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Bill James says Clutch Hitting May Exist (link provided)

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Postby reiser » Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:57 pm

Transmogrifier wrote:This is the key question: With no evidence, do you assume something exists? I think you first have to assume it's not there then prove that it is.


FWIW, I have always believed that while clutch hitting is probably meaningless, clutch choking is practically empirical.
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Postby Transmogrifier » Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:12 pm

KolbSaves wrote:It's a little simpler when dealing with baseball than with proving God's existence.


I can't disagree with that. ;-D
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Postby quietstorm » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:26 pm

KolbSaves wrote:It's a little simpler when dealing with baseball than with proving God's existence.

What if I'm a baseball fideist? Maybe I think that having proof of my baseball beliefs destroys my baseball faithful passion, thus causing me to lose my baseball humanity! (Err... sorry... I had to rip off Kierkegaard, somehow.)

It is a bit simpler, though. I'd suggest you probably need evidence in baseball. To need evidence to believe in God really contradicts the whole idea of faith, but there's no faith in baseball. Why the hell would there be?

I can believe that putting Barry Bonds at #3 in the order will be a good idea, but until I have evidence of it, my belief is probably fruitless. (BTW, as it turns out, a guy with a high OBP and high SLG is better at the very top of the order rather than the middle.)
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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:29 pm

Jeter is Clutch!

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Postby swyck » Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:06 pm

Problem I had with the arguments against clutch, besides the definition of what's a clutch situation, is that they use a players BA in and out of clutch situations to make the determination. I haven't seen a comparison against the league norms in those same situations.

The stats have shown that a players BA doesn't change much in or out of a clutch situation. What they haven't shown (or I haven't seen anyway) is how that rates against everyone else. What is the comparison of the league BA in and out of a clutch situation? If the league BA during a clutch situation shows a 15 point drop, and Mazeroski stays around the same, or only drops 5 points, then you could say there is an indicator he is clutch. THat would define clutch as more of a non-choke.:) It the league BA stays the same, or is higher, then that an indicator against it.

Defining what is a clutch situation, being able to gather the data for those situations, and comparing that against a baseline is whats needed. IMO the articles I've seen so far have not make the case. :-?
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Postby giants8307 » Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:11 pm

quietstorm wrote:
KolbSaves wrote:It's a little simpler when dealing with baseball than with proving God's existence.

What if I'm a baseball fideist? Maybe I think that having proof of my baseball beliefs destroys my baseball faithful passion, thus causing me to lose my baseball humanity! (Err... sorry... I had to rip off Kierkegaard, somehow.)

It is a bit simpler, though. I'd suggest you probably need evidence in baseball. To need evidence to believe in God really contradicts the whole idea of faith, but there's no faith in baseball. Why the hell would there be?

I can believe that putting Barry Bonds at #3 in the order will be a good idea, but until I have evidence of it, my belief is probably fruitless. (BTW, as it turns out, a guy with a high OBP and high SLG is better at the very top of the order rather than the middle.)


Well, according to a great many Catholics, evidence for God's existence abounds, there is just no proof his his existence. Proof and evidence are very different things. Frequently, those who have no evidence for belief are said to have "blind faith." I've reasearched Catholicism, so I thought i'd clear that up.(Used Catholicism since it's the religion of about 1/6 of the world)

Relating this to baseball, like James said, I don't even think there is evidence. Since there are no stats for it, we aren't measuring anything. Since we aren't measuring anything, I don't see any evidence.
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Postby Tavish » Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:50 pm

It is impossible to prove universal or absolute non-existence. It is a logical fallacy. The burden of proof always falls on those who make the claims of existence.
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Postby looptid » Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:06 am

swyck wrote:Problem I had with the arguments against clutch, besides the definition of what's a clutch situation, is that they use a players BA in and out of clutch situations to make the determination. I haven't seen a comparison against the league norms in those same situations.


You'd want to compare a player's clutch average, howevertheheck clutch is defined, to his own overall average or non-clutch average. Players that have above average batting ability will do better than those with average ability in the same situations.

Who would I rather have at the plate with runners in scoring position, trailing by a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Albert Pujols, or Joe Average? It wouldn't have very much to do with clutch at that point. Pujols being hindered by pressure is most likely better than Joe Average at his most alert and productive.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:20 pm

But is there a difference between Pujols' performance in 'clutch' situations and his performance the rest of the time? That is what a 'clutch' hitter would be. I can't think of too many a/b (whether leading off the first, or batting 9th, although there's little, if any data, about how Big Al would perform in the 9 hole...) where Pujols would not outperform any other batter playing the game right now. 'Good' and 'clutch' are not quite the same. You'd have to define 'clutch' as a guy who hit better than their 'typical' performance in 'clutch' situations.

And, of course, you'd also have to factor in the 'clutchness' of the pitcher too, if there's such a thing as that!!
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Postby AcidRock23 » Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:32 pm

now that I've started thinking about this, every time you got a 'clutch' hit, it would also affect your overall performance so that each clutch hit you get would also increase your total batting average so that you would be less clutch, as it were, the more clutch hits you got. The only 'perfect' clutch guy would be a guy who came in and hit HR in tied, 9th inning games. Anyone else would have a mathematical model including 'most' hits which are not clutch.

I guess to start, you'd have to define clutch hits and see how many of them there are throughout baseball and then also a way to measure 'clutch opps' and 'clutch pitching', maybe even factoring in 'clutch baserunning' and 'clutch fielding' as well to make the numbers meaningful. BP has an article in this year's edition that discusses baserunning and identifies some guys as good or bad baserunners (this is NOT including stealing...) and the number of opportunities that they find to measure this is pretty low, which makes the statistical measurements less precise. That may be the 'real' (sic) problem with measuring 'clutch'.

I think that 'clutch' works better as a literary device :-D
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