An Introduction to GRIT

Earlier in the month I had an idea. It all stemmed from the idea of quantifying the un-quantifiable. I was going to record grit.

A lot of times we hear about how gritty a player is, but it’s tossed around with no real proof. Sure Nick Punto dives into first a lot, but is that really more gritty than stupid? Is a guy like David Eckstein really the grittiest of all gritty players, or can it be a guy we don’t really notice?

To figure all of this out I, along with some help, wrote a formula. The formula is imperfect, because of a lack of reliable sources for things like headfirst slides and broken-up double plays, but it tries and does its job. The formula is as follows:

(((InfH+1stS3+(.5*CS+SB2+1.5*SB3+3*SBH))(2*P/PA+.5*Foul/S%))/(HR+1)+(.1*PA/Seasons)+PitchingAppearances

Where InfH stands for Infield Hits and 1stS3 means first to third on a single, we have found a way to see a players GRIT (Game Rating In Testosterone.) All this stat is designed to show is who works harder to score a run for their team, it doesn’t show you who is better or worse, but it does show who tries.

Using this formula my small team of experts has found David Eckstein to have a career GRIT of 172.16, which is very impressive over a 10-year career, but it’s no Juan Pierre, who has amassed a career GRIT of, wait for it, 1582.

We also found the difference between Martin Prado and Justin Upton, who was the subject of criticism from Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers who said he wasn’t gritty enough prior to trading him for Prado. We found out that Kevin Towers may have been wrong.

Using their numbers the formula says that Prado has put together a GRIT of 57.93 in his career, where Upton has a GRIT of 68.65, despite playing in one less season. So, Kevin Towers, you may need to rethink your strategy.

Also invented was TeamGRIT, a stat that uses numerous numbers to calculate how hard a team works for each run.

A disclaimer here before I list the GRITs: I am not trying to say that some teams work harder than others, nor am I saying that a high GRIT is more or less valuable than a low GRIT, all these numbers illustrate is that some teams are more comfortable with power numbers to win games, while others are more inclined to small ball.

The formula used is

(((InfH+1.5*BuntHits)+1stS3+2ndDH(.5*CS+SB2+1.5*SB3+3*SBH)(Pitches/PA+.5*Fouls/Strike%)+(GIDPinduced+OFAssists))/(HR+.5*HRA))+(.1*PA/GamesPlayed)

The following are the AL leaders prior to games played on August 7th 2013

Royals – 90.57 (9th in wins)

Indians – 74.77 (6th in wins)

Red Sox – 73.92 (1st in wins)

A’s – 70.57 (5th in wins)

Blue Jays – 61.73 (10th in wins)

Rangers – 56.52 (4th in wins)

Astros – 55.70 (15th in wins)

White Sox – 51.62 (14th in wins)

Rays – 51.10 (2nd in wins)

Angels – 48.98 (12th in wins)

Twins – 46.97 (13th in wins)

Yankees – 45.59 (8th in wins)

Orioles – 40.49 (7th in wins)

Tigers – 30.30 (3rd in wins)

Mariners – 25.90 (11th in wins)

The most interesting numbers to me are those of the Royals and the Tigers. On opposite ends of the spectrum, one is a team that absolutely crushes the ball, everything that comes their way, the Tigers hit it, and they’re fine with it. They don’t feel the need to manufacture runs the way that the Royals do. The Royals seem to grind more to score their runs. More than any other team in the league by a large margin. They, like the Astros at 55 GRITs, are doing everything in their power to score more runs. It doesn’t always work, but there’s something to be said about a team that works to get extra runs and extra outs. If anything, they’re less comfortable with a lead than the Tigers. That isn’t to say the Tigers get lazy, just that they tend to not have to try so much.

In the NL there appears to be a negative correlation between GRIT and wins; I assure you, this is just a coincidence.

NL leaders prior to games played on August 7th 2013

Pirates – 80.83 (2nd in wins)

Rockies – 77.08 (8th in wins)

Marlins – 76.31 (15th in wins)

Brewers – 73.57 (14th in wins)

Mets – 67.33 (11th in wins)

Giants – 64.21 (12th in wins)

Padres – 62.53 (9th in wins)

Phillies – 57.06 (10th in wins)

Dodgers – 51.83 (4th in wins)

Cardinals – 47.67 (3rd in wins)

Nationals – 45.03 (7th in wins)

Cubs – 44.79 (13th in wins)

Diamondbacks – 42.38 (6th in wins)

Reds – 39.99 (5th in wins)

Braves – 31.12 (1st in wins)

The only thing these numbers definitively tell us is that there is a lot more GRIT in the American League, which is a deviation from the stereotype of hard-hitting AL clubs. The longball is less important in the American League, whereas manufacturing runs is a lot more emphasized. In the National League one team stands out from the pack: The Pirates.

They have a GRIT of 80.83 while also being in 2nd place, they are the only team in the top 5 of wins who is also in the top 5 of GRIT. The Pirates also hit a fair amount of home runs, but that’s not enough for them. They aren’t comfortable with just a lead. They want more of a lead. They try their damnedest to score more runs than anyone else by any means necessary. Is this because they spent so many years as a losing team? Possibly, but that’s just a theory.

As I said before, these numbers are not proof that any team is better than another, nor are they proof than any player is better than another, just that some teams and players are GRITtier than others.

So there you have it, your introduction to GRIT.




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8 Responses to “An Introduction to GRIT”

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  1. AJT says:

    I think this is my favorite community article ever.

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  2. Ben Gburek says:

    As a Dbacks fan, I had a moral obligation to read this. I’m not defending KT as a GM, but I think his idea of grit is mostly focused on low strikeout rates which explains why he prefers Prado to Upton

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  3. dave says:

    Kevin Towers actually was trading for “grinders” likely because he was hungry.

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  4. NEil S says:

    Four things missing from the calculation:
    -Is he short?
    -Does he have facial hair?
    -Does he have a folksy nickname?
    -Is he white?

    You account for those things, and then it’ll match up a bit more closely with expectations.

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  5. Joe says:

    How would one measure GRIT for pitchers?

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