David Eckstein and the SCRAP

Donald Miralle

What started as a common reference to David Eckstein's grittiness has turned into a metric that measures ... nothing particularly useful. Unless you want to prove who is the scrappiest gamer in all the land.

It started as a joke from a debate about who is the grindiest player and if there was anyone that fit the profile more than David Eckstein. "Why not create a formula that can measure this?" The first answer would normally be, "Well, no one cares about how gritty a player is. Why even bother?" I'm bothering because sometimes, you're a college student with too much time on their hands and a penchant for statistics.

After crowdsourcing Twitter for the standard batting numbers, the consensus is that RS, HBP, SH, GIDP, and CS are categories most consider for grit. From there, I created a formula called SCRAP, which stands for Self-Contained Replacement Average Player. Self-contained because where else can you find all that grit?

SCRAP = ((RS•0.0005) + (HBP•0.05) + (SH•0.025) + (CS•0.075) + (GIDP•0.005)/RS+HBP+SH+CS+GIDP) • 100

The numbers that each category is multiplied by were chosen at random, with numbers that only reached a hundredth or thousandth place being for categories that are typically low numbers (such as CS). Otherwise, it's mostly arbitrary numbers because, as we've been told many times, you can't really quantify grit.

Using this formula, I crowd-sourced Twitter again for names of prototypical gritty veterans whose numbers I could run through using SCRAP. The closer a player is to 0, the grittier they are.

Name SCRAP
David Eckstein 1.29
Ryan Theriot 1.00
Nick Punto 0.86
Trot Nixon 0.51
Michael Young 0.39
Dustin Pedroia 0.64
Brett Gardner 1.14
Pete Kozma 0.32
Chris Getz 1.13
Joe Inglett 0.85
Reid Brignac 0.87
Mark Kotsay 0.70
Jason Kendall 1.37
Eric Byrnes 0.78
Bill Mueller 0.57
Adam Rosales 0.94
Scooter Gennett 0.73
Logan Schafer 1.17
Sam Fuld 1.06
Darwin Barney 0.67
Jayson Nix 1.11
Craig Biggio 1.11
Aaron Rowand 1.12

From here, it's seen that David Eckstein isn't the grittiest player according to SCRAP. Which feels like it shouldn't be right at all. But as I was testing these numbers out, my friend Reuben Poling pointed out that it fits perfectly that SCRAP's measurements don't match what your eyeballs tell you. And isn't that the discrepancy between statistics and the grit label? What you see doesn't necessarily match what the numbers say.

In the end, this stat doesn't do much to contribute to sabermetric research. It's a light-hearted stat that exists to settle arguments about a useless intangible. Or you can use it to disprove David Eckstein's grit. Either way.

. . .

All statistics and information courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Jen Mac Ramos is a contributor for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow her on twitter at @jnmcrms.

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