In this afternoon’s game, the Reds won in extra innings, thanks to some late heroics by (among others) Ryan Ludwick. While it’s probably best not to discuss how we got to that extra innings tie-game, I thought it seemed like Ryan Ludwick, even more so than his impressive overall batting numbers would indicate, seemed to come up really big in late innings. Afterall, in 3 of our 6 extra innings wins, Ludwick has come up with the winning hit (July 14, September 10, and today). His ‘clutch’ statistic on fangraphs is reasonably good, but behind both Votto and Phillips.
Anyway, it’s hard to come up with a good clutch/late innings heroics number, so I settled for going back to an old, bad one: Game-Winning RBI (GWRBI). I mean, we all talk about game winning RBI, and we all agree that we like it when our team has them, but this is much more specific.
Game-Winning RBI, apparently, was recorded by MLB from 1980-1988, and is awarded to the player “whose at-bat was responsible for bringing his team ahead for the final time in the game.” Obviously, this definition is going to cause some issues, because, if, say, Zack Cozart hits a leadoff home run in the top of the first, and then all-manner of shenanigans goes on, causing the final score to be Reds 19, Losers 15, Zack Cozart still gets the GWRBI, assuming that the Reds never lost the lead during aforementioned shenanigans. It doesn’t go to the batter who hit RBI number one more than the opposing team eventually scored, which some people thought it ought to, I guess.
It’s for that issue, and I assume because it’s not a particularly useful statistics, that MLB dropped it. I mean, RBI isn’t really the best judge of even run-driving-in capability, much less hitting ability, and restricting it further is decreasing your sample size. And the decision of which RBI are game winning is pretty arbitrary.
Fun, right? So, for 2012, here are the 2012 Reds GW RBI stats. Keep in mind, of course, that this is a useless, meaningless number.
**I may have included some game-winning plate appearances where a runner scored via a bases-loaded walk or an error. I know, I’m a rebel.
Note that the total number adds up to 88 –
the same number of keys on a piano! the number of wins the Reds have so far this year. It is mildly interesting that Phillips, who has 74 RBI to Bruce’s 96, has more GWRBI, I suppose. Hooray for clutchness, batting order, and/or random chance! Ryan Ludwick doesn’t particularly stand out here, so this makes the introduction to this post a particularly artless segue.
What was the point of this, then? I guess, General Information, a tribute to Keith Hernandez, and a reminder that sometimes MLB keeps track of some really stupid shit.