Originally Posted by edinatlanta
No the analyses just say there is no way to prove that there is such a thing as "clutch hitting." That is absolutely true. People also go "well he got a big hit late in the game with a close score, that means he's clutch" but not really. Most people assign "clutch" skills after the fact and they discount that there are high leverage situations at any and every part of the game, its just people fallaciously assume that later in the game means more important.
With that said, I think some baseball players, just like everybody else, respond well to pressure. There's just no way to prove that someone does better in a high leverage at bat, pitch or play.
Not to quibble over semantics, but I think what the analyses show is that the evidence does not support the notion that there are such things as "clutch hitters". I agree that's not quite the same thing as proving a negative, but it's one of those areas where if
you accept the validity of the analysis and working definitions the lack of evidence to support the positive is a pretty persuasive argument for the negative.
I think a greatly oversimplified version of the studies that have been done is: looking at various players over the courses of their careers and their performance in "clutch" situations (as defined by the analysts, of course), there's no evidence that anybody performs consistently (statistically speaking, anyway) better in those situations.http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2656
I will say that it's a slippery enough concept that I'm not sure how well it lends itself to statistical analysis -- and I don't really accept the conclusion. But I do think the conclusion (again, if one simply accepts the analysis on its own terms) suggests that the concept of clutch hitting is something of a canard, not just that there's no way tell.