Dumb statistic, #24:

Man, baseball broadcasters do love their silly stats.

If you’ve followed me for any reasonable amount of time, you’ve heard all about my dislike for OPS.  OPS is the stat that the uninformed use to make themselves sound informed.  (Adjusted OPS, however – “OPS+” – is a great indicator of a player’s offensive performance, but that’s a post for another day.)

But lately, there seems to be an overabundance of discussion about RISP – as in, a player’s batting average with “runners in scoring position”.  This my friends isn’t quite as silly as a pitchers wins or saves but it’s pretty pointless.  For starters…

  1. Overall batting average doesn’t tell you a whole lot – it’s not a very useful stat in and of itself.
  2. Small sample size.
  3. It stands to reason that pitchers are more likely to be aggressive and throw the ball over the plate with runners on, so it should be easier to hit.
  4. Small sample size.
  5. It also stands to reason that a batter is more likely to be facing a poor pitcher when batting with RISP.  Seriously, who do you think allows more batters to reach scoring position in the first place, good pitchers or bad pitchers?
  6. There’s no such thing as clutch. It’s a narrative to create interest and a storyline.
  7. Small sample size.

Most players, given the same number of opportunities, would likely have better production with RISP than without.  Players whose production is worse with RISP than without is very likely due to (…say it with me…)

Small sample size.

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