Curtis Granderson Is Even Less “Clutch” Than You Already Think

I hate it when announcers try to be “stat geeks” and get it wrong because they aren’t fully committed to the approach and just want to “look up to date”.

Case in point, MASN announcers trying to stress how vital Granderson is to the Yankees.

They show a table to players who “have the most homeruns that have either tied the game or giving their team the lead” to prove a point.

Granderson has 16 of such homeruns.

The problem is…a homerun in the first inning of a game making it 1-0 ends up on this list.

Not a great indicator of how “clutch” a guy is.

Granderson has 9 such homers this year. Another 5 in the 2d inning.

In fact, innings 1-3 find him hitting nearly .300 AVG, SLG over .500, OPS near 1.000 and half of his 34 homeruns have been hit in the early frames.

But once the game gets into the deeper innings, it gets real ugly. Real fast.

Split G AB R HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB tOPS+ sOPS+
1st inning 107 94 24 9 19 3 12 25 .319 .396 .670 1.066 63 160 174
2nd inning 40 35 7 5 13 1 3 9 .286 .375 .771 1.146 27 174 215
Ext inning 4 5 0 0 0 0 1 4 .000 .167 .000 .167 0 -49 -52
Innings 1-3 128 195 40 17 48 5 23 53 .297 .374 .610 .984 119 141 165
Innings 4-6 127 149 23 11 14 2 20 51 .188 .287 .436 .723 65 78 91
Innings 7-9 127 145 20 6 17 1 21 51 .207 .310 .379 .689 55 73 99
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2012.
The best split to look at for this “clutch” factor is of course “Late & Close”. It is what it is. When it’s late in the game and the thing is close.

This is where Granderson is tragically bad. (Though not as bad as that big o’fer in extra-innings he has posted all season).

The key stat (if any of those can be “key”) is OPS+. An OPS+ of 100 = league average. More than that is good, below is is sub-par. In the most important situations he isn’t even half as good as an average big-league hitter.

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS tOPS+ sOPS+
Late & Close 62 82 69 11 1 0 1 5 12 29 .159 .280 .217 .498 31 48
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/2/2012.
I don’t say this to bash Granderson, in fact I love the fact a standup guy, an exceptional human being (and if you doubt me, do some research…the guy is one of the finest human beings in general, let alone professional sports) is on the team I root for.

But the time is quickly approaching when a new contract will have to be negotiated and people will undoubtedly be enamored by the gaudy homerun numbers he puts up.

True. The dude can mash.

But unfortunately not when we need him to.

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