MLB Expert Poll: Who is the best clutch hitter in baseball?

Our experts voted on who they'd want at the plate with game on the line.

Your favorite team is down by a run in the bottom of the ninth. There is a runner at second base. There are two outs. And it's game seven of the World Series?

 

Who do you want at the plate?

 

Athlon Sports has polled 10 experts from around Major League Baseball in an effort to figure out who is the best clutch hitter in the game.

 

Related: MLB Expert Poll: Who do you want on the mound in Game 7?

 

A first-place vote earns five points and a second-place vote earned four points — so on and so forth with a fifth-place vote earning one point. Below are the voters and results, including first-place votes and number of ballots.


Here is who our experts voted the best clutch hitter in the game today.

 

The Voters:

 

Tyler Kepner, NY Times

Andy Baggarly, AndrewBaggarly.com

Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

John Tomase, WEEI

Juan Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun Times

Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register

C. Trent Rosencrans, Cincinnati Enquirer

Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jack Magruder, FoxSportsArizona.com

 

The Results:

 

  Pitcher Team Points (1st) Ballots
1. Miguel Cabrera 31 (4) 8/10
2. Mike Trout 28 (1) 9/10
3. Andrew McCutchen 18 (1) 6/10
4. Giancarlo Stanton 12 5/10
5. David Ortiz 10 (2) 2/10
6. Pablo Sandoval 9 (1) 2/10
7. Buster Posey 6 2/10
8t. Robinson Cano 5 2/10
8t. Paul Goldschmidt 5 2/10
8t. Joey Votto 5 2/10
8t. Troy Tulowitzki 5 (1) 1/10
12t. Victor Martinez 4 1/10
12t. Adrian Beltre 4 2/10
14. Jose Abreu 3 2/10
15t. Matt Carpenter 2 1/10
15t. Jose Altuve 2 2/10
17. Aramis Ramirez 1 1/10

 

The Analysis:

 

Miggy at the bat

Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers' slugger and career .320 hitter, was on eight of 10 ballots and is considered by our MLB experts as the best clutch hitter in the game today. The two-time MVP and 2012 AL Triple Crown winner topped the Angels’ Mike Trout — who was on more ballots (9-of-10) — by a slim margin. Cabrera, by the way, is only a career .278 postseason hitter despite his .364 mark last year. Trout has one career postseason hit in three career postseason games.

 

Lots of first-place votes

What is most interesting, however, is the amount of players who received a first-place vote. Among our 10 voters, six different players were voted as the best clutch hitter in the game. In fact, Troy Tulowitzki and David Ortiz ONLY got first-place votes while Andrew McCutchen and Pablo Sandoval — who is a career .344 postseason hitter — each also got a first-place nod.

 

BoSox should be good come October

The Red Sox are picked by many to win the AL East due in large to their lineup. Should they make it to October, this lineup should have no issues getting clutch hits. Boston and Detroit are the only two teams with two players receiving votes but the Sox boast the fifth- and sixth-best clutch hitters in the game in Sandoval and Ortiz. Add to this duo Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez and manager John Farrell has a lineup built for postseason success.

 

Guys I’d be happy with:

There are more than a few guys on this list I’d be just fine with having at the plate with the game on the line who weren't in the top five. Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Buster Posey, Robinson Cano are all names I’d feel excited to have in the batter’s box with Game 7 hanging in the balance.

 

Underrated/Overrated?

Jose Altuve is the defending AL batting champion won’t ever be a slugger but is one of the best pure hitters in the game. He hit .341 last year, is a career .302 hitter and has the speed to beat out plenty of infield grounders in a bottom-of-the-ninth situation. He was just 15th on this list. Meanwhile, I love Giancarlo Stanton and rarely miss one of his at-bats. But he's a career .271 hitter and has never played in the postseason. If my squad is down by two and needs a home run, he's my guy. But he might be overrated at No. 4 on this clutch list.

 

Names not on the list:

A quick look at the active career batting average list shows that three of the top four active hitters didn’t get a single vote. No. 2 Joe Mauer (.319), No. 3 Ichiro (.317) and, most shockingly, No. 4 Albert Pujols (.317) didn’t get a single vote. Additionally, other active top-15 career hitters Matt Holliday (7), Ryan Braun (8), the aforementioned Ramirez (10) and Pedroia (11), and David Wright (15) didn’t get a vote either.

 

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