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It's here, and it's ready to go: Baseball Prospectus Clutch Performer 2012.

Baseball Prospectus' first-ever update to the Baseball Prospectus annual series is now available. Clutch Performer 2012 brings you

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The following article was part of Baseball Prospectus' April Fool's Day content for 2004. Sabermetrics has grappled with this issue for the past two decades, trying to discover whether clutch hitting existed, who the clutch hitters were if they did exist, and how much effect they had on the game. Most studies focused on situations that could be defined by objective criteria that related to the subjective impression of being "clutch"--batting with runners in scoring position, and batting in the late innings of close games being the two most common examples. However, in thinking about this recently, I realized that we had been approaching this in entirely the wrong way. Defining clutch in terms of a particular characteristic in a point in time fails to capture the common understanding of the term--delivering when it means the most to your team. Without having the larger context of the game in which to evaluate clutchness, any attempt to measure it is doomed to failure. So, what larger context applies in this situation? Clearly, the outcome of the game is paramount.

One of the biggest controversies between sabermetrics and conventional wisdom has been the existence of "clutch hitters." Those close to the game and how it's played are convinced that some players have the ability to "rise to the occasion" and deliver key hits in the clutch. Even casual fans can point to dramatic game-turning events such as Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit home run in the 1988 World Series as evidence for clutch hitters.

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