Originally Posted by BRM13
If you will forgive me a lapse into a kind of economics-style argument, I suspect there is a kind of 'equilibrium' in which every team selects guys for their ability to be 'clutch,' be good leaders, etc. This happens because all their lives, they've seen in little league, high school etc that some guys fall short on those dimensions and fail. The guys who keep moving up seem to be good at those things. By the time you get to the top in MLB, most everyone passes the 'intangibles' test. When you do the kinds of test sabermetricians use, there is very little cross-sectional variation along these dimensions, so you can't relate them to on field success. That doesn't mean they don't matter, just that no one is foolish enough to try to field players without those attributes, so you can't see what happens when they aren't present.
I'm enjoying how some of the points you guys are making overlap with discussions that became fundamental to the book. This observation about most major-leaguers being strong in the intangibles--collectively representing what I call "teamship"--is a very relevant one. While a player's makeup, etc., may be constructive, that doesn't necessarily make it a separator. For those qualities to actually enhance his value, he has to manifest them beyond the norm. To that end, I played around with the informal term WART: Wins Above Replacement-Level Teamship. Of course, there's no way to calculate it. It's totally subjective. But none the less real.