And another baseball stat question: clutch RBI

Do they keep stats on what I would describe as a “clutch RBI”. I define it as getting an RBI when the score is either tied, or your team is losing.

I won’t name names but I certainly recall some “hall-of-fame” type players who always seemed to hit 3 run homers when their team was already up 6-2, but never, ever seemed to produce when the chips were down.

So, clutch RBI anyone?

Interesting but it doesn’t quite seem worthy. Remember GWRBI a few years back? Another attempt to quantify clutch performance that wound up meaning little and was dropped. I wouldn’t call the guy that drives in a run with his team down 12-1 a clutch hitter. Sometimes the run you really need is the one that adds an insurance run when you’re up by only one. That’s a clutch RBI in my book.

I could see a small adjustment in my range of what a clutch RBI is. And maybe clutch is the wrong word. How are “useful”? Because I disagree with you completely about the guy who actually tries to help his team when they’re down by 10 runs by knocking one in. How the hell is his team supposed to win without the come-back RBIs? Those RBI are much more important than the ones that are just piled on in a rout. There’s no pressure then. When you’re losing - by definition it’s pressure. You’re not supposed to ever think a game is hopeless when you’re losing, you may as well leave the field if that’s your mindset.

I’m really taking aim at the RBI compilers.

Now, GWRBI failed because of how it was defined; it floated with the score. It should have been defined the way a pitcher of record is pegged.

Ex: GWRBI should be the RBI that put the winning team in a permanent lead.

I leadoff the game with an HR. Next inning my team adds 5 more runs. The oppenents rally and we win 6-5. The GWRBI should be me. But in the stupid old system it was the guy who knocked in #6. It was pointless, the run had no definition until after the game. My RBI changed the “lead” permanently.

They do that with pitching. I’m the starter and get rocked for 6 runs and they yank me. The relief pitcher gives up one more and then settles down. Our team rallies but falls short and we lose 7-6. I’m still the “losing pitcher” even though I didn’t give up the “winning” run; but I did give up the run that permanently surrendered the lead.

GWRBI should have been the same.

It’s an interesting idea, but the big issue is how to define “clutch”? The first RBI and a 17-0 blowout? I can see times where that could be considered clutch (in a big game where it obviously rattles the starter) and many when it was not.

A leadoff home run when your team is down by five? Maybe, if the home run causes the pitcher to be pulled, and the bullpen stinks.

It just can’t be determined.

Don’t get hung on the term “clutch”. Maybe “quality” is what I’m looking for, or maybe “under pressure”. And I’ll define under pressure as losing or being tied.

Also, no penalty for multiRBI HRs that put you in the lead; so if you’re losing 1-0, and hit a grand slam, all 4 RBI are considered “quality”.

In your 17-0 example, yeah, only 1 “quality” RBI is credited, that first one.

Here’s your problem. Your run was no more or less clutch than his. You might want to think that it was, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not. You’re being hypocritical. By saying a run scored when down 6 runs is “clutch” because you’re trying to come back and you never quit, you have to also conceed that scoring a insurance run when up 5 is clutch too, since you never take a victory or a loss for granted.

A closer measure of a player who is “clutch” would be to measure RBIs driven in after the 7th inning when the score is within 3 runs.

In any case, the entire concept is horribly flawed in my mind. The RBI is a pretty crappy stat no matter how it’s used since it usually depends heavily on the runner ahead of you who got on base and advanced. I give a lot more credit to the guy who got the leadoff double than the guy who hit the sac fly to bring him home. To try and value which ones are “more meaningful” is an exercise in futility.

The closest thing out there as far as measuring clutch, IMHO, is batting average (or better yet, slugging percentage) with runners in scoring position (or on base).

MLB does keep statistics for “Close and late” situations.

:confused: It was.

This may be more geared to “Great Debates” (as everyone has an opinion about baseball…well at least Americans), but I’d distinguish between “critical” and “non-critical” RBIs.

Critical RBIs would be those driven in from the first X+1 scored for the only the winning team, where X is the number of runs scored by the losing opponent. Thus, in a 3-2 game, all the RBI’s obtained by the winning team are critical, whereas in a 10-0 blowout, only the RBI for the first run is critical. Of course, if that 10-0 game suddenly saw the losing team make a comeback to lose by, say, 10-9, then all those insurance runs scored after the first should be considered critical.

Like all baseball stats, this one is flawed, e.g. in a see-saw match it’s hard to dismiss all the work done by the losing team, and while I doubt any Major Leaguer would deliberately allow losing teams to come back and turn late insurance runs into critical RBI’s, this stat does reward bad late-inning defense by the winning team. Again, this thread should now probably be retired to GD.

I wouldn’t distinguish between either of them. It’s pretty clear that performance in Late-Inning Pressure Situations (LIPS, no kidding, ah those wacky stat-heads) is wildly variable from year to year. There are VERY few (and I mean less than 10 and possibly zero) who consistently performance better in LIPS than at other times. The fact is that a good hitter is a good hitter. The ‘clutch’ label that is applied to some usually gets that way through a few highly-publicized instances.

Kind of like Joe Carter was considered a great hitter because he consistently produced 100 RBI and ended a World Series with a home run. Well and good but look overall and he’s overrated.

Plus, RBI itself is HIGHLY context-dependent. Different players get different opportunities to produce RBIs depending on the players in front of them. Put Babe Ruth in a lineup with 8 Mark Lemke’s and Ruth’s RBI will be weak. Put Mark Lemke in a lineup with 8 Babes and you’ll see Lemke produce 100 each year.

RBI and ‘clutch’ are just too context dependent and prone to variation to indicate much.

That said…

I utterly guarantee you that this information is available. The full results of each at bat are tracked, pitch-by-pitch and within context (score, runners in what positions, temperature, etc), for every major league game. With enough digging this stat could be produced.

Cite? (Or are you afraid of hurting Mike Schmidt’s feelings if you say he sucked in the clutch?)

This has been said many times about many players, but the reality is that when you actually look the facts over any significant period of time, it evens out 99% of the time.

I guess I was looking for something like LIPS except that I defined “pressure” as either losing or being tied. Granted insurance runs are important but they are icing on a cake. You can win without insurance runs. You cannot win without catching up.

As for GWRBI (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), I was certain that it was crudely applied to the run that was the one higher than the losers score:

We won 10-6, GWRBI was #7 for us.

In my take this would only be true if we were losing (had less than 6) and came from behind. If we were winning from the 1st inning, then #1 was the run that gave us a permanent lead.

So which was it? Now I’m confused.

The GWRBI was essentially the RBI that “beat” the losing pitcher, i.e. it is credited to the batter who drives in the run that gives his team a lead that it never relinquishes. The GWRBI was introduced in 1980, was widely regarded as a bad idea and dropped several years later.

I think because 10 run comebacks are so rare, the guy that knocks in that run to make it a nine run game isn’t helping the team much because they aren’t going to win anyway. Some guys are great when there is no pressure and the game is already decided, some come through in the clutch. Making a stat to sort them out is pretty difficult.

#1 would have been credited as the GWRBI for that game, just as it was run #1 that made the losing pitcher the loser for that game, and the winning pitcher the winner (if he went 5). It’s the run that puts a team in the lead for good.

I’m confused because I could swear they changed the definition in mid-stream.

What many of you are saying is that the “correct” RBI was being designated the GWRBI and I have too many recollections of broadcasters using the “incorrect” method.

I guess it doesn’t matter since that stat has faded anyway.
BobLibDem - I think we disagree here on the definition of pressure. If I’m on a team and we’re losing 10-0 I feel the pressure is on my team. I don’t feel the game is hopeless. This is why I was assigning “value” to the RBI that made it 10-1.
My definition (again):
Pressure is when you are under **obligation to score ** in order to win.

This only occurs when you are behind or tied.

I hear you, Bwana Bob but how many times when the score is that far behind do you see the starters stay in? Generally you get to rest the guys that don’t normally rest and put in some kids to get them some at bats. If the manager has given up on the game, then driving in a run isn’t that important.

Either that, or you’ve been watching too much hockey, which uses the incorrect method to determine the game winning goal.

Here’s a definition of LIPS: any at-bat in the seventh inning or later, with the batter’s team trailing by three runs or less (or four runs if the bases were loaded). That was produced by the Elias guys in the 1980s.

Here’s an article from Rob Neyer about it.

Clutch Hitting 1960-2004

The Winners:


                            - NO-RISP -  --- RISP --
Name              B    AB     AB   BPS     AB   BPS    DIFF
Bill Spiers       L  3430   2548  .607    882  .722    .115
Mike Sweeney      R  3760   2673  .764   1087  .867    .103
Pat Tabler        R  3948   2815  .626   1133  .725    .099
Jose Valentin     B  4882   3678  .666   1204  .765    .099
Wayne Garrett     L  3308   2557  .557    751  .643    .087
Sandy Alomar      B  4748   3831  .519    917  .592    .073
Tony Fernandez    B  7972   6100  .665   1872  .736    .071
Rennie Stennett   R  4554   3520  .612   1034  .682    .070
Joe Girardi       R  4150   3117  .596   1033  .666    .070
Rick Miller       L  3910   2991  .599    919  .668    .069
Larry Parrish     R  6848   5075  .679   1773  .747    .068
Carlos Beltran    B  3508   2587  .748    921  .815    .068
Tony Taylor       R  6587   5304  .597   1283  .663    .067
Scott Fletcher    R  5294   4014  .583   1280  .649    .066
Johnny Edwards    L  4585   3471  .575   1114  .638    .063
Brent Mayne       L  3652   2701  .590    951  .649    .059
Troy O'Leary      L  4043   2917  .700   1126  .758    .058
Miguel Tejada     R  4277   3115  .726   1162  .782    .057
Orlando Merced    B  4028   2883  .682   1145  .738    .056
Henry Rodriguez   L  3054   2243  .719    811  .776    .056
Edgardo Alfonzo   R  4981   3700  .702   1281  .758    .056

The Losers:


                            - NO-RISP -  --- RISP --
Name              B    AB     AB   BPS     AB   BPS    DIFF
Richard Hidalgo   R  3193   2252  .821    941  .614   -.207
Jermaine Dye      R  3863   2750  .772   1113  .611   -.161
Al Martin         L  4269   3233  .753   1036  .598   -.155
Larry Brown       R  3472   2729  .574    743  .423   -.151
Earl Williams     R  3058   2186  .701    872  .554   -.147
Hal Morris        L  4037   2952  .769   1085  .624   -.145
Jim Edmonds       L  5139   3739  .868   1400  .727   -.141
Jim Morrison      R  3414   2494  .708    920  .570   -.139
Dean Palmer       R  4953   3586  .753   1367  .617   -.137
Pete Ward         L  3088   2253  .690    835  .553   -.136
Lee Maye          L  3849   2978  .708    871  .577   -.130
Mark Kotsay       L  3756   2898  .734    858  .611   -.123
Don Slaught       R  4101   3020  .721   1081  .599   -.122
Pat Borders       R  3183   2364  .662    819  .541   -.121
Todd Walker       L  3704   2772  .749    932  .630   -.119
Reggie Smith      B  7119   5306  .797   1813  .680   -.117
Shawn Green       L  5566   4102  .814   1464  .700   -.114
Tony Bernazard    B  3735   2808  .671    927  .558   -.114
Kevin Young       R  3944   2814  .721   1130  .608   -.113
Phil Bradley      R  3716   2836  .730    880  .618   -.112
Warren Cromartie  L  3958   3022  .705    936  .593   -.112
Lee Lacy          R  4582   3502  .718   1080  .606   -.112

So there you have it. Bill Spiers is best clutch hitter of 1960-2004. Richard Hidalgo is the worst.

:wink: