I spent the weekend looking at baseball through the lens of “measuring team performance”. There are a lot of individual measures in baseball to tell a player how well he is doing. Team measures, other than Wins/Loses are a lot harder to come by.
So, I am looking for some measures that look into the heart of a team. Does the team play hard and have the guts, courage and tenacity to compete. Nothing new here, but these are the measures that come closest for me (and pretty much directly relate to wins/loses, but are a lot more controllable to players):
Win 3 innings =>measures tenacity and persistence. John Wooden uses the term “intentness” for this. In a 7 inning game, if you win 3 innings, you will win 90+% of the time. If you don’t win the 3rd inning, it is up to luck.
But, inside of the “Win 3 innings story there are several subplots:
Prevent/Achieve a BIG Inning => string a series of Quality At Bats together to score 3 or more runs in an inning. From a defensive standpoint, prevent BIG innings by limiting walks, errors and extra bases (cutoff men, passed balls) and making routine plays. It takes courage to step up and limit damage after the other team scores. Weak team roll over and let 2 runs turn into 4.
Shutdown Inning => put up a zero immediately after we score. This is about focus and not letting up.
Answer Back Inning =>the other side of the Shutdown inning … answering back by scoring immediately after the opponent scores. This measures guts and courage to respond.
Extend the Lead Inning => this is adding on runs to an existing lead. Often over-looked, but goes hand in hand with winning 3 innings. This measures tenacity and persistence.
These are all team measures and provide a view directly into the heart of a team.