What does it take to be a clutch hitter in Major League Baseball? A clutch hitter is a player with a knack for coming up with the “big hit”. The big hit is typically a game-deciding hit, sometimes a home run, often coming with two outs, although it can be any hit or play with significant impact late in a game. Here are seven players that have been clutch hitters for their teams in 2017.
Anthony Rizzo was one such player in 2017. Rizzo hit a two-run home run off of WashingtonNationals pitcher Oliver Perez to give the Chicago Cubs a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in the playoffs. The Cubs first baseman finished the season with a .283 batting average, nine home runs, and 76 RBIs in clutch moments.
Nolan Arenado has been a clutch hitter for the Colorado Rockies. One moment in 2017 when he came up clutch was on August 2,2017; the Rockies were facing the New York Mets, trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, until Arenado came up. With two runners on, facing Mets pitcher Steven Matz, he hit a three run homer to give Colorado a 3-2 lead. For the 2017 season, Arenado batted .387, 14 homers, and 98 RBIs with runners in scoring position for the Rockies.
Houston Astros outfielder George Springer had a clutch moment during game two of the 2017 World Series when Springer was facing Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy. With the game tied in the 11th, Springer belted a two-run longball giving them a 7-5 lead as they would go on to win the game 7-6. In the World Series, Springer hit five home runs including one in each of the last four games on his way to winning the MVP.
Mookie Betts was clutch for the Boston Red Sox as his big moment came on August 17, 2017 when the Red Sox were facing the St. Louis Cardinals. Betts hit a lined drive double off the green monster facing Cardinals pitcher John Brebbia. With two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth inning, he gave the Red Sox a 5-4 walk off victory. In 2017, Mookie had a .355 batting average, four home runs, and 74 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
Bryce Harper was also a clutch performer in 2017 for the Washington Nationals. In game two of the National League Division Series, he hit a two run homer off Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Harper had a .349 batting average, seven home runs, and 54 RBIs with runners in scoring position for the 2017 season.
Yadier Molina was another such player for the St.Louis Cardinals. His clutch moment came on September 19, 2017 when Yadier sparked the Cardinals with a three run homer in the top of the fourth inning against Reds pitcher Stephens to tie the game at 4-4. For his career, Molina has a .301 batting average with runners in scoring postion.
Joe Mauer was a clutch hitter for the Minnesota Twins in 2017. A career clutch moment happened for Mauer on June 1, 2017, when he hit awalk off pinch hit home run against Boston pitcher Matt Barnes, giving the Twins a 4-3 victory. This was his first career pinch hit walk off home run. Mauer finished 2017 with a .333 batting average, three home runs, and 62 RBIs with runners in scoring position.