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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The 2007 AL Gold Glove Awards

These are the 2007 Gold Glove Awards as I see them.  Now, these are calculated as I laid out before, and reproducible by you.  There are several good defensive systems available now, and thanks to STATS and BIS, they produce data that seems to be pretty consistent, with the occasional stray value.  This year, we’ll take a look at other votes – the MLB Awards and John Dewan’s.

I have never come up with a satisfactory name for my defensive ratings.  Dan Szymborski suggested I name them for what they are – Linear Weights Zone Ratings – LWZR.  That appears to be pronounced Lew-zer.

So here are the LWZR Awards.  Run values (Defensive Runs Saved – DRS) are “compared to league average”, and are an approximate value – players within a handful of runs can be considered approximately equal.

First Base

In the American League, with two-time incumbent Mark Teixeira over in the NL, there would be a new GG holder.  Well, I suppose Doug Meitkiewicz (2001) and Darin Erstad (2004) were still active and neither played very much first base.  I know, that didn’t stop Rafael Palmeiro in 1999.  Nonetheless…

The LWZR Gold Glover – Casey Kotchman.  Kotchman had 12 DRS, 5 more than the next 1B, Sean Casey.  Kotchman could entrench himself with this award for a few years.

The Rawlings GG went to Kevin Youkilis.  He had a nice season, but only managed to post a LWZR of 3 DRS.  As AL starting first basemen go, defined as those that play half the season in the field (~700 IP), he came in third in LWZR.  That doesn’t seem like a bad pick. 

Dewan also had him third in the AL in his Plus/Minus system, but considerably behind the top AL first baseman: Casey Kotchman.

Second Base

Over the last 16 years, only five second basemen have won the GG.  Robbie Alomar, Chuck Knoblauch and Bret Boone account for 14 of those.  They aren’t playing anymore.  Orlando Hudson won in 2005, but he’s in the NL now.  That leaves the 2006 incumbent as the only AL player to sniff the award, and be eligible for it in 2007.  His age though had caught up to him, and he made a poor showing in 2007. 

The LWZR GG goes to Mark Ellis of the A’s.  He was head-and-shoulders above the other AL second basemen with 24 DRS.  Aaron Hill, the top 2006 fielder, finished a distant second at 11 DRS, just ahead of Robinson Cano.

The Rawlings Award went to Placido Polanco.  Polanco has been a historically strong fielder.  He had a great 2006, and arguably deserved the 2006 GG, but he finished sixth in the LWZR rankings. 

Dewan’s rankings were similar, with Hill and Ellis at the top, followed by Cano.

Third Base

The Detroit Tigers traded for Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera.  I cannot imagine they would play Cabrera at third.  He’s an absolute butcher , with no disrespect intended toward butchers.  What does that have to do with anything?  The top LWZR third baseman in 2007 is the Tigers Brandon Inge.  Inge was outstanding at third, just as he was in 2006.  He isn’t getting noticed, but he posted a 15 DRS mark, and that’s a strong showing.  He was followed by Melvin Mora, Mike Lowell, Eric Chavez and Adrian Beltre, all within a run or two, but 10 DRS behind Inge.

Adrian Beltre, who has been an excellent fielder his entire career, finally won the Rawlings Gold Glove. 

Dewan’s Plus/Minus had Inge as the top fielder by a wide margin as well.

Shortstop

Travis McGee’s still in Cedar Key” that’s what this year’s LWZR GG winner says.  Toronto’s John McDonald had a great season with the glove.  I’m noting that Orlando Hudson and Aaron Hill have gotten proper recognition – park effect?  That’s for another time.  McDonald’s performance, 13 DRS, was impressive mostly because he saved those runs in a bit over half a season (800 IP) at short.  Maybe his chances were easier in that half season, but it’s not easy to compile numbers that high at any point in the season.  Bobby Crosby was a close second with 11 DRS, also in ~800 IP.  Of players with 1000 IP, Minnesota’s Jason Bartlett was tops (and third).

The Rawlings voters got off the Derek Jeter Love Train.  They voted for Orlando Cabrera, who was fifth in LWZR with 5 DRS.  He’s reasonably close to McDonald, and he did play 1300 innings, so that’s a decent selection. 

In the Plus/Minus ratings, John McDonald was way out in front, Jason Bartlett and Tony Pena tied for second.

Left Field

Speedster Carl Crawford lapped the field in LWZR with 18 DRS.  The runner-ups, Craig Monroe and Shannon Stewart, were barely above average at 2-3 DRS.  It is no big surprise; Crawford finished second last year to KC’s Emil Brown.  For interested parties, Brown only played 500 innings in left, but had 3 DRS in that playing time.

The Gold Glove from the voters went to a centerfielder – three of them, so we’ll just cover those when we get to center.

Dewan also separates the outfield, and in left, he rated Toronto’s Adam Lind the highest.  Lind also only played 650 innings, and had 6 DRS, which would have been good for third in an open LWZR category.  He has Emil Brown as second, and no mention of Crawford.  If you purchase the Bill James Handbook for 2008, you can see that the Fielding Bible Awards have Crawford as the top AL LF, pretty much across the board, but they don’t separate by league.

Center Field

With the Rawlings Awards not distinguishing between the outfield positions, the voters and LWZR ought to match up at least once.  I’ve got three shots.  The Rawlings Awards went to Grady Sizemore, Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki.  These three all sound like good choices.

The LWZR Center Field Award goes to – Grady Sizemore with 13 DRS.  Look, the traditional awards got one right!  Vernon Wells and Coco Crisp were tied for second, followed by Curtis Granderson at 9 and 8 DRS, respectively.  Suzuki was actually near the bottom of the ratings.

Dewan’s CF ratings had Crisp and Granderson neck and neck at the top.

Right Field

In addition to a tremendous season at the plate, Magglio Ordonez also had a great year with the glove.  He rated as the top LWZR RF with 11 DRS.  That was a good margin above Vlad Guerrero at 4 DRS in second.  Without limiting the innings required, Cleveland’s Franklin Gutierrez posted a 13 DRS, but sample size is important to LWZR.

Dewan doesn’t restrict playing time and has Gutierrez as the op Plus/Minus right fielder, followed by Alex Rios.  Rios was fourth in LWZR, but a good distance from Maggs.  There are a lot of Blue Jays in these rankings – maybe they are building a defensive juggernaut.

Catcher

Catcher ratings are a little different because they don’t get m/any ZR chances to make that an appropriate rating for catchers.  Catchers make errors and allow stolen bases, so their defensive ratings are built on that, but using the same “compared to average” structure.

Kenji Johjima was the tops in LWZR ratings at 13 DRS, followed by Joe Mauer.  Mauer had a higher caught-stealing percentage, but Johjima caught 300 more innings and was all-around a very good catcher, including 15 double plays. 

Naturally, the Rawlings Gold Glove went to Ivan Rodriguez. 

Dewan doesn’t have a Plus/Minus for catchers, but the Fielding Bible Awards rated Mauer the highest and Johjima second.

Overall:

Pos	LWZR	DRS	Dewan	DRS	Rawlings	DRS
1B	Kotchman	12	Kotchman	12	Youkilis	3
2B	Ellis	24	Hill	11	Polanco	2
3B	Inge	15	Inge	15	Beltre	2
SS	McDonald	13	McDonald	13	Cabrera	5
LF	Crawford	18	Lind	6	Hunter	3
CF	Sizemore	12	Crisp	9	Sizemore	12
RF	Ordonez	11	Gutierrez	13	Suzuki	-7
C	Johjima	13	Mauer	9	Rodriguez	3

If LWZR and Dewan didn’t match, they were either a coin flip (Ellis/Hill), or just different requirements (Crawford/Lind, Gutierrez).  We’ll see if the National League Awards line up as well.

 

Chris Dial Posted: January 09, 2008 at 05:49 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Greg K Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:00 AM (#2664128)
Something's definately going on in Toronto.

Lind having a good year in the field seems like a fluke to me...he doesn't seem very smooth out there.

But all the rest of them...probably a reason so many Jays pitchers did better than expected in 2007. From watching most Jays games this year it doesn't surprise me at all to see them ranked near the top in team defence.
   2. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 09, 2008 at 01:44 PM (#2664190)
Gutierrez seems to have been an underrated reason for the Indians' strong 2nd half. Cabrera got more credit for improving the defense but apparently he was less important.
   3. Mister High Standards Posted: January 09, 2008 at 02:21 PM (#2664196)
with the occasional stray value


There is actually more than the occasional stray value. Which is why the data is so difficult to draw conclusions from. I did some work on this in Sept, I'll see if I can find it.
   4. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: January 09, 2008 at 02:29 PM (#2664197)
Chris, I think that LAW calculates DRS from Pinto's PMR so you can make another comparison.

This is a digression, but it is a glovecentric thread: Has anyone compared utility guys like Figgins and guys who've switched positions like Suzuki to estimate what the degrees of difficulty are for the different positions? (For example, can we estimate what a SS's ZR would be if he were moved to 2nd or vice versa?) There's probably not enough players out there to base this on, but I thought that I'd ask away regardless.
   5. Chris Dial Posted: January 09, 2008 at 02:41 PM (#2664201)
Has anyone compared utility guys like Figgins and guys who've switched positions like Suzuki to estimate what the degrees of difficulty are for the different positions? (For example, can we estimate what a SS's ZR would be if he were moved to 2nd or vice versa?) There's probably not enough players out there to base this on, but I thought that I'd ask away regardless.

Tango did this on early permutations of this formula and MGL's UZR, but UZR has been revamped a few times. That's how Tango has his "position relativity". There are absolutely some sample size issues.

The general concern is that to get some resolution of "true talent", you need a lot of innings (say 3000), just like you need some 1500 PAs. There aren't many players with 3000 IP at two positions to draw really strong inferences. That's why I prefer to keep relative comparisons within a position. I don't think it is accurate to say an average SS would be a +6 at third base. ARod has been the exact opposite of that.

Now that we (AROM, SG and I) have accumulated more of a career database over the last 20 years, a good comparison of that can be done. Right now, refining and creating the database is the largest problem. We're working on it.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#2664205)
This is why I don't think Mark Ellis is going anywhere. He may be the most underrated player in the game. Not here--you guys get it--but generally.
   7. AROM Posted: January 09, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#2664236)
This is why I don't think Mark Ellis is going anywhere. He may be the most underrated player in the game. Not here--you guys get it--but generally.


I can see that - Overall he's probably as valuable as Swisher, but no way you get anything close to a Swisher return, even if he had 5 years left on a reasonable contract.

Tough to say though - he's a free agent after the year, by mid season Beane might just take whatever he can get for him.
   8. Frisco Cali Posted: January 09, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#2664237)
If Gutierrez in '08 puts up a full season playing at the same rate as he did in limited '07 time, what would that look like compared to the best seasons of the past decade?
   9. Chris Dial Posted: January 09, 2008 at 03:30 PM (#2664240)
Gutierrez comes in around 22 DRS. That's not historically high, and in line with top fielders in general.
   10. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#2664242)
Tough to say though - he's a free agent after the year, by mid season Beane might just take whatever he can get for him.

True, but the good thing about Ellis being under the radar is that the A's should be able to resign him to a reasonable contract. There's nobody coming up that he's blocking so I'd like to see them sign him for another 3 years. I just hope the Padres don't come calling. Those ####### Towers and DePodesta probably know how vaulabe Ellis is.
   11. Tango Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:16 PM (#2664499)
Chris/5: I don't disagree with the general thrust of your post, but I would like to point out that the positional adjustments were updated last week.
   12. A triple short of the cycle Posted: January 09, 2008 at 07:18 PM (#2664502)
Yay, some love for Ellis.

Hope you're right Shooty, I'd like to see him resigned too.
   13. Chris Dial Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:20 PM (#2664577)
Excellent, Tango. Thanks for the update.
   14. TomH Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:41 PM (#2664617)
Tango as usual does fine work.

However, I wonder if the positional adjustments caluclated suffer from a selective sample issue: it is certinaly possible that the guys who play both SS and 3B are from different populations (different skill sets) than the ones who only play one or the other, and thus the True Unknown positional adjustment may not be what is seen in these numbers.

If this was discussed somewhere before and I missed it, my apologies...
   15. Tango Posted: January 09, 2008 at 08:51 PM (#2664628)
Thanks, but it's easy when others do most of the work!

Yes, selective sampling is an issue. When/if I ever link my Scouting Reports to MGL's UZR data, then I'll be able to tell you the profile of players that move around, and we'll be able to get a good sense as to how much selective sampling we've really got.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:08 PM (#2664852)
This is why I don't think Mark Ellis is going anywhere. He may be the most underrated player in the game.

It only takes one other team to understand Ellis' value to make a trading partner. Surely there's more than one team that does.

True, but the good thing about Ellis being under the radar is that the A's should be able to resign him to a reasonable contract.

Like Swisher and Haren? :-)

I don't know if Ellis will be moved or not, but who thought Haren or especially Swisher were going to get moved? If Beane can find a "good" offer, there's not much reason to hold onto him. Even if he sticks around through 2011, hardly a guarantee he'll "be part of the next good A's team." Anyway, Beane's in a comfy position here -- even if he doesn't move or resign him, Ellis is the type of player there's really no risk in offering arbitration to. So it's unlikely Beane will "take whatever he can get" for him. (Granted, I don't know if Ellis projects as an A, B or what FA which would make a difference.)

The only downside to Ellis is age -- 32-34 is the Bermuda Triangle for 2B ... they enter but don't always come out the other side.
   17. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:14 PM (#2664858)
the Bermuda Triangle for 2B ... they enter but don't always come out


That's what happens when you try to get to 2b with an owner of Thigh-master
   18. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2008 at 11:19 PM (#2664865)
mlbtraderumors.com has Susan Slusser's take on blanton, ellis, street
   19. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:45 AM (#2665031)
What is the deal with Suzuki? He always seems to wind up with poor results in the more sophisticated defensive metrics, but he's far and away the fan favorite defender. The disjunction is almost worse than with Jeter in his (sub)prime.

I see Ichiro fairly often, and I have to say it looks like he gets to all the balls he should and then some. Any explanation for the results other than that he's deceptively sucky?
   20. Chris Dial Posted: January 10, 2008 at 02:49 AM (#2665037)
He's never scored well. He may be like AJones and catch an odd subset of BIP.
   21. AROM Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2665307)
I think I've mentioned a few times doing defensive ratings from the retrosheet files.

Its finally ready.
   22. Brian White Posted: January 10, 2008 at 03:57 PM (#2665313)
I see Ichiro fairly often, and I have to say it looks like he gets to all the balls he should and then some. Any explanation for the results other than that he's deceptively sucky?

Well, plus/minus has always rated Ichiro! well.
   23. Chris Dial Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:03 PM (#2665323)
Well, plus/minus has always rated Ichiro! well.

"Always"? He's about a +7 in 2007, I think. That's not much in 1400 innings.
   24. rfloh Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2665329)
#19

What #23 said. Plus minus and RZR rate Ichiro highly. Not so UZR and ZR.
   25. Chris Dial Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:13 PM (#2665337)
Ichiro was a +4 this season, not +7. That's some 20 plays behind the leaders.
   26. rfloh Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:15 PM (#2665340)
The only downside to Ellis is age -- 32-34 is the Bermuda Triangle for 2B ... they enter but don't always come out the other side.


I agree, but Ellis was a SS in college, playing 2b now due to a shoulder injury.
   27. AROM Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#2665365)
Aren't most 2B former shorstops at some point?
   28. Brian White Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:48 PM (#2665389)
"Always"? He's about a +7 in 2007, I think. That's not much in 1400 innings.

Well, he was +17 in RF the year before. I was more responding to the "He always seems to wind up with poor results in the more sophisticated defensive metrics" comment in post 19. His plus/minus rating isn't gold glove quality, but its a long ways from "poor".

I don't know how he rates in UZR. Does anyone have those numbers on hand?
   29. Chris Dial Posted: January 10, 2008 at 04:54 PM (#2665400)
Dang, AROM, where'd you get those run values in your article?
   30. rfloh Posted: January 10, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2665424)
Ellis also played SS in the minors. In fact, he was a SS in the minors.
   31. chris p Posted: January 10, 2008 at 05:13 PM (#2665433)
yaz #1 in LF and manny not being historically awful ... your system seems to be quite a bit nicer to fenway LFers than some of the others we've seen.
   32. AROM Posted: January 10, 2008 at 06:43 PM (#2665547)
Dang, AROM, where'd you get those run values in your article?


Sorry Chris, I wish I had put a link to your strangeglove article in there. The .75 is what I've used forever for middle infielders, very close to your values. I changed my corners after that article to .8, and my outfielders from .85 to .84.

Yaz - won 7 gold gloves. Considering that centerfielders usually win 2 and sometimes 3 of the awards, he must have really stood out. He ranks very well as a 1B too.
   33. Chris Dial Posted: January 10, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2665552)
Sorry Chris, I wish I had put a link to your strangeglove article in there. The .75 is what I've used forever for middle infielders, very close to your values. I changed my corners after that article to .8, and my outfielders from .85 to .84.

Oh. I thought maybe you had recalculated those from some other hit data.

According to Dewan, Manny is awful onthe road, so your Fenway PF may be too much.
   34. SG Posted: January 10, 2008 at 06:52 PM (#2665560)
I just did my Manny home/road ZR splits for 2007.

Home: .618, -25 DRS, -72/162 games
Road: .830, -4 DRS, -13/162 games

Average LF in Fenway was: .686, so Manny was far worse than any other LF at Fenway in 2007. It could be a sample size issue or a BIP distribution issue.
   35. AROM Posted: January 10, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#2665572)
Oh. I thought maybe you had recalculated those from some other hit data.


I might try that sometime, but I don't think it will change much. .75-.8-.84 is easy for me to remember, and I'm not worried if I'm off just a tiny bit from a more exact value.
   36. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 10, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2665577)
Ellis also played SS in the minors. In fact, he was a SS in the minors.
And a very good defensive one, at that - I didn't like his shifting to second at all.
   37. JoeArthur Posted: January 11, 2008 at 04:19 AM (#2665922)
SG/35 - I did a similar thing with ZR (just for Boston) in 2006 and had pretty similar splits:
Manny 2006 LF at fenway 96/156 .609
all other LF at Fenway 176/266 .662 (so .645 overall including Manny)
Manny 2006 LF on road 77/92 .837
all other LF not at Fenway 8753/10119 .865 (still .865 including Manny)

do you want to combine these with yours for 2 year totals?

Even though Fenway park dimensions essentially have not changed for decades, atmospherics may have changed, so I would be hesitant to argue that older years would also show park effects of this same magnitude (~25 plays, 200 points).
   38. SG Posted: January 11, 2008 at 02:50 PM (#2666080)
Joe, your work was actually a big part of the reason I recorded the data this year.

I'll be glad to add your numbers to mine to try and find a Fenway park-adjustment factor. I do agree that atmospherics are probably going to have an impact as well, but a few years of splits plus some regression may get us pretty close to a retroactive adjustment that makes logical sense.
   39. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 11, 2008 at 02:54 PM (#2666083)
Before you do too much with Fenway adjustments, first incorporate pitcher handedness. It should make a sizable difference in this case.
   40. Alex_Lewis Posted: January 11, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2666287)
I'm rather suspicious of a system that ranks Vlad as the second best rightfielder in the AL...
   41. tiger337 Posted: January 15, 2008 at 01:27 AM (#2668323)
Inspired by Chris and others, I converted all the systems - ZR, RZR, PMR, +/- (the ones that were available) to defensive runs saved per 150 games. I also took whatever UZR numbers were available. So every player had 3 to 5 values. I took the average value for each player. For the outfielders, I then added John Walsh's arm data to the outfielders. I'm posting all the results at http://www.detroittigertales.blogspot.com/

Some of my numbers come out a little higher because I prorate to 150 games. Plus, PMR and RZR have a little more variation than ZR.

Here are my AL Gold gloves:

1B. Kotchman
2B. Ellis
SS. McDonald
3B. Inge
LF. Crawford
CF. Granderson
RF. Rios
C. I haven't figured this out yet.

Lee
   42. pancakehead Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:30 AM (#2668402)
Tiger33 your catcher should be Pudge Rodriguez. If your data says different you know it is wrong
   43. Sparkles Peterson Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:41 AM (#2668415)
You aren't funny. Go away.
   44. tiger337 Posted: January 15, 2008 at 05:21 PM (#2668718)
Just based on observation of lots of Tigers games, Pudge's skills fell off considerably last year.
He does not appear to be a gold glove to me. The numbers seem to back up that observation.
   45. pancakehead Posted: January 15, 2008 at 11:15 PM (#2669058)
You aren't funny. Go away.


Your the one whos in love with Jim Edmonds. Your not funny and you dont know anything about sports SparklesPetrson.

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