Using the data for this season, as of yesterday’s games, in the Baseball Musings Day By Day Database, I was able to put together the following chart for the fan/media M.V.P. favorites out of Boston and New York this year:
First, yes, without question, David Ortiz hits for more power than Derek Jeter. We don’t even need numbers to come to that conclusion.
But, what I found interesting here is where these two players are “making out.”
Boy, that doesn’t sound good. That’s a mental picture that neither the fans in Boston or New York would want to see.
OK, let’s try another way to paint this picture.
When the score is tied, both of these players “reach base” (is that better?) around the same rate.
But, when the Red Sox are leading by 1-3 runs, this is where Ortiz really excels at reaching base (and not making out). Jeter, on the other hand, is an on-base monster (to the tune of reaching base half of the time) when the Yankees are trailing by 1-3 runs.
So, what’s more valuable – not making outs when your team is up by 1-3 runs or not making outs when your team is losing by 1-3 runs?
Of course, it should be noted that Ortiz still gets on base when the Sox are down 1-3 runs – just as Jeter still gets on base when the Yankees are up 1-3 runs. But, they both take it to another level in certain situations – Jeter when his team is down in a close game and Ortiz when his team is up in a close game.
Excelling in both of these game-score states has value. Doing well when you’re up, but close, helps put the game away for your team. Doing well when you’re down, but close, helps your team get back into the game.
For me, the latter state has more value – helping to try and turn a loss into a tie or win. Adding to a game where you’re already winning, albeit a close game, is nice – but, hey, the team was still winning the game when you did it, no?
It will be interesting to look at the Ortiz-Jeter debate, via this type of view, when the season is over and the stats are final.