“He did it again.”
Whether it is David Ortiz hitting a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning of game two of the American League Championship Series, or Carlos Beltran’s game-tying double and game-saving catch and throw in game one of the NLCS, baseball fans everywhere uttered that sentence seemingly every time Ortiz or Beltran helped his team this postseason.
The problem with deeming Beltran “Mr. October 2.0” or calling Ortiz “clutch” is that they aren’t. The numbers don’t add up.
In high-leverage situations this season — according to FanGraphs.com, a website which measures advanced Sabermetrics — neither Ortiz nor Beltran has performed up to his career averages. Both have career OPSs of over .850, yet neither even comes within 100 points of that number in “clutch” situations.
Not only do Ortiz and Beltran not live up to their “clutch” reputation, they perform remarkably bad in high-leverage situations. Both are more likely to strikeout under pressure, too. Ortiz’s pedestrian 17.9 percent career strikeout rate jumps to an alarming 23.7 in so called “clutch” situations.
Beltran and Ortiz are both stars — future Hall of Famers according to some — but let’s stop calling them something they aren’t, something that doesn’t even exist. Let “clutch” be a bro’s term for when the pizza and beer arrives.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EWeebs