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Neil Walker is your clutch god

Jun 8, 2012, 8:26 PM EDT

Update: Dejan’s tweet was a joke. My apologies for taking it seriously and using it to make a point. I don’t want to take the post down and I think my point still stands, but I want to make it clear that Mr. Kovacevic does not actually feel the way described below.


At least, that’s the theory being put forth by former Pirates beat guy turned columnist Dejan Kovacevic:


And, yeah, there’s no doubt that Walker has been clutch over the course of his career. Look at his lines:

Bases empty: .247/.301/.365
Runners on: .320/.379/.480
RISP………..: .295/.363/.429
RISP w/2 outs: .257/.340/.396
Bases loaded: .565/.538/.913 (13-for-23, 1 HR)

So, the Pittsburgh media, or Kovacevic at least, celebrates Walker’s clutchness.

But why on earth should we? The idea that Walker steps up his performance for one or two at-bats every night instead of the four he gets? That he can’t be at his absolute best for the entire five to eight minutes he spends in the batter’s box a night, but only the five or 10 at-bats he gets per week in bigger situations?

That would be a failing, not a thing to celebrate.

Because if we accept that Walker is clutch — that his numbers with runners on and the bases loaded are no fluke — then we’re admitting he’s an awful hitter the other 60 percent of the time.

Now, I don’t think any of that is the case. Maybe Walker has some concentration issues that’s led to his splits, but I think it’s more likely that those splits will simply begin to even out with time. I don’t believe that Walker is a lousy hitter who turns into a good one with men on base, nor do I believe that he’s a great one who just doesn’t really try when no one is on. Neither explanation makes much sense to me.

  1. quintjs - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Relentlessly clutch? the .622 OPS when late and close is relentlessly clutch?
    .676 OPS when behind in games is relentlessly clutch?
    RISP with 2 outs as above is relentlessly clutch?

    I like that the RISP numbers are ok, Runners on are great. Looking more in depth, his numbers when his team are ahead are great.

    So when there is a runner on 1st when the Pirates are leading, he is clutch?? otherwise.. not so much.

    See Kovacevic – we can cherry pick numbers too.

  2. slavetothetrafficlight - Jun 8, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Well said, quint; you beat me to it.

    Although it is quite possible that Neil Walker infuriates sabremetricians, meaning those who measure swords.

  3. redguy12588 - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Dejan is a sarcastic writer. He was joking.

  4. cocktailsfor2 - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Guess DK’s joke went right over your head…

  5. rssgvegas - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    You need to check your sarcasm meter and stop making posts out of context. If you couldn’t tell he was joking you need to stop following him. Epic fail on your part! I suggest zapping this entry before more people realize you’re a total fool!

    • purnellmeagrejr - Jun 9, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      A person who uses the expresssion”epic fail” is in no position to calll someone a total fool. Learning to talk from television is no mark of distinction and actually brands someone a moron. WInning? I thiink not.

  6. alexo0 - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    C’mon, Matt. His last line totally revealed his intentions (as well as a bit of a hate-on he has for Walker). How could you miss that? :)

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      Because I was mostly using the tweet as a jumping off point to write about something I wanted to write about. I didn’t really spend much time thinking about the tweet itself.

      And what rssvegas wrote is fair as well. The truth is that I stopped following him at some point after he got his promotion, and I only saw the tweet because one of the Pirates writers retweeted it. I read plenty of Kovasevic back when he was the Pirates’ beat writer and I should have realized it wasn’t serious.

      • danaking - Jun 9, 2012 at 4:07 PM

        I used to read Dejan religiously when he was the Pirates beat writer for the Post- Gazette. No one better. (Same when he covered the Pens earlier in his career.) His columns for the Tribune-Review don;t have the same kind of immediacy, and his tongue-in-cheek comments don’t come off nearly as well on Twitter.

  7. patricknuzzo - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    For one, as every one said, he was joking. Two, Dejan wasn’t the one that was cherry picking numbers from anywhere. He made a statement about Walker that involved no numbers, so your argument that he’s cherry picking isn’t valid. I wish sports fans didn’t take everything so serious all the damn time

  8. recoveringcubsfan - Jun 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    First and most importantly, I thought this post was going to be about Neil Walker’s love of the band Clutch and possibly some remarkable ability to sing their whole catalog. But no.

    Second, anyone who thinks a stranger can tell you’re being sarcastic in a two line tweet is an asshole.

  9. anxovies - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    What’s the point of hitting with nobody on? Somebody else gets the glory or shame, depending on whether they knock you in or not, and you have to stand out there with no place to sit and nothing to snack on.

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