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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Individual Leaders at the All-Star Break - American League

Halfway Home

We have reached the All-Star Break, and everyone wants to know how everyone is doing.

What follows will be various rankings with minimal explanation – so you can have the data without my jabbering on and on about my opinion which you really aren’t that interested in.

The ratings are all based on playing time, park-adjusted, position-adjusted above average, and within league only, although the stats include interleague games.

I use Extrapolated Runs for offense (XR), and it is a routinely calculated “Runs above average at position” that you see with so many other statistics, and my calculations for Defensive Runs Saved (RS) using ZR as the basis.  Explanations for the defensive methodology can be found here.  “pt” stands for “playing time”.

First here are the Overall AL Defensive Leaders:


Pos	First	Last	       Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
3B	Mike	Lowell 	        BOS	83	80	700.0	16	31
2B	Placido	Polanco 	DET	74	73	652.0	12	25
1B	Chris	Shelton  	DET	86	82	737.0	12	21
3B	Brandon	Inge	        DET	85	83	749.0	10	18
SS	Juan	Uribe    	CHW	75	70	632.0	10	21
2B	Mark	Grudz'ek	KCR	77	77	648.7	9	18
2B	Brian	Roberts 	BAL	68	67	586.7	9	20
CF	Vernon	Wells   	TOR	81	79	689.0	8	16
LF	Carl	Crawford 	TBD	82	80	702.7	7	14
CF	Corey	Patterson	BAL	80	71	639.0	7	15
CF	Torii	Hunter  	MIN	84	84	730.7	6	11
2B	Marco	Scutaro 	OAK	34	30	277.7	6	29
SS	Alex	Gonzalez	BOS	68	67	591.3	6	13
2B	Mark	DeRosa	        TEX	26	26	223.7	5	33
RF	Alex	Rios	        TOR	70	59	547.7	5	13
CF	Brian	Anderson,	CHW	68	54	490.0	5	15
1B	Kendry	Morales  	LAA	42	40	364.7	5	19
C	Ramon	Hern'dez	BAL	77	74	638.3	5	11
1B	Doug	Mient'wicz	KCR	82	74	656.7	5	11
2B	Aaron	Hill    	TOR	51	51	442.3	5	15
C	Ivan	Rodriguez	DET	65	64	563.3	5	12
SS	Bobby	Crosby   	OAK	77	77	677.0	5	9
CF	Johnny	Damon   	NYY	72	71	607.3	5	10

Here’s the first explanation: The precision of the methodology is a handful of runs – not a single run or anything.  In general, players with five runs of one another are approximately equal.

The best comment here is – you want to know why the Tigers lead the majors in wins?  Look at that defense!  Goodness, that is impressive.  Granderson, Guillen and Thames are all at three or four runs above average as well.  Only Magglio Ordonez is below average, and he’s only at –1.  That’s an absolutely incredible performance for the Tigers.

Mike Lowell was always a fine fielder, and he’s earning his paycheck this year with the glove.

The trailers on defense in the American League:


Pos	First	Last	        Team	GP	GS	INN	RSpt	RS/150
SS	Juan	Castro 	        MIN	50	48	408.0	-5	-15
3B	Melvin	Mora	        BAL	88	88	755.3	-5	-9
CF	Coco	Crisp	        BOS	44	43	390.7	-5	-17
2B	Adam	Kennedy	        LAA	80	76	679.7	-5	-10
LF	Melky	Cabrera	        NYY	46	45	401.7	-5	-17
SS	Miguel	Tejada	        BAL	83	83	719.7	-5	-10
2B	Russ	Adams	        TOR	22	19	172.7	-5	-42
RF	Kevin	Mench	        TEX	52	52	447.7	-6	-18
SS	Derek	Jeter	        NYY	78	78	680.0	-6	-12
LF	Brad	Wilkerson	TEX	67	66	572.3	-6	-14
3B	Shea	Hill'brand	TOR	17	15	122.3	-6	-68
RF	Bernie	Williams	NYY	43	39	326.0	-6	-26
1B	Jason	Giambi   	NYY	44	44	337.0	-6	-26
3B	Tony	Batista  	MIN	50	50	434.0	-7	-21
C	Victor	Martinez	CLE	77	73	644.7	-7	-15
2B	Tad.	Iguchi   	CHW	72	72	648.3	-7	-13
CF	Gary	Matthews	TEX	73	72	628.7	-8	-16
2B	Luis	Castillo	MIN	75	75	647.3	-9	-20
SS	Angel	Berroa   	KCR	80	79	687.7	-9	-18
1B	Paul	Konerko 	CHW	82	81	692.7	-9	-18
2B	Jorge	Cantu   	TBD	44	44	388.0	-10	-36
LF	Manny	Ramirez  	BOS	82	82	685.3	-12	-23

Why can’t the Yankees get it going?  They have four players who are struggling with the leather.  Manny’s not a strong fielder, and his Runs Allowed is slightly exaggerated by the Green Monster.  Jorge Cantu was one of the worst in the field in 2005, and he still looks bad.  I don’t see any real surprises on this list – Mora and Tejada are struggling on the left side of the Oriole infield, and that isn’t helping Mazzone turn that pitching staff around.  I expect both of them to pick it up before the season is over.

Shea Hillenbrand should stop playing third base.  He could set some kind of record with that poor performance if he played the entire season over there.

The offensive leaders in the AL:


Pos	Name	Last	        Team	G	PA	XRpt	XR/150
DH	Travis	Hafner	        CLE	83	362	40	84
DH	Jim	Thome	        CHW	82	355	30	61
1B	Jason	Giambi	        NYY	78	340	29	60
C	Joe	Mauer	        MIN	76	327	27	61
LF	Manny	Ramirez	        BOS	82	362	27	54
SS	Derek	Jeter	        NYY	81	377	26	49
CF	Vernon	Wells	        TOR	83	366	24	44
CF	Grady	Sizemore	CLE	87	411	24	39
RF	Jerm.   Dye	        CHW	78	325	22	47
RF	Ichiro	Suzuki	        SEA	89	412	19	33
DH	David	Ortiz	        BOS	86	392	19	32
SS	Carlos	Guillen	        DET	85	346	18	33
LF	Marcus	Thames	        DET	61	228	17	50
1B	Justin	Morneau	        MIN	81	335	17	32
3B	Alex	Rodriguez	NYY	84	377	16	29
CF	Gary	Matthews	TEX	76	356	16	31
C	Mike	Napoli	        LAA	48	170	16	67
LF	Reed	Johnson	        TOR	68	235	16	52
1B	Kevin	Youkilis	BOS	83	386	16	28
SS	Miguel	Tejada	        BAL	90	398	16	24
1B	Paul	Konerko	        CHW	85	367	15	27

Hafner has been a leading MVP candidate the last two seasons, and he has continued this season, with a sizable lead on the offensive side of the board.  You never hear about him – it’s always “Ortiz” or “Arod”, and those guys don’t have half of Hafner’s production.

The only real surprises are Joe Mauer, who is hitting about 0.390, and Grady Sizemore.  Oh, wait, there’s Marcus Thames, having a great year in Detroit.  Ichiro is the first AL West player to show up, and he’s expected to be here.

I’ll also please guilty to “Who is Mike Napoli?”

Who are the trailers in offense in the AL?  Who cannot hit this season?  Let’s take a look:


Pos	Name	Last	        Team	G	PA	XRpt	XR/150
CF	Joey	Gathright	TBD	55	182	-11	-36
LF	Garret	Anderson	LAA	76	318	-11	-21
C	Jose	Molina	        LAA	43	136	-11	-44
RF	Nick	Markakis	BAL	76	251	-11	-28
RF	Damon	Hollins	        TBD	74	225	-11	-29
1B	Casey	Kotchman	LAA	29	88	-12	-71
SS	Juan	Castro	        MIN	50	164	-12	-40
CF	Brian	Anderson	CHW	68	208	-12	-34
C	Toby	Hall	        TBD	64	234	-12	-29
SS	Tomas	Perez	        TBD	62	136	-13	-51
LF	Lew	Ford	        MIN	67	208	-13	-38
CF	Jeremy	Reed	        SEA	67	229	-13	-33
LF	Craig	Monroe	        DET	75	286	-14	-27
DH	Phil	Nevin	        TEX	46	199	-15	-43
1B	Richie	Sexson	        SEA	88	365	-15	-24
RF	Jay	Payton	        OAK	72	289	-15	-31
DH	Carl	Everett	        SEA	83	306	-18	-35
1B	Travis	Lee	        TBD	71	228	-18	-46
CF	Mark	Kotsay	        OAK	78	351	-19	-32
SS	Angel	Berroa	        KCR	80	308	-21	-37
DH	Rondell	White	        MIN	54	191	-33	-90

It is not good for your team to have a Designated Hitter that cannot hit.  Three regular DHs are at the bottom of this list.  These guys need to get a glove or be replaced.

One interesting thing here is the population of Devil Rays.  What is really cool to me is that two of them are former Devil Rays.  Are the Devil Rays a sabermetric team?  Have they started listening to a Primate that works there?

Now who are the best overall players?


Pos	Name	Last	        Team	XRpt	RSpt	Total
DH	Travis	Hafner	        CLE	40	1	41
CF	Vernon	Wells	        TOR	24	8	32
DH	Jim	Thome	        CHW	30	1	30
C	Joe	Mauer	        MIN	27	3	30
CF	Grady	Sizemore	CLE	24	3	27
RF	Ichiro	Suzuki	        SEA	19	4	23
3B	Mike	Lowell	        BOS	7	16	23
1B	Jason	Giambi	        NYY	29	-6	22
SS	Carlos	Guillen	        DET	18	3	21
RF	Jerm.	Dye	        CHW	22	-2	20
LF	Marcus	Thames	        DET	17	3	20
SS	Derek	Jeter	        NYY	26	-6	20
DH	David	Ortiz	        BOS	19	1	19
LF	Carl	Crawford	TBD	11	8	19
RF	Alex	Rios	        TOR	14	5	19
1B	Justin	Morneau	        MIN	17	2	19
CF	Johnny	Damon	        NYY	14	5	18
CF	Curt	Grand'son	DET	13	4	18
2B	Brian	Roberts	        BAL	9	9	17
1B	Chris	Shelton	        DET	6	12	17
LF	Reed	Johnson	        TOR	16	0	16
C	Mike	Napoli	        LAA	16	0	16
SS	Orlando	Cabrera	        LAA	13	2	15
LF	Manny	Ramirez	        BOS	27	-12	15
3B	Alex	Rodriguez	NYY	16	-2	15
Hafner is going to get robbed this season if some sportswriters don’t start talking about what a great season he is having.  I’m not a fan of the DH, but the man is way ahead, even if you dock him below the Indians 1B in the field.  He looks like the MVP right now.

ARod is having a down season, and it is showing up.  He’s slipped quite a bit with the glove the last two years, and this season makes it look like a real loss of range to me.

I’ve heard a good deal about how Granderson should be getting lots of press, but Marcus Thames and Carlos Guillen are the players performing best on the Tigers team.  The Tigers have four of the top 25 players in the league.  That’s not including the pitchers.  It’s an impressive year.

The Most Valuable Red Sox?  Mike Lowell.  Few people have noticed.  Sure, they knew he was playing better this season, but his glove has been phenomenal.  Preventing 16 runs above average at third base is outstanding for an entire season.  Lowell has managed it in just over half a season.

Now what teams are playing well defensively?  I thought it would be interesting to sum each position to see where the defensive weaknesses were for each team, and to evaluate who the good defensive teams are.


Tm/Pos	C	1B	2B	3B	SS	LF	CF	RF	Arms	Total
BAL	4	-2	10	-8	-7	6	4	-4	-1	2
BOS	-7	-1	-5	15	4	-12	-8	-6	-2	-22
CHW	-3	-11	-7	3	8	-2	2	-3	-2	-15
CLE	-9	-3	-5	-2	-2	2	2	4	1	-12
DET	6	10	15	9	4	6	4	-1	-1	53
KCR	0	4	10	-2	-13	6	-6	6	1	8
LAA	1	5	-7	-3	3	3	6	1	1	12
MIN	4	2	-9	-7	-2	3	5	-3	2	-5
NYY	0	-2	3	-1	-5	-9	5	-3	-1	-13
OAK	3	-2	8	-3	5	1	-3	6	-2	12
SEA	3	-2	-2	3	0	0	-5	4	1	1
TBD	-2	2	-14	-3	3	8	-6	-2	1	-12
TEX	5	-1	4	3	1	-12	-7	-3	2	-8
TOR	-4	2	-1	-6	0	-1	5	6	0	0

The Tigers are above average at every position except right field.  That’s just incredible.  And the difference between the Tigers and the White Sox can be summed up with the leather.  The Tigers have a 68-run lead defensively.  That’s six wins.

The Red Sox are weak all over the field, except for Lowell and Gonzalez.  Even tempering Manny’s defense with a Green Monster adjustment, they are in the bottom of the league defensively.  The Angels and the A’s are two other good defensive teams, and I was surprised at how well the Royals rated.  The Royals’ rating makes sense when you think about Grudzielanek and Mientkiewicz.

The quality of the defense the Tigers are playing makes me think they will be difficult to topple.  Even if the White Sox chase them down, I don’t see them faltering enough to drop out of the Wild Card.

Coming next: All the same data for the National League.

Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:21 AM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Mister High Standards Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:45 AM (#2094918)
Hafner, has been great in the clutch too. Not as clutch as Ortiz or Jeter or Jermaine Dye, but very clutch.

I'd vote for Jeter for MVP if I had a vote.
   2. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:50 AM (#2094926)
Jeter's defense really drags him down, and even if I give Hafner some weak 1B play (say -6,) he's still teh best.

It's a DOMINATE season.
   3. Kurt Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:51 AM (#2094928)
It is not good for your team to have a Designated Hitter that cannot hit. Three regular DHs are at the bottom of this list. These guys need to get a glove or be replaced.

I don't know how much you follow the AL, but of those three, two have already been replaced and the third has one foot out the door.
   4. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:52 AM (#2094929)
That's insane defense by the Tigers. As you noted, the only person not above average is the rightfielder, who is just barely below average. They've saved as many runs as Andruw Jones added with hitting last year.
   5. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:56 AM (#2094933)
I don't know how much you follow the AL, but of those three, two have already been replaced and the third has one foot out the door.

I did know. My comment was more directed toward their future careers. I can certainly see that isn't clear.
   6. Artie Ziff Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:06 AM (#2094945)
Uh, sure, what a liability in the field Jeter is. I am not sure why Torre even puts him out there instead of D.H. In a close A.L. M.V.P. race, I would have to go Jeter, Ortiz, and Thome. No thanks on Hafner and Rodriguez just yet.
   7. Darren Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#2094946)
Great work, Chris. I notice that the popular myth that the Red Sox defense has been greatly improved is just that.
   8. JC in DC Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:10 AM (#2094947)
Uh, sure, what a liability in the field Jeter is.


You clearly don't not watch enough baseball, Artie. Those numbers don't lie!
   9. Darren Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:10 AM (#2094948)
I'm also surprised that Crisp has come up so lousy. He looks good out there and he's been good in the past.
   10. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:10 AM (#2094949)
Chris, you think that the green monster exacerbates Manny's shortcomings rather than minimizes the damage? Could you elaborate on why?
   11. Darren Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:20 AM (#2094959)
Pops,

I thought it was that the Monster cut into some of the fielding zones, and therefore some balls that caromed off the wall were counted against Manny.
   12. FJ Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2094964)
I'm also surprised that Crisp has come up so lousy. He looks good out there and he's been good in the past.


Not sure why people would be surprised that Crisp's defense hasn't been that good.

He played good defense in LEFT FIELD, but that doesn't necessarily translate to good defense in CENTER FIELD.

F
   13. AROM Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#2094968)
Last year David Pinto did a breakdown of Ramirez's home and road defensive numbers. Most of the big negative number came at home. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that balls hit off the monster count as opportunities against Manny in zone rating.
   14. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:25 AM (#2094969)
So the green monster is something that hurts his numbers with the defensive evaluators but in reality probably minimizes the damage of having Manny in the OF (because a higher percentage of balls hit to his side of the field couldn't be caught by any LF)?

Ok, that makes sense to me.

Is there any (relatively) easy way to adjust the numbers? I don't suppose anyone tracks batted balls that strike the wall for the various parks.
   15. Boots Day Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:46 AM (#2094983)
I can't agree that Hafner's been a leading MVP candidate the past two years. His next 500 AB season will be his first.

He looks like the real deal this year, though.
   16. Darren Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2094988)
He played good defense in LEFT FIELD, but that doesn't necessarily translate to good defense in CENTER FIELD.

It almost always does, though, doesn't it? The stats also generally had him as good in CF as well, IIRC.
   17. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:02 AM (#2094999)
Pops,
Darren is correct. I spoke with STATS about it and that does have some contamination to it. Manny gets more assists than most due to the wall, but overall, I think it makes him look worse than he is, but I doubt it is by, say, 50% or anything.
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:05 AM (#2095004)
Manny gets more assists than most due to the wall

I attended a Cubs/Red Sox game last year and I was stunned by Manny's arm. That dude has a real cannon.

Of course, that doesn't mean the wall isn't adding to the assist totals.
   19. RobertMachemer Posted: July 11, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2095095)
For whatever you think it's worth, the Red Sox currently have a dERA of 4.52 and an ERA of 4.54. (Last year, if I remember correctly, there was a difference of closer to half a run -- a 4.31 dERA and a 4.75 ERA). It's entirely possible that the Sox are not as good as the media are suggesting -- I see no reason to think the outfield is any good at all, for instance -- but I also suspect it's significantly better than it was last year.
   20. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: July 11, 2006 at 07:45 AM (#2095104)
I don't remember Manny's arm that day Pops, just the hangover...
   21. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 11, 2006 at 08:42 AM (#2095111)
So the A's pitching is really that bad? Saarloos, particularly, as well as Blanton, are the type of pitcher who's helped the most by a good defense. What are their DIPS ERAs--6.50?
   22. Danny Posted: July 11, 2006 at 09:50 AM (#2095118)
So the A's pitching is really that bad? Saarloos, particularly, as well as Blanton, are the type of pitcher who's helped the most by a good defense. What are their DIPS ERAs--6.50?

Yeah, spot on for Saarloos. Blanton's .327 BABIP suggests the defense isn't helping him too much (his GB and LD rates seem very average). His 4.20 DIPS is better than last year, and just ahead of Verlander and the Unit this year. He'll probably allow more HR in the second half, but the BABIP should come down. He'll probably be averagish.

Adam Kennedy's poor defense jumps out at me. How's Kendrick's D? Also, I've always seen Scutaro rated as a below average defender (except by BPro).
   23. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 12:26 PM (#2095146)
Adam Kennedy's defense jumped out at me as well.

Scutaro I've always viewed as"about average", meaning that sometimes he will play -5 and sometimes +5. I'm not really surprised there.

Also remember, *half* of a season of defensive data isn't terribly conclusive. Some of these players will find their true talent level.

It is *very* good to see players regarded as good defenders at the top though. It intimates we're doing something right. The "right" NL players surfaced at the top as well.
   24. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 12:40 PM (#2095152)
I attended a Cubs/Red Sox game last year and I was stunned by Manny's arm. That dude has a real cannon.

Everyone looks like they have a cannon when they're throwing from 200 feet to home instead of 250 or 300.
   25. AROM Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:07 PM (#2095168)
Adam Kennedy's poor defense jumps out at me. How's Kendrick's D?

Kennedy's rating does not surprise me. He has not looked nearly as good as in past years. He may just be getting old.

I haven't seen enough of Kendrick to make a judgment. Scouting reports suggest he could be average or a bit below.

If we're going to get average at best defense from 2B, might as well play the one who hits like Kirby Puckett.
   26. AROM Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2095171)
It almost always does, though, doesn't it? The stats also generally had him as good in CF as well, IIRC.

Not really. You should expect a player to be worse in center than he was in left. My stats had Coco as an average CF. He's played too little this year to take that negative rating too seriously. I find it hard to believe the guy who robbed David Wright to end that game is a bad CF.
   27. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:25 PM (#2095181)
Kennedy's rating does not surprise me. He has not looked nearly as good as in past years. He may just be getting old.

That's a real possibility. I haven't seen much of Kennedy this year, so old age could be the issue.

WRT Crisp - it's 400 Innings, so that's not a complete picture. He's probably playing around average and that mark will *probably* improve.

In a half season, and Crisp only has a third of one, there can be some variation. One reason I wanted to get this out was so we can see how much this changes at season end.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:33 PM (#2095187)
I attended a Cubs/Red Sox game last year and I was stunned by Manny's arm. That dude has a real cannon.

Everyone looks like they have a cannon when they're throwing from 200 feet to home instead of 250 or 300.
I don't think Manny's arm strength is all that great, but as Dr. Memory points out, he plays a very shallow LF, which helps.

More than that, though, I think that Manny takes advantage of the accuracy of his arm, which is well above average. Instead of winding up to gun the ball as hard as he can, Manny works for the quickest release possible, which I think has helped him a lot in the past few years. I think a number of LF could learn from his example.
   29. Fridas Boss Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:41 PM (#2095193)
That's my observation wrt Manny's arm as well, MCoA. I do remember he had a reputation as having a big arm when he was with the Indians but he is more of a get rid of it quick thrower now that he's in LF in Fenway.
   30. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:56 PM (#2095207)
It almost always does, though, doesn't it? The stats also generally had him as good in CF as well, IIRC.


I think it's an open question as to whether a good LF rating would translate to a decent CF. The switch to CF may work most of the time, but fail with regards to certain players. For instance, it's possible that Crisp may have most of the tools necessary to be an average or better CF--good speed, good acceleration, etc.--while lacking the ability to recognize the ball off the bat quickly. That said, I haven't seen a lot of Crisp in CF, so that's merely speculation on my part.

Also, I'd imagine that, as good as his performance there may have been, Crisp's career 1850 innings LF need to be regressed quite a bit before being translated to CF.
   31. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:03 PM (#2095217)
Chris, you think that the green monster exacerbates Manny's shortcomings rather than minimizes the damage? Could you elaborate on why?


The Monster forces LFs to play shallower than they typically do elsewhere, which makes it impossible to cover the *typical* LF zones, and kills their ZR (opposing LFs do poorly at Fenway, also). There needs to be a park adjustment for Fenway. A similar problem shows up in LF in Houston (Crawford boxes) and RF in Baltimore (scoreboard).

-- MWE
   32. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:28 PM (#2095241)
More than that, though, I think that Manny takes advantage of the accuracy of his arm, which is well above average. Instead of winding up to gun the ball as hard as he can, Manny works for the quickest release possible, which I think has helped him a lot in the past few years. I think a number of LF could learn from his example.

This is a very good point. It is what has made Bonds so great as a LF. He's always had a weak arm, but he has always been very quick and accurate with the ball. Based on his play I have seen, that's exactly how I see it as well.
   33. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#2095248)
The Monster forces LFs to play shallower than they typically do elsewhere, which makes it impossible to cover the *typical* LF zones, and kills their ZR (opposing LFs do poorly at Fenway, also).


I don't know if this is the correct interpretation. For starters, the Monster cannot "force" a player to play more shallow than he wants. He can stand with his back agains thte wall. It is very clear to me, LFs can get to the wall and the foul line without too much impact,a nd so I don't see where non-wall BIP are impacted on plays for LFs.

The ZR plays that are impacted are ones where the balls hit the wall. Shallow play does not create teh loss in other zones, I don't think. And shallow play, if you trade it for other outs isn't necessarily the correct play. Theoretically, playing shallower would allow one to cut off another set of balls, which doesn't appear to happen in a significant amount.

As discussed before, Andruw Jones shallow pl;ay helped his ZR - granted not as much as it should have, but that doesn't seem to show up or "make up for" the wall in Fenway.

I see some impact in Houston, but I'm not sure about the Baltimore scoreboard.
   34. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:08 PM (#2095304)
For starters, the Monster cannot "force" a player to play more shallow than he wants. He can stand with his back agains thte wall.

I don't see how a LFer could effectively play the Monster if he were right up on it. I think he <u>has</u> to be away from it as a practical matter, unless the manager makes all caroms the CF's responsibility.
   35. Mister High Standards Posted: July 11, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2095446)
Also the shallower you are the less likely you are to cut off a gaper.
   36. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2095459)
Also the shallower you are the less likely you are to cut off a gaper.

Gappers aren't part of Manny's ZR.

I don't see how a LFer could effectively play the Monster if he were right up on it. I think he has to be away from it as a practical matter, unless the manager makes all caroms the CF's responsibility.

Wow. That's obviously not what I meant. No other walls force OF to play right up against them. The rule of thumb is that you play as far from the wall as is necessary to get back to it on FBs. You do not have to play so shallow in Fenway that you can't cover all the area in front of the wall as well.

And hte ball doesn't bounce that far off the weall (on the fly). And after it bounces off, it doesn't hit the ground and stop. In addition, even if you were to *start* with your back to the wall, if a ball was going over your head, you can simply move in to play hte carom (which is easier than going back).
   37. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 11, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#2095702)
You do not have to play so shallow in Fenway that you can't cover all the area in front of the wall as well.


Look at the performance of non-Red Sox OFs in Fenway, compared to how they perform against the Red Sox in their own ballparks, and tell me that again. I don't know why this is such a difficult concept to grasp.

When I had three full years of zone data back when STATS still had its STATS On-Line service, the effect was both obvious and consistent; LFs in Fenway, whether they play for Boston or the opposition, routinely had ZRs in Fenway that were on the order of .100-.150 below what they posted in Red Sox games in other ball parks. A similar effect showed up in LF in Houston (which, I note, is -19 in LF this year) and in RF in Baltimore (which is -4 this year, surprisingly small).

-- MWE
   38. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2095757)
Look at the performance of non-Red Sox OFs in Fenway, compared to how they perform against the Red Sox in their own ballparks, and tell me that again. I don't know why this is such a difficult concept to grasp.

When I had three full years of zone data back when STATS still had its STATS On-Line service, the effect was both obvious and consistent; LFs in Fenway, whether they play for Boston or the opposition, routinely had ZRs in Fenway that were on the order of .100-.150 below what they posted in Red Sox games in other ball parks.


Well, Mike, it isn't a difficult concept to grasp. What seems to be eluding you is that that depression isn't defined. You have presented no evidence that the low ZR value isn't solely due to balls that hit the wall - which is what I was saying.

I have no doubt that the wall depresses ZR. I've said as much since 1997.

What I don't know is whether or not the effect is solely due to the balls off wall - and that says *NOTHING* to refute the point of whether or not they have to play shallow. If the LF isn't catching other balls that don't hit the wall, then they should be playing deep enough to do so, and I'd be surprised if the Monster created that situation.
   39. Buddha Posted: July 11, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#2095806)
How do you come up with those numbers on Shelton? I've seen him play numbers of times this year and he never strikes me as a particularly good defensive player.
   40. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:04 PM (#2095814)
How do you come up with those numbers on Shelton?

He may not be much for straying from first base, but groundballs hit in that area, he fields and turns into outs.
   41. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#2095826)
Is it Shelton that keeps getting his pitchers almost killed by not taking grounders to the base himself?
   42. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:21 PM (#2095828)
Wait, now that I think about it, I think that's Dan Johnson.
   43. Chris Dial Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2095830)
FWIW, JRE, I think that is singularly the easiest flaw to fix in hte majors. The 1B should take it to the bag as often as possible - you risk a needless toss and pitcher injury. It's just a bad idea most of the time.
   44. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#2095832)
Whoever it is, JRE, that might actually be a better first baseman trick than the Kevin-Millar-take-the-2B's-ball one.

Based on those numbers, if the Yankees make the playoffs and he keeps it up, I'm very sure Jeter lands the MVP
   45. Russ Posted: July 12, 2006 at 01:32 AM (#2096100)
Chris Shelton at the top of any positive defensive skills list is a big F-U to the Pirates organization. Our only real hope for embarrassing the organization into making changes. No fiscal issues caused the loss of Shelton, only sheer stupidity. I give a little fist pump after every home run he hits.
   46. Smokey Joe Wood Posted: July 12, 2006 at 09:14 AM (#2096543)
great stuff, chris, thanks!

further points on that Red Sox league-worst defensive rating:

tek is right around league average, so that -7 runs at C is entirely due to wakefield starts. remembering just how gruesome bard's starts were before mirabelli donned his spandex outfit with the big letter C on the chest and flew back here from san diego just in time to beat the yankees, i'd bet we finish the season at -8 or -9, not -13

just eyeball confirmation of what's been said about the monster's affect on ZR-based fielding metrics: manny is a lousy LF, lots of very catchable balls near the line (is that the smallest patch of outfield foul territory in the majors?) end up dropping for doubles. but he's also not quite as bad as the numbers suggest :D

like the bard situation at C, some of the negative in RF come from three atrocious games Wily Mo Pena had there. he looked much more comfortable (and competent) filling in at CF after Coco was hurt, and it's a safe bet he won't get more chances to kill us in RF unless he's figured out how to play the tough corners without completely embarassing himself out there.

mike lowell really is that good, it's been amazing watching him, and i think the way he steals hits has a lot to do with the media's overhyping of our defense. that and a keystone combo that can turn the routine double play.

anyhow, knocking off a good number of the runs allowed that came from bard, pena and manny's monster penalty, i'd guess that the sox are solidly in the pack with the worst defensive teams in the AL - yankees, chisox, tampa and cleveland - rather than 50% worse than any of them.

sorry to go on for so long. what else is there to do at 5 am over the all-star break?
   47. Jeff M Posted: July 12, 2006 at 12:38 PM (#2096572)
Two All-Star observations:

1. Hafner was not there. Wha? I guess he should have campaigned like A.J. did.

2. In an interview with Jonathan Papelbon both the interviewing broadcaster and the pitcher emphasized how incredible the Red Sox defense was this year, making his job really easy. He probably didn't notice the real story, since he's getting one out per inning all on his own.

:)
   48. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: July 12, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2096695)
"Hafner was not there. Wha? I guess he should have campaigned like A.J. did."

Actually, it was the White Sox marketing department that campaigned for AJ (although I think AJ said that he and his wife voted early and often for him). Whoever is running Cleveland's marketing department is just about as good as his/her job as whoever is working on pitching and defense for the Indians.

I'm sure Hafner liked the time off. More opportunity to work on shaving his knuckles!
   49. ASmitty Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:05 AM (#2098510)
How did you come up with these offensive numbers? I know the formula for XR, but what adjustments does someone have to make if they want to make a spreadsheet that adjusts for position and park like this list does?
   50. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:19 AM (#2098527)
"Based on those numbers, if the Yankees make the playoffs and he keeps it up, I'm very sure Jeter lands the MVP"

It's going to be Jeter or Mauer, unless the White Sox take first place by storm, in which case it'll be Jim Thome.
   51. Boots Day Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:30 AM (#2098533)
If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, there's no way they give Jeter the MVP.

Of course, I fully expect the Yankees to make the playoffs.
   52. G-String Posted: July 14, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2098536)
Jeter's defense really drags him down, and even if I give Hafner some weak 1B play (say -6,) he's still teh best.


Forgive my ignorance here. Are the offensive rankings adjusted by position, or do they represent the sheer value the player created as a batter independent of position?

If it is the latter, I don't think a -6 penalty to Hafner is enough. Even though Jeter is a sub-par SS, surely he should be given more credit than a DH. Right? Or is my reasoning flawed?
   53. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:42 AM (#2098611)
I do think Adam Kennedy has not looked as good on defense as in the past, but I'd be surprised if he were truly a -5. I've noticed a few hard shots get through the holes of late, balls on which he didn't really have a play but certainly were counted against his zone. It only takes a few of those to throw off your ZR for a half-season.

Dewan's +/- system had Manny at -13 plays at home last season and -1 on the road ... but over the last three years that goes to -19 at home and -12 on the road. Unfortunately, though The Fielding Bible tracks both hits and extra bases prevented by fielders, that info isn't broken down in the home/road splits, so it's impossible to speculate on how that system sees the Wall as affecting singles vis-a-vis extra-base hits.
   54. DCW3 Posted: July 14, 2006 at 07:48 AM (#2098613)
It's going to be Jeter or Mauer, unless the White Sox take first place by storm, in which case it'll be Jim Thome.

If the season were to end today, Ortiz would win the MVP.
   55. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 01:44 PM (#2098698)
If it is the latter,

It is the former.
   56. Chris Dial Posted: July 14, 2006 at 01:45 PM (#2098700)
I do think Adam Kennedy has not looked as good on defense as in the past, but I'd be surprised if he were truly a -5.

That's 7-8 GBs. Does he have a couple more errors this season than last at this point?
   57. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: July 14, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2098899)
Kennedy's fielding percentage is down this year, from .991 to .978, and he already has more errors this season (7) than all of last (5).

When I say I'd be surprised if he were truly a -5, I'm referring to his true talent level, I'm not contesting that his measured performance to this point in the season may be a -5.
   58. Chris Dial Posted: July 15, 2006 at 12:33 PM (#2099754)
Kennedy's fielding percentage is down this year, from .991 to .978, and he already has more errors this season (7) than all of last (5).

When I say I'd be surprised if he were truly a -5, I'm referring to his true talent level, I'm not contesting that his measured performance to this point in the season may be a -5.


Hmmm, good guess by me. Here's the answer, as unsatisfying as it is going to be: if Kennedy's "true talent" on errors has moved to 12 a season rather than 5 a season, then I would suggest that -5 *is* ihis true talent level.

I was talking ot one of my Imps the other day about Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch - both of whom began gaffing in their early 30s. Is Kennedy making predominantly throwing errors?

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