In yesterday’s 10-7 victory win against the Orioles, Alex Rodriguez‘s game winning grand-slam was the second biggest hit he’s had in the pats 6 years according to Win Probability Added (WPA). It brought his team from a mere 28.8% chance of winning to a complete victory.
In 2006 however, Rodriguez was about as far from being a clutch hitter as you could possibly get. But before we delve into why, let’s get familiar with two stats: REW and OPS Wins. REW is calculated much like WPA, except it uses Run Expectancy (as opposed to Win Expectancy), which doesn’t take the score or inning into account. It does however account for how well a batter does with runners on base. OPS Wins on the other hand is how a player would do in a completely context neutral environment.
Looking at 2006, Rodriguez’s 3.18 OPS Wins and his REW of 3.34 wins are fairly close, but in general he did a little bit better than expected with runners on base. When you take into account the inning and the score (or late and close situations), he accumulated just 1.18 wins. Basically he performed much worse than he should have in high leverage or “clutch” situations. This is measured by a stat called “Clutch” which is the difference between WPA and OPS Wins once leverage adjusted. Rodriguez’s Clutch was -2.16 wins; the third worst among qualified players in 2006.
Last season was the worst season he’s had in the past 5 years in terms of clutch hitting and probably his worst season ever. Yet in his previous two seasons with the Yankees he was actually a clutch hitter with a Clutch of .76 wins in 2004 and .41 wins in 2005.
Since joining the Yankees, he’s still the 9th most valuable player in baseball according to WPA. If we look at just the Yankees batters since 2004, he ranks first in terms of WPA.
Batter WPA Alex Rodriguez 11.27 Derek Jeter 10.54 Gary Sheffield 8.91 Jason Giambi 7.61 Hideki Matsui 6.46 Jorge Posada 2.92 Bobby Abreu 1.96 Johnny Damon 1.76 Tony Clark 1.05 Tino Martinez .77
Whether you like him or not, he has been the most valuable Yankees batter according to WPA the past 3 seasons including the few games played this season. Of course, Mariano Rivera bests him by half-a-win with a WPA of 11.73.
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