Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Who's more clutch: Jeter or ARod?

A reader, dimitrios, suggested that Jeter is more "clutch" than ARod. I countered by saying I thought the perception of clutch-ness by Cap'n Jetes was overstated with the reality. I also thought, conversely, that ARod's lack of clutch-ness was also probably overstated.

What better to do during lunch than go find out?

Using CBS Sportsline's stats called "Late Inning Pressure", "LIP-Runners On", ">= 7th Inning" and "Sept/Oct", here are the tallies, year by year:

So what does this tell us?

Here are a few things that jumped out at me:

  1. ARod, during odd-numbered years, is vastly better than during even-numbered years in these areas. Quite odd. (I'll tell ya, you will get ARod at a bargain in your fantasy draft next year.)
  2. 2008 YTD: ARod has been abysmal in "clutch" spots this year. Jeter has been outperforming him in this area in 2008. Confirms the perceptions this year. Jeter's been converting more RBI opportunities (RBI in LIP+Runners/AB) than ARod has this year, too. They are similar in the 7th inning or later, but in pressure situations, Jeter has a clear advantage this year.
  3. 2007: ARod was the MVP this year and his numbers are incredible. Across the board, by any measure, better than Jeter. I can clearly remember watching games saying, "if we can get ARod to the plate, we have a chance" last year. Remember when....? Jeter struggled. ARod had 31 RBI down the stretch; that's amazing.
  4. 2006: Even year = down year for ARod. They both had a solid Sept/Oct and ARod did a great job converting RBI opportunities (31%). However, Jeter was da man in converting RBI opprotunities late with runners on (45%) thanks to an incredible .545 OBP.
  5. 2005: Not surprising, ARod had a solid year, out-clutch-ing Cap'n Jetes across the board.
  6. I did not include power stats (HR, OPS, etc.) since they are clearly two different types of players with vastly different roles and approaches.
  7. The number of RBI chances for each is impacted by the preceding lineup, obviously. Jeter has to rely on the bottom third to get on for him to do anything. ARod can rely on Damon, Jeter and Abreu's high OBP to put ducks on the pond for him to drive in. Except when he GIDP with the bases loaded last night.
  8. I could have included many other stats but in the interest of space and time, I thought the sample above was fairly representative.

So, there you have it. Or not.

Your thoughts?


tHeMARksMiTh said...

It makes me wonder about the randomness and luck of baseball. If those groundballs get through, he's a hero. Can he change that much between seasons? Or does he relax this season after having such a great last season to pick it up next season as something to prove? Is anyone really clutch?

dimitrios said...

hmm, interesting stats, but I don't think stats are going to change people's minds anytime soon. I know it probably isn't fair to A-Rod, but people's impressions, wrong or right, have an inherent inertia all their own. I am nowhere near as hard on the guy as the folks at the NY Post. Man, the headlines today were brutal.

In my mind A-Rod almost seems to need a Bucky Dent type moment in the post season to wipe the slate clean. So, just getting that hit in the eighth inning isn't good enough anymore, he needs to get that game winning home run or extra base hit that clinches a series or the World Series.

I don't want to turn this into a hey lets bash A-Rod, since that seems to be a popular activity in the off season. But to this Yankee fan A-Rod is not a clutch post season player and not the person I want to see at the plate when the game is on the line.

Which begs the question, if not A-Rod then who?

Jason said...

dimitrios: you can't ask that last question since we're married to ARod for at least the next 9 seasons, barring something unforseen.

just hope that is on-again/off-again performacnes continue at least thru 2009 and then smooth out.

Then we can figure out how Jeter's going to age gracefully, or not.

dimitrios said...

What I find comforting is that all we are asking is that A-Rod just perform in the post season like he has in the regular season and that is ok for me. He will figure it out and smooth out the peaks and valleys.

Jeter is another topic of conversation that I think I am too emotionally involved to answer objectively. In my mind's eye Jeter will be the dude that almost pulled it out for us singlehandidly in the 2001 World Series. So, I'll leave the Jeter question to folks that are not as emotional as I am. Maybe an objective Red Soxes fan...LOL.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Jetes will always get a pass because he's the exemplar of being a Yankee. He's given too much to the organization for anyone to kick him out. He's done too much for the fans for them to seriously boo him. Then again, it is New York.