Re: Hitting with Runners in Scoring Position
posted at 9/9/2013 10:03 AM EDT
Keep in mind as well that on average a guy comes up to the plate with a runner in scoring position between 23-25% of the time. ( I based this off of Dustin Pedroias AB's with RISP between 2008-13) So the sample size with RISP is approximately 1/4 the sample size of a regular season and is subject to much greater variance.
Yes hitting with RISP nay be a skill but there is also an element of chance there as well. if you look at a player like Pedey and you look at his AVG/OPS with RISP over the years you can see that they bounce up and down.
I do believe that there is some skill involved with hitting with runners in scoring position, but I've also wondered if the "clutch factor" is less being able to focus better in clutch situations and more being able to maintain the same level of intensity while other guys can't control their emotions.
Regardless of what you believe, my point is splits can vary vastly (or at least they will to some degree) from year to year, which should be expected when you look at a sub set of data out of a SSS.
It's funny, I'm a huge advocate of splits and using splits, but I also preach that we must accept they are a SSS and to be taken with a grain of salt and when measuring a certain skill set perhaps looking at how a player has performed over their entire career may be more telling.
I remember when Big Papi had some horrible splits vs. LHP back in 2010 he hit .222 with a .599 OPS he also had two subpar seasons prior in 2009,2008 @ .716 & .741and everbody said "David Ortiz is just not a good hitter vs. LHP" but in 2007 and 2006 he hit .852 and .988 respectively. The argument against this was age was catching up to him but yet in 2011-2012 Papi hit LHP much better posting OPS's of .989 and .985 (his 2011 numbers were better against LHP than they were against RHP) and this year is a subpar year again with a .717 OPS
My point is if I want to make an argument that a hitter is a good hitter in a certain siutation whether it be vs. LHP or with RISP the more data you have the better picture you have painted and year by year stats can vary. Now is that Varience due to the nature of pulling data from a smaller set or is there a level of skill that vary's from year to year? can a hitter actually be better at hitting with RISP one year and then worst the next? or is he just a victim of Variability? I'd say in the absence of a players skill set declining due to age or injury I'd take the former of those two arguments.