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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Defense over the last Twenty Years - Part Three, NL OF

Top Career Defensive Performances – National League Outfield

After reviewing the infield defense of the National League, I thought I had a good handle on how the outfield would turn out.  I didn’t.  The oddest thing is how few players really spent a career in centerfield in the National League.  Accumulating 5000 innings was rare.  I was also surprised at how much closer in talent the centerfielders were.  Please note, these ratings do not include OF assists.

Center Field

The favorite centerfielder of the last decade is Andruw Jones.  In Bill James’ Win Shares, he was anointing Jones as the greatest defensive CF of all time.  I have been a naysayer most of Andruw’s career with respect to his god-like qualities.  So does Andruw come up as the best CF over the last 20 years?  If I had written a book in 2003, he would have.  His decline the last three seasons has been significant.  He has fallen from the highest mark to the middle of the pack.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1996	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	12	71.0	0	0
1997	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	57	415.3	3	10
1998	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	159	1373.7	15	15
1999	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	162	1447.3	11	10
2000	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	161	1430.3	1	1
2001	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	161	1435.3	4	4
2002	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	154	1357.0	3	3
2003	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	155	1329.0	-9	-9
2004	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	154	1347.0	-8	-8
2005	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	159	1366.3	-1	-1
								
10 yrs	CF	Andruw Jones	Atl	NL	1334	11572	20	2

Andruw still has been a good centerfielder, and he was outstanding his first two seasons.  He also had a ton of assists those first few years.  He also was on a path to be one of the greatest ever, but a few sandwiches seem to have gotten in the way.

So who has saved the most runs over in his playing time?  It was a pretty close race but Steve Finley won.  For a count stat, it helps to play a really long time, and to not be terrible at what you are doing.  Finley hasn’t been great at what he does, and has a low seasonal rate, but he’s been there a long time.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1991	CF	Steve Finley	Hou	NL	124	948.0	8	11
1992	CF	Steve Finley	Hou	NL	160	1352.3	-2	-2
1993	CF	Steve Finley	Hou	NL	140	1167.0	2	3
1994	CF	Steve Finley	Hou	NL	92	792.7	4	6
1996	CF	Steve Finley	SD	NL	160	1417.7	22	21
1997	CF	Steve Finley	SD	NL	140	1179.0	5	6
1998	CF	Steve Finley	SD	NL	157	1335.3	11	11
1999	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	155	1348.7	1	1
2000	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	148	1284.7	-2	-2
2001	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	131	1111.7	-5	-6
2002	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	144	1171.3	5	5
2003	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	140	1168.3	-9	-10
2004	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	103	896.3	-2	-2
2004	CF	Steve Finley	LA	NL	55	485.7	1	2
								
13 yrs	CF	Steve Finley		NL	1849	15659	39	3

Finley did have a great 1996, but is not a great centerfielder.  He’s been solid, and above average work for 13 years is very valuable.  Notice how Finley is just shy of 40 runs above average.  I think it can be argued that centerfield has the closest talent level, and teams risk less defensively there than just about anywhere.

Coming in second was everyone’s favorite bunter, Brett Butler.  Butler was known for using a glove that was larger than the regulations permitted.  I assume that is like a hockey goalie’s pads and everyone sneaks an extra inch out there, but when the diminutive Butler waggled that leather peach basket around, you knew he had a one pushing the limits.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1988	CF	Brett Butler	SF	NL	156	1326.3	5	5
1989	CF	Brett Butler	SF	NL	152	1293.3	4	4
1990	CF	Brett Butler	SF	NL	159	1391.3	6	5
1991	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	161	1409.0	10	10
1992	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	155	1318.3	1	1
1993	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	155	1382.7	13	13
1994	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	111	944.7	-5	-7
1995	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	39	332.0	-1	-2
1996	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	34	279.0	6	28
1997	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	49	408.3	-4	-14
								
10 yrs	CF	Brett Butler	LA	NL	1171	10085	36	5

The best rate (RS/150) for centerfielders belongs to a young player that hasn’t hit his decline phase yet.  He’s young, fast, and frustrating at the plate.  I don’t now if he’ll be the next Lou Brock, but Corey Patterson has been a very good centerfielder in the National League.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
2000	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	11	86.7	0	5
2001	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	45	245.7	4	24
2002	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	147	1217.3	3	3
2003	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	82	710.3	1	2
2004	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	157	1368.7	16	15
2005	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	122	987.7	6	9
								
6 yrs	CF	Corey Patterson	ChC	NL	564	4616	30	9


Patterson has the highest rate, as I said for 4000 innings.  At lower inning tiers, Dodger John Shelby (13 RS/150) and Ruben Rivera (15 RS/150) have great rates.

Left Field

In left field, Barry Bonds has long had the reputation of being a good fielder, with a weak but accurate arm.  Now that we have nearly his entire career evaluated, we can see if that was all bluster, or if he really is a good outfielder.

Bonds was about average, maybe slightly above, to start his career, but struggled terribly when he moved to Candlestick.  I haven’t seen much park effect for most fields, but when San Francisco moved from Candlestick to PacBell, Bonds’ defense improved significantly.  It screams “Park Factor!”

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1987	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	100	763.3	8	15
1988	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	135	1134.0	0	0
1989	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	156	1337.0	3	3
1990	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	149	1275.0	2	2
1991	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	150	1296.7	2	2
1992	LF	Barry Bonds	Pit	NL	139	1241.7	-8	-9
1993	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	157	1370.0	-7	-7
1994	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	112	959.3	-3	-5
1995	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	143	1257.0	-4	-5
1996	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	149	1273.7	-9	-10
1997	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	159	1372.3	-2	-2
1998	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	155	1337.3	-9	-9
1999	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	96	794.3	-3	-6
2000	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	141	1152.7	7	9
2001	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	143	1232.7	9	9
2002	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	135	1115.0	6	8
2003	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	123	1044.0	2	3
2004	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	133	1131.7	-3	-4
2005	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	13	95.0	2	22
								
19 yrs	LF	Barry Bonds	SF	NL	2488	21183	-8	-1

So Bonds is about average over his career.  In discussions of the greatest left fielder of all time, Bonds is generally given a huge edge for defense over Ted Williams, and I suspect that is not accurate.  I suspect Williams wouldn’t have been worse than the worst of this era, so we probably aren’t talking about 200 runs on defense, but more like 50 runs on defense, and very possibly none.

So Bonds was average over a very long career – who as good?  The top three were well ahead of the pack, and the top LF doubled up the fourth place fielder.

Ron Gant came to the major leagues as a second baseman, and he was awful (-22 RSpt).  He went back to the minors to play outfield, and returned to the majors as a left fielder, and played very well.  He was someone who didn’t necessarily look good out there, and because he could hit, seemed to be regarded as a weak defender, but the data indicates otherwise.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1989	LF	Ron Gant	Atl	NL	2	7.0	0	34
1990	LF	Ron Gant	Atl	NL	38	290.7	-5	-25
1992	LF	Ron Gant	Atl	NL	138	1097.7	5	6
1993	LF	Ron Gant	Atl	NL	155	1384.3	7	6
1995	LF	Ron Gant	Cin	NL	117	930.3	8	11
1996	LF	Ron Gant	StL	NL	116	992.7	5	6
1997	LF	Ron Gant	StL	NL	128	1084.3	10	13
1998	LF	Ron Gant	StL	NL	104	819.0	7	12
1999	LF	Ron Gant	Phi	NL	133	1119.7	15	18
2000	LF	Ron Gant	Phi	NL	84	726.3	3	5
2001	LF	Ron Gant	Col	NL	51	388.0	-6	-20
2002	LF	Ron Gant	SD	NL	78	598.7	4	9
								
12 yrs	LF	Ron Gant	SD	NL	1144	9438.7	52	7

Luis Gonzalez has been a really good player.  His 2001 was richly rewarded.  He has solid offense and defense numbers and it is no wonder why he’s a fan favorite.  His 1998 season with Detroit was a –2 RSpt, but still the second best career over the last 20 years.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1991	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	133	1085.7	5	6
1992	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	111	859.3	8	12
1993	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	149	1248.0	3	3
1994	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	111	928.7	-2	-3
1995	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	55	464.0	4	11
1995	LF	Luis Gonzalez	ChC	NL	74	602.0	-1	-3
1996	LF	Luis Gonzalez	ChC	NL	139	1124.0	5	6
1997	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Hou	NL	146	1258.7	-2	-2
1999	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	148	1322.7	8	8
2000	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	162	1431.7	9	9
2001	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	161	1417.7	5	5
2002	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	146	1246.3	10	11
2003	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	154	1359.3	4	4
2004	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	104	900.3	-3	-5
2005	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	152	1318.3	7	7
								
15 yrs	LF	Luis Gonzalez	Ari	NL	1945	16566.7	59	5


The top left fielder wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that routinely studies defense.  Jenkins is a very good fielder.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1998	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	81	593.7	6	13
1999	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	128	1012.3	11	14
2000	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	131	1126.3	18	22
2001	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	104	897.3	9	14
2002	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	66	570.3	5	12
2003	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	123	1088.3	6	8
2004	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	156	1362.0	10	10
2005	RF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	144	1241.3	7	7
								
7 yrs	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	789	6650.3	65	13
8 yrs	LF/RF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	933	7891.7	72	12

Jenkins only has 8 years in and has a large advantage over his peers.  In 2005, with the acquisition of Carlos Lee, Jenkins shifted to RF.  Jenkins hasn’t missed a beat.  His career will be underrated in the long run because he plays in Milwaukee, and because he adds tremendous value on defense.

Jenkins also has the highest RS/150.  He hasn’t hit his decline phase, but to already have posted that many runs above average is just incredible.

Right Field

If I asked you to name the best defensive right fielder in the NL over the last 20 years, I think you could guess.  It is Tony Gwynn.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1987	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	157	1330.7	16	17
1988	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	102	891.3	14	21
1989	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	73	633.0	-3	-6
1990	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	141	1266.7	15	16
1991	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	134	1176.7	9	10
1992	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	127	1128.7	13	15
1993	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	121	1012.3	8	10
1994	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	105	900.7	1	1
1995	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	133	1127.7	8	9
1996	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	111	960.0	15	21
1997	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	143	1203.3	1	1
1998	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	116	902.7	-7	-10
1999	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	104	806.3	-2	-3
2000	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	26	202.7	2	13
2001	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	17	103.0	-1	-12
								
15 yrs	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	1610	13645.7	90	9

Gwynn was a great rightfielder and spent half of 1989 in center, where he played about average.
There’s very little more to say about a great player that most knew was a good defender.  This data simply supports common conception.  Gwynn’s RS/150 is near the top as well, and over that career length is very impressive. 

Coming up behind Gwynn for regulars are:

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
TOT	RF	Brian Jordan	Atl	NL	900	7447.3	50	9
TOT	RF	Raul Mondesi	Atl	NL	862	7424.7	45	8

Mondesi was a big favorite of the Defensive Average work.  This data agrees.

Of interest (to me) in the right fielders is two younger players that have set high paces of RS/150. 

JD Drew

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
1998	RF	J.D. Drew	StL	NL	5	37.0	0	4
2000	RF	J.D. Drew	StL	NL	98	697.3	8	16
2001	RF	J.D. Drew	StL	NL	97	780.3	7	12
2002	RF	J.D. Drew	StL	NL	119	932.7	6	9
2003	RF	J.D. Drew	StL	NL	53	391.0	-3	-12
2004	RF	J.D. Drew	Atl	NL	138	1193.0	8	9
2005	RF	J.D. Drew	LA	NL	44	382.0	6	22
								
7 yrs	RF	J.D. Drew	LA	NL	554	4413.3	32	10

Drew has missed too much time – he’s already 30 to think about getting too much better.  His performance to date has been very strong, and he has 1700 innings at the other two positions that he’s performed above average.  He’s underrated, in that I don’t know of anyone that thinks of Drew when considering good defensive right fielders.

Austin Kearns

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
2002	RF	Austin Kearns	Cin	NL	95	775.7	16	28
2003	RF	Austin Kearns	Cin	NL	51	367.7	4	14
2004	RF	Austin Kearns	Cin	NL	60	508.3	7	19
2005	RF	Austin Kearns	Cin	NL	107	890.0	7	11
								
4 yrs	RF	Austin Kearns	Cin	NL	313	2541.7	34	18

Kearns is one of my favorite players.  His 2002 defensive season neared perfection.  It is about the best defensive season I can recall.  His RS/150 rate is off the charts.

So there you have the top defensive players in the NL over the last 20 years.  Amazingly, Grace’s total RSpt compared favorably to the other positions.

YEAR	POS	NAME	TEAM	LG	GP	INN	RSpt	RS/150
TOT	1B	Mark Grace	ChC	NL	2162	18590	68	5
TOT	2B	Jose Oquendo	StL	NL	630	4865	79	22
TOT	3B	Scott Rolen	StL	NL	1247	10863	124	15
TOT	SS	Ozzie Smith	StL	NL	1206	10383	130	17
TOT	LF	Geoff Jenkins	Mil	NL	789	6650.3	65	13
TOT	CF	Steve Finley	Ari	NL	1849	15658.7	39	3
TOT	RF	Tony Gwynn	SD	NL	1610	13645.7	90	9

This synopsis says that center field has the closest talent set.  Third base seems to have the widest talent set, but the other positions seem to have varying opinions on who can play a given position.

There are two Hall of Famers already on this list, and Rolen is certainly headed in that direction.  That’s a nice show.  Yes, in count stats, that would seem to be obvious – more innings, more RSpt.  However, RSpt has a good deal of negative, so playing long doesn’t get you on this list.  You have to at least good for a long time, or great for a short time.

 

Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 04:37 AM | 116 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:01 AM (#2154890)
I apologize for the last three tables' formatting. I'm sure Jim will fix it shortly.

Thanks for your patience.
   2. Kyle S Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:30 AM (#2154918)
Chris, why does your measurement of Andruw differ so much from UZR, Gassko's Range, and BPro's stats, among other things? You may well be right, I'm just curious as to where the difference comes from -- I assume it's something about his positioning that allowed him to get to lower-valued BOZ at the expense of higher valued BOZ, or something like that?
   3. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:03 AM (#2154935)
How does Larry Walker rate? I always hear his name mentioned as a great defender.
   4. Raskolnikov Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:34 AM (#2154941)
Devon White was the best OFer I ever saw. He would just glide to the ball, covering vast areas effortlessly.
   5. NTNgod Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:49 AM (#2154943)
Jenkins played the final two months of 2005 with a fracture in his pelvis, too (it was called a 'back injury' until after the season finished).
He could barely move or run, but he kept hitting, so he stayed in.

2006 - he's not looked so good.
   6. Swedish Chef Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2154944)
Who'd have thought that steroids improved defense?
   7. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:54 AM (#2154945)
Gant may have been a great leftfielder, but if there's any such thing as momentum in baseball, he cost the Cardinals the 1997 division title.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:30 AM (#2154954)
Chris, sorry if you answered this in another thread, but do the 1B numbers include anything about receiving throws or is it just range?

On CF, there was an interesting "chart" I saw in an HOM discussion looking at OPS+ by position throughout history. CF used to be a high offense position (very similar to LF and RF) but in the last 30+ years, has moved basically to dead average (right with 3B). On the one hand, defense first made sense in the big astroturf parks of the 70s and 80s but (1) there were some mighty big parks in the old days as well and (2) with those spacious astroturf parks a thing of the past, you'd think things might swing back more to offense but that doesn't seem to have happened. Maybe in the current game, with more hitters with uppercut, power swings, CF defense is still as important as 20 years ago.

Not sure how that impacts on the variability among CFs but does suggest it's still considered a "defense first" position I suppose.
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:03 PM (#2154991)
I suggested the other day that the Brewers might be best served in 2007 by returning Jenkins to left field not the least of which is that they would benefit from his defense. I am delighted to discover that there is at least one non-Brewer fan who recognizes Jenkins' defensive prowess. Though NTN raises a very valid point. Geoff has legitimately struggled in right field, particularly since the injury. He's not Kevin Reimer bad, but he definitely isn't playing anywhere near his former level.

I think a return to left field in 2007 would be a positive for all involved.

So, before you get assailed by Cardinals fans what of Mr. Edmonds?

Did Van Slyke just not play enough or was he not as good as advertised?

Any Astros fans care to ponder "what if?" if the team had held onto Finley and Gonzalez?
   10. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:12 PM (#2154995)
why does your measurement of Andruw differ so much from UZR

UZR was changed from Project Scoresheet to ZR zones last year. My numbers match MGL's much better now.

Basically, there are two main reasons: Andruw catches a different subset of balls (or did before). And he takes *ALL* discretionary plays. That matters a lot. Most often, if a SS and a CF can get to it, the SS (field captain) takes most of them. For the Braves, Andruw uber alles. That inflates his BPro and DSG numbers.

Andruw noticeably put on weight and was noticeably slower the last couple of seasons. And it has shown up in the Braves winning pct and his fielding stats.
   11. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:15 PM (#2154996)
How does Larry Walker rate?

Walker's data suffers considerably from Coors Field. However, he wasn't particularly good with the Expos, so I'm not sure it's all Coors.

Walker, as best as I can remember, was mostly noted for his arm. He was a good enough RF to play some CF, but his arm earned him his defensive status (as is usually the case).
   12. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:16 PM (#2154998)
Who'd have thought that steroids improved defense?

That is certainly an argument and that went through my mind when I ran the data. Had he not moved from Candlestick the same season, I'd think that may have been the case.
   13. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:31 PM (#2155006)
do the 1B numbers include anything about receiving throws or is it just range?

Just range. Scoops, from the season I tracked, didn't amount to anything, but catching high/wide throws could.

I don't recall there being any good evidence that the other infielders throwing errors went down. This is something I was hoping to do with the THT book, but I haven't gotten to it.
   14. Kyle S Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:31 PM (#2155007)
i don't doubt your methodology, but he made 493 putouts in 1999, roughly 150 more than the average CF in equivalent innings, behind a groundball staff (.79 HR/9 combined from the 5 pitchers with the most GS). Are there really that many discretionary fly balls?
   15. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:35 PM (#2155009)
but he made 493 putouts in 1999, roughly 150 more than the average CF in equivalent innings, behind a groundball staff (.79 HR/9 combined from the 5 pitchers with the most GS). Are there really that many discretionary fly balls?

Interestingly, I looked at that in 1999 in rsb. His ZR chances went up dramatically. For whatever reason, the FBs allowed by the Braves mostly went to CF. I know it sounds crazy, but it happens - see how Chipper didn't get the "expected" GBs at third.

I have always been amused that my findings on Chipper and the importance of BIP are easily accepted, while those for Andruw are outrageously wrong. (I don't mean you Kyle).

BIP distribution is a tricky thing.

And I don't thinkk you are wrongly questioning my methodology - if you ahve several evaluations that say he's great and CW says he's great, a method saying he isn't should have a reason why the others would be wrong. I think that's a fair position.
   16. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:37 PM (#2155010)
So, before you get assailed by Cardinals fans what of Mr. Edmonds?

He's part of "The Misunderstood" article. I'm pretty sure half of you are going to be surprised, while the other half says "I told you so".

Did Van Slyke just not play enough or was he not as good as advertised?

Not even close. Bonds probably should have played CF.
   17. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:42 PM (#2155013)
Walker, as best as I can remember, was mostly noted for his arm. He was a good enough RF to play some CF, but his arm earned him his defensive status (as is usually the case).

Hmm...win shares rated him and A, so I don't think that's all there is to it. It didn't give every gunner a high grade; far from it. Not saying WS is the end-all, just that it may not be this simple.
   18. Russ Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:44 PM (#2155014)
Very suspicious that Bonds' defense improves the exact same year he changes park. Now, does that mean:

a) The method is not very good, because it is not park adjusted

or

b) Your value as a fielder is park dependent

or

c) Both of the above
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2006 at 12:49 PM (#2155019)
Chris:

Regarding Edmonds, understood.

Regarding Van Slyke, good to hear. Since your work jibes with my hicktastic opinion(s), I congratulate you for your clearly correct results. Ha, ha.

No matter what the actual outcomes, the effort is greatly appreciated. I find this series to be extremely interesting.

Thank you.
   20. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 01:21 PM (#2155041)
Very suspicious that Bonds' defense improves the exact same year he changes park. Now, does that mean:

a) The method is not very good, because it is not park adjusted


trust me, Russ, I was alarmed when I saw the change in Bonds.

The answer doesn't have to be either a) or b) (possibly j)).

I'll have to look at it more closely. Please note that Bonds last season in Pittsburgh is the same as his Candlestick numbers.

It probably means that some adjustment is necessary. That's just too coincidental for me. Then again, maybe it is the steroids. I'll review the other players around him to see what I find.

Candlestick was notorious for its winds. That may have simply had more effect on Bonds than others. So I don't know that it's the biggest problem ever. I do think it requires more investigation.

joearthur at fanhome/scout.com has some interesting work with the Fenway park effect that suggests Manny is not a bad fielder *at all*.

I don't think MGL has UZR data far enough back to look at the park factor for Candlestick.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 24, 2006 at 01:26 PM (#2155049)
a) The method is not very good, because it is not park adjusted

or

b) Your value as a fielder is park dependent


More b) than a), with a healthy dose of c) your value as a fielder is pitching staff dependent (and which might very well be more important than either of the first two).

-- MWE
   22. Colin Posted: August 24, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2155055)
Chris, kudos for admitting that Andruw was actually good prior to 2003. I know you've been critical of his performance for a long time, so that must have at least been something of a surprise.
   23. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 01:43 PM (#2155063)
Colin,
my criticism of Andruw has gnerally been the same as my criticism of Ozzie:
he's good; not some god that is the greatest ever.

The data bears out that Andruw was good, while the data supports that Ozzie was much better than I thought. Had Andruw produced the numbers Geoff Jenkins has, I'd have been dead wrong.
   24. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:18 PM (#2155111)
HW, what does Jenkins do so well that others don't do? I never get to see the Brewers except maybe when they're playing the Cubes, and I don't generally watch Cubes games.
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:31 PM (#2155135)
Doc:

Geoff Jenkins, pre-pelvis injury, had good speed, good instincts, and was/is willing to challenge any wall. A lot of left fielders really are NOT "good" outfielders and tend to play rather deep. Jenkins never did that. He trusted his ability to go back and so cut off more then his share of bloops over the shortstop while still running down balls in the gap.

Jenkins also racked up assists NOT because his arm is that good but because he is positioned well, got a good break on a ball, and HURLED himself into each throw.

The biggest appeal about Geoff Jenkins is that he busts his *ss out there. He will do his share of trotting to first on a ground ball to second but when he is in the outfield Geoff was always on the move. He never took a play off and NEVER gave up on a ball.

It's a gross oversimplication, but I do believe that just like run defense in football playing defense is a LOT about honest hustle. The difference between good and great is about talent. But the difference between good and average in most cases is just plain hustle. Is the player willing to expend the energy to make the play?

It's why in September you will see some guys make plays that previously didn't happen. And folks will talk about the player "stepping up" or some such nonsense. Nah, the SOB didn't make that play in May because he didn't want to bother.

Geoff Jenkins BOTHERED.

That's the difference.........
   26. AROM Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:33 PM (#2155136)
Most often, if a SS and a CF can get to it, the SS (field captain) takes most of them. For the Braves, Andruw uber alles.

If both can get to it, the center fielder has priority. Its easier to make catches coming in on a ball than going back on it. I can't crtiticze him for this.

Perhaps he plays so shallow that he's in position to take plays away from SS more often, and gives up too many hits over his head. That would be a valid critique.
   27. AROM Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:37 PM (#2155138)
Jenkins also racked up assists NOT because his arm is that good but because he is positioned well, got a good break on a ball, and HURLED himself into each throw.

It always seemed weird to me that Jenkins did not have a great arm.

If I was a baserunner, I'd take one look at him, hold my base, and say "No way I'm trying to run on Favre".
   28. AROM Posted: August 24, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#2155148)
I've done some work that suggest the wall in Fenway hurts your ZR runs rating by 15 per year. Looking at Joe Arthur's work, that might even be conservative. Left field in Houston is even worse, 20 runs per year.

Link
   29. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2155176)
Thank you for the insight, HW.
   30. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2155187)
Neat stuff, Chris. Have you or any other defense mavens looked at splits like some folks have been using on the offense side to look at clutch performance?
   31. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#2155198)
Doc:

You are quite welcome.

And FWIW, despite serious speed the reasons I list are why Podsednik isn't anywhere near the outfielder folks THINK he should. Scott doesn't have very good instincts and takes poor routes to balls. I also observed a lack of legit regular hustle in Milwaukee during his last season. I believe Ozzie has voiced similar concerns this year.
   32. jonm Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:40 PM (#2155218)
I'm sorry, but I can't find the answer to this in the other threads. What is that unlabeled column to the right of RS/150?
   33. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2155228)
That is RS/150. Everything got shifted rightward after the name column.
   34. jonm Posted: August 24, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2155231)
Thanks, Ennui WK.
   35. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 24, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2155248)
I've done some work that suggest the wall in Fenway hurts your ZR runs rating by 15 per year. Looking at Joe Arthur's work, that might even be conservative. Left field in Houston is even worse, 20 runs per year.


Check RF in Camden Yards, too.

-- MWE
   36. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 04:44 PM (#2155271)
If both can get to it, the center fielder has priority. Its easier to make catches coming in on a ball than going back on it. I can't crtiticze him for this.

Oh, I'm aware. However, if the SS can camp, the CF usually doesn't bother. Instead you have Andruw charging in and calling off a stationary Furcal to make the catch. I have no problem criticizing that.
   37. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2155274)
I have to check on this. Zones are defined by distances. If the map/grid for Camden doesn't overlap with the zone distances, I don't think it should matter. Same with Houston (but I don't have a good Houston grid.)
   38. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2155309)
Zones are defined by distances.


If I remember correctly, though, zones are defined by distances "from home plate". But outfielders, from what I can see, tend to position themselves using distance "off the wall", not "from home plate". For example, I normally see about the same amount of space "behind" the LFs at Durham as I do at Five County, even though the LF wall in Durham is about 20-25 feet closer to the plate.

-- MWE
   39. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:57 PM (#2155346)
If I remember correctly, though, zones are defined by distances "from home plate". But outfielders, from what I can see, tend to position themselves using distance "off the wall", not "from home plate". For example, I normally see about the same amount of space "behind" the LFs at Durham as I do at Five County, even though the LF wall in Durham is about 20-25 feet closer to the plate.

You remember correctly, but that's all that you need.

The correct position of an OF is as far away from the wall as you can stand and still get back to the wall on a FB. You *should* see the same differences. Obviously faster OFs can play a little further from teh wall, or what have you.

So the only *real* reason for their to be a ZR impact (negatively) is if the wall encroaches on the defiend ZR distances. I don't think that is true for Houston, nor Camden. It is definitely true for teh Green Monster (thus the ZR impact). Since ZR zones are distance from home plate, Coors should be minimally affected. Well, somewhat affected because to get back to the wall, the Coors OF have to play a few steps deeper - how much deeper is the LF fence in Coors vs. Shea?

As Dudek noted in his first THT piece, Time of Flight is a critical parameter to catching balls, and I suspect that is the Coors effect on ZR - More line drives that are always caught at a lower rate into ZR zones.
   40. SG Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:01 PM (#2155351)
So how do we deal with Fenway? I did a quick check with the data I have and the average Fenway LF was about a -20 from 1987-2005. Is there some kind of factor we can multiply times our estimated balls in zone to not penalize someone like Manny excessively?
   41. AROM Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:08 PM (#2155362)
Here's how I do it:

Once you've got your numbers, add 15 runs * (player innings/1458) back to Fenway left fielders. To even things out, you should probably subtract 1 run per 1458 from all the other AL left fielders.

If you use Chris's method innings and chances are proportional, so figuring this out per estimated ball in zone is not needed. With mine, it should be close enough anyway.
   42. SG Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2155368)
OK, so basically you're saying that Fenway adds about 18 plays a season to a LF's total that they should not be penalized for not making. That makes sense.
   43. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2155381)
Yes, there is some number like that - 18 balls in play that shouldn't count - and we just have to detemine that, which is about 1 every 10 games. So visitors will have about 1.

We actually just need to go through a couple of seasons to count the balls low off the wall.

joearthur, and I hope he drops by, is pulling the day-to-day zr data, and has some interesting stuff. His numbers come up to closer to 20 runs, I think. I'd have to review teh differences at home with my spreadsheets.

I don't have the sense god gave a turnip, but what he is doing is what needs to be done every ngith fo all players and all teams (and I think you could do it!). It's what Woolner does for his stats. He has a dedicated computer/server for that too.

If I knew how I would.
   44. J. Cross Posted: August 24, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2155530)
The CF result is interesting. Even if the CF data was all noise I'd expect there to be a few guys who happenned to average +3 for a career. It seems like there must be something pushing these guys towards average. I wonder if centerfielders basically keep playing center until they've been noticeably below average for a few years. The best chance for someone to have good career numbers would be somehow who's bat wasn't good enough to keep them in the majors well past their peak and they never had the chance to drag down their defensive numbers with their older years.

Chris, would it be easy to get aging curves from your data? I think I remember MGL saying that defense (excpet at first base) peaks in the early 20's and players (especially SS, 2B, CF) were in decline thereafter. I'm wondering if you coem to the same conclusion and how steep this age decline is.
   45. Colin Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2155534)
Chris - fair 'nuff.
   46. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2155536)
Chris, would it be easy to get aging curves from your data?

It will be. I have to get ages in there.
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:28 PM (#2155548)
The correct position of an OF is as far away from the wall as you can stand and still get back to the wall on a FB.


I agree that's what they do. And the result is that LFs in Fenway and Houston are playing 20 feet closer to home plate than they do in normal parks - which means the back boundary for the LF zone for those parks should also be 20 feet closer to home plate, assuming normal range. The front zone boundary may, or may not, need to be moved forward, too - since any plays that the LF's make there are out-of-zone and they'll get credited with them, anyway, if they make them, it's probably not as big a deal. The point is that there are likely balls that are defined as being in-zone that a typical LF won't be able to make a play on because the park makes him play 20 feet closer to home plate (IOW, he doesn't have a choice).

What we need to see is how the in-zone plays in LF that are not being made at Fenway are distributed. My guess is that there will be a disproportionate number of said plays toward the back of the zone (perhaps skewed toward the corners, as well).

-- MWE
   48. Minus Ice Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2155556)
Chris, your ranking of Bonds certainly differ's from BP'S FRAA stat, which is strikingly similar to billjames new relative rangefactors. FRAA has Bonds as wayyy above average over his career, while yours just has slightly. If your method were the one to be taken correctly, I don't see how steroids were of effected his early days with SF in the field, since it wasn't till he got older that he started using the drugs.
   49. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2155567)
What we need to see is how the in-zone plays in LF that are not being made at Fenway are distributed. My guess is that there will be a disproportionate number of said plays toward the back of the zone (perhaps skewed toward the corners, as well).

The plays not being made at Fenway are balls that hit off the Monster.

The zone doesn't need to move because otehr than the Monster, I am not sure anything results in "20 feet closer".
   50. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 24, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#2155571)
I don't see how steroids were of effected his early days with SF in the field, since it wasn't till he got older that he started using the drugs.

It's an aging pattern...good for a while, gets older, gets worse, then takes steoids, gets good again.

Like that.
   51. Minus Ice Posted: August 24, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2155618)
It's an aging pattern...good for a while, gets older, gets worse, then takes steoids, gets good again.

Like that.


Right, and bulking up would hinder one's fielding ability.
   52. Jose Canusee Posted: August 24, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2155663)
#20
Candlestick was notorious for its winds. That may have simply had more effect on Bonds than others.


Prevailing winds went toward RF, LF would lose more fly balls to CF than he would gain from foul territory. And of course you can't just shift everyone too far over since the wind primarily affects high flies and you don't want to give up more liners into the corner. If there was multi-year data for some other SF LF (Mike Felder, Kevin Mitchell?) to see whether their Candlestick years matched this pattern. Felder would have had the same CF (Darren Lewis) as Bonds started with.
   53. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 10:42 PM (#2155703)
Right, and bulking up would hinder one's fielding ability.

Certainly a possibilty.
   54. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:03 PM (#2155724)
You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see how things would look if we just took out BIP that had a 70% or greater chance of being an out. Or if such plays were designated "Routine Plays", and we separated out BIP that have a 69% or less chance of being an out.

None of which has anything to do with the topic at hand, I just didn't have anywhere to mention it. Dial's work here is much appreciated, and I have little to add to it.
   55. Chris Dial Posted: August 24, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#2155734)
I'd like to see how things would look if we just took out BIP that had a 70% or greater chance of being an out. Or if such plays were designated "Routine Plays", and we separated out BIP that have a 69% or less chance of being an out.

I'm working on it. That is the sort of thing MGL is likely to sort out, and assumably does. That will be some of the difference between my data and his. What I think we'll see is that the boundaries that ZR has drawn, while defined as "zones where 50% of plays are made" actually show a large gradient dropoff, rather than a gradual one. Say, going from 60% to 45% in a 10 ft gap.
   56. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 12:19 AM (#2155801)
Check RF in Camden Yards, too.

10,471 matched innings. -11 to ZR runs.

The were -19 in Camden, -8 in other right fields.

It would be a good thing to look at this for every OF position, but I don't have the time. Maybe an offseason project.
   57. Minus Ice Posted: August 25, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2155945)
Certainly a possibilty.

Chris - Your system is the only system I've seen that comes to that conclusion about Bonds. Winshares, FRAA, and other metrics show Bonds to be tremendous defensively in pittsburgh, good with the g-nats in his early years, and below average after 1998 ( with the exception of 2003). Dewan even mentions this in his fielding bible book. While his system has Bonds at above average, he mentions that bonds defensive ability has declined over the years.
   58. Minus Ice Posted: August 25, 2006 at 02:06 AM (#2155956)
BTW, since we are discussing defense, did anyone see Phil Birnbaum's latest By the Numbersstudy? It showed Tris Speaker to be the greatest defensive centerfielder of all time. He had the best peak, best career, and great prime (coming in third on that one). Though he does say that if you were to adjust for integration and quality of league Willie Mays would be the best.

However, he does believe Andruw is still in the running for best ever. Jones has the best prime ever of all centerfielders.
   59. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2155962)
Could be a huge park adjustment is in order for Candlestick.

Sum of left fielders before Bonds:

1987 -31
1988 -5
1989 -4
1990 -20
1991 -6
1992 -6
   60. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#2156048)
The plays not being made at Fenway are balls that hit off the Monster.


Can't be - balls off the wall (in any park) wouldn't show up as being in zone.

-- MWE
   61. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:55 AM (#2156104)
Check this out.

The ZR for Manny and opposing left fielders is around .200 at Fenway compared to road games. That's over twice as many balls falling in given the same number of balls in zone.

They aren't supposed to count balls off the monster as in the zone - but it seems to me that they are, and probably have been for a while.

If its not balls off the wall then I wonder where all these extra hits are falling.
   62. Charles Saeger Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2156444)
It wouldn't be as good, but one could check the PO/9 for outfielders (as a percentage of team PO-A-SO) to see if there is a park effect. I suspect if there is a big enough effect, it will show up in the official stats somehow.
   63. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2156451)
Can't be - balls off the wall (in any park) wouldn't show up as being in zone.

Why do you say that? I strongly disagree. I have to look at the distances.
   64. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#2156457)
Anaheim,
are you using my data or you calculation?
   65. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:11 PM (#2156460)
I used the average of the 2.
   66. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:19 PM (#2156473)
I asked STATS, and they said balls off the wall count. tough #### for BOS LF.
   67. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2156475)
Anaheim,
did I send you my data or did you calc it yourself? I guess I should send it to you and SG.
   68. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:33 PM (#2156489)
Winshares, FRAA, and other metrics show Bonds to be tremendous defensively in pittsburgh, good with the g-nats in his early years, and below average after 1998 ( with the exception of 2003). Dewan even mentions this in his fielding bible book. While his system has Bonds at above average, he mentions that bonds defensive ability has declined over the years.

All other metrics use "assumed flyballs". Mine uses percentage of flyballs. Have you looked at Defensive Average/Defensive Runs? I have that database somewhere and I'll check. Dewan doesn't have Fielding Bible data prior to about three years ago - he'd be using the ZR data for any commentary prior.
   69. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2156493)
Chris, you didn't send me any data, but SG's database has runs saved for both your method and mine, as well as an average of the 2. I just used that.
   70. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2156506)
I asked STATS, and they said balls off the wall count. tough #### for BOS LF.

That explains the Oriole RF data as well. (Next up - the baggy in Minnesota). I don't know what's going on in Houston, as I got an even worse park adjustment for LF than Fenway. There really aren't more balls hit off the wall there than most other parks, according to Fielding Bible.

I wasn't happy with my sample size, but I got a -20 adjustment there not counting 2006. In 2006, Preston Wilson has been around -20, while previously he had been just a little below avg in center. I would have expected him to be at least avg in left. I'll be interested in how his ZR turns out in St Louis.
   71. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2156524)
Like I said, we have to check the wall distances. I do not know that Camden has this issue, and I doubt it.

Look at the grid and my article about what is ZR for how far it has to go.
   72. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2156594)
Your article says the RF has responsibility for zones r through x on line drives between 280 and 340, and all flyballs and popups over 200.

So without checking the distance of the scoreboard, if its over 340 line drives off it may not count but flyballs will. Why would that not be the same issue?
   73. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:52 PM (#2156626)
How far is the scoreboard in Baltimore?

I must have something incomplete there. I'm really sure the Zone only goes to the warning track. Could I have made an error (gasp!)?
   74. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 05:57 PM (#2156628)
RC is 373, RF line is 318. I'm not sure exactly where those measurement relate to the scoreboard, which is 25 feet high.

If the zone only goes to the warning track, then why are they counting wallballs in Fenway?
   75. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2156655)
A "normal" warning track. I'm at work and can't very well check my grids.
   76. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2156681)
I'm at work too. Productive, ain't we?
   77. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2156687)
I asked STATS, and they said balls off the wall count.


That's poor design on their part. Boston LFs are being penalized for balls that no outfielder can possibly catch.

OF zones should be park-specific, and built from the wall "in", not from home plate "out". If you do that, you at least make an effort to account for the effect of the walls on fielder positioning.

-- MWE
   78. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#2156690)
I'm at work too. Productive, ain't we?

I'm actually in a meeting with a Customer (just three people even). And still posting. Quality time!
   79. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#2156692)
That's poor design on their part.

I don't disagree, and I've excluded them largely historically.
   80. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 25, 2006 at 07:09 PM (#2156711)
RC is 373, RF line is 318. I'm not sure exactly where those measurement relate to the scoreboard, which is 25 feet high.


Looking at the park pictures, the RCF marker looks to be somewhere around 30-40 feet to the CF side of the scoreboard. I can't find how long the scoreboard is.

If I had to guess, I'd say that 2/3 of the scoreboard is within 340 feet of the plate.

-- MWE
   81. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2156713)
I have a STATS grid of OPACY. I'll state categorically the distances this evening.
   82. base ball chick Posted: August 25, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2156722)
i don't know exactly what kind of "work" yall guys doin, but it sounds like my kind of job. don't guess yall would change with me

anyhow, about the houston LF problem
- well, there IS that stupid scoreboard, but also the LF is supposed to take care of the area around the corner by the visitors bullpen and when you play shallow enuf to get balls offn the wall, pretty hard to get over to the bullpen. i think. but you gotta remember who been playing left there - craig biggio who, um, is NOT any good in the OF, chris burke, who did bettern biggio, but no cigar, and preston wilson, who looked just freaking awful - he very very slow and he slow reading the ball offn the bat too and he was just as bad after we shut the roof.

are visiting LF just as bad?
   83. AROM Posted: August 25, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2156732)
One thing you did differently than me last year, Chris, is using the league average ZR for each league instead of the MLB average.

This thread has convinced me that is the right way to go, especially in the OF - if one league has a higher avg ZR at a position than the other its quite possibly ballpark differences instead of a better group of fielders.
   84. SG Posted: August 25, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#2156744)
I think you have to separate the leagues, because of the pitcher bunting effect. I count 910 sacrifice hits in the NL, 361 in the AL. I'd bet this is why AL 3B have a ZR around .020 lower than NL 3B this season.
   85. Chris Dial Posted: August 25, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2156754)
Great obsrvation, SG. I hadn't thought about why very much.
   86. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: August 25, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2156786)
I think you have to separate the leagues, because of the pitcher bunting effect. I count 910 sacrifice hits in the NL, 361 in the AL. I'd bet this is why AL 3B have a ZR around .020 lower than NL 3B this season.

Would that be because NL 3Bmen get lots of easy chances that should hardly count (cf. post #54)? Just trying to understand.
   87. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 25, 2006 at 08:56 PM (#2156795)
What do you get for Erstad's 2002?
   88. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 25, 2006 at 09:10 PM (#2156798)
I count 910 sacrifice hits in the NL, 361 in the AL. I'd bet this is why AL 3B have a ZR around .020 lower than NL 3B this season.


Well, not exactly. The majority of SH are fielded by the pitchers and catchers.

-- MWE
   89. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: August 25, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#2156799)
Thanks, Mike. If I'd thought for a minute I'd have noticed.
   90. TomH Posted: August 26, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2157015)
Bill James has been quoted in the past 12 months as saying Manny is a really poor fielder.
   91. TomH Posted: August 26, 2006 at 12:58 AM (#2157022)
Nice stuff, Chris.

I just completed a lengthy research project analyzing the best defensive CFers of all time, but of course to compare older to modern guys some modern metrics (UZR, ec) are not available for all.

At any rate, merely using a combo of Baseball Prospectus' methods and Win Shares, Willie Mays and Tris Speaker are the top career defenders (I know, gee, what a surprise), and others who graded out with a very high peak/prime are Flood, Dom (!) Dimaggio, and ... Andruw Jones.

Send me an email if anyone wants the article (published in SABR) Han60Man@aol.com
   92. Chris Dial Posted: August 26, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2157159)
I must have something incomplete there. I'm really sure the Zone only goes to the warning track. Could I have made an error (gasp!)?

And so I get home and look. The STATS old zones in CF went to the warning track. When they revamped after the 1999, they *did* push the OF zones to the wall.

What that means that any FB that stays in the park counts. So all wallballs in every park count. That means we have some work to do - Watch every Sox/Astro/Oriole game and count the wallballs for about three years. And.....go.

Tell me what you get. So seasons where Manny is off in his OF work, his pitchers are getting hit harder.
   93. Chris Dial Posted: August 26, 2006 at 02:27 AM (#2157175)
I don't know why STATS wouldn't alter BIP for high walls. Obviously Florida should exhibit these qualities as well.
   94. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 26, 2006 at 02:31 AM (#2157182)
The majority of SH are fielded by the pitchers and catchers.


Actually, I was wrong.

2003-2005 SH fielded by:

Pitchers 2466
1B 981
3B 874
C 640
2B 16

So pitchers field about half of sac bunts, 3B a little less than 20%.

3Bs do tend to field a fair number of bunts that are "not" sacs, though.

-- MWE
   95. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 26, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2157189)
And there were three bunts that were fielded by the left fielder, two of which went for doubles.

4/30/2003: Endy Chavez bunt double.
6/10/2003: Chavez bunt single.
7/20/2004: Juan Pierre bunt double.

-- MWE
   96. Chris Dial Posted: August 26, 2006 at 02:40 AM (#2157206)
Actually, I was wrong.

Um, how were you wrong? Pitchers and catchers field 3100 out of 5000. That meets: "The majority of SH are fielded by the pitchers and catchers." where I'm from.
   97. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 26, 2006 at 03:48 AM (#2157346)
The fact that STATS would be counting balls high off the Wall as in a zone absolutely boggles the mind. Or balls that are high off of any wall. I can't imagine how that ever seemed like a good idea.
   98. Chris Dial Posted: August 26, 2006 at 04:47 AM (#2157411)
FlyBalls that whould hit normal height walls (8-10') are caught more than 50% of the time.

It's a scoring notation issue.
   99. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 26, 2006 at 07:09 AM (#2157467)
But I am pretty confident in saying balls that hit 20' high off a wall are caught less than .000001% of the time. It seems like something they should have thought of, and it never really occurred to me that they hadn't.
   100. Walt Davis Posted: August 27, 2006 at 01:49 AM (#2158139)
what about balls off the speakers and roofs? And be sure to correct for they ivy effect at Wrigley -- I swear Cardenal would get lost in that stuff once per game. :-)

So seasons where Manny is off in his OF work, his pitchers are getting hit harder.

Or not as hard ... maybe turning HRs into balls off the wall.
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