Clutchitude: The Most Clutch Plays Of The 2014 Dodgers Season

Time for the Clutchitude series, because what better way to prepare for the emotions of the upcoming season than to recap the most extreme moments of jubilation and misery? Also, because I forgot to do this last month.

Anyway, same format as last year, leggo.


Sports fans love to talk about clutch plays and clutch players, and fans of baseball and the Dodgers are no exception. But within those discussions, there tends to be a lack of evidence presented. As such, I decided to find some basis for clutch plays and clutch players, courtesy of the WPA and Clutch statistics.


Most sabermetric statistics are context neutral — they do not consider the situation of a particular event or how some plays are more crucial to a win than others. While wOBA rates all home runs as equal, we know intuitively that a home run in the third inning of a blowout is less important to that win than a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game. Win Probability Added (WPA) captures this difference by measuring how individual players affect their team’s win expectancy on a per-play basis.


In the words of David Appelman, this calculation measures, “…how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.” It also compares a player against himself, so a player who hits .300 in high leverage situations when he’s an overall .300 hitter is not considered clutch.

So that’s the statistical foundation for this post, and since that’s now been established, let’s get on with it, shall we?

As always, visuals will be provided because, let’s be honest, everything is better with visuals.


Most Clutch Plays Of The 2014 Season – Batter Edition

Justin Turner – September 3rd – Bottom 9th – 51.3%

Justin Turner – August 21st – Bottom 8th – 50.4%

Carl Crawford – September 3rd – Bottom 12th – 49.2%

Hanley Ramirez – May 11th – Bottom 9th – 48.9%

Juan Uribe – April 18th – Bottom 9th – 47.3%

1) Justin Turner was out of his mind.

2) I’m going to miss Hanley Ramirez destroying Sergio Romo because he was basically the only guy on the team who could hit him.

3) The weird thing about all this? The Dodgers lost four of the five games these plays occurred in, usually in extra innings. So maybe remember that when analysts preach about momentum.


5 Clutchiest Dodgers Of 2014 – Batter Edition

Andre Ethier | 1.23 Clutch | 1.23 WPA | -0.66 Career Clutch
Justin Turner | 0.46 Clutch | 3.01 WPA | 1.44 Career Clutch
Dee Gordon | 0.43 Clutch | 0.86 WPA | 2.04 Career Clutch
Scott Van Slyke | 0.40 Clutch | 1.33 WPA | -0.43 Career Clutch
Adrian Gonzalez | 0.16 Clutch | 2.45 WPA | 3.97 Career Clutch


Most Clutch Plays Of The 2014 Season – Pitcher Edition

Brandon League – September 22nd – Top 10th – 31.6%

Brian Wilson – June 25th – Bottom 9th – 26.5%

Kenley Jansen – April 1st – Bottom 9th – 25.6%

Kenley Jansen – May 1st – Bottom 12th – 25.1%

J.P. Howell – August 30th – Bottom 9th – 24.1%

I suppose it’s telling of the Dodgers bullpen last year that most of these were about the defense and not the pitching.


5 Clutchiest Dodgers Of 2014 – Pitcher Edition

Hyun Jin Ryu | 1.07 Clutch | 1.79 WPA | 1.33 Career Clutch
Josh Beckett | 0.80 Clutch | 0.81 WPA | -1.62 Career Clutch
Pedro Baez | 0.64 Clutch | 0.77 WPA | 0.64 Career Clutch
J.P. Howell | 0.53 Clutch | 1.77 WPA | 0.66 Career Clutch
Paul Maholm | 0.39 Clutch | -0.60 WPA | 2.41 Career Clutch


Um, so … I feel like it’s necessary to now point out that none of this is necessarily predictive or meaningful. It’s mainly for fun and to recap moments in the 2014 season. That’s it.

About Chad Moriyama

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times