Boston’s Own Angel – David Ortiz

David Ortiz does it again. There has been talk around the internet on if David Ortiz really is clutch or not, and it’s met with violent opposition by those who believe there is no such thing as clutch hitting. I have penned earlier on Fire Brand that I believe there is such a thing as clutch hitting (based on what I have seen and my experiences playing baseball from a wee lad to a hulking monstrosity, minus the hulking and monstrosity part), but I have yet to find that one true person with clutch ability day in and day out. You see, there are many factors that go into clutch hitting, and most, if not all of them, are mental. How are you feeling today? What has your season been like so far? What is the confidence level of not only you, but the team?
David Ortiz has a career average of ,281, a career On Base Plus Slugging (OPS) of .895, and a career slugging percentage of .530 to go along with an OBP of .365. Here are his situational splits:

  AB AVG OBP SLG OPS  
 Bases Empty 1565 .273 .351 .555 .905  
 Runners On 1456 .289 .379 .503 .883  
 RISP 877 .291 .384 .490 .875  
 RISP w/2 Outs 385 .275 .390 .517 .906  
 Bases Loaded 75 .373 .394 .693 1.087  

As we can see, Ortiz’s batting average continually rises (except for a dip in Runners In Scoring Position with 2 Outs). His OBP rises across the board, but his slugging percentage actually downticks except for a high upgrade in bases loaded situations. However, he completely changed in 2004.
2004 Situational Splits:

  AB AVG OBP SLG OPS  
 Bases Empty 306 .281 .349 .592 .941  
 Runners On 276 .322 .411 .616 1.027  
 RISP 160 .350 .431 .594 1.025  
 RISP w/2 Outs 72 .278 .350 .556 .906  
 Bases Loaded 18 .333 .364 .611 .975  

2005 Situational Splits:

  AB AVG OBP SLG OPS  
 Bases Empty 266 .278 .360 .602 .962  
 Runners On 248 .315 .427 .581 1.007  
 RISP 139 .353 .467 .604 1.071  
 RISP w/2 Outs 52 .385 .515 .769 1.284  
 Bases Loaded 14 .429 .375 .929 1.304  

I apologize – I don’t have time to see why RISP w/ 2 outs is such an outlier (anyone? anyone?) but over the last two years, there has been a definite trend. If you throw out RISP w/ 2 outs, and focus on the last two years (incidentally, the first two years of his life he’s started from Day one to Day Whatever It Is) then yes, he is Mr. Clutch, and the statistics present that. (For what it’s worth, Joe disagrees.)
If you would like to see pictures of the game, check out the album here. Lenny Clarke (he of the most excellent Rescue Me) was at the game, and so was Steven King.
Tonight, the Red Sox go for the sweep with Matt Clement (take out his 8.88 ERA August and he’s got an ERA hovering around 3.50) opposing Paul Byrd. With Clement regaining his effectiveness, the Red Sox on a roll … I’m calling for the brooms!
(If you can’t tell, I’ve had writer’s block for a week now. Don’t worry, I’ll get through it!)