It will without a doubt be a game remembered for Bryce Harper’s walk off hit with two out and the bases loaded, but the Washington Nationals’ 7-6 victory over the New York Mets last night featured one of the most remarkable performances of the year from shortstop Ian Desmond.
In our weekly I Watched This On Purpose feature, we hand out something that we call the Shamsky Award to the player on the losing team who puts up the highest win probability added. For the uninitiated, win probability added, or WPA, measures how individual players affect their team’s win expectancy on a per-play basis. Win expectancy refers to the percent chance a particular team will win based on the score, inning, outs, runners on base, and the run environment.
We call it the Shamsky Award because as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 1966, Art Shamsky produced a WPA of 1.503, which is the highest amount of all time, ever and fo’ rilz. And somewhat amazingly, despite Shamsky’s efforts, his team lost that game. But that’s not all, Shamsky didn’t even start the game. He came into it in the eighth inning as part of a double switch and made three plate appearances, as first described to us by Sam Miller last year:
- With his team trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth, Shamsky comes up for the first time. There’s a runner on base and his Reds are 31% likely to win the game. He homers to center field, and now the Reds are 85% likely to win.
- His team is now trailing 9-8 in the bottom of the 10th, and have only an 11% chance of winning. With one out, he homers again, tying the game and giving the Reds a 58% chance of winning. The Reds load the bases with one out but can’t score, and the game moves forward.
- His team now trailing 11-9 in the 11th inning, and Shamsky bats with two outs, a runner on and a 5% chance of winning. He homers and the Reds now 51% to win.
He never got to hit again. In the 13th, Cincinnati’s seemingly awful bullpen allowed three runs and the batting order isn’t capable of bringing Shamsky up for one more at bat in the bottom half of the inning as the tema went on to lose 14-11. Nonetheless, Shamsky finished the game with that outstandingly remarkable 1.503 WPA.
Last night in Washington, Ian Desmond’s first three plate appearances were of the unremarkable variety: PA1) A fly out to right in the second inning; PA2) A fly out to center in the fourth inning and PA3) A ground out to the shortstop in the sixth inning. However, the second half of his game was a different story all together.
- With his team down a run with two out and a runner on in the bottom of the eighth, Desmond singles to right field to score Ryan Zimmerman from second base. His team’s chances of winning increase from 24% to 55%.
- With his team again down a run with one out and runners on first and third in the bottom of the tenth, Desmond reaches base on an error, as Zimmerman scores. His team’s chances of winning increase from 44% to 70%.
- Once again, with his team down a run with none out and a runner on base, Desmond delivers a double that scores Michael Morse from second base to tie the game. His team’s chances of winning increase from 42% to 80%.
And as we’ve all likely heard by now, the table was eventually set for Bryce Harper’s heroics, as the rookie won the game with a two out RBI single later in the same inning. However, Desmond, with his 1.02 WPA joins unique company as one of only 73 players in baseball history to ever contribute 1.00 or more WPA to a single game.
And The Rest
Today in great ideas for Major League Baseball team owners: Publicly criticize your injured shortstop and your best player in the same interview. [Pros 2 Preps]
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee remains winless. [ESPN]
Is Major League Baseball’s draft coverage a little bit too unrealistic in terms of the praise it gives young draftees? [Baseball Nation]
Reportedly, first round draft pick Mark Appel wouldn’t accept a $6 million signing bonus offer from the Houston Astros. [Twitter]
In addition to a lot of confusion, the CBA’s new draft rules appeared to create a run on college seniors. [Baseball America]
Major League Baseball is ready to get social for this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City. [USA Today]
Yesterday marked the 23 year anniversary of the Toronto Blue Jays playing their first game at SkyDome. [YouTube]
Who are the worst position players in all of baseball? [Beyond The Box Score]
Tim Collins is here for your enjoyment. [Baseball Nation]
Banking and baseball are both about analytics. [BankTech]
Did the Toronto Blue Jays draft a future baseball player or a future quarterback? [Eye On Baseball]
No offense, Oakland is just terrible. [Baseball Prospectus]
The transgressions of Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro are numerous. [Baseball Nation]
On the latest edition of the The Getting Blanked Show, we discuss the MLB Rule IV draft and get into an argument over Jonathan Papelbon’s usage by Charlie Manuel. [Getting Blanked]