Great piece by Max Marchi evaluating clutch performances. He takes a new approach, but it's pretty simple: what's the rank-order correlation between the leverage of a hitter's PA's and his performances in those PA's. His findings? You can measure clutch performances, but it's not very repeatable. Still, it's neat to see how shows up as having good clutch careers or seasons, even if it's hard to know how much of that to attribute to "skill."
On a Royals blog, a guy takes a look at how batting order affects RBI opportunities. His case study? Tony Perez. Yes, his data do indicate that part of the Atanasio's RBI totals are a function not of skill, but of where he hit in the lineup (and, by extension, who was hitting in front of him!). Hat tip Tango.
Max Marchi gives us platoon splits by pitch type. One of the things you hear Dave Cameron at FanGraphs talk a lot about with pitchers, like Cleveland's Justin Masterson, who have a lot of difficulty against opposite-handed batters is how much a good change-up would help. The last table shows why: change-ups (and curves) feature a reverse platoon split compared to most other pitches, including fastballs and sliders.
Great work by Mike Fast breaking down Dallas Braden's "screwball." He spends a lot of time comparing it to the best known and obvious screwball in the majors, thrown by our own Danny Ray Herrera. The conclusion is that the pitch behaves much more like Cole Hamels' circle change--it's just that it looks like it has more drop because Braden throws it so quickly. This is great stuff--it's the intersection between the physics of a pitch and the biology of how we perceive the pitch.
Finally, two kudos:
The Baseball Analysts: Final Pitch
Sky Andrecheck, One of the best analysts over the past two years is no longer with us--hired by the Cleveland Indians. He will be missed, though I'm thrilled that he's the latest from our community to get his dream job. Here's what I wrote about him in the BtB sabers earlier this year:
Sky started posting at Baseball Analysts this past year and did a tremendous array of work. He specializes in regression analysis, but it's a versatile tool that has a huge array of applications, as Sky demonstrated. What I like most about him is that he asks good questions. While perhaps not as technical as some of his other work, one of my favorite pieces of his from the past year was this commentary on how we can measure player impact on clubhouse chemistry using Milton Bradley as a case study.
Dan Brooks, of the Brooks Pitchf/x Tool, becomes the latest PhD-wielding saberist. Congrats to him! Hopefully real life won't start to intervene now: there's no better time to be a saberist than when you're a grad student! Once you're done, there's just no time!