DrCrawdad
03-11-2005, 11:29 AM
I heard a jovial Frank Thomas joke about Konerko running with a parachute. You know you're slow when Frank Thomas is busting your chops.

When Frank returns the Sox will have three super slo-mo guys in the line-up, Konerko, Frank and AJ. AJ is always good for a GIDP.

Getting back on the topic, AJ is probably a good clutch hitter...

Ol' No. 2
03-11-2005, 11:56 AM
Exactly. 28 the year before in 200 less at bats. Man i feel for the 2003 pauly.Some interesting career numbers for GIDP/AB (min 2000 career AB).

Ernie Lombardi: 4.6%
Ron Coomer: 4.4%
Walt Dropo: 4.0%
Paul Konerko: 4.0%

Pauly is 4th all-time in GIDP/AB. His 2003 season was 9th worst all-time (6.3%). But if you want to see slow, Ernie Lombardi sets the gold standard, with 3 seasons over 6%.

Randar68
03-11-2005, 12:04 PM
Some interesting career numbers for GIDP/AB (min 2000 career AB).

Ernie Lombardi: 4.6%
Ron Coomer: 4.4%
Walt Dropo: 4.0%
Paul Konerko: 4.0%

Pauly is 4th all-time in GIDP/AB. His 2003 season was 9th worst all-time (6.3%). But if you want to see slow, Ernie Lombardi sets the gold standard, with 3 seasons over 6%.

The real worst part about it with Paul is he's a fly-ball hitter! How do you GIDP so many damn times in clutch situations if you're a fly-ball hitter? Does he get that tight in those situations? He's hit a few big/late HR's, don't get me wrong, but for the last 2 years I've been dreading PK coming up with RISP and 1 out if there's a guy on first.

Is he that predictible that if you throw him a change over the lower/middle of the plate, he'll GIDP?

Ol' No. 2
03-11-2005, 12:14 PM
The real worst part about it with Paul is he's a fly-ball hitter! How do you GIDP so many damn times in clutch situations if you're a fly-ball hitter? Does he get that tight in those situations? He's hit a few big/late HR's, don't get me wrong, but for the last 2 years I've been dreading PK coming up with RISP and 1 out if there's a guy on first.

Is he that predictible that if you throw him a change over the lower/middle of the plate, he'll GIDP?LOL!!! In a lot of cases I think he's trying to hit behind the runner and muffs it. He may be a case where it's better not to take him out of what he does best and just have him swing away.

StillMissOzzie
03-11-2005, 05:54 PM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...:hijacked: I really liked that article. Yes, it's hard to define "clutch", especially in a manner that makes it definable in a number-crunching sense. As the writer said, clutch is a matter of faith, too. I always knew that I'd rather see Robin Ventura come to bat with the bases juiced more than almost anybody else.

Like good art and pornography, I know clutch when I see it. #2 had a good start with batting average w/ RISP vs. not. You could probably add "with 2 outs and after the 6th inning and not in the lead", but then your data set is probably shrinking to an inconclusive level. That is, someone could be 4/14 for a decent .286, while being 5/14 would make them a stud at .357. A lot of weight for one more hit, IMHO.

In conclusion, all Cramer's lack of a conclusion demonstrates what many of us already knew - that it's impossible to prove a negative.

SMO
:gulp:

Ol' No. 2
03-11-2005, 06:11 PM
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...:hijacked: I really liked that article. Yes, it's hard to define "clutch", especially in a manner that makes it definable in a number-crunching sense. As the writer said, clutch is a matter of faith, too. I always knew that I'd rather see Robin Ventura come to bat with the bases juiced more than almost anybody else.

Like good art and pornography, I know clutch when I see it. #2 had a good start with batting average w/ RISP vs. not. You could probably add "with 2 outs and after the 6th inning and not in the lead", but then your data set is probably shrinking to an inconclusive level. That is, someone could be 4/14 for a decent .286, while being 5/14 would make them a stud at .357. A lot of weight for one more hit, IMHO.

In conclusion, all Cramer's lack of a conclusion demonstrates what many of us already knew - that it's impossible to prove a negative.

SMO
:gulp:ESPN split stats have a "close and late" line (results in the 7th inning or later with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied or with the potential tying run at least on deck), which may be more appropriate, since it removes the potential bias of more fastballs with RISP that PHG pointed out. Over a 2 or 3 year period a player will accumulate a few hundred AB in this situation, so the statistical weight isn't too bad.

Whitesox029
03-11-2005, 06:41 PM
Allow me to post some Konerko batting average splits from 2004:
RISP w/2 out:.296
Runners on:.303
Bases Loaded: .556 (18 AB)
Nobody out: .300
Nobody on: .256
As far as I'm concerned, if these are his splits he can GIDP all he wants as long as these stay where they are.

I'm a firm believer that clutch hitters exist. It's not something that can be explained with numbers, however. It's all about the ability to step up and perform under pressure. I would think that would be obvious...

Dadawg_77
03-13-2005, 12:17 PM
Shocking. Just look at players' splits and compare BA with RISP against their overall BA. Some are consistently a lot better with RISP. Others aren't.

You are wrong, there really aren't consistent hitters year to year.

Ol' No. 2
03-13-2005, 12:22 PM
You are wrong, there really aren't consistent hitters year to year.Did you ever actually check? Or are you just spouting the party line?

Dadawg_77
03-13-2005, 12:26 PM
Did you ever actually check? Or are you just spouting the party line?

Read the studies. James point is the number show randomness and randomness proves nothing and doesn't say clutch hitting exists or doesn't.

MRKARNO
03-13-2005, 12:35 PM
Read the studies. James point is the number show randomness and randomness proves nothing and doesn't say clutch hitting exists or doesn't.

So while we don't know that it doesn't exist, we also don't know that it exists. The whole thing is really up in the air right now and it's probably best to assume that while there might be some increased stats in certain situations for some hitters, it's most likely that those increases are caused by luck.

California Sox
03-13-2005, 12:38 PM
When Frank returns the Sox will have three super slo-mo guys in the line-up, Konerko, Frank and AJ. AJ is always good for a GIDP.

Four. You're forgetting Joe "Wheels" Crede.

Paulwny
03-13-2005, 02:42 PM
You are wrong, there really aren't consistent hitters year to year.

Check Tony Gwynn's RISP vs his ba from year to year over his career.

FarWestChicago
03-13-2005, 03:07 PM
Did you ever actually check? Or are you just spouting the party line?Well, this part of the article is something that has never been associated with Dawg in any way: But it's a major change in the landscape of one of my favorite bar-stool subjects, and it's a testament to James' ability as a thinker to display such open-mindedness and curiosity about an argument that's he's been playing a prominent role in for decades. :D:

Ol' No. 2
03-13-2005, 06:18 PM
Read the studies. James point is the number show randomness and randomness proves nothing and doesn't say clutch hitting exists or doesn't.I guess that answers my question.

Dadawg_77
03-13-2005, 08:12 PM
Well, this part of the article is something that has never been associated with Dawg in any way: :D:

Yeah open minded to follow the crowd and just believe what everyone else does. I guess I can't think outside the box but must conform to be open minded, no need to mention numbers.

CWSGuy406
03-13-2005, 08:27 PM
Allow me to post some Konerko batting average splits from 2004:
RISP w/2 out:.296
Runners on:.303
Bases Loaded: .556 (18 AB)
Nobody out: .300
Nobody on: .256
As far as I'm concerned, if these are his splits he can GIDP all he wants as long as these stay where they are.

I'm a firm believer that clutch hitters exist. It's not something that can be explained with numbers, however. It's all about the ability to step up and perform under pressure. I would think that would be obvious...

Those numbers show nothing.

One year. Heck, the stat that you bolded is off of 18 AB's...

santo=dorf
03-13-2005, 08:39 PM
Those numbers show nothing.

One year. Heck, the stat that you bolded is off of 18 AB's...
Career: 90 AB, .378 BA, 6 HR, 98 RBI's, 1.108 OPS. (bases loaded)

A. Cavatica
03-13-2005, 10:06 PM
Career: 90 AB, .378 BA, 6 HR, 98 RBI's, 1.108 OPS. (bases loaded)

90 AB doesn't prove anything either. Heck, I remember one year where Ozzie led the league in hitting (or close to it) at the end of April...

vance
03-13-2005, 10:29 PM
This is very interesting to say the least. The Sabr community is likely having to rethink a lot of things.

Ol' No. 2
03-13-2005, 11:55 PM
90 AB doesn't prove anything either. Heck, I remember one year where Ozzie led the league in hitting (or close to it) at the end of April...So explain something to me, then. If those few AB don't prove anything, where's the proof that hitters AREN'T clutch year after year?

batmanZoSo
03-14-2005, 12:22 AM
This is crap. There are clutch hitters and there are also chokers and varying degrees of both. That's the end of it. I've watched enough baseball to know this. I respect Bill James's work a lot, but he couldn't prove to me in a million years that there's no such thing as a clutch hitter. Clutch is a concept, not a set of numbers. Why don't you just say "there's no such thing as a player with heart" and then spit out a bunch of statistics....:rolleyes:

Dadawg_77
03-14-2005, 02:10 AM
So explain something to me, then. If those few AB don't prove anything, where's the proof that hitters AREN'T clutch year after year?

There isn't any hard absolute proof, just evidence doesn't say thus there are clutch hitters year to year thus people theorize there isn't clutch hitting.

90 AB is a month in the majors, and we don't say a player is good or bad based on a month. With the small number at bat a few things need to bec considered. One, the type of pitcher faced, since the at bat totals are small, the difference between facing a great pitcher to average don't even out as they do over the course of the season. Also we don't see what type of pitcher the batter faced, hitters like Thome or Konerko are feared hitters so the opposing manger brings a pitcher of the opposite hand, while no one does that for Timo Perez of the world. So Thome or Konerko look bad at clutch times, not because they choked but because they faced a opposite hand pitcher where as Timo who is worse facing opposite hand pitchers, sees same hand pitchers more the the other two. Three, park factors. If a player see more AB in hitter or pitcher friendly parks, his numbers will show it. All these factors mostly average out over a course of the season, but may not over a short course of time.

Dadawg_77
03-14-2005, 02:16 AM
This is crap. There are clutch hitters and there are also chokers and varying degrees of both. That's the end of it. I've watched enough baseball to know this. I respect Bill James's work a lot, but he couldn't prove to me in a million years that there's no such thing as a clutch hitter. Clutch is a concept, not a set of numbers. Why don't you just say "there's no such thing as a player with heart" and then spit out a bunch of statistics....:rolleyes:

So just because you watch enough baseball to form your own opinion, we should stop this debate? Hubris, no?

I think by virtue of being in the majors, 95% of Major Leaguers have heart. You don't become that successful without it. While some have less talent then others and find ways to compenstate for it, that fact doesn't mean others don't have heart. They may be "chokers" as people are overcome by pressure, but I find hard to believe a hitter turns from Clark Kent to Superman just because there is a clutch situation.

A. Cavatica
03-14-2005, 08:33 AM
So explain something to me, then. If those few AB don't prove anything, where's the proof that hitters AREN'T clutch year after year?

The numbers are too small to prove it either way. In other words, randomness could explain "clutch hitting" as easily as real clutch performance could.

Ol' No. 2
03-14-2005, 09:54 AM
The numbers are too small to prove it either way. In other words, randomness could explain "clutch hitting" as easily as real clutch performance could.I would turn that around and say that it's the oft-quoted year-to-year inconsistency that is due to the small sample sizes in each year. But over a career, the sample size is significant, and some players do show more of a tendency toward hitting in clutch situations.

A. Cavatica
03-14-2005, 12:23 PM
I would turn that around and say that it's the oft-quoted year-to-year inconsistency that is due to the small sample sizes in each year. But over a career, the sample size is significant, and some players do show more of a tendency toward hitting in clutch situations.

Who are those players? Bill James couldn't find 'em.

mcfish
03-14-2005, 01:05 PM
The numbers are too small to prove it either way. In other words, randomness could explain "clutch hitting" as easily as real clutch performance could.If I read the thread correctly, these are the numbers in question:Allow me to post some Konerko batting average splits from 2004:
RISP w/2 out:.296
Runners on:.303
Bases Loaded: .556 (18 AB)
Nobody out: .300
Nobody on: .256
As far as I'm concerned, if these are his splits he can GIDP all he wants as long as these stay where they are. Career: 90 AB, .378 BA, 6 HR, 98 RBI's, 1.108 OPS. (bases loaded)They were meant to dispute this statement from Randar:
Konerko is a great fastball hitter. How many more bases loaded situations does he have to end with a GIDP?
The rest of Whitesox029's post: I'm a firm believer that clutch hitters exist. It's not something that can be explained with numbers, however. It's all about the ability to step up and perform under pressure. I would think that would be obvious...is what caused the confusion, because I think this was meant to be his opinion on the original thread topic, seperate from the part about Paulie. I don't think he was trying to use Paulie to prove that clutch hitters exist.

Ol' No. 2
03-14-2005, 01:46 PM
Who are those players? Bill James couldn't find 'em.Someone mentioned Tony Gwynne earlier. I've seen other examples in the past, but I don't have a good database to search that has splits.

Dadawg_77
03-14-2005, 02:31 PM
I would turn that around and say that it's the oft-quoted year-to-year inconsistency that is due to the small sample sizes in each year. But over a career, the sample size is significant, and some players do show more of a tendency toward hitting in clutch situations.

The sample size for "Clutch" at bats over a career aren't significant when compared to career numbers. First off, we don't even have a standard definition for clutch. People on this board say Timo Perez is a clutch player based on RISP production for 2004. What they don't bring up is his production in Close and Late at bats, which was horrible. So how one defines clutch has huge impact on the results.

And I finally agree with you on something the year to year inconsistency is due to small sample sizes and over the course of time, players will move to their true talent level. Ups one and downs the next do not reflect the true talent level of any player.

Ol' No. 2
03-14-2005, 02:35 PM
The sample size for "Clutch" at bats over a career aren't significant when compared to career numbers. First off, we don't even have a standard definition for clutch. People on this board say Timo Perez is a clutch player based on RISP production for 2004. What they don't bring up is his production in Close and Late at bats, which was horrible. So how one defines clutch has huge impact on the results.

And I finally agree with you on something the year to year inconsistency is due to small sample sizes and over the course of time, players will move to their true talent level. Ups one and downs the next do not reflect the true talent level of any player.I think the definition issue is a big part of the problem. Defining a clutch hit when it happens is easy. We all know it when we see it. But coming up with a definition that is useful for a statistical analysis is a lot harder.

FarWestChicago
03-14-2005, 05:45 PM
Hubris, no?Wow, pot, kettle, black hole. :rolleyes:

batmanZoSo
03-14-2005, 08:28 PM
So just because you watch enough baseball to form your own opinion, we should stop this debate? Hubris, no?

I think by virtue of being in the majors, 95% of Major Leaguers have heart. You don't become that successful without it. While some have less talent then others and find ways to compenstate for it, that fact doesn't mean others don't have heart. They may be "chokers" as people are overcome by pressure, but I find hard to believe a hitter turns from Clark Kent to Superman just because there is a clutch situation.

The heart thing is not important. What I meant was why doesn't Bill James try to debunk that players can have "heart" because it can't be statistically proven? To me that's just as absurd as saying there aren't clutch hitters. There are clutch everything, not just in all sports, but in all walks of life. Some people respond to pressure better than others. I'll just never buy that "clutch" needs to be proven mathematically.