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Old 04-25-2019, 09:13 AM   #1
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How can I measure 'clutch' for batters?

A couple of questions about this, I guess

1) Is there anything in the player's statistics, ratings, etc that contributes towards high-leverage situations? I'm guessing Avoid K's factors into it somehow, but was also curious if there was anything else, like personality etc.

2) What kind of statistics do we have available to us to determine their 'clutch'? One of the first things that springs to mind is Hit% with runners on base (especially 2nd and 3rd), but that doesn't necessarily apply to high leverage situations.

Of course, if there is no inherent measure of 'clutch' in the game, and it's just a matter of trying to get your best batters on in high leverage situations then I guess this is moot. But certainly in real life, there are players that can handle the pressure and players that can't.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:36 AM   #2
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Much like real life, performing in the 'clutch' is a fairly subjective term. As far as I know there is no 'clutch' rating in the system, but I'm not one to dig through the backend very much. As far as statistics go you can find your definition of 'clutch' in your player's batting stats tab. I forget the name of the sub-tab, but I believe it's something like 'splits'. In there you will see breakdowns for batting in certain innings, with # of outs, with runners on certain bases, close games/blowouts, etc.

It's possible that some personality trait or locker room atmosphere will affect this, but that'd be a question that only the devs can answer.

Clutch is such a misunderstood and overrated term in sports that it now means different things to different people. So you'll have to find your own way to determine who is 'clutch' in your line-up.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redmoss2 View Post
A couple of questions about this, I guess

1) Is there anything in the player's statistics, ratings, etc that contributes towards high-leverage situations? I'm guessing Avoid K's factors into it somehow, but was also curious if there was anything else, like personality etc.

2) What kind of statistics do we have available to us to determine their 'clutch'? One of the first things that springs to mind is Hit% with runners on base (especially 2nd and 3rd), but that doesn't necessarily apply to high leverage situations.

Of course, if there is no inherent measure of 'clutch' in the game, and it's just a matter of trying to get your best batters on in high leverage situations then I guess this is moot. But certainly in real life, there are players that can handle the pressure and players that can't.

IIRC, there's a stat you can pull up for each player for batting average - "high leverage" or some such phrasing. I don't think there's a page where you can look at just that for the league, however.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:48 AM   #4
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I don't know that there is any rating in the game that would drive "clutch." Perhaps someone else can answer.

Note that there is a good sized body of work on the subject and most conclusions that I have heard is that "clutchness" in sport is statistically not supported so that it's discernable from random luck. And luck can appear to be a trend in a small sample size (i.e. 4 or 5 specific situations where some player was clutch that tend to stand out in fans minds.)

i.e. The general argument was Michael Jordan wasn't any more clutch than other basketball players. He was much better than other basketball players period - hence in "clutch" situations he performed better. But that's an extension of tending to perform better in all situations.
"There remains one more test which is particularly clear-cut and easy to understand. If clutch hitters really exist, one would certainly expect that a batter who was a clutch hitter in 1969 would tend also to be a clutch hitter in 1970. But if no such tendency exists, then "clutch hitting" must surely be a matter of luck. After all, the only means of ever identifying a clutch hitter would be by his consistency, if not from situation to situation at least from season to season.

Such a test is easily performed, by trying to correlate the residuals for players in 1969 with residuals for the same players in 1970. Not even a hint of such a correlation exists (r2 for 60 National League players was .038 and for 62 American League players was .055). This means that there is no tendency for players who were clutch hitters in 1969 to be clutch hitters in 1970. True, a few of the "clutch hitters" in 1969 were also "clutch hitters" in 1970; but as many became "unclutch" and most became average, exactly as would be expected if "clutch hitting" is really a matter of luck."

(http://research.sabr.org/journals/do...-hitters-exist)
For me, if I had to look for clutch in statistics, I would probably look at Win Probability Added in OOTP. It's context senstive to the situation. So getting a 2 RBI single in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in a winning effort will weight more than getting a 2 RBI single in the 5th inning when your team is winning 10-0.
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:51 AM   #5
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There really is no such things as clutch. There are good players and there are bad players. If 'high pressure' situations get to you so much that you fall apart completely then you won't make it past high school ball, much less getting to the pros.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:43 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SxSnts9 View Post
Much like real life, performing in the 'clutch' is a fairly subjective term. As far as I know there is no 'clutch' rating in the system, but I'm not one to dig through the backend very much. As far as statistics go you can find your definition of 'clutch' in your player's batting stats tab. I forget the name of the sub-tab, but I believe it's something like 'splits'. In there you will see breakdowns for batting in certain innings, with # of outs, with runners on certain bases, close games/blowouts, etc.

It's possible that some personality trait or locker room atmosphere will affect this, but that'd be a question that only the devs can answer.

Clutch is such a misunderstood and overrated term in sports that it now means different things to different people. So you'll have to find your own way to determine who is 'clutch' in your line-up.
I'm almost positive that there is a hidden rating (you can't even see it in the editor) that grants a *very small* bump to players in clutch situations.

If memory serves, they've found a similarly super duper small effect in real life baseball and this works for me. It's very hard to suss out from plain old probability and it favors people you probably wouldn't call "clutch" (for instance, younger players who can get around on fastballs more quickly, because in the playoffs and LIPS you're more likely to face the best pitchers, who in turn will throw harder on average than players who aren't as good), but there is *an* effect, and the initial push in the 80s and early 90s by people insisting that it flat out doesn't exist is not correct (although I think those people were coming from the right place and as noted it certainly doesn't have the massive effect that proponents of it thought it did back in the day).
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:38 PM   #7
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I'm almost positive that there is a hidden rating (you can't even see it in the editor) that grants a *very small* bump to players in clutch situations.

If memory serves, they've found a similarly super duper small effect in real life baseball and this works for me. It's very hard to suss out from plain old probability and it favors people you probably wouldn't call "clutch" (for instance, younger players who can get around on fastballs more quickly, because in the playoffs and LIPS you're more likely to face the best pitchers, who in turn will throw harder on average than players who aren't as good), but there is *an* effect, and the initial push in the 80s and early 90s by people insisting that it flat out doesn't exist is not correct (although I think those people were coming from the right place and as noted it certainly doesn't have the massive effect that proponents of it thought it did back in the day).
Do you have links to those? I've always been interested in the subject. I mean, at a human level it would be silly to think that zero clutch ability exists.

But at the same time (SxSnts9 gives an example), just getting to the big leagues means that the system has probably self-selected against players who would constantly crumble under pressure. So it's possible the natural hurdles you go through to get to the big leagues weeds out it to such an extent to make the difference between the best player and worst player at "clutch" close to negligible.

The example you cite too (just for discussion sake) where younger players could get around on fastballs better - someone could call that "clutch", but you could just as easily (and probably more accurately) call that a talent. The person has a quicker reaction time as a younger player - there are already ways to describe that without the word "clutch" entering into the equation. Reaction time dissipates as one ages - that's just aging. It would probably be less accurate to say "Albert Pujols became less clutch as he got older" than "Albert Pujols lost reaction time as he aged, so he can't turn on a fastball like he could when he was 27".
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:47 PM   #8
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Here's a guy from FOX Sports:

https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a...ference-081414

Again, it's not "clutch" in the sense of "some guys have more mental toughness" so much as it is "certain skillsets do a better job in 'clutch' situations for a variety of reasons". I don't think anyone with a passing interest in statistics argues for the former. Still, it *certainly* exists in other sports - basketball and football (particularly QBs running the two minute drill) immediately come to mind - and I feel like it isn't something we should just exclude because the Skip Baylesses of the world use the term to describe a phenomenon that only "exists" to make them feel better about their own hot takes.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:51 PM   #9
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Here's a guy from FOX Sports:

https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a...ference-081414

Again, it's not "clutch" in the sense of "some guys have more mental toughness" so much as it is "certain skillsets do a better job in 'clutch' situations for a variety of reasons". I don't think anyone with a passing interest in statistics argues for the former. Still, it *certainly* exists in other sports - basketball and football (particularly QBs running the two minute drill) immediately come to mind - and I feel like it isn't something we should just exclude because the Skip Baylesses of the world use the term to describe a phenomenon that only "exists" to make them feel better about their own hot takes.
Cool, I definitely will read that. In terms of two-minute drills, are there instances of quarterbacks who are constantly average in other situations but excel in the two-minutes? Or is it more defined as top tier players that consistently seem to choke? (i.e. is clutch there more framed as abnormal success or a normal level of success when compared to high rates of failure?)
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:14 PM   #10
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I think in terms of all professional sports leagues there is very little evidence to point that someone is 'clutch'. As I said the people who crumble under pressure will fall off in high school, college, minors/developmental leagues, etc.

Also, the situations that most people usually assign a 'clutch factor' to are so rare that it's almost always too small of a sample size to matter. Plus, to be fair, if you played well enough during non-'clutch' situations throughout the game you shouldn't need to come through in that 'clutch' situation in the first place. Give me a team of the best overall players any day over a team of 'clutch' guys.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:36 PM   #11
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Cool, I definitely will read that. In terms of two-minute drills, are there instances of quarterbacks who are constantly average in other situations but excel in the two-minutes? Or is it more defined as top tier players that consistently seem to choke? (i.e. is clutch there more framed as abnormal success or a normal level of success when compared to high rates of failure?)
Average? No, but guys who have good arms who can throw accurately downfield tend to get more 4th quarter comebacks than you'd expect - Peyton Manning in his prime is perhaps the best example (although he's also arguably the best quarterback ever) but there are some guys who aren't close to inner-tier HOFers way up there on the 4QC list - Vinny Testaverde, Eli Manning, Drew Bledsoe, and Tony Romo for 4 (for that matter Dave Krieg is pretty high up once you accept that the list is dominated by people who played in the last 20 years). On the other hand, Sam Bradford, a guy who specializes in dink and dunk passing, has a grand total of 7 4QCs over 83 starts, 4 of them in the same season, early on when he was still throwing the ball downfield.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:47 PM   #12
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I think in terms of all professional sports leagues there is very little evidence to point that someone is 'clutch'. As I said the people who crumble under pressure will fall off in high school, college, minors/developmental leagues, etc.

Also, the situations that most people usually assign a 'clutch factor' to are so rare that it's almost always too small of a sample size to matter. Plus, to be fair, if you played well enough during non-'clutch' situations throughout the game you shouldn't need to come through in that 'clutch' situation in the first place. Give me a team of the best overall players any day over a team of 'clutch' guys.
It's a very small effect in baseball. These statements just plain aren't true for basketball or football. Basketball players who can create their own shots and/or shoot quickly *absolutely* are at a premium. Guys can and do score during the regular season off of teams that aren't as good defensively or (frankly) aren't trying as hard, but then in the last couple minutes of games or throughout the playoffs the situations become very different.

https://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes....ermine-clutch/

The list of the best clutch players is *kind of* the list of the best (offensive) players because being able to create your own shot and come off screens consistently is a valuable skill no matter how much time is left in the game, but there are also guys who find ways to fill the box score by collecting garbage (nothing against that; in many respects, 2 points scored with 4 minutes to go in the 1st are as important as 2 scored with 3 minutes to go in the 4th) who just aren't going to see those scoring opportunities when the game is on the line. And probably a bigger deal is that it becomes a *lot* harder to deliver the ball to most players in the post later in the game. You look at that list and you see that the only big man in the top 10 in O rating was Dirk Nowitzki, a 4/5 who shot well from all over the court and who could create his own shot off the dribble.

Again, I'd really prefer people stop trying to bring in the "oh, clutch means mental toughness" thing because I at least agree that it's not a good basis for it, the stuff I'm bringing in has nothing to do with mental toughness, and to a great degree it's arguing in bad faith.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:09 PM   #13
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i woudl define clutch as not underperforming when nerves and other outside factors could interfere with concentration.

like someone getting a divorce and a bunch of bad off the field stuff, yet still performs well.

you can not be >100% of yourself... not possible... you cannot even reach 100%, that's theoretical only.

if you can flip a switch and perform better 'when it matters' wtf is holding them back from doing that all the time? bunch of slackers, i guess.

if they found a minute possibility a smal bump exists, it's very liekly within the % of error of experiements.

remember, about 90% of initial studies are proven wrong, and that's using the scientific method. baseball experiements are amateur at best, lol. no peer review, no system of standards etc etc... wild west nonsense.

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Old 04-25-2019, 03:11 PM   #14
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Interesting the conversation on clutch players. Perhaps in baseball the sample sizes are so large that they eliminate clutch from the equation.

I can think of a couple of examples in other sports. Christian Eriksen seems to score lots of goals for Denmark and Tottenham when the game is on the line in the closing minutes. Perhaps it's because he's a great player, but the timing tends to seem pretty clutch.

The other one is Justin Williams, who is a pretty average hockey player -- well maybe a little above average, but not a superstar. But he's known as "Mr. Game 7", with an 8-1 record in Game 7's, and a league record 15 points. It happened again just last night, as he assisted for the winning goal to knock out the Capitals in overtime.

Perhaps Justin Williams is the exception that proves the rule.. that with all of the players and games in history there's bound to be some outliers in clutch situations.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:47 PM   #15
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I'll add some interesting data to it, just because research is fun.

I searched Newspapers.com and the earliest reference that comes up to the term "clutch hitter" is 1930. It was referring to Allen Elliot, the first baseman of the Waterloo Hawks in a contest against the Cedar Rapids Bunnies (yes, really the Bunnies) of the Class D Mississippi Valley League. It makes no mention as to what "clutch hitter" means.

In the mid to late 1930s, you see it used a bit. In all the articles, they never define it specifically beyond pure results. Either they:
1. Mention a guy is a clutch hitter.
2. Mention a guy is a clutch hitter with the example that he gets a lot of RBIs, especially from situations with multiple runners on base.
3. Mention a guy is a clutch hitter with the example that he gets RBIs that put his club ahead or "when they count the most".

There's no instance that I found where an article explicitly referred to any intangible trait the player had, although it's hard to tell if the authors were assuming that the reader knew that "clutch hitter" meant some kind of intangible ability.

An example: "Goslin became a major factor in the Detroit pennant drives of 1934 and 1935, living up fully to his reputation as a great clutch hitter. In the World Series of 1935 he drove the run which won the World Series for Detroit and became the toast of the city's ardent fandom."

"Sullivan is a Clutch Hitter: The only time Billy Sullivan, St Louis Browns catcher, delivered as a pinch hitter in 1938, he hit a home run." (Oddly enough, he was 3 for 10 with a walk and a home run as a pinch hitter in 1938. It was a solo shot in the 9th inning that tied the game 7-7 which the Browns would lose in the bottom of the 9th, 8-7).
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:57 PM   #16
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IMHO there is both a physiological and psychological basis for "clutch" performance. Everyone produces adrenaline in a high tension situation. Some more, some less. And some react differently to it. Some people feel weak and get the shakes (not the people you want on your side in a bar fight) and for others it is channeled into better strength, speed and coordination. All this we know for fact, so it seems it should follow that someone who produces more adrenaline and can channel it better should perform better than someone who can't. Maybe these differences at the MLB level aren't enough to make a noticeable difference in on-field performance but at least there is a basis for it being possible.

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Old 04-26-2019, 10:43 AM   #17
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From every account I've read and perusing through the majority of player's stats...great players are still great in the clutch. Decent players are still decent. Lousy players are still lousy.

Certain guys get reputations for not being clutch and vice versa, but the data rarely supports this.

I'm not denying the science of 'Fight or Flight' situations and the adrenaline it produces, but people put too much emphasis on the idea of coming through in the 'clutch'. In reality, at the professional level, people don't suddenly become better versions of themselves when the score is 4-3 instead of 10-1.
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:44 PM   #18
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c'mon sxsnts9, don't you believe in magic?

forget quantitative evidence and facts... just "feel" it!

long-standing opinions > facts, always.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:15 PM   #19
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There needs to be stats like mental toughness or even luck just more things that sway something than 1+1 in clutch situations
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:10 PM   #20
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I beg to differ

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There really is no such things as clutch. There are good players and there are bad players. If 'high pressure' situations get to you so much that you fall apart completely then you won't make it past high school ball, much less getting to the pros.
...and offer as my evidence Part Tabler. A career .282 (.345 bop) hitter, he's OK, but not exceptional. With runners in scoring position, those changed to .317/.388. With the bases loaded, he became a .489 hitter.

I understand this is just one guy...but if ever a clutch hitter existed, he's it.
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