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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Defensive Rankings by Position- National League

The following data represent the defensive rankings for the National League players by position, with a minimum of 200 innings played.

RSpt is Runs Saved for the playing time of the player above average for that much playing time.
RS/150 is how many runs that would be in 150 games played.

This is explained in the methodology here.


Catchers

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
2	Yadier	Molina       	StL	68	66	584.7	4	10
2	Jason	LaRue      	Cin	35	34	304.3	3	14
2	Matt	Treanor 	Fla	38	32	284.7	3	13
2	Johnny	Estrada 	Ari	66	62	554.3	3	7
2	Henry	Blanco       	ChC	32	28	247.7	2	13
2	Miguel	Olivo   	Fla	61	52	461.3	2	7
2	Brian	McCann  	Atl	60	55	486.0	2	6
2	Ronny	Paulino 	Pit	65	61	548.0	2	5
2	Damian	Miller  	Mil	64	64	555.7	2	4
2	Chris	Snyder  	Ari	28	26	230.3	1	9
2	Mike	Matheny	        SF	46	44	391.3	1	5
2	David	Ross    	Cin	36	35	299.3	1	5
2	Russell	Martin  	LA	52	52	456.7	1	3 
2	Ramon	Castro  	NYM	30	26	248.3	1	4
2	Josh	Bard    	SD	35	24	243.7	0	-3
2	Eliezer	Alfonzo 	SF	26	24	213.0	0	-3
2	Chad	Moeller 	Mil	29	25	231.0	-1	-4
2	Todd	Pratt   	Atl	35	29	251.0	-1	-5
2	Danny	Ardoin   	Col	30	29	245.3	-1	-5
2	Brian	Schn'der 	Was	67	63	558.0	-1	-2
2	Sal	Fasano          Phi	50	42	366.7	-1	-5
2	Brad	Ausmus   	Hou	75	68	612.7	-2	-3
2	Paul	LoDuca	        NYM	63	63	565.0	-3	-7
2	Michael	Barrett 	ChC	63	60	525.0	-4	-10
2	Mike	Piazza  	SD	52	52	387.0	-7	-25

First Base

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
3	Lance	Niekro  	SF	48	44	391.7	6	20
3	Scott	Hatteberg	Cin	73	67	604.0	6	13
3	Albert	Pujols  	StL	70	70	617.7	3	7
3	Lance	Berkman 	Hou	59	55	487.3	3	8
3	Nomar	Garciaparra 	LA	68	67	588.7	3	6
3	Carlos	Delgado 	NYM	78	78	706.3	2	5
3	Derrek	Lee     	ChC	27	27	235.7	2	13
3	Adrian	Gonzalez 	SD	83	78	704.7	2	3
3	Adam	LaRoche 	Atl	79	67	611.0	1	3
3	Mark	Sweeney  	SF	37	32	270.3	1	3
3	Todd	Helton 	        Col	73	73	646.0	1	1
3	Sean	Casey   	Pit	43	43	356.3	-1	-2
3	Craig	Wilson   	Pit	43	40	360.3	-1	-2
3	Conor	Jackson 	Ari	69	69	566.3	-1	-2
3	Tony	Clark   	Ari	44	19	214.3	-1	-6
3	Nick	Johnson 	Was	85	82	728.0	-2	-4
3	Mike	Jacobs  	Fla	69	68	559.7	-2	-6
3	Mike	Lamb    	Hou	38	32	306.7	-3	-11
3	Todd	Walker  	ChC	37	35	312.7	-3	-13
3	Ryan	Howard  	Phi	84	82	738.0	-3	-6
3	Prince	Fielder 	Mil	85	85	745.7	-4	-6

Second Base


Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
4	Craig	Biggio   	Hou	71	70	598.7	6	13
4	Kazuo	Matsui  	NYM	31	30	276.0	4	22
4	Neifi	Perez   	ChC	37	24	239.3	4	21
4	Jamey	Carroll 	Col	56	52	459.3	3	10
4	Brandon	Phillips	Cin	77	72	648.3	2	5
4	Jose	Valentin	NYM	35	32	293.3	2	11
4	Dan	Uggla   	Fla	76	76	656.7	2	4
4	Aaron	Miles   	StL	69	59	537.0	2	4
4	Todd	Walker  	ChC	36	33	263.7	1	7
4	Josh	Barfield 	SD	80	77	699.3	1	2
4	Chase	Utley   	Phi	83	82	729.3	1	1
4	Hector	Luna    	StL	31	28	238.3	0	1
4	Ray	Durham  	SF	66	65	565.3	-1	-2
4	Jeff	Kent    	LA	61	60	511.3	-2	-5
4	LuisA	Gonzalez	Col	27	24	203.0	-2	-16
4	Orlando	Hudson          Ari	86	83	727.0	-4	-7
4	Jose	Vidro   	Was	81	79	686.3	-4	-9
4	Marcus	Giles    	Atl	81	79	697.7	-4	-9
4	Rickie	Weeks   	Mil	82	81	720.0	-8	-15
4	Jose	Castillo	Pit	84	84	728.0	-9	-16

Third Base

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
5	Corey	Koskie   	Mil	70	69	603.3	8	18
5	Pedro	Feliz    	SF	89	89	787.3	8	13
5	Vinny	Castilla	SD	67	63	560.0	6	13
5	Scott	Rolen   	StL	76	75	660.7	4	9
5	Chad	Tracy   	Ari	83	82	731.0	4	7
5	Ryan	Zimmerman 	Was	87	87	769.0	3	5
5	Morgan	Ensberg 	Hou	78	77	696.7	3	5
5	Aramis	Ramirez 	ChC	84	84	724.7	2	4
5	Rich	Aurilia 	Cin	32	26	238.0	2	12
5	Freddy	Sanchez 	Pit	54	50	445.0	0	1
5	Joe	Randa   	Pit	27	27	222.0	-1	-6
5	Bill	Mueller 	LA	30	30	256.0	-2	-12
5	Chipper	Jones   	Atl	68	68	594.3	-3	-7
5	David	Bell    	Phi	77	75	665.3	-4	-9
5	Garrett	Atkins  	Col	84	84	741.7	-4	-8
5	Edwin	Encarnacion	Cin	52	51	434.3	-6	-18
5	David	Wright  	NYM	86	86	786.3	-11	-19
5	Miguel	Cabrera 	Fla	85	85	720.7	-12	-22

Shortstop

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
6	Adam	Everett 	Hou	79	77	685.0	15	30
6	David	Eckstein	StL	83	82	726.0	7	12
6	Jose	Reyes   	NYM	84	83	760.3	6	10
6	Omar	Vizquel 	SF	84	82	712.7	4	9
6	Khalil	Greene          SD	85	85	758.3	4	7
6	Clint	Barmes  	Col	76	74	655.3	4	9
6	Craig	Counsell 	Ari	72	70	624.7	2	4
6	J.J.	Hardy   	Mil	32	29	258.7	1	5
6	Ronny	Cedeno   	ChC	83	82	705.3	0	-1
6	Royce	Clayton 	Was	86	83	720.3	-1	-2
6	Bill	Hall    	Mil	58	57	496.0	-2	-4
6	Jimmy	Rollins 	Phi	86	85	755.0	-2	-4
6	Jack	Wilson  	Pit	75	74	644.7	-5	-10
6	Rafael	Furcal  	LA	84	84	732.0	-5	-9
6	Hanley	Ramirez 	Fla	79	79	681.0	-5	-10
6	Edgar	Renteria 	Atl	77	77	681.0	-5	-11
6	Felipe	Lopez   	Cin	84	82	736.7	-10	-19

Left Field

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
7	Ryan	Langerhans	Atl	62	54	474.7	11	30
7	Cliff	Floyd   	NYM	57	56	491.0	6	17
7	Dave	Roberts 	SD	51	49	435.3	6	18
7	So	Taguchi 	StL	44	27	255.3	5	27
7	Matt	Murton  	ChC	74	69	572.7	4	10
7	Matt	Diaz     	Atl	42	25	248.3	4	22
7	Barry	Bonds   	SF	59	58	447.3	4	11
7	Matt	Holliday	Col	82	82	722.0	3	5
7	Luis	Gonzalez	Ari	80	80	705.7	3	5
7	Andre	Ethier  	LA	46	39	353.3	3	10
7	Jose	Cruz	        LA	38	32	276.7	2	11
7	Pat	Burrell 	Phi	67	67	546.3	1	3
7	Jason	Bay     	Pit	89	89	776.7	1	1
7	Carlos	Lee     	Mil	85	84	729.7	0	-1
7	Eric	Young   	SD	32	22	209.3	-1	-4
7	Alfonso	Soriano 	Was	87	87	759.3	-4	-6
7	Josh	Willingham	Fla	64	63	529.0	-9	-22
7	Adam	Dunn    	Cin	84	84	721.7	-9	-17
7	Preston	Wilson  	Hou	78	78	683.0	-18	-35

Center Field

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
8	Juan	Pierre    	ChC	88	88	767.7	10	17
8	Carlos	Beltran 	NYM	74	74	657.3	7	14
8	Eric	Byrnes  	Ari	67	63	568.3	6	15
8	Reggie	Abercrombie	Fla	68	55	482.0	6	17
8	Mike	Cameron 	SD	70	70	630.0	4	9
8	Willy	Taveras 	Hou	78	66	622.7	2	4
8	Jeff	DaVanon 	Ari	28	25	216.3	1	9
8	Steve	Finley  	SF	76	65	601.3	1	3
8	Aaron	Rowand  	Phi	72	68	595.7	1	3
8	Cory	Sullivan 	Col	68	61	536.3	1	2
8	Ryan	Freel   	Cin	37	30	271.7	1	3
8	Jim	Edmonds 	StL	63	61	527.0	0	1
8	Brady	Clark   	Mil	73	70	602.0	0	1
8	So	Taguchi 	StL	32	23	228.7	0	2
8	Jose	Bautista 	Pit	37	30	271.0	0	-2
8	Marlon	Byrd    	Was	57	44	393.3	-1	-5
8	Nate	McLouth 	Pit	39	38	322.0	-2	-10
8	Kenny	Lofton          LA	58	56	486.3	-3	-8
8	Andruw	Jones   	Atl	87	86	748.0	-4	-7
8	Ken	Griffey	        Cin	54	54	465.3	-7	-21

Right Field

Pos	NAME	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
9	Brian	Giles        	SD	88	88	786.7	7	11
9	Jose	Guillen 	Was	63	59	504.7	4	11
9	Randy	Winn    	SF	57	51	465.0	3	10
9	Juan	Encarnacion	StL	81	76	670.3	3	5
9	Austin	Kearns   	Cin	85	84	746.3	2	4
9	Jacque	Jones   	ChC	79	77	643.3	2	4
9	Brad	Hawpe   	Col	81	78	691.3	2	3
9	J.D.	Drew    	LA	69	68	575.7	1	2
9	Jeff	Francoeur 	Atl	89	89	788.3	0	-1
9	Jeremy	Hermida 	Fla	43	39	340.7	0	-2
9	Bobby	Abreu   	Phi	84	82	730.0	-2	-3
9	Moises	Alou    	SF	30	30	247.3	-2	-9
9	Geoff	Jenkins 	Mil	85	83	725.0	-3	-5
9	Xavier	Nady    	NYM	59	59	523.7	-3	-7
9	Shawn	Green   	Ari	80	79	691.3	-4	-8
9	Jeromy	Burnitz 	Pit	67	64	520.7	-7	-18
9	Jason	Lane            Hou	67	60	551.3	-8	-19

For outfielders, there is presently no added bonus for throwing runners out.  At this point in the season, there are very few outside of +/- 1 run.  Most are less than that.  The exceptions are: Soriano (+2.4), Hawpe (+2.6), Chavez (+2.0), P. Wilson (-1.2), Pierre (-1.4).

Chris Dial Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:06 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Chris Dial Posted: July 12, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2096120)
I am a moron wrt tables. Szym will pick me up though.
   2. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: July 12, 2006 at 01:49 AM (#2096148)
I am positively shocked that Bonds appears on the positive side of the ledger. I wouldn't have expected him to be the worst defensive LFer (mostly because his playing time has been so limited), but I don't accept that he's performed above-average. Just chalk it up to a sample-size issue?

Along the same lines, Niekro as a defensive stud??? Finley's a league-average CFer. I appreciate that the "I've seen him play and I know better" is a philestine's argument--but damnit, I've suffered through watching these SOB's play for half a season! :)

Actually, all of the Giants seem to be ranked higher than I would expect. Is it possible that there's some sort of park factor or something else that would cause an entire team to be overrated?
   3. Chris Dial Posted: July 12, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2096159)
but I don't accept that he's performed above-average. Just chalk it up to a sample-size issue?


I don't think so. Bonds catches the balls hit to left. He may not look good, but he's catching them.
   4. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 12, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#2096190)
I think defensive numbers for first are the most iffy, but i buy the rest of the SF ratings as legit. Bonds is the Anti-Podsenik at this point, what speed he has is pure straight line, but he anticipates the ball exceptionally well and rarely misjudges anything. Where he looks bad is that if he judges he can't get it he lets up or runs past it because he can't change directions. So he often looks real bad on balls he could not make a play on anyway.

Visquel and especially Feliz have been legit good on defense this year. And Winn seems to have solved how to play RF in SF, which more than any other position in the majors is truly about familiarity.
   5. J. Cross Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:37 AM (#2096409)
Thanks, Chris.

Of the Mets numbers the one that surprises me is Delgado's +2. No doubt in my mind that he's played below average defense so far. Of course, these #'s, just like WPA's (win probability added) are due both to ability and the situations the player is put in (when he comes up to the plate for WPA, and how difficult his chances are for defensive runs saved). If Delgado was consistently in the positive over 2 or 3 years I'd have to really question my impressions of his defense.

I haven't seen Bonds since early in the season so I won't try to open that can of worms again.

How is Weeks doing without the errors? If he had, say, 10 errors instead of 21 would he be close to average? I'm just wondering how his range rates on its own.
   6. Chris Dial Posted: July 13, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#2097195)
JCross,
that is an excellent observation, and I tweaked my spreadsheets a bit, and if he had 10 fewer errors, he'd be average. Well, he'd be at -1. So it would certainly appear that Weeks' defensive shortcomings are fielding the ball cleanly, and/or throwing cleanly.

Someone pop over to THT and see if they have TEs and FEs seperated like they do in their book.
   7. shoewizard Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2097284)
There is little question that Orlando Hudson has earned his low ranking. He's very flashy, but he has been making errors on routine plays, has had throwing problems, and his range on groundballs does not seem exceptional on any kind of consistent basis. He will make a play once in while that shows terriffic range, but then will only show mediocre range for very long periods of time, punctuated by another occasional burst of energy. Oohh and Ahh plays.

And he hogs popouts like crazy. It's silly sometimes. I can't tell you how many times he has ran more than half the way out to Green on routine OUTFIELD popups that Green could easily Catch. (Yes, THAT Green) And Hudson does this in all directions. One time he basically shoved Conor Jackson out of the way on a ball hit right to Jackson. To his credit, Jackson just gave way and had a kind of wry smile on his face, enjoying the display of leadership from the proven veteran. ;)

Yeah......Hudson needs to be shopped, and they should bring Callaspo up. They won't of course.
   8. AROM Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2097489)
And he hogs popouts like crazy. It's silly sometimes. I can't tell you how many times he has ran more than half the way out to Green on routine OUTFIELD popups that Green could easily Catch.

Hudson was way overrated in the past. His ZR's have been good, but not great. He was at best the #3 defensive 2B in the AL over the last few years, behind Ellis and Kennedy.

David Pinto does some great work with his play by play defensive system on baseballmusings.com. He initially had Hudson rated far and away the top 2B, but then he break down the results by popups, grounders, and line drives. Pretty much all of Hudson's positive rating came from popups.
   9. AROM Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2097491)
I wonder how close to first place that D-Back team would be if they still had a certain 6'5" shortstop (and I don't mean Santos).
   10. Sam M. Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:56 PM (#2097503)
Where he looks bad is that if he judges he can't get it he lets up or runs past it because he can't change directions. So he often looks real bad on balls he could not make a play on anyway.

Great observation, I think. In precisely those ways, Bonds just doesn't look the part, but as Chris has been arguing pretty much all season, he's making the plays.

At least the Mets finally found something Kazuo Matsui can actually do well before they got rid of him. If only he'd come over as a second baseman in the first place, he might have actually found a decent, comfortable niche and maybe things could have worked out differently for him.

I have been extremly unimpressed with Paul LoDuca's catching. Upgrade over Piazza defensively? I seriously doubt it, when you factor in that almost impossible-to-quantify issue of calling the game. I think that's Piazza's biggest strength, not enough to lift him many places in any ranking defensively given his other weaknesses -- but he doesn't have to rise too far to pass LoDuca, who (a) can't throw much better than Mike, and (b) is atrocious at blocking balls in the dirt -- all reach, no move.
   11. Chris Dial Posted: July 13, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2097505)
Yes, I'd rather have Piazza (as it were).
   12. Steve Treder Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:42 PM (#2097530)
Bonds is the Anti-Podsenik at this point, what speed he has is pure straight line, but he anticipates the ball exceptionally well and rarely misjudges anything. Where he looks bad is that if he judges he can't get it he lets up or runs past it because he can't change directions. So he often looks real bad on balls he could not make a play on anyway.

Visquel and especially Feliz have been legit good on defense this year. And Winn seems to have solved how to play RF in SF, which more than any other position in the majors is truly about familiarity.


I agree with all of this. That's a great observation about Bonds, Tom.

And Feliz has subjectively been tremendous, although he has made a few errors in the past couple of weeks.

Niekro doesn't line up with subjective observation, though. He looks clumsy and clueless to me.
   13. Chris Dial Posted: July 13, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2097575)
JCross' observation is interesting. I can alter the spreadsheet for a "range" aspect for the infielders (OF Errors are mostly throwing errors).

That is - how would these ratings differ if each fielder made no errors - it somewhat mitigates teh first baseman scoops for the other infielders and allows for "got to these balls" kind of thing.

Does that interest anyone?
   14. shoewizard Posted: July 13, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2097912)
David Pinto does some great work with his play by play defensive system on baseballmusings.com. He initially had Hudson rated far and away the top 2B, but then he break down the results by popups, grounders, and line drives. Pretty much all of Hudson's positive rating came from popups.


Yes, I remember that from the offseason threads about David's work. Observation supports that conclusion.
   15. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2097936)
Chris, thanks.

Sam, I think that if you looked at Piazza's numbers this year you'd see that Lo Duca IS a big upgrade in throwing as mediocre as he's been. Also, what makes you think that Piazza calls a better game? I'd lean toward Lo Duca in that area.

All in all, I'd rather have this year's Lo Duca than this year's Piazza. I showed some calculations in a previous thread.
   16. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2097953)
although I might want to take by my suggestion that Lo Duca is a somewhat better baserunner than Piazza after reading this article suggesting that Lo Duca is the worst (or certainly among them) at advancing on ground balls.
   17. Jose Canusee Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2097961)
Bonds is the Anti-Podsenik
Haven't seen any geography quizzes lately, but they are close to antipodes (opposite ends of the earth) as you might find currently. The perfect Anti-Bonds would:
- not walk (Pods is probably average here, though maybe not leadoff quality)
- have low power (check)
- steal bases (check)
- whiff above average (not really bad by current standards)
- be liked by casual fans and dissed by statheads (check)
and apparently be overrated defensively. And as a bonus, he is a durable white guy on a strong team.
   18. Sam M. Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2097964)
Also, what makes you think that Piazza calls a better game? I'd lean toward Lo Duca in that area.

I did some calculations of Piazza's CERA in prior years. IIRC, they showed that, in every year he was with the Mets, the team had a lower ERA with him catching than with others (Pratt, Castro -- whomever). But more importantly, it also showed that almost every pitcher had a lower ERA with him catching than with his replacement. The consistency of the results was amazing. It wasn't just that in 2000 poor Todd Pratt was always catching Bobby Jones (5.06 ERA) and Piazza got Hampton and Leiter. Almost every pitcher, year in and year out, was better with Piazza than he was with Pratt, or Vance Wilson, or Castro.

Call it anecdotal, question the sample size. I get that. CERA has its problems. Certainly not conclusive by any means, but it was enough for me to be convinced that Mike Piazza probably calls a good game. And given that he clearly has his defensive flaws otherwise, he is likely calling a good enough one to be overcoming those flaws to have been helping to produce a net gain for the Mets in preventing runs from scoring.

I think LoDuca probably calls a pretty good game -- better than Castro -- but I don't have any basis like the one I think I have for Piazza.
   19. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:29 PM (#2097969)
Is it safe to assume that Podsednik is taking unsafe levels of estrogen and cortisol?
   20. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:35 PM (#2097974)
Sam, I did those calculations for Lo Duca. From another thread:

Lo Duca's CERA's and team ERA's
YR/TM  GS  CERA  TEMA

01/LA  091  4.26  4.25
02/LA  136  3.73  3.69
03/LA  120  2.73  3.16
04/LA  078  3.94  4.01
04/FL  047  3.64  4.10
05/FL  118  3.79  4.16
06/NY  061  3.90  4.01

01-06  651  3.66* 3.85*

*weighted averages

Actually, the above table understates the difference between Lo Duca and his backups over that span since his starts were a large part of that low team average.

The following table has Loduca's starts and his cather ERA as well as other starts (I just made them adde up to 162) and the catcher ERA the other catchers must have had.
YR/TM    LGS    LERA    OGS    OERA
01/LA    091    4.26    071    4.24
02/LA    136    3.73    026    3.48
03/LA    120    2.73    042    4.39
04/LA    078    3.94    084    4.08
04/FL    047    3.64    115    4.29
05/FL    118    3.79    044    5.15
06/NY    061    3.90    024    4.36

01-06   651     3.66    406     4.29

That difference between Lo Duca's 3.66 and the 4.29 ERA of other catchers with those same teams seems pretty remarkable over such a long span.
   21. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:35 PM (#2097975)
Mike Piazza is a better defensive catcher then Paul Lo Duca. He's a smarter player and I personally think Mike exerts a more consistent effort play to play. One of the unsung aspects of Piazza's game is that he so rarely stabs at pitches. He moves his whole body to block the pitch.

Weeks has made dramatics strides the last five weeks. He may regress but over time I think there is reason to believe he can get to an acceptable level.

Players slump defensively just as they do offensively. I think Rickie opened the season in a defensive funk. Now if he comes out of the gate this second half and makes 8 errors in 20 games y'all be sure and let me know about it........
   22. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2097978)
Note: one problem with the averages in the above analysis is that it weighs some season more for Lo Duca than for his backup and vice versa. The correct (I think) way to do it woudl be to weight each season by the lesser of the two games started or by sqrt(LGS*OGS).
   23. Raskolnikov Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2097981)
I would say that Lo Duca may be a better defensive catcher than Piazza in the non-throwing aspects of the game, but the edge is very small. I think both are good game callers and reasonable blockers.

Up till the last couple of years, I felt that the defensive shortcomings of Piazza were overstated. So what if he can only throw out 20% of runners? Not a big deal. But as this weakness of his detoriates, I think that it become a real problem. At some point, even non-basestealers will just run at will on Piazza. It hasn't gotten to that point yet, but I would be real worried about it.
   24. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2097982)
One of the unsung aspects of Piazza's game is that he so rarely stabs at pitches. He moves his whole body to block the pitch.


As I've pointed out elsewhere, Sean Forman's SABR36 best-in-show winner on pitch blocking concluded that
Piazza was the best active catcher at blocking pitches.

-- MWE
   25. Sam M. Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:45 PM (#2097983)
Actually, the above table understates the difference between Lo Duca and his backups over that span since his starts were a large part of that low team average.

The problem you get when you do it that way, J.Cross, is that people tell you (I know -- they did it to me), "Yeah, but that's because the poor back-up was/might have been the designated catcher for the 5th starter, so his numbers are/might have been skewed. Did you control for the quality of the pitchers each guy was catching?"

That's why I did the comparison I did for Piazza -- went pitcher-by-frigging-pitcher. Now, I doubt (seriously) that there was such a skewing of the data in LoDuca's case (or at least that if there was, it was consistently appearing rather than a one-year deal). But hey, if I dealt with the critique, the least I can do is get the benefit of being able to wield it, right?!

The more viable answer that can be given to BOTH of us would be, "Well, that just shows that Piazza/LoDuca might be better than his sucky back-ups all those years. It doesn't tell us whether they are (a) better than each other, or (b) better or worse than league average."

I'll tell you this: what really bugs the beejeezus out of me is the extent to which the announcers just mercilessly pounded Mike Piazza on his throwing the last few years, every damn time he'd fail to throw out a runner. And now? Not a word about rag arm LoDuca. And hardly a peep about his terrible approach to blocking pitches. The guy is teflon, for reasons that pass understanding.
   26. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:46 PM (#2097985)
It actually turns out not to make much difference. When I weigh each season by sqrt(LGS*OGS) I get Lo Duca's average at 3.71 and the others average at 4.30. When I weigh each season by the lesser of the games played (between lo duca and the others) I get a Lo Duca ERA of 3.77 and the other's ERA of 4.30.

So, Lo Duca HAS far outperformed the other catcher's on his teams in CERA. Whether that means anything or not...
   27. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:52 PM (#2097994)
True, Sam. The one bias I looked for was whether Lo Duca had played more home games (in the pitcher stadium's he's played) than the other catchers but that doesn't look to be the case. Not sure I'm willing to go pitcher by pitcher.

Hey, I'm a big fan of Piazza's. I love the guy. But, all things considered I think I'd rather have Lo Duca right now. As I posted in the other thread:


Piazza has some nice offensive numbers but his throwing has been even worse than Lo Duca's. Runner's have stolen 50/55 off Piazza in 387 innings and 50/64 off Lo Duca in 557 innings. If you pro-rate Piazza to 557 innings your looking at 72 for 79. That's 22 extra steals and 7 fewer caught. In other words, Piazza's throwing would be .3*22+.6*7 = 10.8 runs worse over the same span. Lo Duca has created 37.1 runs on offense. Piazza had created 34.8 but would have created 42.4 prorated to Lo Duca's playing time. When you subtract out those 10.8 runs his throwing would cost he's down to 31.6 or 4.5 runs worse than Lo Duca. The difference is probably a bit greater than that since Piazza is one of the worst baserunners in the game. Also, I'm prorating Piazza to Lo Duca's playing time but I don't think he could actually play that often.


If you strike that second to last sentence (perhaps they're both amond the worst baserunners) we're at 4.5 runs not including blocking pitches or game calling.
   28. Bob Koo Posted: July 13, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2098016)
I haven't been able to watch him this year, but Piazza was also much better at blocking the plate on plays from the outfield. Lo Duca is terrible at it.
   29. Sam M. Posted: July 13, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2098030)
If you strike that second to last sentence (perhaps they're both amond the worst baserunners) we're at 4.5 runs not including blocking pitches or game calling.

You're making a huge assumption there, though, on the throwing, which is that their CS percentages would translate if they switched teams. Not a safe assumption, I think.

Bard and Bowen, combined, have caught only 3 of 24 runners -- 12.5%, better than Piazza's 9%, but not that much better. Which tells me there's a pitching staff component to the problem. No one is throwing out baserunners with that staff.

Castro, on the other hand, has outthrown LoDuca by a greater margin: He's caught 6 of 20 (30%), compared to LoDuca's 15/66 (23%). Which tells me that Mets' pitchers are doing a lot to help out Mr. LoDuca (and probably Castro, too) -- if you put LoDuca on that Padres team, I wonder if his success rate wouldn't be a lot closer to 9% than it is to 23%. Conversely, if you put Mike back on the Mets, I suspect he'd be back up around 20% instead of down under 10%.

It wouldn't take much of an assumption that the non-neutral context favors LoDuca to wipe out most, if not all, of the advantage you've found favoring him in throwing, and hence restoring Piazza's offensive edge as the deciding factor.
   30. J. Cross Posted: July 13, 2006 at 10:31 PM (#2098046)
okay, but Mets pitchers aren't very good at holding guys on and with those sample sizes I think it's just about as likely that the Pads pitching staff is doing better than the Mets pitching staff as the other way around. But, you're right, we shouldn't give all the credit to the catchers.

If we increase the sample size how do they compare?

Lo Duca's at 32.2% for his career with 1.03 attempts per GS
Piazza's at 23.5% for his career with 1.13 attempts per GS

Lo Duca's career rate is almost exactly break even. Piazza's career rate is 103.7 SB and 31.9 CS per 120 game starts. That's about 12 runs below break even per 120 starts or one run per 10 game starts. So, Lo Duca's advantage in throwin out runner this year is consistent with his advantage over their careers. They both might be worse than their career numbers this year.
   31. mgl Posted: July 14, 2006 at 03:42 AM (#2098479)
Here are the UZR's per 150 defensive games. As with the AL fielders, Chris' numbers are so close to UZR that I would swear that he hacked into my computer! My UZR numbers are actually for all positions played by that fielder. BTW, I also have Bonds as positive in UZR. That does NOT mean that he is a good fielder or even that he has played well in the OF this year. I suspect that with his general age and bad knees, that his UZR and Dial rating for the second half will be heavily minus. Of course, with a limited sample size, you never know. Since neither Chris nor I are actually watching every play made or not made, a play that the "computer" thinks is hard may in fact be easy and vice versa. For example, a pop fly hit to a short section of LF could be a can or corn for the LF'er or it could be a bloop hit (or a difficult catch), depending on the hang time and trajectory (which we don't track). Of course, all of those things should even out in the long run, which is why an advanced defensive metric like UZR, Dewan's (in the Fielding Bible, or Chris', is, in fact, deadly accurate over the long run, within the limitations of the methodology and database of course.

First Base

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
3 Lance Niekro SF 48 44 391.7 6 20 +20
3 Scott Hatteberg Cin 73 67 604.0 6 13 +9
3 Albert Pujols StL 70 70 617.7 3 7 +16

3 Todd Walker ChC 37 35 312.7 -3 -13 -13
3 Ryan Howard Phi 84 82 738.0 -3 -6 -4
3 Prince Fielder Mil 85 85 745.7 -4 -6 -9

Second Base


Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
4 Craig Biggio Hou 71 70 598.7 6 13 +23
4 Kazuo Matsui NYM 31 30 276.0 4 22 +18
4 Neifi Perez ChC 37 24 239.3 4 21 +4

4 Marcus Giles Atl 81 79 697.7 -4 -9 -14
4 Rickie Weeks Mil 82 81 720.0 -8 -15 -15
4 Jose Castillo Pit 84 84 728.0 -9 -16 -15

Third Base

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
5 Corey Koskie Mil 70 69 603.3 8 18 +13
5 Pedro Feliz SF 89 89 787.3 8 13 +24
5 Vinny Castilla SD 67 63 560.0 6 13 +5

5 Edwin Encarnacion Cin 52 51 434.3 -6 -18 -19
5 David Wright NYM 86 86 786.3 -11 -19 -14
5 Miguel Cabrera Fla 85 85 720.7 -12 -22 -16

Shortstop

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
6 Adam Everett Hou 79 77 685.0 15 30 +48
6 David Eckstein StL 83 82 726.0 7 12 +9
6 Jose Reyes NYM 84 83 760.3 6 10 +8

6 Hanley Ramirez Fla 79 79 681.0 -5 -10 -7
6 Edgar Renteria Atl 77 77 681.0 -5 -11 +2
6 Felipe Lopez Cin 84 82 736.7 -10 -19 -17

Left Field

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
7 Ryan Langerhans Atl 62 54 474.7 11 30 +27
7 Cliff Floyd NYM 57 56 491.0 6 17 +3
7 Dave Roberts SD 51 49 435.3 6 18 +16

7 Josh Willingham Fla 64 63 529.0 -9 -22 -17
7 Adam Dunn Cin 84 84 721.7 -9 -17 -28
7 Preston Wilson Hou 78 78 683.0 -18 -35 -30

Center Field

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
8 Juan Pierre ChC 88 88 767.7 10 17 +27
8 Carlos Beltran NYM 74 74 657.3 7 14 +21
8 Eric Byrnes Ari 67 63 568.3 6 15 +14

8 Kenny Lofton LA 58 56 486.3 -3 -8 -20
8 Andruw Jones Atl 87 86 748.0 -4 -7 +9
8 Ken Griffey Cin 54 54 465.3 -7 -21 -49

Right Field

Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
9 Brian Giles SD 88 88 786.7 7 11 +24
9 Jose Guillen Was 63 59 504.7 4 11 -1
9 Randy Winn SF 57 51 465.0 3 10 +31

9 Shawn Green Ari 80 79 691.3 -4 -8 -14
9 Jeromy Burnitz Pit 67 64 520.7 -7 -18 -16
9 Jason Lane Hou 67 60 551.3 -8 -19 -19
   32. Russ Posted: July 14, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#2098489)
Man... I guess we see one of the main reasons for the "regression" of Duke, Maholm, etc. this year. I think the Pirates were pretty good defensively last year and this year they are basically average to completely godwaful across the board. That's a lot of minus defense.
   33. AROM Posted: July 14, 2006 at 03:56 AM (#2098500)
Kaz Matsui and Craig Biggio the top 2B! I never would have guessed that in a million years. Small sample size, especially for Kaz, or I might lose my mind here.

I don't know how Bonds does it, but he does. Even last year, fresh off the DL he was +1 in limited time with a .947 ZR.

Since he got huge:
2005: +1
2004: -6
2003: +3
2002: +6
2001: +8
2000: +6

I'll take that wager and say Bonds UZR, Dial, or Monkey rating will be at least average from here to the end of the season. If I lose, MGL, I'll buy you a beer. (I'll be in central NY this October)

This means Bonds must finish the year at +4 or better.
   34. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:06 AM (#2098512)

First Base

Pos NAME Last      Team GP GS INN    R   Spt  RS/150
3 Lance Niekro     SF   48 44 391.7  6   20   +20
3 Scott Hatteberg  Cin  73 67 604.0  6   13   +9
3 Albert Pujols    StL  70 70 617.7  3   7    +16

3 Todd Walker      ChC  37 35 312.7 -3  -13   -13
3 Ryan Howard      Phi  84 82 738.0 -3  -6    -4
3 Prince Fielder   Mil  85 85 745.7 -4  -6    -9

Second Base


Pos NAME Last    Team GP GS INN    R  Spt RS/150
4 Craig Biggio   Hou  71 70 598.7  6  13   +23
4 Kazuo Matsui   NYM  31 30 276.0  4  22   +18
4 Neifi Perez    ChC  37 24 239.3  4  21   +4

4 Marcus Giles   Atl  81 79 697.7 -4  -9   -14
4 Rickie Weeks   Mil  82 81 720.0 -8  -15  -15
4 Jose Castillo  Pit  84 84 728.0 -9  -16  -15

Third Base

Pos NAME Last          Team  GP GS INN    R   Spt  RS/150
5 Corey Koskie          Mil  70 69 603.3  8    18   +13
5 Pedro Feliz           SF   89 89 787.3  8    13   +24
5 Vinny Castilla        SD   67 63 560.0  6    13   +5

5 Edwin Encarnacion     Cin  52 51 434.3  -6  -18   -19
5 David Wright          NYM  86 86 786.3  -11 -19   -14
5 Miguel Cabrera        Fla  85 85 720.7  -12 -22   -16

Shortstop

Pos NAME Last      Team  GP GS INN    R     Spt RS/150
6 Adam Everett      Hou  79 77 685.0   15    30   +48
6 David Eckstein    StL  83 82 726.0    7    12   +9
6 Jose Reyes        NYM  84 83 760.3    6    10   +8

6 Hanley Ramirez    Fla  79 79 681.0   -5   -10   -7
6 Edgar Renteria    Atl  77 77 681.0   -5   -11   +2
6 Felipe Lopez      Cin  84 82 736.7  -10   -19  -17

Left Field

Pos NAME Last        Team  GP GS INN     R   Spt   RS/150
7 Ryan Langerhans     Atl  62 54 474.7   11   30    +27
7 Cliff Floyd         NYM  57 56 491.0    6   17     +3
7 Dave Roberts        SD   51 49 435.3    6   18    +16

7 Josh Willingham     Fla  64 63 529.0   -9  -22    -17
7 Adam Dunn           Cin  84 84 721.7   -9  -17    -28
7 Preston Wilson      Hou  78 78 683.0  -18  -35    -30

Center Field

Pos NAME Last       Team  GP GS INN      R   Spt  RS/150
8 Juan Pierre        ChC  88 88 767.7   10   17   +27
8 Carlos Beltran     NYM  74 74 657.3    7   14   +21
8 Eric Byrnes        Ari  67 63 568.3    6   15   +14

8 Kenny Lofton       LA   58 56 486.3   -3   -8   -20
8 Andruw Jones       Atl  87 86 748.0   -4   -7    +9
8 Ken Griffey        Cin  54 54 465.3   -7  -21   -49

Right Field

Pos NAME Last        Team  GP GS INN     R  Spt   RS/150
9 Brian Giles         SD   88 88 786.7   7   11    +24
9 Jose Guillen        Was  63 59 504.7   4   11     -1
9 Randy Winn          SF   57 51 465.0   3   10    +31

9 Shawn Green         Ari  80 79 691.3  -4   -8    -14
9 Jeromy Burnitz      Pit  67 64 520.7  -7  -18    -16
9 Jason Lane          Hou  67 60 551.3  -8  -19    -19


Did I do that correctly?
   35. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:02 AM (#2098549)
I agree with all of this. That's a great observation about Bonds, Tom.

And Feliz has subjectively been tremendous, although he has made a few errors in the past couple of weeks.

Niekro doesn't line up with subjective observation, though. He looks clumsy and clueless to me.


The thing about bonds, I have messed up knees, and the first thing i learned is that if your knees hurt enough it becomes near impossible to LOOK graceful doing anything.

on Niekro, and this goes back to snow as well, I wonder how much of that is that SF playse their RF deeper and further to center than other teams, leaving the firstbaseman to cover much more ground especially for pop-ups and foul balls.
   36. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:11 AM (#2098552)
Pos NAME Last Team GP GS INN RSpt RS/150
6 Adam Everett Hou 79 77 685.0 15 30 +48
8 Ken Griffey Cin 54 54 465.3 -7 -21 -49


Holy jesus.
   37. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:12 AM (#2098553)
Oh, and a question - how's Rolen doing? He missed ten games so I figured he wouldn't have enough to rank in raw runs, but even then I suspect that he's not to his normal superstar level. He's still way better than Wright or Cabrera, I'm guessing.
   38. mgl Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:29 AM (#2098561)
I don't track pop files, fair or foul, so my ratings for first basemen are not affected by that. I don't think Dial does either. In any case, the RF and 1B rarely cross paths when it comes to fly balls and pop flies. Any deep pop flies behind first base or in foul territory are usually in the province of the 2B (and RF).

Rolen is +13 per 150 games in UZR, about what we would expect.
   39. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 02:06 PM (#2098716)
I don't track pop files, fair or foul, so my ratings for first basemen are not affected by that. I don't think Dial does either. In any case, the RF and 1B rarely cross paths when it comes to fly balls and pop flies. Any deep pop flies behind first base or in foul territory are usually in the province of the 2B (and RF).


This is all 100% correct.
   40. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 02:07 PM (#2098717)
Oh, and a question - how's Rolen doing?

I posted that.
   41. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 02:10 PM (#2098720)
Oh, and thanks for the work and compliment, mgl.
   42. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:43 PM (#2098851)
so since both of you guys are here, what do you think about 1b defense metrics...do you think they are more questionable then your numbers for other positions? And if so why, or if not any comments on the seeming randomness of somebody like niekro sitting at the top of the list?
   43. AROM Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2098877)
I think 1B measures are less reliable for a few reasons:

1. They field fewer balls than other positions - therefore the sample size is smaller and random error increases.

2. I don't think anybody has come up with a good measure for 1B receiving throws. You can look at IF throwing errors, but its hard to tell how much blame should go to the 1B or if he's dealing with a bad thrower. I'd hate to be the 1B handling throws from BJ Upton.

No comment on Neikro, I haven't seen him. He better be a good defender, because his bat isn't going to keep his job.

I think Ryan Howard rated very well last year. +19 according to The Fielding Bible. This year's rating makes more sense. I've seen a few games and he looks horrible in the field. The Phillies need a rule change to allow them to play 3 DH's at once - Howard, Burrell, and Dellucci.
   44. GuyM Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2098890)
I don't think anybody has come up with a good measure for 1B receiving throws.

Dewan has a system, which suggests this is a bigger factor than generally thought: 1st Base Throws. Hugely important, if correct. I'd be interested to hear MGL's and Chris D's thoughts on this.
   45. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 14, 2006 at 06:23 PM (#2098922)
Dewan has a system, which suggests this is a bigger factor than generally thought


Except for Pujols, who is wayyyy up there, most 1Bs are in the same general range - so I don't see this as being a huge deal.

WRT Pujols: I wonder how many of his "bad throws saved" are coming from Eckstein. We *know* that Eckstein doesn't have a cannon for an arm, and I wouldn't put it beyond the realm of possibility that rather than trying to put every ounce of force behind a throw (and possibly losing precious seconds in the process) Eck bounces throws to first deliberately, knowing that Albert is good at the scoop.

-- MWE
   46. GuyM Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2098999)
Except for Pujols, who is wayyyy up there, most 1Bs are in the same general range - so I don't see this as being a huge deal.

Well, Doug Mientkiewicz is in Pujols range when you adjust for PT. And there might be more variance if he had set the IP requirement a bit lower to include the 7-800 IP players (I'd guess JT Snow does better than D Ward). You may be right, but I think we need more years/data to know.
   47. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:16 PM (#2099009)
what do you think about 1b defense metrics...do you think they are more questionable then your numbers for other positions? And if so why, or if not any comments on the seeming randomness of somebody like niekro sitting at the top of the list?

Because I am a HUGE Bonds fan, I watch and score a lot of Giants games. Niekro isn't bad at doing what first basemen do - field ground balls and turn them into outs.

I don't think first is suceptible to anything at this stage that other positions aren't - sample size. Niekro has played 400 INN, nad that's not much - it's only about 100 plays. I don't agree with your assessment of Niekro over there. I thought hew was supposed to be a 3B, so I would expect his GB fielding to be okay at first.

Mostly your are looking at sample size, and since 1Bs have the smallest sample, I think the position is *oh so slightly* more susceptible to sample issues, but it is more likely that Niekro has probably just played well on balls hit to him. Given time, we'll see his true skill reveal itself.

Oh, I see BH answered like that.

I don't think receiving throws is as important as many others. The vast majority of plays aren't that close nor are throws that wild. I don't think scoops are that common.
   48. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#2099045)
Oh, I see BH answered like that.

That was Rally Monkey, actually ... but I do concur.

I further concur with Dial that scoops don't really seem all that common. If you're a major-league 1B, you're already pretty good at scooping balls in the dirt. Sure, there are some real differences between players, but I would doubt that for most players it's a difference of more than a couple of runs per season.

But all information is good, so it's nice to see someone starting to keep track of it.
   49. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2099065)
That Bad Throws Saved thing from Dewan is of some degree of interest, but it's pretty meaningless without some sort of context. Is David Eckstein really the reason Pujols has so many more Bad Throws Saved? Or is he just that much better than everyone else? It's impossible to tell without some measure of Bad Throws Not Saved.
   50. Dizzypaco Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2099066)
I further concur with Dial that scoops don't really seem all that common. If you're a major-league 1B, you're already pretty good at scooping balls in the dirt. Sure, there are some real differences between players, but I would doubt that for most players it's a difference of more than a couple of runs per season.

But of course the same could be said for any play a first baseman makes - the overwhelming majority are routine. The number of actual plays any first baseman makes that another one doesn't without an error being charged is relatively small. It would not at all surprise me if receiving difficult throws is one of the more important attributes of a good first baseman.
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2099067)
WRT Pujols: I wonder how many of his "bad throws saved" are coming from Eckstein. We *know* that Eckstein doesn't have a cannon for an arm, and I wouldn't put it beyond the realm of possibility that rather than trying to put every ounce of force behind a throw (and possibly losing precious seconds in the process) Eck bounces throws to first deliberately, knowing that Albert is good at the scoop.


I rarely, if ever see eckstein make a bad throw,(intentionally or not) the way the cardinals have changed the way he throws balls, basically having him do what you teach your kids, center to the target and then all out throw it using your momentum has made him probably the most accurate thrower on the team, Rolen probably makes the most wild throws but they are on target enough for Pujols to handle it. The cardinals gaggle of secondbaseman(womack, grudz, and luna) have always had iffy throwers (and the good throwers vina and miles suck balls when it comes to actually fielding balls to their left and right---don't care what the metric says, they may be better at positioning, but they had no range)
   52. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2099074)
I rarely, if ever see eckstein make a bad throw,(intentionally or not) the way the cardinals have changed the way he throws balls, basically having him do what you teach your kids, center to the target and then all out throw it using your momentum has made him probably the most accurate thrower on the team

How is this different from what he did before? Does he no longer do the crow-hop thing?
   53. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2099097)
So your comments have me thinking, can it be that for a firstbaseman what LOOKS like good traditional play, chasing popups, making a big show of doing a good job on receiving throws, is not nearly as important as the nuts and bolts of fielding grounders and line drives. Such that a converted thirdbaseman who plays 1b like it is 3b and is ungraceful fielding throws is probably doing the job much better.
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:55 PM (#2099109)
I'm not sure what crow hop is, he basically makes a running throw towards the first baseman. I don't have one complaint about his arm strength, we never don't get the out because of his throw not being there in time. (unless it's a play that even rolen couldn't get the ball there in time) Even though the Cardinal broadcasters make it a point to point out his weak arm nearly every single broadcast, I personally don't think it's an issue at all.


I haven't seen much of him pre cardinals but what little I did he seemed to not be centering his body to the target and 'whipping' his arm more than he does now. It could just be the particular plays that I have seen, since those would have been 'highlight' plays which almost by definition means he isn't going to have time to position himself.
   55. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:55 PM (#2099110)
I might add as evidence, that the top 1bmen above are all converted to the job fairly recently.
   56. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2099114)
That's possible, Tom, but I see it kind of like a DIPS thing ... if we just go ahead and accept for the purposes of this illustration that major league pitchers have roughly equal abilities to prevent hits on BIP, that doesn't mean that you can put Paul LoDuca on the mound and he'll have the same BIP as everyone else. He's not a major league pitcher.

1B may be similar; all major-league 1B have a minimum level of skill in saving bad throws, if they didn't, they'd be the DH. A 3B being moved to 1B wouldn't necessarily have that skill, though of course we might observe several that do.
   57. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:05 PM (#2099125)
Cardsfanboy, what you're describing sounds an awful lot like how he's been throwing the ball forever, but it's hard to tell without watching (I don't get the opportunity to see many Cards games). Even in Los Angeles of Anaheim, I never really thought his arm strength was much of an issue. He got rid of the ball quickly and accurately, and that was usually enough.
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2099129)
it's possible, all I'm going on is the way the announcers, and coaches have said how they changed eckstein in a couple of ways, one how he positions himself for the throws and two how they modified his long toss routine to add arm strength, that could all be a bunch of bull for all I would know, but that has been what they have reported from the start of spring training last year.
   59. Tom (and his broom) Posted: July 14, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#2099170)
Blackhawk,

My ill-made point is that, especially for the purposes of Dial's and mgl's ratings, that the best way to play first base is to focus on fielding hit balls first and worry about fielding throws second. And that as a player plays first base more they are encouraged to reverse that and end up "cheating" toward the bag to get the throw at the expense of fielding more balls off the bat.

The capability to do so may vary obviously, but the new firstbaseman do seem to dominate the list.
   60. Chris Dial Posted: July 15, 2006 at 12:42 PM (#2099755)
But of course the same could be said for any play a first baseman makes - the overwhelming majority are routine. The number of actual plays any first baseman makes that another one doesn't without an error being charged is relatively small. It would not at all surprise me if receiving difficult throws is one of the more important attributes of a good first baseman.

Dizzy,
not sure what you are saying here. While it might be said, we are *measuring* the groundballs, and we see an actual difference of 15-20 runs. We *aren't* going to see that for "scoops".

Tom,
I agree, I think converted 3B do play with more range *HOWEVER* sometimes that hurts because tehy stray too far from first. You have to be a disciplined 1B. Pujols is, MIllar scores well there, but when you put someone like Todd Walker there, he wants to range too far to his right - tipping balls away from the 2B if he misses them, and often surprising the pitcher, because the pitcher didn't cover because the pitcher *knew* it was the 2Bs ball.

Unlike every other position, the 1B is *NOT* supposed to get any ball he can reach. He has to know where the range limit is. I know that sounds odd, but it doesn't do much good to field a ball and have nowhere to throw it.
   61. Honkie Kong Posted: July 15, 2006 at 02:35 PM (#2099781)
To me, the ranking which jumps out ( as a Braves follower ) is Giles. IMO, Apart from a few egregious mistakes, Giles has shown enormous range this year, and has also been very good on double plays, converting the noodle tosses from Renteria and Chipper.
So I am very surprised to see him have that a rating with the glove...

Anyone else want to corroborate/oppose that view?
Andruw Jones' rating is not surprisng to anyone who watches the games apart from Chip Caray
   62. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 15, 2006 at 03:01 PM (#2099798)
when you put someone like Todd Walker there, he wants to range too far to his right - tipping balls away from the 2B if he misses them, and often surprising the pitcher, because the pitcher didn't cover because the pitcher *knew* it was the 2Bs ball.

I can remember more than one occasion where this happened with Walker, where you could tell he was thinking like a second baseman and there was nobody left covering the bag.
   63. Chris Dial Posted: July 15, 2006 at 07:39 PM (#2100019)
godot,
again -4 at this stage in the season is just 6 plays. that could be a couple of extra errors or just a bad week.

This is accurate for his performance thus far, but he could easily end up +4.
   64. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 18, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2146540)
I would've ranked Matt Murton lower in LF, but aside from that, the Cubs rankings generally look fair.

As for Murton, he appears to me to be somewhat of a butcher, but perhaps he's ok compared to the competition.
   65. Marlins-in-DC (rferry) Posted: August 24, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#2155332)
Interesting that a speedy guy like Juan Pierre has improved since leaving the big outfields of Coors and Pro Player.
   66. sabermatric challenged = me Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#2155443)
"I think LoDuca probably calls a pretty good game -- better than Castro -- but I don't have any basis like the one I think I have for Piazza."

hallo, this is my first post here & was realed in by that comment, i saw both of them play so i have my opinion, i never remember getting upset at Piazza game calling ability, IMO he called a good game, LoDuca on the other hand made me yell at the tube once in a while, LoDuca is a better overal catcher though. IMO.
   67. sabermatric challenged = me Posted: August 24, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2155444)
"I think LoDuca probably calls a pretty good game -- better than Castro -- but I don't have any basis like the one I think I have for Piazza."

hallo, this is my first post here & was realed in by that comment, i saw both of them play so i have my opinion, i never remember getting upset at Piazza game calling ability, IMO he called a good game, LoDuca on the other hand made me yell at the tube once in a while, LoDuca is a better overal catcher though. IMO.


PS Sorry about the bad spelling (should have stayed in school)
   68. "Andruw for HoF" sure died down Posted: August 26, 2006 at 09:31 AM (#2157472)
I'm really surprised J. D. Drew doesn't rank higher. One of the smoothest OF I've ever seen.
   69. Banana, the Athiest Nightmare Posted: August 26, 2006 at 01:01 PM (#2157499)
"1B may be similar; all major-league 1B have a minimum level of skill in saving bad throws, if they didn't, they'd be the DH."

Case in point: Erubiel Durazo.

The A's tried having him play 1B a few times. After giving Ron Washington (aka "the guy Eric Chavez gave a Gold Glove to" or "the guy who converted Scott Hatteberg into a decent 1B") a season to work on his defense and throw-fielding, they gave up and banished him to DH forever. Edgar Martinez in his latter years would probably fit the bill, too. Ditto Frank Thomas post-2004.

Covering first base is only necessary on ground balls hit anywhere except towards the first baseman (including bunts/dribblers that force the first baseman to run in). I'd guess that over the long-term, the number of actual opportunities that a "straying" first baseman would "lose" for his team when compared to a first baseman who "shades towards the bag" is more than compensated for the number of balls he reaches to his right (this includes line drives and ground balls) that would otherwise become singles. Honestly, I can't imagine where covering first base "less well" than another first baseman would constitute the loss of more than a dozen outs over the course of a season.
   70. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: August 28, 2006 at 01:32 PM (#2159193)
Kaz Matsui?

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