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?

Continue reading Who's more clutch: Jeter or ARod?

A solution to broken bats, aluminum bats

Seems there’s a new alternative to the current bat that major leaguers are shattering at such scary and dangerous rates. It’s also an alternative to the trampoline-effect producing aluminum bats that the kids/collegians are using.

It is made from 12 wedges that are combined with adhesive and clamping pressure. The result is that the outside of each wedge has a tight grain surface, guaranteeing the best hitting surface at every spot on the bat.

The result is that it is very strong, and as a result of it being strong it is very safe,” [The inventor, Ward] Dill said. “It is impossible for this maple bat to shatter in the way the maple bats shatter in the major leagues today. You will never have a barrel separating from the handle. The worst thing that can happen is a crack. There is a never a catastrophic break.”

There is also no trampoline effect, Dill said. The ball does not jump off the bat.
All the normal things that happen with bats will happen with this bat,” Dill said. “If you hit a ball on the sweet spot of this bat and the sweet spot of a traditional bat, the ball will go equally far.

One thing seemed contradictory, though (emphasis mine):

[Ed Koeffling of Pennsville, a Montclair State University outfielder] said the bat has less jump than an aluminum bat, but more than a conventional wooden bat.

So, which is it, more jump than a wooden bat or the ball will go equally far if hit squarely?

Regardless of the answer, I’m encouraged to see something that might erradicate the recent shattering of bats that puts fans and players in harm’s way.

There’s an issue of costs, particularly for municipalities, as the bats (kids models) will cost between $100-$120 each (with a 1 year warranty on all). But the local politician in attendence had this to say:

I can’t put a price on the safety of the children,” said Montclair Councilman Rick Murnick, who attended news conference with his son. “I don’t know the particulars of what it costs. If it works, we’ll find a way to make it work in Montclair.”

Continue reading A solution to broken bats, aluminum bats

It's getting ugly

It’s getting ugly and I’m not just talking about the on-the-field stuff. Even the level-headed Tyler Kepner is starting to really get ugly:

It is late August, the Boston Red Sox are in town, and a poor showing by the gurgling Yankees could sink their playoff hopes. This may be the closest the Yankees get to the postseason, and Alex Rodriguez is in October form.
The Yankees are 11-12 in August, and Rodriguez has grounded into nine double plays in the month while hitting .238. If they cannot depend on Rodriguez in the clutch, the Yankees have little hope of a monumental comeback.

I can only wonder what Lupica and the real screamers will say today. Continue reading It's getting ugly

9 more years!

Just think, 9 more years of fans killing ARod when he fails in the clutch. I want him to do well so badly but it’s painful to watch. The nonchalant gum popping…the waving at pitches low and away…

Yes, he just hit into another double-play, this time in the 7th with the bases loaded. When we needed him the most.


Continue reading 9 more years!

Let's go to the videotape! No, really!

Seems that MLB’s ready to announce that they will begin using instant replay for all “boundary calls” beginning Thursday!

Quite the momentous event, some 22 years after the NFL started using it.

For now, video will be used only on so-called “boundary calls,” such as determining whether fly balls went over the fence or whether potential home runs were fair or foul.

Video will be collected at the office of Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. If the crew chief at a game decides replay needs to be checked, umpires will leave the field, technicians at MLBAM will show umpires the video and the crew chief will make the call.

Didya note the incredibly conspicuous “for now” in that opening sentence? I sure did. Who let that elephant in the room? Shoo!

Continue reading Let's go to the videotape! No, really!

Belated birthday to the first DH

The DH, whether you like or don’t like it, it’s always going to be there.”
–Ron Blomberg, the first DH in baseball history

Evidently it was Ron Blomberg‘s birthday the other day (whoops, I forgot to send a card!). Blomberg, in case you forgot, is the man who clearly loves his little claim to fame as baseball’s first DH, way back in on April 6, 1973.

I jumped in the Hall of Fame through the back door rather than the front door, and I’m just fine with that,” he said last week in a telephone interview from his home in Roswell, Ga. “Because this is something they can never take away from me. The DH, whether you like or don’t like it, it’s always going to be there.”

I think his embracing his unique position in the game is pretty cool.

What I also learned about Blomberg:

The Yankees made him the first overall pick in the 1967 draft, giving him an opportunity that was worthy enough to pass up a basketball scholarship to UCLA to play under John Wooden. He said 125 colleges showed interest in him for basketball and another 140 schools contacted him for football.

(Thanks, Dad, for the tip) Continue reading Belated birthday to the first DH

Great moments in jingoism

Sorry for going off-topic for this one but it caught my eye and forced a double-take:

Report: LPGA will suspend memberships if players don’t learn English

Players were told by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens that by the end of 2009, all players who have been on the tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills or face a membership suspension. A written explanation of the policy was not given to players, according to the report.

Let’s hear it for jingoism!!! Wooohooo! At least Bivens didn’t take a picture like the Spanish hoopsters did.

Of course, it really is only about the money, stupid. Isn’t it always?

The economy is bad, and we are losing sponsors,” [golfer Seon-Hwa Lee] said, according to the report. “Everybody understands.

Continue reading Great moments in jingoism

The fine line between quaint and sinister

Every now and then I’ll dive into the SI.com Vault for some particularly interesting story, usually on a slower news day. Like today.

Select View Full Post to continue reading.

Continue reading The fine line between quaint and sinister

Quick Bonds tidbit

I haven’t spent much time at all regarding Barry Bonds during this season about his chances about coming back. I thought the collusion idea was silly. I can understand why so many teams would not want him but there were some chances for him to be picked up and he was left rotting on the shelf.

There is zero expectation that anybody is going to sign Bonds, and the clock is running out on him, too: If no team signs him before Sept. 1, he would be ineligible for the postseason.

Not that we needed the hear the fat lady singing, but we’ll probably hear her dulcet tones in less than a week to signal the end Bonds’ career.

Continue reading Quick Bonds tidbit