Hitting in the clutch

Tom Tango, one of the authors of The Book, and generally a very interesting writer wrt baseball, wrote an article a while ago at The Hardball Times (a site I visit several times a week). I'm not sure why he wrote it there, but the article inspired several questions for me.

Basically, what the article talks about is a survey comparing performances of so-called clutch players, and their performances compared to more talented, but less "clutch" players. His main point was generally that talent will win out.

But his results were interesting. The "clutchier" players actually did show a small (and likely insignificant) bettering of the more talented players.

The questions it left me wondering about were:

  • Would you be better off taking the "clutchier" player if they have the platoon advantage, as well. Offhand, my guess is yes, but I'm not sure I have the tools to verify that.
  • Has anyone done a study of fielding in, say, late/close situations? Ie: you hear managers (probably bloviating) talk about putting pressure on the defense. Is there anything to that? Again, my guess is no, but I'm far from certain.
  • Are 3TO (three true outcomes: BB, K, HR; ie: at-bats that are purely pitcher vs hitter. Defense optional. Think Adam Dunn or Jim Thome)-type batters more vulnerable to good pitchers. That is to say, would Adam Dunn or Gary Sheffield be hurt more by facing a really good pitcher? Or is it a wash?
  • Lastly, is it more worthwhile to put the ball in play in a late/close situation than it would be normally?

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