As we all know, FanGraphs features an assortment of interesting data, figures and numbers. One of the more interesting measurements that they include on a player’s page is his respective clutch rating. While I won’t get into the math (it can be tedious), the basic logic behind clutch score is as follows (as explained by Eric Seidman):
This brings me to the first major point: Clutch has different definitions and to understand this statistic we need to be on the same page. No matter how important the media makes clutch performance out to be, it does not refer to performing well with the game on the line. Instead, it refers to performing well in these types of situations relative to all others. The statistic can be summed up by the question, “Does the player raise his game in important situations?” If not, he is not clutch, no matter how great his numbers are in high leverage plate appearances.
The second major point is that being clutch or not being clutch is NOT the same as being good or not being good. You do not need to raise your game in crucial situations to be a great player and those who do raise their games are not necessarily the most talented. A player with a .200 BA that hits .300 in crucial situations is, and should be, considered more clutch than someone with a .333 BA in all situations. The .333 is a better The Incredibles BA but it is not clutch because it did not constitute a raising of the game.
With that said, here are the Yankees’ individual clutch scores, in order, from the highest (most clutch) to the lowest (most unclutch):
Johnny Damon 1.12
Alex Rodriguez 0.63
Melky Cabrera 0.58
Jorge Posada 0.44
Brett Gardner 0.28
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Mark Teixeira 0.19
Derek Jeter -0.19
Hideki Matsui -0.42
Nick Swisher -0.53
Robinson Cano -2.15
The guys with positive scores have all elevated their hitting in high leverage situations. Conversely, the guys with negative score have not. Remember though, with clutch score it’s possible for good players to fall victim to themselves as the scores are relative to the player. In addition, here’s an interesting tidbit regarding these figures—Robinson Cano’s score is not only the lowest on the team, but it’s also the lowest in all of baseball (among those with regular playing time). And while that’s certainly problematic, it’s not particularly surprising
What do you think about these scores?
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