Thursday, May 27, 2010
Who are the biggest rally killers in baseball?
By Ryan McCrystal, ESPN Stats and Info
With one out in the 8th inning on Wednesday, Joe Mauer came to the plate with men on the corners and the game tied at two. The Yankees chances of getting out of the inning without allowing a run seemed bleak. But last year’s American League MVP grounded into an inning-ending and double play.
That was the fourth time this season that Joe Mauer grounded into a double-play with men in scoring position, matching his total from a season ago. That got us thinking: who are the least clutch players in these situations? Fellow researcher Mark Simon, who has a knack for naming these stats, dubbed the one which we are about to present the “Rally-Killing Rate”.
There are certainly many ways to kill a rally, but for the purposes of this metric we’re only taking strikeouts and double-plays with runners in scoring position into account.
The calculation is as follows:
(K with RISP + (GIDP with RISP * 2))/PA with RISP
Double plays are counted as double because, well, they result in twice as many outs. What we end up with is essentially the rate at which a player grounds into a double play or strikes out with men in scoring position – or a “rally-killing rate.”
With the explanation out of way, now let’s take a look at this year’s worst rally killers (234 players with at least 30 PA with RISP were eligible).
Simply put, Napoli has been a liability with runners in scoring position. Nearly half (16 out of 36) of his opportunities with runners in scoring position have resulted in strikeouts or double plays.
Atkins barely qualifies with just 30 plate appearances, but he’s been astoundingly bad in those few opportunities. His five double plays is tied for second, trailing only Miguel Cabrera, who’s had exactly twice as many plate appearances.
Wright has decent total numbers this season (33 RBI) mainly because he’s had so many opportunities. His 63 plate appearances with runners in scoring position ranks as the 10th most in the game.
After a hot start, Olivo has cooled off considerably. He now has just a .304 OBP with runners in scoring position.
At the rate Ortiz is going, it certainly seems as though he’ll soon fall out of the top five. He’s batting .385 with a .713 slugging percent with runners in scoring position in May.
And here are a few others that many surprise you: Justin Upton (7th out of 234), Ryan Zimmerman (24th), Joe Mauer (36th) and Miguel Cabrera (45th)