Clutch hitting: why do some studies find it, and some not?
A couple of weeks ago, I listed a bunch of clutch hitting studies that were unable to find any evidence of clutch hitting. They found that some players did indeed hit better in the clutch, but on a scale almost exactly that you'd expect by chance.
However, there were a few other studies that *did* find some clutch talent (albeit in very small quantities). Andy Dolphin found some here, and Tom Tango found some here.
Why the difference? I'm not sure; Dolphin and Tango didn't publish the details of their studies. But one difference is that the "could find any" studies were based on batting average and OPS, while Dolphin's study was based on on-base percentage.
So maybe the clutch effect is present in walks only? Walks are a big part of OBP, but a smaller part of OPS, and no part of BA at all. Maybe pitchers do more "pitching around" in clutch situations, and some players are better at laying off those pitches than others?
I don't know if that's the case, but it's one possibility. We'd probably be able to answer the question with more authority if one of these authors were to repeat exactly the same study, but using the metric used by one of the other authors.
Anyone have any other suggestions for why we might have these different results?