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It’s been over a year since we last took a look at the most advanced* metric ever designed to measure that most elusive of all baseball skills, grit. Those with grit may not be the most naturally gifted of players, but they use everything they have at maximum capacity.  They run out every ground ball, dive for every hard liner up the middle, and at the very least won’t end the game with a clean jersey.

*Advanced is a synonym for arbitrary, right?

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It’s been a while since anything new has come from Pseudometrics, but hopefully that will be changing.

Baseball is back! Spring training is here! With over a week of games it’s high time that we looked at some statistics and came to some unwarranted conclusions. Small Sample Size Sunday is a day late this time around, but considering it’s a thing I just made up, I’ll give myself a pass.

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The hitting “slash stats” of batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage can tell you a lot about a hitter, unless that hitter is a pitcher.  For one thing, pitchers don’t get up to the plate very often.  While an everyday player will amass over 500 plate appearances, pitchers rarely even have 100.  So at best a pitcher’s hitting stats are equivalent to a few weeks of a position player’s hitting stats.  Another problem is that pitchers don’t hit like other batters.  Obviously most pitchers are terrible hitters, but what I mean is that their approach at the plate is much different from other hitters.  For a pitcher, simply getting one out can be considered a good at bat. If they manage to move a runner over in the process, it’s a rousing success. So while you can look at Joey Votto’s .324/.424/.600 and see why he won the NL MVP in 2010, Clayton Kershaw’s .055/.071/.055 doesn’t really tell you anything useful.

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Frank Robinson, Craig Biggio, Chase Utley, Jason Kendall, Ron Hunt.

From the legends of lean listed above you have probably figured out we’re going to be talking about HBP. We’re going to look for the titans of getting beaned using two new Pseudometrics, hbpOBP and LEAN.

As your local stat nerd will tell you, on base percentage is one of the key components to assessing the value of a hitter. The more a player is on base the more likely they are to score. As I’m sure you are well aware, the formula for on base percentage is:

OBP=\frac{H+BB+HBP}{AB+BB+HBP+SF}

We usually focus on walks and hits when thinking about OBP, and rightly so. For most players, walks and hits account for most of their OBP. However, there are a select few for whom the third component, hit by pitch, is a significant factor. A batter willing and able to get hit a dozen or more times a year will be rewarded with a few more points of OBP. How much more, for that we will have to take a look at hbpOBP.

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GRABbing for GRIT

For our first foray into the world of Pseudometrics we are going to try to tanglibilize intangibles. As color announcers all across the land will tell you, there are just some things that can’t be measured. Whether they are running out every hopeless ground ball, diving whenever possible in the field, bunting early and often, or sliding head first into first base, you can’t help but admire the heart, the scrappiness, the grit of these diminutive giants of the game.

But who is the grittiest of them all? To find out, we’ll have to measure the immeasurable. To do this we have GRIT and GRAB. GRIT measures raw grittiness and GRAB is like a gritty batting average.

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