5 reasons to keep Mike Cameron; 5 reasons to let him go - Good piece by the folks over at the the UT assessing whether or not to keep Mike Cameron. It’s nice to see an approach that looks at both the negatives and the positives of a prospective move.
I’ll take issue with the second reason to keep him, though:
2. He’s clutch. Since 2005, no major league center fielder can match Cameron’s batting average (.302) or slugging percentage (.554) with runners in scoring position.
When talking about clutchness, you can’t just pick certain stats to make a case (at least, imo). They mention his good numbers with runners in scoring position, which is certainly, in general, “clutch.” However, how clutch is a double with men on second and third in a 10 run ball game?
If you look at Cameron’s numbers in, say, late and close situations, they are the total opposite:
Yea, not so clutch anymore.
The best way, at least that I know of, of measuring a players clutchness is to look at their “clucthiness” measure over at fangraphs. That’s the case because it looks at how many wins a player adds due to clutch or timely hits (by leverage index) over their normal batting line (in OPS wins). So if there’s a “clutch hit” to be had in the 5th inning, and Cameron picks it up, he’ll get credit for it. At the same time, if he gets a single in the 9th with bases loaded in a 8 run game, he’s not going to get a lot of credit, if any, in his clutch score (and in that situation, the UT article is essentially saying it’s a clutch hit). So here is his clutch score since 05:
Since 2002, he’s actually -4.02 wins in the clutchiness measure. If anything, he’s not clutch! With knowledge in hand that clutch hitter’s don’t really exist, I’d definitely hesitate to use clutch performance at all in deciding whether or not to bring back Cameron. But I certainly wouldn’t use it as an argument in his favor.