It is the middle of January. It is cold. Spring Training is near, only if counting by weeks, but real baseball is still far away. What better time to take a look back at some of the most clutch performances of 2013.
Clutch is a word that comes up a lot in the sports lexicon. Fans, especially in New York, like to look at a player’s performance when it counts the most. Who cares if he gets a hit with the score 6-0 in the fifth inning of a meaningless game. Talk to me about the players who get that big hit in the 9th, with the score tied, to win the game. Unfortunately, for the Mets, meaningful games are taken in a different context of late. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some at-bats that are bigger than others. Let’s take a look at the most clutch hitting performances of 2013.
In order to quantify the importance of a particular event during the course of a game, there is a statistic called win probability added. WPA quantifies the probability that a team is likely to win based on the outcome of a particular event.
Example.. If David Wright comes to the plate with the bases loaded, and one out, but then grounds into a double play, his individual WPA on that play would be largely negative. If he hits a home run, his WPA would be positive. Of course, the change in score, whether the game is close or a blowout, has an impact on the win probability added of each play as well. Taking a collection of each at-bat’s WPA, for each game throughout the season, we can tell which hitters had the greatest contributions to individual wins.
Here are the top five clutch hitting performances for the Mets in 2013 based on their game WPA total:
Josh Satin: September 18 vs Giants (WPA 0.731)
2-4, 3 RBI, Walk-off 2-out, 2-rbi hit
In the bottom of the 9th, with the Mets trailing 4-3, Josh Satin got a two-out base hit to left field, driving in two runs, and winning the game for the Mets. The Mets had loaded the bases against Sergio Romo with one out, but Omar Quintanilla flied out, failing to bring home the tying run. Satin responded with the game-winning hit. This after a key at-bat one inning earlier, in the 8th, with the Mets trailing 4-0, his sacrifice fly put the Mets on the board, setting up the four-run rally in the 9th.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis: June 16 vs Cubs (WPA 0.696)
1-3, 3 RBI, Walk-off 3-run home run
Captain Kirk brought sunshine to Mets fans hearts with a three-run home run in the bottom of the 9th off Carlos Marmol to give the Mets a 4-3 win. The Mets entered the inning trailing 3-0, but Marlon Byrd started the rally with a solo shot, and then Kirk came through with two runners on base.
Andrew Brown: July 1 vs Diamondbacks (WPA 0.683)
1-2, 2 RBI, Walk-off 2-run single
This game lasted five hours and thirteen minutes. It was a marathon series with the Diamondbacks. Andrew Brown came through with the big hit in the bottom of the 13th, giving the Mets an exhausting 5-4 victory. Arizona had taken the lead in the top of the inning, but the Mets fought back. Josh Collmenter intentionally walked Omar Quintanilla to load the bases and face Brown with two outs. On an 0-2 count, Brown singled to left field to win the game in dramatic fashion.
Josh Satin: July 1 vs Diamondbacks (WPA 0.612)
3-6, 1 RBI, Game-tying hit in the 9th, Double to start game-winning rally in the 13th
In the same game as Brown’s heroics, Josh Satin had another clutch game. It was his hit in the bottom of the 9th that forced extra innings. He then hit a double in the bottom of the 13th to start the game-winning rally, scoring the tying run on Brown’s single.
Juan Lagares: August 6 vs Rockies (WPA 0.443)
2-4, 3 RBI, Two-out, 2-run triple to take lead in the 1st, Eventual game-winning hit with 2-outs in the 8th
The slick fielding center fielder had three two-out RBIs that provided all of the offense the Mets needed on this day to beat the Rockies 3-2. He started things off in the first inning with a two-out triple to drive in the Mets first two runs. Then in the bottom of the 8th, he collected another two-out hit to give the team the lead for good.
All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com