There was some conversation on Twitter about certain Pirates – specifically Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez – underperforming late in games.
That’s not entirely true – Cutch is pretty good during innings 7-9:
And Pedro does solid work at the end of the game, too:
Maybe not underperforming late in games, but rather in key situations. In fact, there’s a pretty cool stat over at FanGraphs called “Clutch” and it measures exactly what you expect it would.
Before digging into the numbers, here’s the context of Clutch, via FanGraphs:
And a handy table:
Finally, here’s how the Pirates stack up:
(minimum 100 plate appearances)
Just three of 12 players with over 100 PA’s have a positive Clutch score. The rest… aren’t so clutch.
The tweeters who were harping on McCutchen and Alvarez can use this as fuel. At -0.89 and -1.25, the Bucco All-Stars possess two of the four lowest Clutch scores.
However, it’s more of a team-wide problem and not just those two guys. Travis Snider has been unreal at 1.45 (3rd highest in National League), but he’s on the DL. Russell Martin has been the hero multiple times, knocking three walk-off hits (plus a walk-off error) and earning a 0.74. Jordy Mercer has been pretty average at 0.18. Other than those exceptions, the rest of the Pirates offense has been below average in high-leverage situations.
Take it with a grain of salt, though; there’s always room for improvement. As FanGraphs explains…
Still 45 games left to start performing at the plate…
Stats via FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference