In the latest edition of The Bill James Gold Mine, James awarded his “Clutch Hitter of the Year” to Manny Ramirez (who was certainly deserving). In the discussion about the award, James identified only two other players who had outstanding years in the clutch. One was Houston’s Carlos Pena. Marty Brennaman would be surprised to hear the name of the other clutch hitter:
Another guy who had a really good year in the clutch is a player who had a similar winter (to Ramirez), Adam Dunn. Dunn had just 59 clutch at bats and hit just .288 in clutch situations — but 14 of 17 clutch hits were for extra bases, including a major-league leading 9 bombs. Think about it this way: The Atlanta Braves didn’t have anyone on their team with more than one clutch homer, and the team total was 5. Adam Dunn had 9. That’s a bunch.
I know many of you are tired of hearing about Adam Dunn, but it’s difficult not to be disgusted still at the treatment of the guy at the hands of people who wanted only to focus on his weaknesses, rather than the things he did well. And the things that Dunn did well, he did very well.