Diamondbacks utility man Daniel Descalso is literally clutch

May 9, 2018, 9:28 AM | Updated: 9:40 am

Daniel Descalso decided to let everyone go home.

His three-run homer in the 12th inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 8-5 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday came with two outs and a 1-2 count. He caught a Yimi Garcia 96-mph fastball high in the zone to give the D-backs the go-ahead runs.

Against the Dodgers, it wasn’t surprising. Three of his four home runs on the year have come against Los Angeles.

For a .259 batter who seems to shine under the brightest of lights, it wasn’t a surprise, either.

“I always like being up there with a chance to come through. Big spots are fun,” he told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh late Tuesday.

“What’s the worst that can happen? You get out; we’ve all done that hundreds of times before. Just try to slow down the game, take a deep breath and get a good pitch to hit.”

Some, like teammate Andrew Chafin, would call him clutch.

How clutch is Descalso?

Going back to last season, his first with Arizona, the available statistical measurements of clutch bear out that the utility man is indeed quite good in high-pressure situations.

Among all MLB players, Descalso ranked 11th last season in FanGraphs’ “clutch” statistic at 1.54, easily the best on the Diamondbacks (Jake Lamb was second on the team at 1.12).

… this calculation measures, “… how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.” It also compares a player against himself, so a player who hits .300 in high leverage situations when he’s an overall .300 hitter is not considered clutch.

And according to Baseball-Reference’s leverage ratings, Descalso has been significantly better batting in high leverage situations compared to medium- and low-leverage situations over this year and last.

Indeed, it appears Descalso is very clutch.

Even baseball evaluators believe so.

“Yes, I do believe in clutch,” assistant general manager Jared Porter told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Descalso last night proved that it’s real.”

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