Tourtellotte: Coming in cold: October, in a pinch

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on June 9, 2015:

A couple months ago, I wrote an article profiling some of recent baseball history’s most prolific pinch-hitters, looking at how well they performed those duties off the bench. In the comments, one reader asked whether I might take a similar look at postseason play. I demurred at the time, thinking I was done with the topic.

One piece on the pinch-hitting penalty later, I decided I might as well take a look at that idea while I was in the neighborhood. So today I’ll be discussing pinch-hitting in the playoffs, with my own takes on who has been best and worst at it.

There are two ways I will be calculating postseason performances. The first is with Win Percentage Added (WPA), which I prefer to Run Expectancy (RE24). As I’ve observed before, some deprecate WPA as a “story” stat, but I consider that a plus in this situation. Pinch-hitters are used with deliberate awareness of the leverage of the game situation, so a statistic like WPA that provides greater rewards for success in high-leverage spots strikes me as a fair measure.

The second metric is a house specialty here at The Hardball Times: Championships Added. It starts with WPA, then multiplies that by Championship Value of each postseason game, which is how much each game affects the probabilities of who will win the World Series. Championship Value is essentially a Leverage Index on a larger scale, measuring whole games rather than in-game events. A few examples will illustrate the concept.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 12, 2015. Last Updated: June 12, 2015.