Wednesday, June 28, 2006

David Justice is Wrong

The media has been all "ah-ha!"-ing themselves for the past couple of days because someone at the YES Network mentioned that perhaps Alex Rodriguez is not secretly known as Clutchy McCloseandlate. David Justice had this to say:

"Look at David Ortiz in Boston. When the game is on the line, everyone in that stadium knows that he is going to get a hit. They do not feel that way with the Yankees [Alex in particular] right now. The fans do not [have confidence] and they are frustrated because they know that he has the ability and the talent and they know that if he just raises and plays up to his level of play, the Yankees are going to win a lot of ballgames. Its more frustration and I think Alex is a sensitive guy and I think it is affecting him. It is even affecting him on defense. He has more errors this year than he had all of last year. However, I do not see him having a lot of quality at bats [in big situations]. It is as if he is in quicksand."

"It just looks like he is thinking about it, because when the game is 9-2, he might make it 9-4. When the game is 7-1, he might make it 9-1. But when its 2-2, late in the ballgame and the team needs a base hit to score a run, the numbers show that he has not been getting it done. That is where it gets frustrating. Look at Bernie Williams; he has raised his level of play. The veterans, Damon, Jeter, and Giambi are getting it done. However, the one that you need just because of his sheer talent and ability to carry a team on his back is Alex. He is not answering the bell, and that is what is so frustrating to the fans and I am sure to Alex. Everyone says, “He’s going to come around”. If he comes around in two weeks, where will the Yankees be between now and two weeks from now?"

Thanks to the always above par waswatching, here are some stats from earlier this week:

Justice's statements:
"When the game is 9-2, he might make it 9-4"
In those situations, he's hit .312/.312/.750, 1.062 OPS

"When the game is 7-1, he might make it 9-1"
In those situations, he's hit .385/.515/.682, 1.197 OPS

"But when its 2-2, late in the ballgame and the team needs a base hit to score a run, the numbers show that he has not been getting it done."
In those situations, he's hit .270/.407/.541, .948 OPS

Are his numbers better in a non-blowout? No, of course not, pitcher nibble a lot less when the game is led by one team by a large margin. Players tend to get better pitches to hit when there's a 6 or 7 run lead or defecit.

Is a .948 OPS good? Would you want a guy with a .948 OPS at the plate in such a situation? A-Rod has had less that a .948 OPS for the season six times in his 12 year career...and since he's always compared against the rest of his career, I'd take that .948 in that situation if I were a Yankee fan.

Maybe what Justice meant is that his "close and late" stats aren't good, but that's not what he said, and it's been repeated on Baseball Tonight and Mike and Mike in the Morning ad nauseum and nobody's questioned or probably even checked whether or not the "numbers show" what Justice said they show.

I like Justice, but he's really not the right person to be giving diatribes on statistical subjects. He should stick to things like chemistry, or what the hitter was thinking in a certain situation and leave the stats stuff for people who.. well, understand stats.


8th INNING UPDATE: If anyone is watching the game currently, you realize that at either 2-1 Atlanta or tied 2-2 in the 8th inning, the following Yankees are:

Chokey McChokensteins:
Derek Jeter
Andy Phillips
Miguel Cairo

Jason Giambi

Regular old clutch:
Alex Rodriguez
Bernie Williams

Sure, it's one inning in one game, but I'm not hearing much about sample size bandied around anyway. I''ll expect the Miguel Cairo booing and hate to begin tomorrow starting with Mike and the Mad Dog.


Derek Jeter

Pretty Darn Clutch:
Jason Giambi

The King of All that is Clutch:
Alex Rodriguez

Does anyone else see how silly small sample sizes of arbitrary statistics are?


On a side note, I've given Peter Gammons a lot of hell in this space (deservedly so). Let's hope he makes a full and speedy recovery so I can go back to picking apart his biased statements once again. It surely would make us both happy.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 8:13 AM   3 comments


At 6/28/2006 8:59 AM, Blogger Karen said...

I want to know why it's solely A-Rod's job to get them back on track. Is he a huge part of the puzzle? Yes. But the last time I checked there were 8 other guys in the lineup, many of whom aren't exactly cleaning up when the game's on the line, David Justice.

Did he say this in regards to the fans booing? (I've been in anti-interleague land) Because if so, his talking-out-of-his-assedness just fed them even more for when it's their turn at the Stadium, and everyone else in the lineup is stinking up the joint on a given night, but it's A-Rod they spit their venom at. Argh.

I long for the day A-Rod busts out of this malaise, just to shut everyone up. But then I suppose they'll find someone else to pick on...

At 6/28/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger Rex Banner said...

Of course he was talking about his close and late stats. Hence the comment "late in the ballgame and the team needs a base hit to score a run."

At 6/28/2006 11:39 AM, Blogger Mr. Faded Glory said...

I disagree, I think he was much more focused on the score than the situation, and the numbers show that in that exact scenerio that Justice mentions that Rodriguez has been successful.


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