Following up on my post yesterday about the 2009 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year, I thought I’d take a look at how the Orioles fared in the clutch. Overall, the O’s were less than stellar with a -2.54 clutch rating (“a measurement of how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment”) according to FanGraphs. Any guesses as to who the most clutch player on the team was this year?
I was going to say something like “I bet most of you expected it to be Brian Roberts – since he’s really good in general – but it was actually Player X, who isn’t that good but stepped up his game when it counted.” That plan was ruined when I sorted by Clutch to find that Brian Roberts was indeed at the top of the list at +1.20. Sometimes I may be too snarky for my own good. Roberts hit a robust .340/.391/.560 in high leverage situations, with 5 home runs and 38 RBI in 100 at bats.
Adam Jones (+0.91), Aubrey Huff (+0.77), and Matt Wieters (+0.74) were the next highest guys, followed by several back-up players. In negative territory we’ve got Nolan Reimold (-0.12), Melvin Mora (-0.43), Nick Markakis (-0.48), Gregg Zaun (-0.84), Cesar Izturis (-0.91), Felix Pie (-1.09), Ty Wigginton (-1.32), and Luke Scott (-1.52) amongst others.
David Hernandez was the O’s top clutch pitcher at +0.88, ahead of Cla Meredith (+0.56), Mark Hendrickson (+0.49), and George Sherrill (+0.37). Chris Lambert was at the bottom of the list (-1.48), along with Danys Baez (-1.45), Jeremy Guthrie (-1.13), Brian Bass (-1.06), and Chris Ray (-0.95).
Fortunately for the Orioles, while teams that were more clutch did win more games in 2009, a team’s clutch score has very little to do with their talent (team Wins Above Replacement ) or how clutch they’ll be next year.