• A-Rod & Giambi Become Pop-Guns In Big Spot?

    Posted by on July 12th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    In an attempt to find some reasons why the Yankees have issues scoring runs this season – when they’re not facing the Mariners or Astros – I decided to look at how New York has done, this season, to date, in terms of “slugging” in High Leverage game situations.

    Via Baseball-Reference.com, here are the American League team leaders in Slugging Percentage in High Leverage situations – through last night:

    BOS	86	705	.470
    CHW	85	684	.449
    LAA	85	653	.446
    BAL	87	720	.438
    TEX	85	719	.427
    DET	89	705	.426
    MIN	88	738	.419
    TBR	87	691	.418
    NYY	88	675	.413
    OAK	88	767	.408
    KCR	89	617	.389
    TOR	86	796	.382
    CLE	83	655	.377
    SEA	84	721	.324

    Interesting, huh? Some teams that are doing well in the standings – like the Red Sox, White Sox, and Angels – rank high here. And, some teams that are not doing well in the standings – line the Blue Jays, Indians, and Mariners – don’t rank high here. (What about the Rays here? I suppose that it says they’re doing it this season on pitching, no?)

    These rankings suggest that there’s something to be said about good teams slugging well in High Leverage situations. And, the Yankees mark of .413 is not very good in this department. So, who on the Yankees team is leading the way towards this poor standing? Via Baseball-Reference.com, here are the Yankees leaders in Slugging Percentage in High Leverage situations – through last night:

    Posada	45	.541
    Matsui	49	.523
    Abreu	66	.500
    Moeller	10	.500
    Damon	52	.468
    Jeter	56	.457
    Giambi	77	.422
    Rodrigz	65	.418
    Cabrera	78	.406
    Duncan	19	.353
    Ensberg	13	.333
    Molina	41	.314
    Cano	64	.288
    Betemit	17	.286
    Gonzalz	8	.167
    Gardner	8	.167
    Christn	3	.000

    Hmm…this list suggests that guys like Posada, Matsui, Abreu, Damon, and, to an extent, Jeter, have been coming through with the “big” (meaning extra base) hit for the Yankees, so far, this season during a big spot in a ballgame.

    However, note the marks here for Giambi (.422) and A-Rod (.418). These suggest that, in a big spot, this season, these two “sluggers” are not swinging a big stick…and they are performing more like punch-and-judy hitters.

    Taking this all in, is it a reach to suggest that…for the Yankees to score more runs, and win more games, and do better in the standings, Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez need to start driving the ball for extra bases where it counts (in terms of crucial game situations)?

    Hey, at this point, if they started doing it…it couldn’t hurt, could it?

    Comments on A-Rod & Giambi Become Pop-Guns In Big Spot?

    1. July 12th, 2008 | 9:43 am

      […] … When in doubt try another lineup. Turns out they still have Chad Moeller. Who knew? … Steve Lombardi of Was Watching has some interesting stats that reveal the tendencies of A-Rod and Jason […]

    2. ken
      July 12th, 2008 | 10:37 am

      Slugging Percentage is nice, but a few more plain old singles with RISP would be enough.

    3. July 12th, 2008 | 12:04 pm

      But, are the Yankees paying A-Rod and Giambi to hit singles?

    4. dan34
      July 12th, 2008 | 12:33 pm

      I know you love to do these kinds of lists, but maybe some complete research would further inform your readers.

      You know what the Yankees are slugging in ALL situations? .413, which is EXACTLY what they would be expected to hit in high-leverage situations, in low-leverage situations, and in every single possible situation you can come up with.

      And next time you’re trying to prove a point, don’t isolate 20% of a players plate appearances and claim that it means something. Richie Sexson has as many PA’s versus lefties as Giambi does in High Leverage situations. I don’t see anyone claiming that Sexson’s split is meaningful– look at his career vs. lefties.

    5. ken
      July 12th, 2008 | 1:20 pm

      Perhaps not. But when A-Rod is at bat with RISP and the game on the line, trying to take a low outside pitch and pulling to left field is not getting it done. Seems like he is just hitting for HRs now. Giambino is similar.

      Swinging for contact and going to the opposite field is what the team needs from these guys, and with their strength, contact results in extra base hits.

      Just my 2c.

    6. ieddyi
      July 12th, 2008 | 2:07 pm

      So, I guess the 2 run single he just hit doesnt count according to you, huh

      Another reminder why I don’t read this site on a regular basis ( linked by Baseball Think Factory- a real baseball site )


    7. ieddyi
      July 12th, 2008 | 2:41 pm

      And now a HR

      Your timing is impeccable, LOL

    8. Bologma
      July 12th, 2008 | 2:50 pm

      Steve, can you help Peter Abraham out and put together an article about how often managers change their lineups? Maybe make some points about the problems Girardi has faced with all the injuries too.

      Since he deletes any posts questioning this subject from his blog I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, one of his peers can show him why these criticisms are so obtuse. At the very least his loyal readers will benefit from intelligent baseball analysis.

      Thank you

    9. Corey
      July 12th, 2008 | 5:07 pm

      sad day today , bobby murser RIP

    10. Dutch Hugo
      July 12th, 2008 | 6:25 pm

      Sheesh Corey, at least spell the guy’s name right on the day he died. MURCER! My favorite player as a kid, one heck of a good guy according to everyone associated with the game. He will be missed.

    11. July 12th, 2008 | 9:29 pm


      ieddyi – how am I supposed to respect your opinion when you call me names?

    12. July 12th, 2008 | 9:33 pm

      ~~You know what the Yankees are slugging in ALL situations? .413, which is EXACTLY what they would be expected to hit in high-leverage situations, in low-leverage situations, and in every single possible situation you can come up with. ~~

      It’s not .413 in all situations. It’s .413 overall.

      In High Leverage spots it’s .413
      In Medium Leverage spots it’s .388
      In Low Leverage spots it’s .438

      To me, this suggests that the Yankees slug better when nothing is one the line, no?

    13. yankees76
      July 13th, 2008 | 12:37 am

      Are these numbers significantly different from last year’s team performance? Are these numbers significantly off these players’ career norms? What’s a “good” slugging percentage in a high leverage situation? What’s an average slugging percentage? Is it just the Yankees who slug better when “nothing is one [sic] the line,” or is it all teams? Isn’t it *good* that the Yankees slug better in *high* leverage situations than *medium* leverage situation?

    14. yankees76
      July 13th, 2008 | 6:06 am

      Basically, Steve, whenever you start a post, “I thought I’d take a look at …,” you should stop yourself and think about whether you’re fully evaluating the sitation.

      For example, you do not need to post that you’ve observed that Mike Mussina is unhittable in the 8th inning, and conclude that the Yankees should do whatever they can to work with Mussina to minimize his pitch counts so that he can get to the 8th inning, where he is statistically unhittable.

      While this is (I hope) a silly example, you generally draw similar conclusions from small sample sizes, and you wind up missing the bigger picture. I can remember reading some ridiculous post of yours last season or the season before where you had identified that Wang had a particularly bad ERA in the 4th inning, or something like that, and that if we could just get Want through the 4th inning …. (complete nonsense!)

      Moose isn’t unhittable in the 8th inning because Moose is unhittable in the 8th inning. Moose is unhittable in the 8th inning because he NEVER GETS TO the 8th inning, and on those rare occasions when Moose does reach the 8th inning, it’s in games in which he is really dealing. So, of course he seems unhittable in the 8th inning.

      If the opposing teams bring in their best relief pitchers against the Yankees’ acclaimed sluggers, and our sluggers only manage singles instead of doubles and HRs against these great pitchers, I’m not going to conclude that our sluggers can’t slug.

    15. July 13th, 2008 | 9:19 am

      Hey, I’m not saying that the Yankees sluggers, Alex and Jason, can’t slug – because their homer totals, etc., show that they can.

      I’m just saying that THE STATS SHOW that they are not slugging near their career norms – or near what their teammates are slugging…IN HIGH LEVERAGE SITUATIONS.

      And, that RP theory doesn’t fly. High Leverage spots can happen anywhere in a game. It doesn’t have to be late in a game with a RP on the mound. It could happen in the 3rd inning too. Each game, and case, is different as to when the High Leverage situation occurs…it depends on the inning, the score, runners on base, the outs…lots of things.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.