• When The Going Gets Rough…..

    Posted by on January 24th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    …some get going and others go in their pants?

    New York Yankees etc. takes another look at A-Rod in the clutch.

    As Travis (of NYYE) commented elsewhere here on this today:

    i just did a quick study of some clutch stats. just going by leading and trailing stats (04-06), among Arod, DJ, Beltre (being a fairly avg 3b) and Ortiz.

    The things i learned -

    - Arod is the only guy among these 4 to hit worse (than his overall OPS) when trailing. the other 3 hit better when trailing.

    - Ortiz has the highest trailing OPS, 1.023. (overall OPS of 1.011)

    - When trailing, Jeter has the highest increase from his overall OPS (+42 or .896) vs .854 overall OPS.

    - Arod’s trailing OPS is actually higher than DJ, at .905. But this is well below his overall OPS, which is 40 points higher, .945.

    This certainly explains why Arod is seen as ‘unclutch,’ while DJ is seen as the opposite.

    I think what really kills A-Rod in this study is that .770-ish OPS over the last 3 years when the team is down by 2 or 3 runs. In the words of Randy Jackson, “Yo, Dawg. It’s not good.”

    Update: Looking at the stats, Rodriguez has 281 PA in the last 3 years where the Yankees were trailing by 2 or 3 runs. That’s a pretty good sample size.

    Comments on When The Going Gets Rough…..

    1. baileywalk
      January 24th, 2007 | 7:08 pm

      What were A-Rod’s “clutch” numbers in Texas and Seattle? Is this simply a New York thing, or did he always struggle?

    2. David
      January 24th, 2007 | 7:43 pm

      If I have this straight, ARod is clasified as not being a good clutch hitter because he’s such a great hitter outside the clutch situation.

      Calling ARod ‘unclutch’ is a matter of definition. These statistics show that in clutch situations, ARod hits better than Jeter does. To me, that makes ARod a good clutch hitter.

    3. January 24th, 2007 | 9:22 pm

      good question bailey, i was thinking about that earlier. from my (now expanded) analysis.

      “Arod 1994-03 OPS 1.014

      -3 = 1.105

      -2 = .828

      -1 = 1.050

      Tied = 1.113

      +1 = 1.029

      Leading .984 (-30)
      Tied (+99)
      Trailing .967 (-47)

      Rather interesting. Arod has never been a better hitter when trailing, but was a better hitter with the score tied (while his leading hitting is actually better in New York). Perhaps this explains people’s view that Arod does most of his damage early in the game (when the score is most often tied), as opposed to the ‘clutch’ innings of 7-9 (when a tie is less likely). Some people say that an RBI in the 1st inning is just as important as an RBI in the 9th inning. It’s true that a run is a run, but ‘clutch’ hits in late innings are more likely to ensure a win only because there are fewer innings to play: when a team takes a lead in inning 1, it probably has about a 60-70% chance of winning – when it takes a lead in innings 7-9, that probability must go up to 80-100%. I don’t have the exact data, but it’s easy to understand this idea. Late, close RBIs are more important than early RBIs.

      Fan Graphs has equations for ‘clutchiness,’ and it’s pretty clear where Arod (and Jeter) stand. In 2006, Jeter was the 4th best clutch hitter, while Arod was the 158th best (or 5th worst, among the 162 qualified hitters). However, in 2005 (Arod’s MVP year), he was 54th in ‘clutchiness’ (barely in the positive), while Jeter was 78th (actually a negative clutch hitter). And in 2004, Jeter was 19th and Arod was 23rd. Over the last 3 years, Jeter is clearly the better clutch hitter. Arod has not necessarily been ‘unclutch,’ but throw in that he’s always compared to Derek ‘Superman’ Jeter (as I am guilty of doing), and that Arod is the highest paid player in baseball, it’s easy to see why he is considered ‘unclutch,’ which is an unfair sentiment. He’s just not as clutch as Jeter or Ortiz.”

      The biggest difference is Arod’s ‘tied’ OPS. Before NY, it was 99 pts HIGHER than his overall OPS. Since joining NY, it is 4 pts LOWER than his overall OPS. Meanwhile, his ‘trailing’ OPS has been lower than his overall OPS throughout his career. But the only area where he improved since joing NY is his ‘leading’ OPS. again, this is why some peps say: ‘Arod does all his production when the Yanks are already ahead.’

      PS: Thanks for the publicity, Steve.

    4. January 24th, 2007 | 10:50 pm

      My pleasure Travis.

      One other thing to factor in – OPS is park influenced. It’s much easier to hit in Texas than New York.

    5. January 24th, 2007 | 11:44 pm

      True, and he also played the 1st half of his career in the Kingdome.

      But i tried to compensate for that by looking primarily at their relative OPS (the individual player’s situational OPS vs. their overall OPS (during a specific time frame)), and comparing that difference to another player, which should reveal the basic reality of the stats without including park factors.

      Hopefully Musings will add OPS+ to their database one day.

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