Measuring Intangibles – the GRIT Average

A classic post from May 2008. Someone should update us with the GRIT Average for the 2010 guys. - RR

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We statheads are often accused of focusing only on that which can be counted and ignoring the critical intangibles which truly define a player.  Well, that ends today.  After literally minutes of diligent work, I have created a stat which measures grit.  I recognize the inherent difficulty in measuring an intangible.  But grit does manifest itself in a number of quantifiable ways.  I identified the following as important indicators of grit:

 

Age – While sometimes young players have grit beyond their years, typically a player acquires grit over the years, like soap scum in your bathtub

 

Batting Average – Gritty players hit…kind of.  But they’re not particularly interested in drawing walks or even hitting for power.  And they like tradition.  Old school stats and old school hitting means maximizing your batting average.

 

Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position – Saying that gritty players are clutch is like saying the sky is blue.  It is obvious and undebatable.

 

Caught Stealing – Gritty players are aggressive on the basepaths.  They run and they don’t stop running until they are called out.  So one may argue that stolen bases should be counted.  But stolen bases show speed and skill, not grit.  Getting caught stealing shows that the player is trying even when he’s failing.  It shows that his aggressiveness and will to win has no bounds.

 

Better Fielding than Hitting – Hitting is sexy and , while fielding is pedestrian and blue collar.  Therefore, obviously, gritty players are better fielders than hitters.

 

Good Clubhouse Presence – One of the surest marks of a gritty player is that he’s a good clubhouse guy.  He’s a positive presence and sometimes even a teacher to younger players.

 

Leadership – The grittiest players are leaders.  They wear the “C” on their jersey.  When players are asked who is taking a leadership role on the team, the names of the grittiest players always come up.

 

Playing Injured – While they often spend time on the DL, gritty players also play through injury.  Injuries don’t slow them down; it just fires them up and makes them play even harder.

 

With these factors in mind, I developed a stat which I called the Game Related Intangible Talent Average, or GRIT Average.  It is computed as follows:

 

(Age x 10)+(BA x 100)+(BARISP x 100)+(CS*10)+Bonus

 

Bonuses

Better fielder than hitter +30

Good clubhouse guy +20

Team leader +20

Plays injured +30

 

That gives you a raw GRIT Average.  Multiply that by .00075 and you get the Equivalent GRIT Average, or EqGRIT which is roughly on the same scale as batting average.

 

I crunched the numbers for this year and last year and this is what I came up with:

 

2008

Player

EqGRIT

M. Grudzielanek

0.407

Ross Gload

0.330

David DeJesus

0.321

John Buck

0.290

J. Gathright

0.286

Jose Guillen

0.285

E. German

0.279

Tony Pena Jr.

0.277

Miguel Olivo

0.272

Mark Teahen

0.257

A. Callaspo

0.251

Alex Gordon

0.247

Billy Butler

0.227

 

2007

Player

EqGRIT

M. Grudzielanek

0.413

R. Sanders

0.363

Ross Gload

0.354

Mike Sweeney

0.344

J. Gathright

0.338

E. German

0.325

Tony Pena Jr.

0.318

David DeJesus

0.310

Jason LaRue

0.308

Emil Brown

0.298

Paul Phillips

0.295

Mark Teahen

0.287

Ryan Shealy

0.272

Jason Smith

0.260

Alex Gordon

0.255

John Buck

0.248

Angel Berroa

0.247

Shane Costa

0.245

Billy Butler

0.217

Justin Huber

0.203

 

I don’t think it will surprise anyone that the Royals resident gritmaster Mark Grudzielanek leads the team in EqGRIT this year as well as last year.  He can always be counted on for All-Star quality grit.  Gload also sits near the top of both lists, as he should.  DeJesus has performed pretty well, grit-wise and I’m happy to see Buck having a grit rebound after an extremely low-grit 2007.  And then there’s Justin Huber.  A .203 EqGRIT?  No wonder they sold him for $50K.

Finally, this is a new stat and therefore a work in progress.  If you’ve got any suggestions on additions or changes, feel free to share them.  I might actually try to come up with a GRIT Average for pitchers as well.

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