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June 26, 2006

The Clutchness Survey
by Larry Mahnken

I'm doing a survey of baseball fans and baseball people about clutch hitting. Clutch hitting, unfortunately, has a very fluid definition. Everyone has a different definition of it from everyone else.

To me, this causes a lot of problems, and makes it generally hard to determine if there really is a skill such as clutch hitting.

Anyway, here's the questionnarie, you can reply in the comments or email me directly at

Please note that these questions refer to offensive situations and outcomes. Detailed, specific answers are the most helpful, but any answer at all is helpful.

1) Do you believe that certain situations are "clutch"?

2) If so, what are those situations? (Be as general or specific as you desire, so long as all the situations that fit your description would be considered "clutch" by you)

3) Do you believe that certain major league baseball players have ANY specific ability outside of their normal offensive ability to be "clutch"?

4) If so, what players would you consider to be "clutch"? What players would you consider to be "unclutch"?

5) How many clutch opportunities would you need to see a player in order to form a subjective opinion about their clutchness?

6) Is a double play ever clutch? Is a double play ever not unclutch?

7) Should Sac Bunts, Productive Outs, Reached on Error, Hit by Pitch or Intentional Walks be included in any way in a measure of clutchness?

8) Is a Strikeout more unclutch than any other out that doesn't advance a runner?

9) (Optional) What would you consider a "clutch" outcome for the situations described in #2?

10) (Optional) What would you consider an "unclutch" outcome for the situations described in #2?

11) (Optional) Should outcomes that fit neither under your definition of "clutch" or "unclutch" be considered when determining whether a player performs well or poorly in clutch situations?