First I’d like to acknowledge Baseball Prospectus’ Rob McQuown’s comment about needing to league-adjust the Clutch wins total. Somehow, the pitcher batting aspect slipped my mind, but it is a legitimate concern. At this point, I do not have the rectified team numbers although I’ll see if I can’t come back to that sometime in the near future.
This post is a little more on the trivial/fun side than the others because it concerns the players on the Cubs during those seasons. With the assistance of Jack Moore, I gathered each of the players between 2000 and 2010 who recorded at least 300 plate appearances with the Cubs and also played significant time elsewhere during their careers. I used careers rather than just 2000 onward because I wanted a larger sample size. Unfortunately, the total came in at 36 players, which is not huge, but not bad.
As for the results, it was 50/50 in terms of improving/declining Clutch scores with the Cubs as opposed to elsewhere. The most egregious of declines skews the mean and other data. Believe it or not, Sammy Sosa. I believe Sosa falls into the trap in which most of the criticism about the Clutch stat would reside. Namely, he was too good in regular situations. So, being anything shy of Superman in Clutch spots killed him. His career OPS in more than 2,000 high leverage spots is only .820 though, opposed to a .878 OPS overall.
Everyone else is tossed around randomly. Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones are second and third. Ramon Martinez and Michael Barrett are third and fourth. Mark DeRosa and Derrek Lee are fifth and six. And so on. The guys who actually have better Clutch scores with the Cubs are more interesting. The top two are Mark Grace and Fred McGriff. Grace might not be a surprise, since he played the majority of his career with Chicago and had his best seasons there. McGriff, though? A bit odd. Rondell White and the Bartman game goat, Alex S. Gonzalez, are next up, with Alfonso Soriano rounding out the top five.
There is no correlation between the non-Cubs and Cubs’ Clutch scores, which probably isn’t too shocking, given the variance in plate appearance totals, but … well, other than Sosa skewing the numbers down a bit, I have no explanation for why the Cubs are so random. Therefore, I’m blaming the goat.
Here are the players included and their Cubs’ Clutch score for those interested:
Matthews Jr. 0.474214