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View Full Version : Bill James Changes His Mind On Clutch Hitting



757690
12-01-2007, 03:16 AM
His ridiculous assertion that clutch hitting does not exist was one of the only faults I thought he had. He has now come to his senses.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/11/30/james.clutch/index.html

What is interesting is that his evidence seems to prove out something that we have known for awhile, that Dunn and Jr are not great clutch hitters.

*BaseClogger*
12-01-2007, 12:25 PM
Maybe you can help me out 757690 since I didn't have time to read the article, but I think it showed that Dunn has a career .888 OPS in the clutch. That is certainly not terrible... Now some of Jr's looked pretty bad but I think he had a .823 OPS over the years James studied...

Bip Roberts
12-01-2007, 12:37 PM
Walking with a RISP does not equal clutch if you are a power hitter

kbrake
12-01-2007, 12:53 PM
Walking with a RISP does not equal clutch if you are a power hitter

What are you supposed to do swing at pitches out of the zone and get yourself out? If you avoid making an out you have done your job.

Bip Roberts
12-01-2007, 12:55 PM
What are you supposed to do swing at pitches out of the zone and get yourself out? If you avoid making an out you have done your job.

Yes if they pitch around you of course you dont swing but going up there just trying to not make an out is not always the best idea.

kbrake
12-01-2007, 01:13 PM
I know what your saying but when Dunn hits 5th he is going to have a hard time getting pitched to in key situations. I would much rather he take what they give him then try to force the situation and do something stupid.

Bip Roberts
12-01-2007, 01:53 PM
Dunn is too patient at the plate some times. He needs to learn how to take what the pitcher gives him and put it into play. He started doing that at the end of last year and it worked wonders.

Different situations need different approaches.

757690
12-01-2007, 02:29 PM
If you look at the numbers more in depth, you can see that Dunn's BA in clutch situations is .218 and Jr's is .243. They get almost all of the OPS from walks. Most power hitters in clutch situations will get lots of walks, for obvious reasons.
I don't have a problem with Dunn getting lots of walks, it is what he does when he doesn't walk that matters.

I would agree with Baseclogger that Griffey's # are not that bad. Actually about what I would think they would be after seeing him in a Reds uniform for the past 7 years.
But Dunn's are much worse than I expected. He only drives in a run in 30% of his clutch AB's. That is not what one would want from a middle of the lineup guy. Hey, maybe he is better off batting 2nd?

Bip Roberts
12-01-2007, 03:05 PM
Taking walks with RISP great for guys like Norris Hopper, not so much for guys like Dunn

*BaseClogger*
12-01-2007, 10:16 PM
walking is never a bad thing unless the pitcher is up next. If everyone kept walking, the team would score an infinite number of runs

757690
12-02-2007, 01:10 PM
walking is never a bad thing unless the pitcher is up next. If everyone kept walking, the team would score an infinite number of runs

I heartily agree. Walks are almost always a good thing.

However, hits are always a good thing, and better than a walk. A single is better than a walk, a double is better than a single, a triple is better than a double and home run trumps them all.

This is exactly why OBP is overrated (valuable, but overrated). It equates them all. In OBP, a home run counts the same as walk. That is why you need to look at both a players OBP and SLG to understand his true value, especially in clutch situations. Just as a lead off hitter can have a low SLG, but be valuable with a high OBP, a cleanup hitter can have a low OBP, but be valuable with a high SLG.

One more thing, I think the most interesting tidbit in the article is James' explanation for why he changed his mind. He said that before, he used faulty logic. He assumed that since he couldn't find any statistical evidence that clutch hitting existed, that therefore, there was no such thing as clutch hitting. He then realized that logically, another explanation was that he was using a faulty system to define clutch hitting. He researched it more, and came up with a system that better defined clutch hitting, and presto, he found evidence of it. Proof that we will never get to the end of understanding this great, wonderful sport.

*BaseClogger*
12-02-2007, 02:44 PM
I heartily agree. Walks are almost always a good thing.

However, hits are always a good thing, and better than a walk. A single is better than a walk, a double is better than a single, a triple is better than a double and home run trumps them all.

This is exactly why OBP is overrated (valuable, but overrated). It equates them all. In OBP, a home run counts the same as walk. That is why you need to look at both a players OBP and SLG to understand his true value, especially in clutch situations. Just as a lead off hitter can have a low SLG, but be valuable with a high OBP, a cleanup hitter can have a low OBP, but be valuable with a high SLG.

One more thing, I think the most interesting tidbit in the article is James' explanation for why he changed his mind. He said that before, he used faulty logic. He assumed that since he couldn't find any statistical evidence that clutch hitting existed, that therefore, there was no such thing as clutch hitting. He then realized that logically, another explanation was that he was using a faulty system to define clutch hitting. He researched it more, and came up with a system that better defined clutch hitting, and presto, he found evidence of it. Proof that we will never get to the end of understanding this great, wonderful sport.

I pretty much agree with everything you said 757690. There is no single statistical value we can look at to measure a player's complete value. However, if their are two outs and a RISP, the most important stat is OBP simply because we can't afford to make any more outs...
I just feel like taking a walk generally means you didn't see anything to hit, so you are better off walking than making an out on a pitch out of the zone. In other words, if you walked there was not a very good chance of getting a hit...

Bip Roberts
12-02-2007, 02:55 PM
Its the MLB not every pitch is going to be perfect. Learn to hit the ball. Waiting for the perfect pitch in certain situations is worthless.

*BaseClogger*
12-02-2007, 02:59 PM
Its the MLB not every pitch is going to be perfect. Learn to hit the ball. Waiting for the perfect pitch in certain situations is worthless.

Why can't the guy after me in the batting order hit the ball with an extra guy on base?

Bip Roberts
12-02-2007, 03:05 PM
Why can't the guy after me in the batting order hit the ball with an extra guy on base?

because not everyone has the same ability. Tell me would you rather have your power hitter swinging the bat with 2 men on or your 6/7/8 hole hitters trying to get a hit with 3 on.

Id rather have my best hitters trying to get hits than leave it up to the lesser hitters.

Dont get me wrong if you dont get a pitch to hit its one thing, but some times I think the likes of Dunn is going up there to walk 1st hit 2nd when people are on base.

If no one is on base i couldn't care less if you walked its probably the smart thing to do actually. When people are on base the hitter needs to be more aggressive at the plate.

*BaseClogger*
12-02-2007, 04:34 PM
because not everyone has the same ability. Tell me would you rather have your power hitter swinging the bat with 2 men on or your 6/7/8 hole hitters trying to get a hit with 3 on.

Id rather have my best hitters trying to get hits than leave it up to the lesser hitters.

Dont get me wrong if you dont get a pitch to hit its one thing, but some times I think the likes of Dunn is going up there to walk 1st hit 2nd when people are on base.

If no one is on base i couldn't care less if you walked its probably the smart thing to do actually. When people are on base the hitter needs to be more aggressive at the plate.

I'd rather have EE hitting with runners on first and second than Dunn with just a guy on second...

Bip Roberts
12-02-2007, 05:07 PM
I'd rather have EE hitting with runners on first and second than Dunn with just a guy on second...

Id rather have Edwin batting than Dunn pretty much any time someone is on second

*BaseClogger*
12-02-2007, 10:18 PM
Id rather have Edwin batting than Dunn pretty much any time someone is on second

My point was that the amount of runs expected is higher with the sixth batter up with two on than the fifth batter up and one on...

PickOff
12-02-2007, 10:24 PM
I hitter's job is to produce runs, not "not get an out". Part of producing runs is "not getting an out", but it is also getting a single, double, triple, hr or sb.

Since a player can't count on the person hitting behind him to "not get an out", there is the neccesity to swing the bat and produce runs from getting a hit.

Clutch hitting is a measure of the hitter's ability to produce runs in a high pressure situation. If there is nobody on base and zero outs, a player that hits the home run would be more clutch than the batter that takes a walk.

Krawhitham
12-02-2007, 11:47 PM
His ridiculous assertion that clutch hitting does not exist was one of the only faults I thought he had. He has now come to his senses.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/11/30/james.clutch/index.html

What is interesting is that his evidence seems to prove out something that we have known for awhile, that Dunn and Jr are not great clutch hitters.

He works for the Red Sox and they have Big Papi, who Boston markets as MR Clutch so sure he believes in it now, he like his pay check

George Foster
12-03-2007, 01:58 AM
I think clutch is pretty easy to define. It's a guy that has a higher batting average with men in scoring position that not.

It's a guy with a higher average in the 7th-9th innings than 1-6.

CySeymour
12-03-2007, 10:40 AM
I hitter's job is to produce runs, not "not get an out". Part of producing runs is "not getting an out", but it is also getting a single, double, triple, hr or sb.


Scoring runs is a team resposibility, not just the sole job of one player. Yes, it's preferable if a player gets a base hit with runners on instead of walking, but that's not possible to do every time. So if some of those k's/groundounts/flyouts are replaced by a walk, you give you team a better chance to score more runs.

Handofdeath
12-04-2007, 06:00 PM
I heartily agree. Walks are almost always a good thing.

However, hits are always a good thing, and better than a walk. A single is better than a walk, a double is better than a single, a triple is better than a double and home run trumps them all.

This is exactly why OBP is overrated (valuable, but overrated). It equates them all. In OBP, a home run counts the same as walk. That is why you need to look at both a players OBP and SLG to understand his true value, especially in clutch situations. Just as a lead off hitter can have a low SLG, but be valuable with a high OBP, a cleanup hitter can have a low OBP, but be valuable with a high SLG.

One more thing, I think the most interesting tidbit in the article is James' explanation for why he changed his mind. He said that before, he used faulty logic. He assumed that since he couldn't find any statistical evidence that clutch hitting existed, that therefore, there was no such thing as clutch hitting. He then realized that logically, another explanation was that he was using a faulty system to define clutch hitting. He researched it more, and came up with a system that better defined clutch hitting, and presto, he found evidence of it. Proof that we will never get to the end of understanding this great, wonderful sport.

That was a damn good post.