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Tony Moschetti wrote Dugout Central:

Pags: Has anyone ever done an article concerning the clutch hitting (RISP/RISP 2-outs) stats of the guys using their overall batting average versus their batting average when hitting in the clutch? I think that might be quite interesting, and give us a better look into who are really the most valuable players. I didn’t say anything about A-Rod!

Tony, let me begin with an apology: Pags is unavailable (in Japan right now) to answer your question, so you’re stuck with me. Sometimes we “Advance to Go” and sometimes we “Win Second Prize in a Beauty Contest”…

In response to your question, www.baseball-reference.com includes a statistic called tOPS+ on each player page. Simply choose a player page and open “Splits” to any season you’re interested in. tOPS+ is given in each subcategory or “split” – this is the player’s OPS+ in each split relative to his overall OPS+. Obviously, a tOPS+ in excess of 100 is indicative of increased performance under a specific condition.

In terms of clutch performance, tOPS+ is superior to batting average with RISP because it reflects the player’s overall offensive performance rather than his average alone.

Now about your suggestion, here are two short equations that follow your reasoning. We’ll start with (AVG RISP – 2 outs/AVG) and call it “Clutch Average” and (SLG RISP – 2 outs/SLG) and call it “Clutch Slugging” for baseball’s RBI leaders through July 1. I’ll also include tOPS+ for RISP – 2 outs.

  RBI AVG AVG RISP 2 out Clutch AVG SLG SLG RISP 2 outs Clutch SLG tOPS+ J. Hamilton 80 .312 .333 1.067 .563 .689 1.224 122 L. Berkman 68 .365 .351 .962 .699 .622 .890 96 A. Gonzalez 68 .288 .278 .965 .530 .444 .838 94 R. Howard 68 .215 .346 1.609 .460 .519 1.128 164 C. Utley 65 .297 .226 .761 .610 .419 .687 77 D. Wright 65 .283 .267 .943 .492 .511 1.039 104 C. Lee 64 .278 .296 1.065 .528 .500 .947 108 J. Morneau 63 .308 .350 1.136 .483 .525 1.087 138 M. Teixeira 63 .276 .275 .996 .495 .525 1.061 128 J. Guillen 61 .281 .314 1.117 .488 .588 1.205 136 C. Quentin 61 .284 .348 1.225 .537 .565 1.032 133 R. Braun 58 .282 .220 .780 .544 .317 .583 44 D. Uggla 58 .289 .323 1.118 .620 .613 .989 125 R. Ludwick 56 .285 .267 .937 .574 .511 .890 93 C. Beltran 55 .271 .143 .528 .479 .190 .397 14 A. Ramirez 55 .289 .265 .917 .502 .412 .821 78 B. Abreu 53 .283 .455 1.608 .457 .848 1.856 219 N. McLouth 53 .280 .361 1.289 .522 .722 1.383 174 D. Murphy 52 .270 .313 1.159 .451 .479 1.062 104 M. Ramirez 52 .286 .270 .944 .514 .459 .893 95 M. Reynolds 52 .258 .378 1.465 .509 .784 1.540 175 J.D. Drew 50 .303 .167 .551 .577 .300 .520 50 A. Pujols 47 .357 .300 .840 .635 .850 1.339 165 A. Rodriguez 44 .322 .207 .643 .601 .414 .689 77

The table illustrates some interesting points. It demonstrates why the Phillies can continue to play Ryan Howard; his .215 average leaps to .346 with RISP – 2 outs. Howard’s increase in production is mostly batting average, however; his slugging average increases, but much less dramatically.

We also see the advantages of tOPS+; in terms of batting average only. Albert Pujols underachieves when there are two outs and men in scoring position. However, Pujols’ slugging average jumps 215 points under these conditions – and tOPS+ captures this as Albert scores an impressive 165.

Bobby Abreu is the biggest winner on the chart – both his average and slugging average increase significantly in the clutch. He scores a tOPS+ of 219. Carlos Beltran’s tOPS+ is only 14 (the lowest on the table) with two outs and “ducks on the pond.”

Naturally, every statistic can be taken too far. Lance Berkman “declines” to a .351 average and .622 slugging percentage with 2 out, RISP. We shouldn’t be overly concerned with his sub 100 tOPS+.

One last note, Tony. A-Rod – as you almost suggested – doesn’t score very well with your statistic.

Thanks!

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