Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jack Cust: Clutch?

So The Examiner's Stephen Goff likes the Jack Cust signing, which is totally fine. For $600,000 of Maybe Money, it could pan-out.

But Goff says this:
The BA isn't great, but he hits for power, produces in the clutch and can get on base

Let's see if he's right - how "Clutchy" is Jack Cust?

For his career, Cust is a .242/.374/.439 hitter, for an .813 OPS, with 819K:444BB (1.84 K:BB ratio). With that in mind, some career splits:

Two outs, runners in scoring position: .198/.371/.391 (.762 OPS)
Late & close: .220/.358/.414 (.772 OPS)
Tie Game: .228/.373/.426 (.799 OPS)
Innings 7-9: .234/.360/.430 (.790 OPS)

That doesn't fully unpack what it means to be Clutch, so let's look at High-Leverage situations (according to Baseball-Reference): .229/.376/.386 (.762 OPS), 18 homers in 534 PAs.

OPS' in High-Leverage situations in the following years:
2011: .709
2010: .544
2009: .699
2008: .747
2007: 1.150

Alright. It's been four seasons since he had an OPS over .750 in high-leverage situations. It's been since 2008 that his SLG was higher than his OBP in high-leverage situations.

Looking strictly at his home run log, Cust has hit 105 homers. 33 of those have been in Innings 7-End. 18 of those homers have been in high-leverage situations. 35 have been go-ahead homers, 11 have been game-tying homers, and one has been a walk-off. So you're looking at 46 of his 105 homers either tied the game up, or sent his team ahead. Impressive, right? But you're still only talking about 105 homers in 2581 PAs, one every 24.6 plate appearances.

Whatever. You can define clutch however you want, but I'm not sure Cust is "clutch." Feel free to disagree, and tell me I'm wrong.


Anonymous said...

For his career, he's struck out nearly a third of his AB's and walked nearly a fifth of his AB's. His average is horrible but when he's hit the ball he's hit it hard. Not the ideal signing but there is upside. Maybe we can flip him for something at the deadline?

Anonymous said...

The only thing worse than Cust signing is Goff's "insight."

Terence said...

It's impossible to walk in an AB. A career of walking in 17% of PA's is pretty good. Excuse me, absurdly excellent. The knock against Cust is that in the last two years, his offensive production has fallen off a cliff. In the last two years, of batters with at least 500 PA (somewhat arbitrary), the player with a better BB% than Cust is Jose Bautista. That's it. In the last 20 years, only 5 players with at least 2000 PA have a better BB% including Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Ricky Henderson. Not Jim Thome, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman or any other elite hitter that you're thinking of. Cust has an elite skill that has traditionally been undervalued and he can hit for power as well. If he can have just a little bit of a bounce back year (think 2011 Lee over 2010 Lee) this contract is a steal. If this process opens his eyes up like it did Berkman's last summer, this is the contract of the summer. I don't want to be a Luhnow fanboy yet, but I'd much rather watch Cust strike out at $600K than Bill Hall strike out for $5M.

AstroBrit said...

The only thing worse than Cust signing is Goff's "insight."

That is as unkind as it is true.

Anonymous said...

It used to be that, if the first time you saw a player he got a "clutch" hit, you would consider him "clutch" forever more.....and no one would really challenge you to support it. Nowadays, with advanced statistical analysis of just about every aspect of the game imaginable, writers need to realize that they had better be able to support throwaway labels like "clutch"....