Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is Barry Bonds The Top Clutch Hitter Of The Past 20 Years?

I took all of the players who had 4000+ PAs from 1995-2014 from Fangraphs (about 2 weeks ago). Then I ran a regression with WPA/PA as the dependent variable and wOBA and dummy variables for batting left-handed and being a switch hitter as the independent variables. Here is the equation

WPA/PA = .000275*Switch + .00047*Lefty + .0741*wOBA - .0245

Then I predicted every player's WPA and found the difference between his actual WPA. Then that was converted into a full season of 700 PAs.

Bonds hit enough better to generate about 1.5 more wins than we would expect based on his wOBA. So it means that he tended to hit better than normal with runners on, when it was close and late. But some players will do better and some worse, just as a matter of luck. So we can't be sure who is really clutch

Click here to see the complete set of players

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Down The Stretch, Only Hitting With Runners In Scoring Position Matters

On Monday's "Baseball Tonight" the announcer said something like

"last year with the Cardinals it was all about situational hitting"

Then an analyst said something like

"that's exactly what you want heading down the stretch-its about those timely hits-it doesn't matter what you do the rest of the game-what are you going to do with runners in scoring position?"

I did a study once and found that if you break up performance into  RISP and non-RISP, instead of just using overall performance (like OPS and OPS allowed), you get very little improvement in explanatory power for winning pct. And the coefficients on the non-RISP performance are much higher, meaning they have a bigger impact on winning.

See Does Team Clutch Matter in Baseball?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Will High RISP Average Help Royals In Playoffs?

An ESPN analyst just said so (that and their low strikeout rate-they are last in striking out in the AL this year). They have only struck out 760 times this year while the league average is 968. But they are 10th the AL OPS and last in OPS+, which is adjusted for park effects. I think it was Jessica Mendoza who was the analyst.

Click here to see team RISP stats in the AL this year.

Fangraphs did two posts recently that dispel the myth of team clutch

Clutch Baseball Teams aren’t Clutch Baseball Teams by Jeff Sullivan

Searching for the Existence of Team Clutch as a Repeatable Skill by Chris Mitchell

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Babe Ruth's HR Hitting In 1918-19 Really Was A Great Leap Forward

Here are the top 5 HR%’s for guys with 200+ PAs through 1919
1 Babe Ruth 1919 6.71
2 Ned Williamson 1884 6.47
3 Gavvy Cravath 1919 5.61
4 Fred Pfeffer 1884 5.35
5 Bill Joyce 1894 4.79

We know how dubious the 1884 numbers are (see next paragraph). And Cravath in 1919 hit 10 of his 12 HRs at home and in his career he hit 72 of his 87 HRs at home. Philadelphia was a great place to hit HRs.

Williamson and Pfeffer played for Chicago and their park had a wall that was only 230 feet from home plate. In all other years, a ball hit over that wall was a double. But only in 1884 did it count as a HR. See Clarifying an early home run record by John C. Tattersall. This article was published in the 1972 Baseball Research Journal.

Ruth's HR% in road games over 1918-19 was 7.67%. Again, that is far ahead of Joyce's 4.79%. We would need to know the road %'s of other players before this time but we don't have all of them. My guess is that no one is close to what Ruth did.