The Clutchiest Hits of the 2012 Season

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Which Giant has had the best WPA of the season so far? Follow-up question: What in the hell is WPA? Also: clutchiest?

Apropos of nothing, here are the top-10 batting performances of the Giants' season, as measured by Win Probability Added, which is a stat that … you see it's a stat that measures individual contribution to teams wins, and it's calculated by … it's a stat with … the thing about business ethics is … yeah, I don't really know what WPA is or how it's calculated. To the Internet!

In game 4 of the 2007 World Series, the (win expectancy) for the Rockies started out at 50%. When Jacoby Ellsbury doubled off Aaron Cook in the very first at-bat in the game, the Rockies WE declined to 44.2%. The difference or WPA was .058 wins (5.8%). Ellsbury was credited +.058 wins and Aaron Cook credited with -.058 wins.

It's a way to measure performance based on the timing of certain plays -- a double play with the bases loaded in the eighth will hurt a player's WPA more than a double play in the first inning. Likewise, a single in the ninth might help more than a double in the first, depending on the score.

Now that we've learned something today, we move on to the top-10 WPA games of the season.

1. Marco Scutaro, vs. Diamondbacks, 9/3
3-for-6, two runs, RBI
Key play(s): Leadoff double in the ninth, down by one. Two-out walk-off single in tenth.

2. Angel Pagan, vs. Reds, 4/26
2-for-3, HR, three RBI
Key play(s): Ninth-inning, three-run home run, down by two

3. Brandon Belt, vs. A's, 6/22
1-for-2, two RBI, walk
Key play(s): Two-run double, down by two, in the top of the ninth

4. Buster Posey, vs. Phillies, 7/21
4-for-5, HR, three RBI
Key play(s): Game-winning single in top of the tenth, two-run homer in third

5. Brandon Belt, vs. Padres, 4/28
1-for-3, 2B, two RBI
Key play(s): Two-out, two-run double in the seventh, down 1-0.

6. Angel Pagan, vs. Rockies, 5/15
3-for-5, RBI
Key play(s): RBI single to tie the game in bottom of the seventh. The Giants actually lost this game, though, as some jerk named Marco Scutaro hit a homer to break the tie in the ninth.

7. Joaquin Arias, vs. Astros, 8/28
1-for-1, R, RBI
Key play(s): Pinch-hit RBI double in ninth, down by one

8. Brandon Belt, vs. Mets, 4/21
1-for-1, 2B, two RBI
Key play(s): Pinch-hit, two-run double in ninth, down by two

Of note:


9. Brandon Crawford, vs. Braves, 7/18
1-for-1, HR, 3 RBI
Key play(s): 11th-inning three-run homer in a tie game after coming in on a double switch.

10. Nate Schierholtz, vs. Mets, 7/30
2-for-5, R, RBI
Key play(s): Reached on a run-scoring error in the bottom of the ninth, down by a run. That's some nice work, Lou.

If you disagree with these, take it up with math. Or the guy who devised WPA.

And if you want to feel like you ate an acid-soaked sugar cube, here's the top-10 performances in Giants history. Or since 1918, at least. Think of all the great players who have come and gone, and the games they've helped win, from Mel Ott to Will Clark.

9/10/08. Never forget.

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