You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Baseball-Reference.com » Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

Sample Sizes and the Postseason

Posted by Raphy on October 5, 2011

The baseball postseason is a time for excitement and histrionics.  A time when players are considered to be in massive slumps with just  a few bad games, but  it is also when players are given glorious labels for life based on one game or even one at bat.  However, the expansion of the playoffs combined with the uneven salary structure of major League Baseball,  has provided us with an interesting  new entity, the large post-season sample size.

Consider the following 2 extremely similar players:

G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
Player A 151 694 614 110 192 31 4 15 74 21 6 62 103 0.313 0.383 0.449 0.832 276 15 10 5 3 2
Player B 151 699 618 106 190 31 4 20 59 18 5 64 124 0.307 0.375 0.468 0.842 289 14 5 8 4 3

Player B may be slightly more of a free swinger, but overall these players are almost identical, practically one in the same.  And in fact, they are the same player.  Player A is Derek Jeter per 151 games throughout his career during the regular season, while Player B is Jeter in the postseason.

Obviously, Jeter is unique in that  has he played far more postseason games than anyone else and things won't always work out so neatly.  However,  there are a few other players with a lot of postseason games that might be interesting to look at. Some have outperformed their regular season selves, others have underperformed, while others have been right on track.   Here are the players with at least 75 post-season games played. First, their post season stats sorted by first name  (found using the game finder):

Player ▴ #Matching PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Andruw Jones 76 Ind. Games 279 238 65 8 0 10 34 34 50 .273 .363 .433 .796 1 4 2 2 5
Bernie Williams 121 Ind. Games 545 465 128 29 0 22 80 71 85 .275 .371 .480 .850 0 6 11 3 17
Chipper Jones 92 Ind. Games 412 333 96 18 0 13 47 72 60 .288 .411 .459 .871 1 5 11 1 10
David Justice 112 Ind. Games 471 398 89 17 2 14 63 64 79 .224 .335 .382 .717 0 4 7 5 7
Derek Jeter 151 Ind. Games 699 618 190 31 4 20 59 64 124 .307 .375 .468 .842 8 4 3 5 14
Jorge Posada 124 Ind. Games 488 412 101 23 1 11 42 70 108 .245 .357 .386 .742 0 3 9 3 15
Kenny Lofton 95 Ind. Games 438 392 97 12 4 7 34 38 68 .247 .315 .352 .667 3 3 3 2 4
Manny Ramirez 111 Ind. Games 493 410 117 19 0 29 78 72 91 .285 .394 .544 .937 0 6 12 5 17
Paul O'Neill 85 Ind. Games 340 299 85 17 2 11 39 38 41 .284 .363 .465 .828 1 2 2 0 12
Reggie Jackson 77 Ind. Games 318 281 78 14 1 18 48 33 70 .278 .358 .527 .885 0 1 3 3 5
Tino Martinez 99 Ind. Games 405 356 83 15 0 9 38 41 72 .233 .321 .351 .672 0 2 7 6 1
Yogi Berra 75 Ind. Games 295 259 71 10 0 12 39 32 17 .274 .359 .452 .811 0 1 6 3 5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/5/2011.

and their career regular season totals (found by using the season finder to search only the players in the previous table) The more telling rate stats can be found by scrolling to the right :

Player ▴ HR From To Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
Andruw Jones 420 1996 2011 19-34 2102 8395 7366 1177 1887 376 36 1255 863 68 1677 92 6 68 190 152 59 .256 .339 .488 .827 *89/D73 ATL-LAD-TEX-CHW-NYY
Bernie Williams 287 1991 2006 22-37 2076 9053 7869 1366 2336 449 55 1257 1069 97 1212 39 12 64 223 147 87 .297 .381 .477 .858 *8D/97 NYY
Chipper Jones 454 1993 2011 21-39 2387 10166 8597 1561 2615 526 38 1561 1455 171 1358 17 3 94 238 149 46 .304 .402 .533 .935 *57/6D9 ATL
David Justice 305 1989 2002 23-36 1610 6601 5625 929 1571 280 24 1017 903 85 999 18 1 54 101 53 46 .279 .378 .500 .878 *9D7/38 ATL-CLE-TOT-NYY-OAK
Derek Jeter 240 1995 2011 21-37 2426 11155 9868 1769 3088 492 65 1196 994 37 1653 158 83 52 245 339 91 .313 .383 .449 .832 *6/D NYY
Jorge Posada 275 1995 2011 23-39 1829 7150 6092 900 1664 379 10 1065 936 78 1453 74 1 47 186 20 21 .273 .374 .474 .848 *2D/34 NYY
Kenny Lofton 130 1991 2007 24-40 2103 9234 8120 1528 2428 383 116 781 945 43 1016 32 72 65 111 622 160 .299 .372 .423 .794 *8/7D9 HOU-CLE-ATL-TOT-NYY-PHI-LAD
Manny Ramirez 555 1993 2011 21-39 2302 9774 8244 1544 2574 547 20 1831 1329 216 1813 109 2 90 243 38 33 .312 .411 .585 .996 79D CLE-BOS-TOT-LAD-TBR
Reggie Jackson 563 1967 1987 21-41 2820 11416 9864 1551 2584 463 49 1702 1375 164 2597 96 13 68 183 228 115 .262 .356 .490 .846 *9D8/7 KCA-OAK-BAL-NYY-CAL
Tino Martinez 339 1990 2005 22-37 2023 8044 7111 1008 1925 365 21 1271 780 102 1069 59 14 80 191 27 20 .271 .344 .471 .815 *3D SEA-NYY-STL-TBD
Yogi Berra 358 1946 1965 21-40 2120 8364 7555 1175 2150 321 49 1430 704 49 414 52 9 44 146 30 26 .285 .348 .482 .830 *279/35 NYY-NYM
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/5/2011.

For some reason Paul O'neill disappears in the second search. Here are his career numbers.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
17 Seasons 2053 8329 7318 1041 2105 451 21 281 1269 141 73 892 1166 .288 .363 .470 .833 120 3441 221 22 7 90 107
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/5/2011.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 8:43 pm and is filed under Game Finders, Postseason. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Sample Sizes and the Postseason”

  1. Interesting that his runs scored are nearly identical but he has a regular-season edge in RBI.

  2. You missed one other player who played in at least 75 postseason games.

  3. @2 agreed.
    Tied for 7th in post-season games.
    Crazy

  4. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    OT Oddity:

    Did anyone notice that three of the four starters in tonight's NLDS games had identical ERAs of 3.69 (Oswald, Wolf & Saunders) and Jackson's was only slightly higher at 3.79!

    Seems like that could be some record for smallest range among 4 starters.

  5. Yeah but he is 0-3 batting. That's not so good.
    The 0.71 era mostly makes up for it, though.

  6. You face tougher opposition in the post-season, of course. So if you maintain your rate stats from the regular season, you're actually rising to the occasion, performing at a better apparent livel of ability, not the same.

  7. I was thinking of writing in about this very topic yesterday. I noticed it about Jeter's stats during the course of the year. Glad you got it in!

  8. Mo has pitched 10% of his career innings in the postseason... to an ERA of just a third of his regular season one. That's just sick. Only two guys have gone 140 IP with an ERA under 1 in a regular season, both in the mid 1910s and much higher than Mo's postseason total.

    It does bolster the "best pitcher ever" argument, though I'd still lean toward Walter Johnson.

  9. @1

    Jeter has played 38 WS games, roughly half of which were played in NL parks where Jeter would have batted one or two positions after the pitcher which would suppress his RBI totals. It's only about 1/6 of his games (vs. ~1/20 of regular season games in NL parks) so it shouldn't be enough to account for all of the difference.

    It may be that the comparatively weaker hitters at the bottom of the Yankees' order are more apt to be negatively affected by the superior pitching usually seen in the postseason than the top and middle of the order would be.

    He also seems to be more apt to bunt in the postseason (nearly twice as many SH), which might make a small contribution to the discrepancy.

  10. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Jeter has batted 1st in 40% of his postseason games, compared to 34% of regular season games.

  11. My avatar likes to be #1. Though even I must admut that this must be in comparison to his peers. Much as I like Mo though, no way is he the best ever. Best at his role, sure. But closers have markedly better ERAs-look at what part of the order they face, hows long they pitch for...If the best starters were used in this role, some would be able to have sublime ERAs. But it is just much more valuable to throw about 3 X as many IP!

    And it would be harder for a guy with less pitch varuation to be quite as dominant throughout a whole game, & much harder to be as great a starter as a closer.

  12. At a glance and just using OPS as a benchmark it appears that Reggie Jackson is indeed Mr. October with a + 0.039 and Jeter the only other in the plus category (+ 0.010). Three players are at least 0.100 below their regular season numbers (Justice, Lofton & Martinez). But the caveats about sample size (Jackson has about half as many games as Jeter) and generally increased quality of competition that have already been mentioned need to be considered. Still, it's a bit much when 2 players who already kind of annoy me (Jackson & Jeter) actually show some evidence of a much overused and annoying cliche and do appear to be "clutch hitters".

  13. This player had pretty balanced stats as well, playing in "a lot" of WS games in the old days:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/reesepe01.shtml

  14. @8

    Mo has 1351.1 IP. The best bullpen man, fine. Best pitcher ever...c'mon.

  15. Jeter has a shot at playing in his 162nd post season game if the Yankees make the World Series this year.

  16. Is there a postseason set of leaderboards on this site anywhere? The reason I ask is because I wanted to know if Jeter is the all-time leader in PAs in the postseason, and that got me wondering about who the postseason leaders are in a bunch of categories.

  17. @16,

    If you go to the front page of the site, on the left side beneath the blog topics and pictures of former players there are several sections, one of which is "Postseason." If you click on "Postseason" it will bring you to a page that has leader boards at the top of the page for pitching or batting broken down by round and one that is aggregate (this is also the page with all the results of postseason series).

  18. @17 - Found it, thanks!

  19. Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, and Jeter get all the felatio from the press because of post-season glory, but, obviously you don't get to the post-season without great teammates.....You could make a helluva All-Star team from their teammates. Morgan , Schmidt, Bench, Bando, Catfish, Perez, A-Rod, Carlton, Bernie Williams, Posada, Rivera, etc....

    I hate to say it, but the greatest sustained post-season performance(s) above his "accepted/normal" playing level would have to be Lenny Dykstra. In 32 post-season games he homered 10 times - his regular season average for 162 games-obviously not the 75 game standard set above, but still fairly extraordinary