Monday, September 2, 2013

Is Allen Craig's .452 Average With Runners In Scoring Position A Reason To Believe In Clutch Hitting?

I don't think so. But it seems like TYLER KEPNER of the NY Times does. See A Reason to Believe in Clutch Hitting, printed in the Sunday edition.

Kepner also mentions that the Cardinals have a .327 AVG with RISP. Then says "In the last 40 seasons, the highest team average with runners in scoring position is .311 by the 2007 Detroit Tigers."

In 2007, the Tigers had an overall AVG of .287. So they hit 24 points better with RISP. The next year they had an overall AVG of .271 and .268 with RISP. So they hit 3 points worse. Did they forget how to hit in the clutch?

No, I don't think so. ABs with RISP are usually only about 25% of the total. With 30 teams a year, some will hit better with RISP than they normally do and some worse. Just by chance, every so often, a team will hit alot better or worse with RISP than they normally do. But it is hard to sustain. In the long run, players usually hit about the same with RISP as they do overall.

The article also said "The highest individual average in that time (the last 40 seasons) is .469 by Kansas City’s George Brett in 1980." He batted .390 in 1980. Brett's next best season with RISP is .360. In 1981 he batted .314 overall but only .260 with RISP. So in 1980 he was 72 points better with RISP than overall and in 1981 he 54 points worse. How could that happen to a "clutch" hitter? His overall career AVG was .305 and with RISP it is .307.

I used the Baseball Reference Play Index to call up all the players with 5000+ PAs during the years BR has RISP stats (there were exactly 600 guys). Now keep in mind that Allen Craig has a lifetime AVG of .308 but .393 with RISP. That gives him an 85 point differential. No player with a long career has even half that differential. Below are the top 10

1 Chico Carrasquel 0.299 0.258 0.041
2 Elmer Valo 0.324 0.287 0.037
3 Adrian Gonzalez 0.330 0.294 0.036
4 Sandy Alomar 0.280 0.245 0.035
5 Tony Fernandez 0.319 0.288 0.031
6 Mike Sweeney 0.327 0.297 0.030
7 Vic Wertz 0.307 0.277 0.030
8 Scott Fletcher 0.291 0.262 0.029
9 Hector Lopez 0.297 0.269 0.028
10 Johnny Edwards 0.268 0.242 0.026

Do you ever hear about Carrasquel or Valo being clutch hitters? Also, 67.8% had of the guys had a differential of 10 points or less. 94% had a differential of 20 points or less.


Melvin said...

Great job man! I'm loving your work. Cheers from the Dominican Republic!

Cyril Morong said...

Glady you liked it. Thanks for reading.