"When you lose close games, you're facing better pitchers in the bullpen, the set-up guy, the closer," he said. "Whereas when you're squaring balls up and scoring runs, you might get the last guy in the bullpen.Indeed, it is rare to find a regular player who managed to hit better in team losses than he did in team wins. In fact, of the 280 players who had 300 or more plate appearances in 2007, only six had a higher OPS in team losses. Twenty-six players had a drop of .400 or more in their OPS from team wins to team losses.
"It would be almost impossible for it to be the other way around."
If you look at all players who had at least 200 plate appearances in team wins, the composite hitter put up a .319/.392/.527 line, good for a .919 OPS. Pretty darn good when you consider that's about what David Wright has done in his career. Part of that can be explained by the .343 BABIP for those hitters (more on BABIP can be found here). Given that the MLB BABIP in 2007 was .303, this means hitters on teams that won games had hits fall in more often than usual. This makes sense - how many games can you recall turning on bloop hits here and there? Similarly, players with 200+ PA in team losses had worse luck: their BABIP was only .276. Those hitters put up a composite .242/.307/.373 line, good for a .681 OPS - about the same level of production as Endy Chavez.
So which players declined (or, in the case of the aforementioned six, improved) the most when going from team wins to team losses? Below is a table of the players with the twenty largest drops in OPS from wins to losses along with their corresponding BABIP. Beneath that table is another showing the twenty smallest declines in OPS from wins to losses (negative numbers correspond to OPS and BABIP increases).
|20 Largest OPS Differences (Wins-Losses), 2007|
Minimum 300 Plate Appearances
|Gary Matthews Jr.||LAA||579||.425||.149|
Many of the players on that list are pretty good hitters overall. I think it's interesting to see guys like Marlon Byrd and Mark Grudzielanek up there, too, since they're not anyone's idea of great hitters. Nevertheless, they raked whenever the Rangers and Royals won.
I just want to note one final time that negative numbers in the table below actually indicate an increase in OPS or BABIP from team wins to team losses.
|20 Smallest OPS Differences (Wins-Losses), 2007|
Minimum 300 Plate Appearances
|Wily Mo Pena||BOS/WSN||317||.028||-.014|
Nothing seems to have fazed Nate McLouth or Ryan Theriot last season. They just kept on putting up their regular numbers regardless of whether the team won or lost. Dobbs, Green, and Jacobs are interesting because their OPS increased while their BABIP decreased. All in all, the second list doesn't seem as impressive as the first list in terms of hitter quality. It's kind of cool that Florida had the guys with the largest and smallest declines in OPS from team wins to team losses.