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Monday, October 30, 2006

2006 National League Gold Gloves - As I see it

Defensive data has been and is being refined pretty well these days.  With more and more play-by-play data making it to the mainstream, all of us are stretching the boundaries of what we require from black-box analysts.  With the exception of some park factors, we are discovering that Zone Rating provides a pretty good picture of defense.  Taking the zone rating and accounting for league averages, based on tens of thousands of defensive innings played, we can closely assess the number of runs saved by a defensive players as compared to his peers.

To be sure, even this data could be refined to account for parks better - Fenway’s Green Monster is a tremendous issue - and handedness of batters - NOT handedness of pitchers - to tune the picture a bit better, but the data you will read will be very close to any refined data.  Very close.  The basic methodology for this work is here.  You can also read more on where we are headed with Park Factors by reading Rally’s latest work.

I have tweaked this for chances per inning from the original data, so the chances assumed here may be slightly higher/lower, but if you did the same work from the referenced article, you’d find your results would be within a run or two of what I post.  And really, the most important thing I do here is provide you with the tools to evaluate defense on your own, without me doing the math.  Please note, after this article, I will post some others’ work that even refines what I have done, with a comparison to what I have done.  It should be exciting for you - it is for me.  Most importantly, it broadens the network of individuals accurately creating the defensive evaluations, as well as allows for everyday updates.  Yes, I said *every day*.

Now on with the show.  Here are the leaders and trailers at every position for the National League, with some commentary where necessary.  The American League results are here.  In general I draw the Gold Glove qualification line at a significant number of innings - usually around 650.  It would be unusual for someone playing only 650 innings to lead the league in anything, but I’m willing to give it a look. 

Catcher

First	LAST		TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Yadier	Molina		StL	127	1037.3	8	10
Henry	Blanco		ChC	69	526.0	5	13
Miguel	Olivo		Fla	124	971.3	5	7
Ronny	Paulino		Pit	124	1047.0	4	6
Chris	Snyder		Ari	60	495.0	4	11
Yorvit	Torrealba	Col	63	530.0	4	10
David	Ross		Cin	75	621.7	3	7
Damian	Miller		Mil	98	840.0	3	5
Mike	Lieberthal	Phi	60	484.0	3	8
Russell	Martin		LA	117	1015.0	3	3
Jason	LaRue		Cin	63	512.3	2	6
Brian	Schneider	Was	123	990.3	2	3
Johnny	Estrada		Ari	108	925.7	2	3
Brad	Ausmus		Hou	138	1125.7	0	0
Eliezer	Alfonzo		SF	84	700.3	0	-1
Josh	Bard		SD	71	495.7	-2	-5
Brian	McCann		Atl	124	1016.3	-3	-4
Paul	LoDuca		NYM	118	1027.0	-4	-5
Michael	Barrett		ChC	102	852.0	-7	-11
Mike	Piazza		SD	99	718.0	-13	-24

Yadier Molina was a good defensive catcher, and amazingly, the good hitting catchers - McCann, LoDuca, Barrett and Piazza are all bringing up the rear.  Maybe the old cliche rings true.  Molina led in CS%, and will likely win the conventional GG award. 

First Base

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Scott	Hatteberg	Cin	131	1089.7	9	11
Adrian	Gonzalez	SD	155	1341.0	5	5
Nomar	Garciprra	LA	118	1017.0	3	5
Carlos	Delgado		NYM	141	1246.3	3	3
Adam	LaRoche		Atl	142	1153.3	2	3
Albert	Pujols		StL	143	1244.3	0	1
Conor	Jackson		Ari	129	1079.7	0	0
Mike	Jacobs		Fla	124	972.0	-1	-1
Nick	Johnson		Was	147	1252.3	-1	-1
Todd	Helton		Col	145	1272.3	-2	-2
Ryan	Howard		Phi	159	1412.0	-3	-3
Lance	Berkman		Hou	112	923.0	-4	-5
Prince	Fielder		Mil	152	1319.3	-9	-9

Scott Hatteberg must be able to “really pick it”.  There’s very little variation here.  Nine runs seperate #2 from #11.  That says to me, skill-wise, that the difference could easily be in the chances.  I don’t know who will win the real GG, but I would give it to Hatteberg.  Yes, I know PUjols is a really good fielder - sure, but this season, he just didn’t make a bunch of plays above and beyond. 

Second Base

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Jose	Valentin	NYM	94	782.3	12	21
Jamey	Carroll		Col	109	895.7	11	17
Craig	Biggio		Hou	129	1062.0	5	6
Chase	Utley		Phi	156	1367.3	3	3
Brandon	Phillips	Cin	142	1216.3	2	2
Josh	Barfield	SD	147	1259.0	1	1
Aaron	Miles		StL	88	650.7	1	2
Ray	Durham		SF	133	1139.7	-2	-3
Orlando	Hudson		Ari	157	1349.0	-4	-4
Dan	Uggla		Fla	151	1304.3	-4	-4
Jose	Vidro		Was	107	902.7	-5	-8
Jeff	Kent		LA	108	888.7	-8	-12
Rickie	Weeks		Mil	92	794.0	-8	-14
Marcus	Giles		Atl	134	1150.7	-9	-11
Jose	Castillo	Pit	145	1235.0	-18	-20

I really hope Harvey shows up to tell us how much Weeks improved over the last couple of months.  He was at -8 RSpt at teh ASB.  He held his ground, so he may have turned a corner for next year.  As for the GG, I am certainly wary of awarding it to someone with less than 800 innings, so I would probably go with Jamey Carroll - plus he has the Colorado BIP issue to deal with.

Third Base

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Pedro	Feliz		SF	159	1372.3	11	11
Morgan	Ensberg		Hou	117	975.0	9	12
Scott	Rolen		StL	142	1216.7	5	6
Freddy	Sanchez		Pit	99	822.7	5	8
Ryan	Zimmrmn		Was	157	1368.3	1	1
David	Bell		Mil/Phi	143	1216.0	0	0
Chad	Tracy		Ari	147	1278.0	0	0
Aramis	Ramirez		ChC	156	1353.0	-4	-4
Chipper	Jones		Atl	105	888.3	-4	-6
Garrett	Atkins		Col	157	1381.3	-5	-5
Edwin	Encarnc'n	Cin	111	931.3	-10	-14
David	Wright		NYM	153	1365.3	-10	-10
Miguel	Cabrera		Fla	157	1334.0	-12	-12

Pero Feliz played as many innings as anyone else, and played them better than anyone else.  He should win the GG.  Given the history of the award, Rolen will win.  Not on this list, but really good in 600 innings was Corey Koskie for Milwaukee.  He was a +9 RSpt, and a +19 for RS/150.

Shortstop

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Adam	Everett		Hou	149	1292.3	27	28
Omar	Vizquel		SF	152	1281.3	11	12
Jose	Reyes		NYM	149	1320.3	10	10
David	Eckstein	StL	120	1029.0	7	9
Khalil	Greene		SD	113	998.7	5	7
Craig	Counsell	Ari	88	737.7	4	8
Clint	Barmes		Col	125	1073.7	4	5
Ronny	Cedeno		ChC	134	1130.7	2	2
Jack	Wilson		Pit	131	1130.0	1	2
Bill	Hall		Mil	127	1090.3	-1	-1
Rafael	Furcal		LA	156	1371.0	-4	-4
Royce	Clayton		Cin/Was	129	1055.0	-5	-7
Edgar	Renteria	Atl	146	1265.3	-6	-6
Jimmy	Rollins		Phi	157	1378.0	-6	-5
Felipe	Lopez		Cin/Was	155	1337.0	-17	-17
Hanley	Ramirez		Fla	154	1323.3	-17	-18

If Ozzie Smith was as good as Adam Everett, he was incredible.  Everett is on the verge of saving hte most runs on defense over the last 20 years.  He’s truly incredible at outpacing his peers.  Hanley Ramirez can be forgiven - hopefully he’ll learn and develop.  There’s Eckstein, ugly arm and all, performing well.  He did look very good in the NLCS, making several stops on balls I was sure would be hits.

Left Field

First	LastName    	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Dave	Roberts		SD	116	970.0	14	19
Ryan	Langrhns	Atl	104	706.0	11	20
Matt	Murton		ChC	133	1049.0	6	8
Matt	Diaz		Atl	95	587.3	6	14
Alfonso	Soriano		Was	158	1374.7	5	5
Matt	Holliday	Col	153	1334.3	3	3
Andre	Ethier		LA	109	896.7	2	4
Luis	Gonzalez	Ari	150	1315.0	2	2
Cliff	Floyd		NYM	92	768.3	1	1
Barry	Bonds		SF	116	875.0	0	0
Pat	Burrell		Phi	126	988.7	0	0
Carlos	Lee		Mil	98	835.3	-3	-5
Jason	Bay		Pit	157	1373.0	-6	-5
Adam	Dunn		Cin	156	1321.0	-12	-12
Josh	Willinghm	Fla	132	1070.7	-15	-19
Preston	Wilson		Hou/StL	102	873.0	-20	-31

Dave Roberts?  I didn’t see that coming.  He is a CF playing LF, so I can buy it.  We’re expecting a park factor for Wilson in Houston, and tehre is some effect in Florida, but Willingham is a catcher, so he probably isn’t very good.  Then Adam Dunn… 

Center Field

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Juan	Pierre		ChC	162	1426.0	16	15
Carlos	Beltran		NYM	136	1184.0	9	10
Eric	Byrnes		Ari	123	1051.0	8	11
Mike	Cameron		SD	141	1244.0	8	9
Chris	Duffy		Pit	77	672.7	6	12
Jim	Edmonds		StL	99	792.3	6	9
Willy	Taveras		Hou	138	1117.7	5	6
Steve	Finley		SF	130	973.3	3	5
Cory	Sullivan	Col	114	841.0	-1	-2
Kenny	Lofton		LA	120	961.0	-2	-3
Brady	Clark		Mil	114	911.7	-3	-4
Aaron	Rowand		Phi	107	901.7	-3	-5
Andruw	Jones		Atl	153	1317.3	-9	-9
Ken	GriffeyJr	Cin	100	870.3	-11	-18

Juan Pierre?  That’s a good-sized lead as well.  Beltran, with this defense, is the best selection for MVP.  Griffey hasn’t played well in CF for a few years, and while not as bad as last year, he still isn’t good.  I’d play him in LF.  And if BIS still has Andruw as the top CF, they should re-consider their algorithms.

Right Field

First	LastName	TEAM	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
Brian	Giles		SD	158	1399.7	12	11
Juan	Encrncion	StL	125	983.3	9	13
J.D.	Drew		LA	135	1118.0	5	6
Austin	Kearns		Cin/Was	144	1229.7	5	6
Jeremy	Hermida		Fla	85	684.7	4	8
Jacque	Jones		ChC	143	1205.0	4	4
Randy	Winn		SF	89	653.7	2	4
Bobby	Abreu		Phi	97	846.0	1	1
Xavier	Nady		NYM/Pit	99	855.7	0	1
Jeff	Francoeur	Atl	162	1422.7	-1	-1
Geoff	Jenkins		Mil	133	1101.0	-2	-2
Shawn	Green		NYM/Ari	131	1121.3	-5	-6
Moises	Alou		SF	81	647.7	-6	-12
Jason	Lane		Hou	89	679.3	-8	-16
Brad	Hawpe		Col	145	1198.7	-9	-10
Jeromy	Burnitz		Pit	84	643.0	-12	-25

Brian Giles was a good CF a few years back.  With an OF of Cameron, Roberts and Giles, I am not surprised the Padres OF defense is this good.  Jeromy Burnitz should retire.

I have to talk about Endy Chavez.  His defense this year was incredible, and most people got to see it in Game 7 of the NLCS.  Fortunately you are going to see that play a few million times over the rest of your life.  He played incredibly all season, and in all three outfield positions.  He totaled 264.3 innings in CF at +5 RSpt, 239.3 innings at +6 in LF, and +5 RSpt in 312.6 innings in right field.  That’s +16 in 816.3 innings.  His RS/150 is upwards of 25 runs.  He deserves the Gold Glove over Dave Roberts. 


My Gold Gloves?  Molina, Hatteberg, Carroll, Everett, Feliz, Chavez, Pierre, Giles.  Any complaints?

Chris Dial Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:27 AM | 154 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:06 AM (#2227852)
And if BIS still has Andruw as the top CF, they should re-consider their algorithms.

***

This is ridiculous. The BIS system, for its faults, is better than Zone Rating, simply. Maybe Stats should reconsider there algorithms. Only scratch that maybe.
   2. 1k5v3L Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:14 AM (#2227858)
Now we know why Dontrelle Willis had a "down year". He lost Delgado, Castillo, A. Gonzalez and M. Lowell for terrible infielders--even if Mike Jacobs was almost average at 1B...

***

Fearless prediction: Carlos Quentin will be at least 10 runs over 160 games better than Shawn Green in 2006. And he'll outhit Green to boot. Who cares about Evan MacLane...
   3. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:15 AM (#2227860)
With as shallow as Jones' plays, isn't it likely he's getting a lot of balls other CF aren't -- which is why he looks so great according to BIS and UZR -- but plays that infielders make quite routinely. Watching him play I don't believe his range would lead to a true -10 or whatever, but I don't think he's doing the team any favors by playing so shallow.
   4. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:16 AM (#2227862)
FWIW levski, Delgado was god awful last year.
   5. Honkie Kong Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:17 AM (#2227864)
Look at the Braves. No good defender anywhere apart from LF and 1B, the base of the spectrum. Maybe that is the reason we lost the division..Good to see ZR for once agree with anecdotal evidence. LaRoche had clocked as the worst 1Bman last year, and this year looked like he had turned it around...

Wright is -10 at 3B. thats ugly ugly, esp given his age.
   6. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:22 AM (#2227866)
Juan Encarnacion?!
   7. 1k5v3L Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:24 AM (#2227867)
FWIW levski, Delgado was god awful last year.


Mike Jacobs wasn't great shakes this year... and even if Delgado indeed was awful last year (didn't check, just looked at his number for this year and assumed he was somewhere in that ballpark last year as well), a sucky 1B doesn't hurt you nearly as much as crappy 2b, ss and 3b... and the downgrade defensively for the Marlins at those three positions has been indisputable.

David Wright is a first baseman waiting to happen. Ditto for Miguel Cabrera.
   8. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:26 AM (#2227868)
So Brian Anderson outperformed Aaron Rowand this year? Good luck convincing Mr. South Side Sports Radio Caller of that.
   9. I Love LA (OFF) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:35 AM (#2227871)
Wow. I knew Stache's D was good, but not this good. We definitely need him back. Even with his shitty post-season, I love this guy, which is amazing since I was openly rooting for his retirement earlier this year.

As for Wright and Cabrera, well, I sincerely hope both are playing for the Mets sometime soon.
   10. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:37 AM (#2227872)
Juan Encarnacion?!

ZR loves him. Fielding Bible hates him. Nobody saw him at the parade today because he's still down in the right field corner searching for that ball Russ Branyan hit in the LDS.
   11. Honkie Kong Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:39 AM (#2227874)
I don't think he's doing the team any favors by playing so shallow.

I don't if there is anyway to see ZR by month. I think he stopped playing shallow CF sometime around the ASB. I think he still plays shallow when Smoltz/Hudson pitch, and fairly deep for James/assorted junk. I also remember Andruw gettng to more balls in the second half...
   12. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:40 AM (#2227875)
I am surprised to see Feliz winning your award - although he's a fantastic fielder he really struggled the final two months of the season.

Do you have a breakdown of Randy Winn by position? What was he in CF and what was he in RF?
   13. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:45 AM (#2227877)
FWIW levski, Delgado was god awful last year.

I don't agree with this. Delgado was a lot better than expected. He's not a good fielder by any stretch of the imagination but he's not a problem at first.

Stache is really that good at second.
   14. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:48 AM (#2227878)
Look at the Braves. No good defender anywhere apart from LF and 1B, the base of the spectrum.

And the Mets got above average defense at 6 postions. Someone should get Glavine this information.

Wright was -11 at the all-star break and +1 the rest of the way, good sign?
   15. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:51 AM (#2227880)
I don't agree with this.


By last year, I actually meant 2005. Guess that's two years ago now.
   16. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:55 AM (#2227881)
By last year, I actually meant 2005. Guess that's two years ago now.

He played particularly badly against the Mets in 2005. Maybe that's why I was pleasantly surprised with his play in 2006.
   17. Raskolnikov Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:58 AM (#2227883)
Don't know if the other Mets Primates will agree with me, but I think at least part of Wright's problems are due to positioning. He's not quick enough to his backhand to be playing off the line so far. I felt like there were more basehits given up down the line than in the hole. But physical skills-wise, I think Wright looks capable of handling 3B.
   18. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:03 AM (#2227885)
And his throwing the ball away on easy plays didn't help either. I think he'll get better.
   19. Raskolnikov Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:04 AM (#2227886)
I don't agree with this. Delgado was a lot better than expected. He's not a good fielder by any stretch of the imagination but he's not a problem at first.

My observations on Delgado: Above average in terms of scooping balls. Has the range of a statue - left, right, or up. I remember one line drive hit right at him, above head level. Barely got his glove up to deflect the ball.
   20. Raskolnikov Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:09 AM (#2227887)
Ray Durham SF 133 1139.7 -2 -3

Stache is really that good at second.


Stache is great - I also love how well he pivots on the DP. He also is pretty good at going back for pop-ups.

From some of the comments I had read in the Primer threads, I thought Durham was terrible. But this isn't so bad.

Stache/Durham platoon for 2007.
   21. Raskolnikov Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:13 AM (#2227888)
Xavier Nady NYM/Pit 99 855.7 0 1
Jeff Francoeur Atl 162 1422.7 -1 -1


I'm stunned by this. In a Hillary Clinton above Julia Roberts in a beauty rankings kind of way.
   22. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:16 AM (#2227890)
Rask, there's no way you can platoon Durham and Stache. Durham is going to be way too expensive to be just the righthanded portion of a platoon. If I were Durham, I'd be insulted by the notion. He posted a 127 OPS+ in 2006.

One thing that might be interesting is if Durham would mind playing some in RF as well as 2b. I'm not sure he'd be up to it or if he'd even be willing to do so, but it is a thought.
   23. Robert S. Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:22 AM (#2227892)
It's nice to see the numbers bear out Conor Jackson's improvement in the field.

This is another bit of evidence that Arizona needs to sell high on Byrnes and Hudson this offseason. Hudson, in particular, is nowhere near one of the better 2B in the game any way you want to slice it, and is about to cost someone serious money. Byrnes is just a complete waste to Arizona in left field.

Does Wright look like that much of a butcher at third? I mean for him to be that much worse than Chad Tracy . . . wow.

I'd love to see Quentin and Drew's numbers if they're handy. :)
   24. Orange & Blue Velvet Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:23 AM (#2227893)
Alfonso Soriano Was 158 1374.7 5 5How much of that value is assist based?

I guess Sori is pretty decent out there... i'm sure OFF is intrigued.
   25. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:34 AM (#2227896)
I'd love to see Quentin and Drew's numbers if they're handy. :)


Drew -3/-9 (150)
Quentin +0/+1 (150)

How much of that value is assist based?


Chris doesn't include arm in his rankings. With it he was a +15.
   26. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:39 AM (#2227898)
Does Wright look like that much of a butcher at third? I mean for him to be that much worse than Chad Tracy . . . wow.

Wright's defense this year was bad. He allowed a lot of balls get passed by him down the thirdbase line. That was a problem in 2005 as well. What was surprising was the fact that he show diminished range towards the hole as well, something he actually did quite well in 2005. He does have the tools to be a good 3b but he's bad right now.
   27. Dan Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:59 AM (#2227900)
If I were the Mets, I'd look to try a Valentin/Graffanino platoon, probably.
   28. DCW3 Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:21 AM (#2227902)
Great stuff, Chris. If you have time, I'd love to see So Taguchi's numbers: he's always had a very good defensive reputation, and he keeps getting inserted into games as a defensive replacement (with Duncan and Wilson on the team, maybe that's not a surprise), but this season his defense looked absolutely brutal to me--he got terrible jumps and took bad routes. And if you don't mind, maybe you could throw in Chris Duncan's numbers, just for "fun."
   29. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:51 AM (#2227905)
I'm stunned by this. In a Hillary Clinton above Julia Roberts in a beauty rankings kind of way.

Hillary is hot. I'd hit that.
   30. Raskolnikov Posted: October 30, 2006 at 09:02 AM (#2227906)
This is another bit of evidence that Arizona needs to sell high on Byrnes and Hudson this offseason. Hudson, in particular, is nowhere near one of the better 2B in the game any way you want to slice it, and is about to cost someone serious money. Byrnes is just a complete waste to Arizona in left field.

Hmm, if the Mets can't afford Sori or Lee, this package might make sense.

Hudson's vs. Lefty splits - 2006: .338/.398/.514
2005: .227/.286/.320
2004: .262/.326/.467
2003: .160/.222/.190 (!)

How about Maine or Heilman + Niese for Byrnes and Hudson?
   31. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 30, 2006 at 09:45 AM (#2227911)
This is really interesting although I never thought Hatteberg would actually become a "pickin' machine".
   32. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 10:03 AM (#2227913)
Jose Reyes ended up with a VORP of 58.8

Wright ended up with a VORP of 54.3

even though Dials numbers are based off of value over average positional rather than absolute across positional value, wouldn't it be fair to say that Reyes was better than Wright this year?

also, if that's true, who the #### expected that? or even could have predicted that?

also also, Jeter had a VORP of 80.5

with a 15 run swing there, Reyes ends up roughly 5 runs behind Jeter. Jeter's an excellent baserunner, but Reyes certainly might pick up a run or two there. so the argument could be made that Reyes is the best SS in NY. who could have expected that, either?
   33. baudib Posted: October 30, 2006 at 12:04 PM (#2227919)
Any idea what causes discrepancies with Fielding Bible? In particular I thought Rollins was a good fielder. Also kinda shocking to see Rowand is negative.
   34. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 12:12 PM (#2227921)
Any idea what causes discrepancies with Fielding Bible? In particular I thought Rollins was a good fielder. Also kinda shocking to see Rowand is negative.


I'm pretty sure this is the only (full) year either have been in the negative.
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:14 PM (#2227923)
"One thing that might be interesting is if Durham would mind playing some in RF as well as 2b."

He wasn't willing to play CF back when Oakland traded for him. Don't know whether that has changed in the intervening time, though.
   36. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:26 PM (#2227924)
so the argument could be made that Reyes is the best SS in NY. who could have expected that, either?
So this year, in the always exciting NY infielder debate, VORP + Dial gives us

Jeter: ~75
Reyes: ~70
Cano: ~50
Wright: ~45

For me that raises two main points: (a) I vastly, vastly underestimated Reyes and Cano's capacity to mature as young players and (b) did anyone have Wright finishing last in the ever exciting NY infielder debate?
   37. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:40 PM (#2227929)
Any idea what causes discrepancies with Fielding Bible?

A black box? Does anyone really know what BIS uses to define plays made? Vectors is a nice answer, but I haven't seen a good explanation. Some people think it "must be better" without knowing exactly how it works (and this isn't a plane, it's baseball), so that's not good enough for me.
   38. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2227930)
Juan Encarnacion?!

Encarnacion was pretty bad in CF if that helps at all. He was -5 in only about 200 Inn.
   39. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2227931)
Any idea what causes discrepancies with Fielding Bible? In particular I thought Rollins was a good fielder. Also kinda shocking to see Rowand is negative.

Rowand isn't a discrepancy yet, he was a great fielder by ZR when he was with the White Sox. We don't have his Fielding Bible 2006 stats yet.
   40. SG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 01:47 PM (#2227933)
Regarding Weeks, his ZR shows signs of improvement over the season. It could just be small sample size blips in action, but from April 1 - June 3, over 422 innings he had a ZR of .727 and had made 16 plays fewer than an average NL 2B would have over the same opportunites. From June 4 through the end of his season, he had a ZR of .833 and made 4 plays more than average.
   41. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2227952)
Matt Diaz was pretty awful defensively in the short time I saw him in KC. Did he improve a lot this year or are looks deceiving?
   42. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#2227961)
I think Diaz either got laser Eye surgery or better fitting contacts. Can't remember the details but there was an eyesight story on him.
   43. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:27 PM (#2227966)
Anyone know the detail of how we get Dewan's data this year?

I don't think a Fielding Bible II is coming out, but the data will be in the Bill James handbook, which should be out this week. I don't know if we get all players or just a leaderboard.
   44. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2227969)
Is Barry Bonds the oldest guy ever to be a decent fielder?
   45. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2227978)
Diaz: he improved (eyesight correction) and he's always been more effective than he looks. Plus, the numbers are a little flukey-good.
   46. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: October 30, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2227984)
Is Barry Bonds the oldest guy ever to be a decent fielder?
Julio Franco's still adequate. Less recently, Honus held up nicely. Besides, I'm not convinced that Bonds is an average fielder (is that your standard for decent?).

Does anyone not like Brian Downing? He was one of my favorite players when I was growing up...
   47. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2227998)
It should be a crime for the Angels to allow Jeff Mathis to wear #5.
   48. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2228003)
A black box? Does anyone really know what BIS uses to define plays made? Vectors is a nice answer, but I haven't seen a good explanation. Some people think it "must be better" without knowing exactly how it works (and this isn't a plane, it's baseball), so that's not good enough for me.

They divide the field into small zones based on direction and distance, then calculate the probability of the ball being turned into an out by each player. If the play is made, the other fielders are not debited. Then they add up the numbers, and center them at zero. The end. There are two main problems with the Fielding Bible numbers: The zones ("vectors") are too small in some places, and players should be debited for not making a play on a groundball, even if the play is made, which was the problem identified in MGL's original UZR by Michael Humphreys, which MGL corrected for part two of his series.

Anyone know the detail of how we get Dewan's data this year?

I'm not sure, but I believe there will only be some data in the BJ Handbook, and I think the THT Annual will have something as well.
   49. Kyle S Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2228004)
MGL had andruw above average this year the last time I saw him post UZR numbers (a few months back), so you're the outlier here Chris. For what it's worth... :)
   50. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2228006)
Besides, I'm not convinced that Bonds is an average fielder (is that your standard for decent?).

ML average is decent, in my book. Wouldn't it be good enough for anybody?
   51. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2228008)
For all the talk about Green's defense, he wasn't close to being one of the worst OFs in the NL. And he was far better than P. Wilson, who many Mets fans preferred.
   52. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2228009)
Omar Vizquel is pretty old, and he's VERY good.
   53. RobertMachemer Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2228012)
Park effects for the Yankees right field? Abreu looks fine above and was awful (along withe Williams) for the Yankees. (Not that I wouldn't expect Williams to be awful, but perhaps he was less awful than the numbers make him look).
   54. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2228013)
MGL had andruw above average this year the last time I saw him post UZR numbers (a few months back), so you're the outlier here Chris. For what it's worth...

I'm saying (and said) he wasn't "the best CF". He could be better than ZR rates him.
   55. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2228014)
They divide the field into small zones based on direction and distance

How small? Do you have a chart? Are they the same as ZR? Smaller? Larger?

players should be debited for not making a play on a groundball, even if the play is made, which was the problem identified in MGL's original UZR by Michael Humphreys, which MGL corrected for part two of his series.

That's a wrong way to do it. If the play is made, no one should be debited.
   56. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2228019)
That's a wrong way to do it. If the play is made, no one should be debited.

Wrong. Let's try a little example. Our shortstop, DJ, is a terrible fielder, especially going to his right (third-base side). Because of this, our third baseman, SB, has to play towards the shortstop hole. Now DJ is average on balls hit right at him or to his left, and because SB makes the plays DJ doesn't towards the third-base side, DJ ends up looking like an average fielder. But in reality, because SB has to play closer to the shortstop hole, he can't make a lot of plays down the third base line. The team suffers, but if we listen to you, DJ does not.

Also, this creates a mathematical problem in that the individual ratings will not add up to the team rating. That's something you want to avoid unless absolutely necessary.

How small? Do you have a chart? Are they the same as ZR? Smaller? Larger?

It says in the Fielding Bible. I think they said the zones were 3x3 feet -- much smaller than ZR. Or maybe it was 3x3 in the outfield, and 1x1 in the infield, I don't remember.
   57. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2228020)
Might there be a park effect in play for Everett? If it should be investigated for the outliers ManRam and PrestWil, it should probably be investigated for Ad-Rock.

If the play is made, no one should be debited.

I can definitely see why someone might be debited on a made play. Not that it would necessarily come up all that much, but if the CF <u>has</u> to make a play well in another OF's zone...
   58. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2228023)
Our shortstop, DJ, is a terrible fielder, especially going to his right (third-base side).
A certain...shorstop...for privacy's sake let's call him...Derek J. No, that's too obvious...uuuh, let's say D. Jeter--has problems going to his right...
   59. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2228029)
But in reality, because SB has to play closer to the shortstop hole, he can't make a lot of plays down the third base line.


If that were the case, why did SB have such great ZR with the Yankees?

Since a coaching staff has so much impact on positioning, I don't see the sense in penalizing a player just because his team may decide to go with a slightly abnormal defensive alignment, much like the Yankees do.
   60. Robert S. Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2228030)
Thanks for the Quentin and Drew numbers.

How about Maine or Heilman + Niese for Byrnes and Hudson?

By all means. The Mets even get cost certainty with the pair. Arizona could use Heilman, and they have plenty of internal alternatives to stick at second and in left, both short and long-term.
   61. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2228031)
Since a coaching staff has so much impact on positioning, I don't see the sense in penalizing a player just because his team may decide to go with a slightly abnormal defensive alignment, much like the Yankees do.

Then you agree with me.
   62. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2228032)
and players should be debited for not making a play on a groundball, even if the play is made


I absolutely disagree with this. If teams choose to position their defense in such a way as to allow a particular fielder to make plays in a particular area of the field that another fielder might cover on another team, because it helps them get more outs in their specific context, why would you penalize the other fielder for a play that was an out, just because some other fielder at that position on some other team would have gotten the out instead?

And he was far better than P. Wilson, who many Mets fans preferred.


Not necessarily. Houston's LF, like Fenway's, is overly shortened (by the Crawford boxes), and for that reason Wilson is being penalized for not making plays on balls on which he had absolutely no chance to make a play.

-- MWE
   63. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2228035)
Then you agree with me.


No. You're assuming it's just to cover a weakness, which I don't agree with. How can you expect DJ to make outs on balls that are hit right to SB because of an abnormal defensive alignment? It makes absolutely no sense.
   64. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2228038)
But in reality, because SB has to play closer to the shortstop hole, he can't make a lot of plays down the third base line.


If DJ's and SB's team allows fewer balls to be hit down the 3B line than the typical team, then there's little advantage to having SB play on the line, and tremendous advantage to having SB cheat toward the hole. And if you look at the BIP distribution for DJ's and SB's team, that's exactly what you see - fewer balls hit down the 3B line.

Positioning is a tradeoff - because seven fielders can't cover the entire field, you have to position them in a way as to cut off as many balls as possible. The Yankees - because they tended to allow fewer GBs to be hit down the line, and because they had a right-side skew on defense - chose to position SB and DJ more toward the center of the diamond. They traded off the balls hit right down the line - of which they had fewer than average - for the chance to make easier plays on balls hit toward the left-side hole, and toward the middle of the diamond. And it's hard to argue with the results of that positioning - during the years that SB and DJ were together on the left side of the diamond, the Yankees had one of the top defenses in the AL.

-- MWE
   65. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2228041)
Wrong. Let's try a little example. Our shortstop, DJ, is a terrible fielder, especially going to his right (third-base side). Because of this, our third baseman, SB, has to play towards the shortstop hole. Now DJ is average on balls hit right at him or to his left, and because SB makes the plays DJ doesn't towards the third-base side, DJ ends up looking like an average fielder. But in reality, because SB has to play closer to the shortstop hole, he can't make a lot of plays down the third base line. The team suffers, but if we listen to you, DJ does not.

Except that's bunk, and doesn't happen. The gaps between fielders positioning is such that there is always a hole between them. If the team decides they want balls up the middle fielded instead of balsl down the line, that's not DJ's fault.

You are really missing out on the fundamentals of playing baseball. debiting fielders when the play is made is the wrong way to do it.
   66. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2228042)
I absolutely disagree with this. If teams choose to position their defense in such a way as to allow a particular fielder to make plays in a particular area of the field that another fielder might cover on another team, because it helps them get more outs in their specific context, why would you penalize the other fielder for a play that was an out, just because some other fielder at that position on some other team would have gotten the out instead?

Way to disagree without addressing the problems addressed in my post at all. First of all, this is a difficult question. There is no right answer, there is a better answer and worse. Mathematically correct appeals to me more, especially given that I think it gives better results than what you're suggesting. Also, if the player is abnormally positioned, he should get to more balls to his left. If he's only average there, then yes, he is negative overall, even if he's *actually* negative to his left, and our numbers show him being negative to the right.

No. You're assuming it's just to cover a weakness, which I don't agree with. How can you expect DJ to make outs on balls that are hit right to SB because of an abnormal defensive alignment? It makes absolutely no sense.

He should be getting to more balls to the right if he's not aligned to get the balls to the left. If he's only average to his right after that, he IS a negative fielder.
   67. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#2228044)
Except that's bunk, and doesn't happen.

Really, then why did Jeter get 13 runs worse after MGL changed his method?
   68. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:22 PM (#2228052)
I thought MGL was debiting fielders too much when other fielders made the play, and since then has changed his system to be more in line with zone rating. He's jokingly accused Chris a few times of hacking into his computer when the zone ratings are published.

I completely disagree that a player should be debited on any play when an out was recorded. If a 3B cuts off a grounder before the ball can reach shortstop and an out is made, how on earth can you give the SS negative credit? You have no way of knowing if he would have made the play or not.
   69. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:24 PM (#2228054)
If a 3B cuts off a grounder before the ball can reach shortstop and an out is made, how on earth can you give the SS negative credit? You have no way of knowing if he would have made the play or not.

No, but you know he didn't make the play.

Again, no one is addressing my questions, except for Dial's "that doesn't happen." If that's the best reply, well then I think I'm right by default.
   70. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2228057)
Really, then why did Jeter get 13 runs worse after MGL changed his method?

When did this happen?

My understanding of Jeter's UZR is that he was horrendous a few years ago, but the last 3 years somewhere between -5 and -15. But I might have missed a revision somewhere.
   71. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2228058)
He should be getting to more balls to the right if he's not aligned to get the balls to the left. If he's only average to his right after that, he IS a negative fielder.


Is anybody arguing that Jeter's a good fielder?
   72. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2228059)
Really, then why did Jeter get 13 runs worse after MGL changed his method?


That's what happens when you count plays that are unfieldable for that player against him.
   73. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#2228061)
My understanding of Jeter's UZR is that he was horrendous a few years ago, but the last 3 years somewhere between -5 and -15. But I might have missed a revision somewhere.

Look at UZR part one and part two. In part one, with fielders not debited if the play is made, Jeter is -13 in unadjusted UZR. In part two, with fielder's debited whether or not the play is made, Jeter is -26 in unadjusted UZR.
   74. RobertMachemer Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2228065)
I don't understand. How can you count plays against a player that we didn't attempt to make? If SB is super-quick, he might well be making plays in DJ's zone that DJ would have made -- why are we counting plays AGAINST DJ when we have no idea whether or not he would have made the play himself?
   75. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2228069)
No, but you know he didn't make the play.

If the 3B cuts off the play then its not a shortstop opportunity. He has no more chance to make this play than on a warning track fly to center field.

If the 3B is playing that far to his left AND you debit SS for outs the 3B makes, then you are rating the shortstop poorly not for anything objective that he does, but for the subjective opinion of his manager, who doesn't think his shortstop is any good.
   76. DSG Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2228074)
If the 3B is playing that far to his left AND you debit SS for outs the 3B makes, then you are rating the shortstop poorly not for anything objective that he does, but for the subjective opinion of his manager, who doesn't think his shortstop is any good.

We're rating him for what happens on the field. If a pitching coach screws up a pitcher, we don't say that pitcher should win the Cy Young because he'd be great if not for his pitching coach.

And that's 19 posts since mine without addressing the problem I raised.
   77. 1k5v3L Posted: October 30, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2228077)

How about Maine or Heilman + Niese for Byrnes and Hudson?


By all means. The Mets even get cost certainty with the pair. Arizona could use Heilman, and they have plenty of internal alternatives to stick at second and in left, both short and long-term.


Robert, you are so full of it. Why not throw in Brandon Webb while you're at it?

Oh, and who is Niese?! Another can't miss centerfielder of the future in the Milledge mold?
   78. David Cameron Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#2228103)
While I defer to others with more expertise and experience on most arguments regarding ZR, let me just say that I'm rooting for Dial, Emeigh, and Rally to be right on this one, just because you're being insufferable in this thread, DSG.

There are lots of things of MGL's that you should want to emulate. His people skills are not one of them.
   79. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2228107)
Way to disagree without addressing the problems addressed in my post at all.

Awesome.

First of all, this is a difficult question. There is no right answer, there is a better answer and worse. Mathematically correct appeals to me more, especially given that I think it gives better results than what you're suggesting.

Yes, mathematically correct is more appealing. If there is a BIP turned into an out, it should not be counted as "not turned into an out" - which is what you want to do, and that's just wrong. You are assuming facts not in evidence. The subtleties of infield positioning just isn't as simple as you seem to think.

If DJ's and SB's team allows fewer balls to be hit down the 3B line than the typical team, then there's little advantage to having SB play on the line, and tremendous advantage to having SB cheat toward the hole. And if you look at the BIP distribution for DJ's and SB's team, that's exactly what you see - fewer balls hit down the 3B line.

Bingo. Some people look at the numbers more than they actually score the games - not watch the games, score the games.
   80. RobertMachemer Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#2228108)
that's 19 posts since mine without addressing the problem I raised.
Ok... I assume you mean this:
Let's try a little example. Our shortstop, DJ, is a terrible fielder, especially going to his right (third-base side). Because of this, our third baseman, SB, has to play towards the shortstop hole. Now DJ is average on balls hit right at him or to his left, and because SB makes the plays DJ doesn't towards the third-base side, DJ ends up looking like an average fielder. But in reality, because SB has to play closer to the shortstop hole, he can't make a lot of plays down the third base line. The team suffers, but if we listen to you, DJ does not.
I'd address this if I understood your problem. SB shifts over -- does DJ shift over? Is DJ now having fewer opportunities to make plays or is he shifting over as well and now making more up-the-middle plays and leaving the to-his-right plays to SB?
   81. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2228122)
DSG is making a strong point.

For instance, suppose we have a league-average shortstop and a league average third baseman stand in their normal positions. We should expect them both to have league-average ZR.

But if the third baseman stands further off the line than normal while the shortstop stays in his original position, then he will get to some of the balls in the shortstop's assigned zone - and in fact most of the extra balls he will get to would have been hits (through the 5-and-a-half hole). So this new alignment will cause our shortstop to have an above-average zone rating - even though we know that he is a league-average shortstop standing in normal positioning. This is a bad result.

However, DSG's solution is not a particularly good one either. Debiting the shortstop on plays that the third baseman makes is going to overcorrect, as people have pointed out above.

So you're all wrong! :)

I think the solution is to have more finely denoted zones. The way ZR works is that if the play is made 50% of the time, it's in zone, if it's less than 50% of the time, it's out of zone. If it were broken down into 10%, 20%, 30% etc then this would be much less of an issue.
   82. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2228131)
Interesting discussion. Essentially I agree with OneAlou. It seems to me that all of the options require splitting the credit/debit baby, and you simply have to work on developing the most fair way to do it.
   83. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2228132)
I think they said the zones were 3x3 feet -- much smaller than ZR. Or maybe it was 3x3 in the outfield, and 1x1 in the infield, I don't remember.

One foot by one foot? That's smaller than the fielder. That is some sophisticated software right there.
   84. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#2228137)
It seems to me that all of the options require splitting the credit/debit baby, and you simply have to work on developing the most fair way to do it.

Take a play with a Bonds shift. There's a ball hit to the right of second. The SS picks it up and throws to first. The 2B is standing in short right. This play is debited to the 2B. That's just not right.

But if the third baseman stands further off the line than normal while the shortstop stays in his original position, then he will get to some of the balls in the shortstop's assigned zone - and in fact most of the extra balls he will get to would have been hits (through the 5-and-a-half hole). So this new alignment will cause our shortstop to have an above-average zone rating - even though we know that he is a league-average shortstop standing in normal positioning. This is a bad result.

Actually, in general, no the 3B will NOT get to balls assigned to the SS. This is the most common misunderstanding of defense I see. The 5.5 hole ISN"T the SS area. Those balls would be hits anyway. There is a gap between fielders - those are the plays the shifted fielders make - not plays that make up for a "normal" position.

So, the bad result simply doesn't occur.
   85. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:42 PM (#2228138)
If the shortstop just stayed at his normal position, then yes, it likely would inflate his zone rating. But what if the shortstop shifted as well? Then all you've done is change the location of the hole. If the hit distribution is spread evenly, then you haven't changed a thing as far as fielder ratings or team success.

I don't think there's much value in bunching players towards the 5-6 hole, you are opening up bigger holes by closing that one.

Well, you might change their zone ratings, due to the treatment of balls in zone and balls out of zone. A UZR type system should rate the players the same, assuming they are getting the same number (just different location) of balls that they were before the switch. And that is without debiting fielders when a teammate makes the play.
   86. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:44 PM (#2228142)
If the shortstop just stayed at his normal position, then yes, it likely would inflate his zone rating.

No, it wouldn't, because the 3B doesn't make plays in the SS zone. He makes them in the "no man's land". Sheesh.

But what if the shortstop shifted as well? Then all you've done is change the location of the hole. If the hit distribution is spread evenly, then you haven't changed a thing as far as fielder ratings or team success.

True - but if the 3B shifts, what happens to the balls down the line? Suddenly he can't make those plays. Fielders have limited range - they have been standing in the same spots for about 130 years- they are pretty close to optimized.
   87. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:51 PM (#2228147)
No, it wouldn't, because the 3B doesn't make plays in the SS zone. He makes them in the "no man's land". Sheesh.

Its probably not a big problem, what you say is true for most ground balls, but on some slow hit grounders the 3B absolutely ranges into the shortstop zone. Its not that common a play but I've seen it.

Come to think of it though, on plays like that it probably doesn't matter too much where the 3B starts from relative to short. It usually happens when the 3B is playing shallow and the SS is playing deep.
   88. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#2228148)
Come to think of it though, on plays like that it probably doesn't matter too much where the 3B starts from relative to short. It usually happens when the 3B is playing shallow and the SS is playing deep.

That is correct.
   89. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: October 30, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2228150)
Actually, in general, no the 3B will NOT get to balls assigned to the SS. This is the most common misunderstanding of defense I see. The 5.5 hole ISN"T the SS area. Those balls would be hits anyway. There is a gap between fielders - those are the plays the shifted fielders make - not plays that make up for a "normal" position.

So, the bad result simply doesn't occur.
No, Chris, because not every ball hit is a screaming liner. The softer a ball is hit, the more time the fielder has to get to the ball and so the further he can "range." If the third baseman is playing off the line, then sure any really hard hit balls he gets to wouldn't have been in the shorstops zone anyway. But he will get to soft or medium hit ground balls on the edge of the shortstop's zone. That's why I talk about more finely granulated zones as being one way to deal with this problem.
If the shortstop just stayed at his normal position, then yes, it likely would inflate his zone rating. But what if the shortstop shifted as well? Then all you've done is change the location of the hole. If the hit distribution is spread evenly, then you haven't changed a thing as far as fielder ratings or team success.

I don't think there's much value in bunching players towards the 5-6 hole, you are opening up bigger holes by closing that one.
I'm not getting into why a team might do this. But they might - perhaps for perfectly logical reasons e.g. they see few groundballs down the line. You see slightly differing infield alignments across the league. And you can see what the effect is going to be.
   90. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:04 PM (#2228152)
Well, I know that multiple Brewer fans around here mentioned Weeks improvement. I personally believe that Rickie just came out of the gates in a fielding slump and like any such trough it passed. I don't know if you can break his season into segments but if so I think you will an average or small "plus" in June/July.

Now, I will state again for the record that I think the Brewers still need to consider moving him OFF second base. NOT because he will be a liability defensively. But because of his body type AND the nature of second base (increased chance of injury) makes Weeks a casualty in waiting.

I fear that he will spend more time on the injury list simply because his physical attributes are not conducive to long-term health at the position. Meaning he has the physical SKILLS to play the position but not the body TYPE.

That probably makes no sense. But having watched so many guys try to play this game I see Weeks and I see owie after owie somewhat akin to Rickey Henderson. Rickey could mostly stay in the lineup playing left field. Weeks couldn't do the same if at second base.
   91. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2228153)
The 5.5 hole ISN"T the SS area. Those balls would be hits anyway. There is a gap between fielders - those are the plays the shifted fielders make - not plays that make up for a "normal" position.

So, the bad result simply doesn't occur.


I was almost convinced, then I looked back at the grid. The 5-6 hole is only zone G, as 3B covers c-f and SS h-m. At the baselines that's only 8 feet wide, at the edge of the grass I'm guessing maybe 12 feet.

So if 3B can occasionally get grounders in the hole, then a shift that the average fan might not even notice could put them at the edges of the shortstop zone.
   92. AROM Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2228155)
Look at UZR part one and part two. In part one, with fielders not debited if the play is made, Jeter is -13 in unadjusted UZR. In part two, with fielder's debited whether or not the play is made, Jeter is -26 in unadjusted UZR.

I found the UZR parts 1 and 2. Its data from the 2002 season. The change with Jeter is not whether MGL debits or not. The difference is all the other adjustments - parks, handedness of batter/pitcher, runners on base, speed of batted ball, etc.

If debiting him on plays made by others is in there, I missed it. But it most certainly is not the only reason Jeter went from -13 to -26.
   93. Mister High Standards Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:15 PM (#2228158)
perhaps for perfectly logical reasons e.g. they see few groundballs down the line


Which is exactly what the Yankees see. Everyone do themselves a favor and just listen to Mike Emiegh. He has forgoten more about defensive metrics than most of us will ever know.
   94. HowardMegdal Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2228166)
"A certain...shorstop...for privacy's sake let's call him...Derek J. No, that's too obvious...uuuh, let's say D. Jeter--has problems going to his right..."

You expect me to swallow this tripe?
   95. Fridas Boss Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2228182)
There also seems to be a mix of goals with these defensive metrics. How "good" a fielder "is" is not the same as how many plays did he make THIS YEAR, given the context he existed in. If you put Ozzie Smith in the dugout, he won't score well in the fielding metrics.

Fielding metrics alone may tell you how well a player DID. But I think there is a boatload of other contextual factors that make up how good a player IS. That's why I think it is off base to use these metrics to debate who the "best is".
   96. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#2228187)
If he's only average there, then yes, he is negative overall, even if he's *actually* negative to his left, and our numbers show him being negative to the right.


Suppose that you, an average fielder at SS, see 40 balls: 10 to the left side of the zone, 20 to the middle, and 10 to the right side. Suppose that you, as an average fielder, convert seven balls on the left side, 18 in the middle, and seven on the right side into outs. You've gotten 32 of 40 balls (.800).

Now suppose that you shift the fielders so that SB covers the left side of the zone. SB gets eight of the ten balls hit there, instead of seven, and you, even though you are shifted right, still get only 7 of 10 balls to your right and 18 of 20 in the middle. Because the two balls that SB didn't get are charged against you, not SB (they're in your zone, after all), you are now credited with 25 plays out of 32 balls (.781) - even though as a team you've gotten one more out on those 40 balls, you look like a worse fielder (and in fact, you are, because moving to the right you should have been able to get more than 7/10 of balls to your right). But if you are also penalized for the eight plays that SB did make, you're now at 25/40 (.625) - and you look like the worst fielder of all time even though your team made one more out on those forty balls.

Now change it: suppose you made 8 of 10 plays to your right and still made 18 of 20 plays in the middle of the zone. You still get penalized for the two balls that SB missed, so now you're 26/32 (.813) - which makes you look better than average, which you might very well be, considering that you were still able to make all of the middle-zone plays. If you are penalized for the 8 plays that SB made, though, you're 26/40 (.650) - and again you look terrible.

I'm exaggerating the effect; the real effects are almost certainly *much* smaller than this. But the penalty is still very real - even though the overall defense is helped, the net effect of transferring plays from one fielder to another is to make the fielder from whom plays are transferred look worse than he really is if he's penalized for every play transferred to the other fielder.

-- MWE
   97. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2228199)
Let me try this another way:

Suppose the net effect of moving SB and DJ to the right is to allow SB to convert two plays in DJ's zone, at the expense of DJ making two fewer plays there. Remember the original concept was 7/10 for DJ left, 18/20 middle, 7/10 right. We've transferred two plays to SB, so the net result now is that SB is 2/2 there, DJ 5/8 (he still gets penalized for the balls that get through). DJ still goes 18/20 middle, 7/10 right. DJ overall is 30/38 (.789) instead of 32/40 (.800). If DJ is penalized for not making the two plays that SB made, DJ is 30/40, or .750. Note that this would be true even if DJ were an average SS that didn't move at all, and SB just happened to make two plays on balls that DJ might otherwise have fielded and converted to outs.

The problem we have in zone-based ratings is *accurately* assigning penalities for plays not made when no error is awarded. Right now, what we do is assign those penalities based upon an assertion that "the average fielder in this position makes on out on this ball *x* percent of the time". That probably works well enough if the BIP distribution and the ballpark dimensions are more or less normal, but in a number of cases (the Yankees of the late '90s and early '00s being a prime example), they are not.

-- MWE
   98. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2228206)
I don't think there's much value in bunching players towards the 5-6 hole, you are opening up bigger holes by closing that one.


You might be opening up a bigger hole - but if it's one that teams are less able to use to their advantage, you might still wind up ahead of the game.

Why do teams use infield shifts against Barry Bonds, Carlos Delgado, Jim Thome, et. al.? Infield shifts open up bigger holes (AKA the whole left side of the infield), but teams do it because the risk of doing that is smaller than the likely cost of a normal defense against those hitters. You'd much rather see one of those guys bump a single to left.

-- MWE
   99. Steve Threadair Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2228208)
If we assume for a moment that the shortstop's lack of range is the only reason why they move the third baseman to the left,
the net cost of the shortstop's lack of range would, according to me, be the balls hit in the third baseman's zone, between him and the line, that he would have turned into outs had he played at the normal 3B position. So, even if it would be very difficult to apply in practice, wouldn't it be better, in theory, to add these balls to the shortstop's "responsibility", instead of the balls that were actually fielded by the third baseman in the shortstop's zone?
   100. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: October 30, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2228217)
I was almost convinced, then I looked back at the grid. The 5-6 hole is only zone G, as 3B covers c-f and SS h-m. At the baselines that's only 8 feet wide, at the edge of the grass I'm guessing maybe 12 feet.

So if 3B can occasionally get grounders in the hole, then a shift that the average fan might not even notice could put them at the edges of the shortstop zone.


So we're suggesting the system is wrong for three plays a year for one 3B? That's not sensible. The system works, because in the vast majority (>99%), infielders do not rob chances from other IF.
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