FanPost

Batting in high leverage situations (or, Rethinking Cliff Pennington)

Thanks to the wonders of Baseball Reference, it is simple to look at stats to see how different players perform in high leverage situations. We've all heard (I'm sure) of the incredible stats Cliff Pennington has posted in extra innings, but I decided to look at the entire offense and see who has been performing well in high leverage situations.

Miguel Montero--slash is .250/.392/.429 in high leverage situations, somewhat better than his overall numbers.

Paul Goldschmidt--slash is .329/.400/.696 in high leverage situations, somewhat higher than his overall numbers.

Aaron Hill--slash is .357/.500/.929 in high leverage situations, which are some incredible numbers (getting on base half the time in front of Goldy will get some runs), but small sample size still applies.

Didi Gregorius--slash is .275/.383/.400 in high leverage situations, which is slightly below his overall numbers for average and slugging, but slightly higher for OBP, although that difference may be covered by the intentional walks he gets from batting in front of the pitcher.

Martin Prado--slash is .233/.313/.301 in high leverage situations, and it should also be added that a good number of these situations may have resulted in GIDP. These numbers are lower than his overall numbers.

Jason Kubel--slash is .311/.396/.600 in high leverage situations, which is considerably higher than his overall numbers. Three of his four home runs and 19 of 25 RBI have come in high leverage situations

A. J. Pollock--slash is .231/.231/.410 in high leverage situations, slightly below overall numbers, especially for OBP. I'd say he could stand to learn to take walks.

Gerardo Parra--slash is .206/.292/.333 in high leverage situations, significantly lower than overall numbers. I thought small sample size might apply, given that he typically bats leadoff and wouldn't have as many high leverage situations as a result, but 76 plate appearances is enough.

Cody Ross--slash is .281/.362/.509, higher than overall numbers. Three of his five home runs have also come in high leverage situations. His extra innings numbers are almost as good as Pennington's, with a slash of .545/.600/1.091!

Cliff Pennington--slash is .308/.378/.436 in high leverage situations, much higher than his overall numbers. The fact that these numbers can be so high given his 1 for 18 slump in 2 out, RISP situations shows that he does really well in every other situation (although those RISP numbers should even out over time, as his BABIP in that situation is .077, compared to .288 overall.)

Eric Chavez--slash is .233/.361/.400 in high leverage situations, lower than overall, but small sample size applies, as he only has 36 plate appearances in said situations. It is a bit concerning, given his typical slot in the batting order, that none of his home runs have come in high leverage situations.

Willie Bloomquist--slash is .429/.529/.429 in high leverage situations, but with only 14 plate appearances, small sample size certainly applies.

No one else has anywhere near enough plate appearances to even bother looking at the numbers (And Hill, Chavez, and Bloomquist could easily be discarded from the above list for small sample size as well.) For the most part, the numbers match up with what we have said/thought over the last few weeks: Prado's are terrible, Goldy's are good. But I thought Goldy's numbers would be a bit higher. I was surprised at how bad Parra's numbers were; easily the worst on the team, even below Pollock's and Prado's. Parra clearly has the biggest drop in production when in a high leverage situation, while Pennington has the biggest increase in production. Jason Kubel's numbers were also a bit of a surprise.

Looking at these numbers makes me wonder whether Pennington's perfect role with this team would be as a pinch hitter and late inning replacement. He can play three infield positions, and apparently can be the emergency pitcher as well. He thrives under the pressure of extra innings, and had a great at bat coming in for Chavez when Chavez was hurt, starting off with an 0-2 count and working it full. On the other hand, despite being a much better hitter, Parra should be kept from these situations as much as possible. Seriously. Those numbers ain't pretty.

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