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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The 2007 Calphalon Awards - Infielders

After seeing who the best fielders were, everyone wants to know who can’t field.  I mean who stands out in the field with skillets instead of gloves.  I am going to skip the part where I say Manny Ramirez was the worst fielder EVAR!1!11 because of the effects of the Green Monster.

So which players better hit a lot because they are playing with a frying pan for a glove?  Let the razzing begin, “Lewww- Zerrrrs!”

When these runs are referenced, they are based on the specific player’s playing time.  So a part time player that generates a negative defensive runs saved (DRS) mark may have generated a much worse mark, or come back toward average,  with more playing time.  However, sample sizes matter, so players with 300 innings may score well or poorly, but that could mean a fortunate, or unfortunate, array of chances.

First Base

You’d think it would be difficult to bad that bad at first base – I mean, you have the fewest chances to screw up in a general fielding sense, and you have the biggest glove.  Somehow, these guys managed to play quite poorly.

In the American League, there were 79 men that played first base.  Three managed to be more than five runs from average.  That means, for those that hate math, 76 first basemen saved somewhere between 5 runs and –5 runs.  We already know Casey Kotchman saved twelve runs and Sean Casey saved seven.  I feel a little bad for mentioning Carlos Pena, who was the only –5 DRS player.  The next lowest was –3 DRS.  I feel bad because Pena wasn’t close to Richie Sexson, who posted a truly terrible –12 DRS.  That’s terrible at first base.  Why wasn’t he the DH?

The National League had the courtesy of going with “big lumbering guys, possibly out of shape”.  If you had the guess the worst three fielders based on that, you wouldn’t struggle.  The third runner-up was Prince “I’m a hitter; Not a” Fielder with –8 DRS.  Next was Ryan Howard with –9 DRS.  Both Fielder and Howard played about 400 more innings than the guy in last – Dmitri Young.  Take note, all three of these guys can rake, or they wouldn’t be on the field much longer.  Young had a –10 DRS, but he generated that in just 885 innings.  In the same innings that Fielder played, Young could have pushed that up to –15.  He’s not a good fielder.

Second Base

The keystone sack is rarely burdened with someone who is just terrible.  It’s too costly to have someone playing second base that can’t pick up the ball or turn a double play.  The range of defensive skill isn’t broad. 

In the AL, again, just five players ventured outside of +/- 5 runs.  The two on the negative end played few innings, but they played them very poorly.  In order to cost your team more than a couple of runs over a short span means you didn’t field anything.  Danny Richar of the White Sox posted a –6 in just 500 innings and yet he was “bested” by Ty Wigginton at –7 DRS in only 300 innings.  If Wigginton had continued that horrid pace for a full season, which he wouldn’t, he’d be about –30 runs.  Of starters, Mark Grudzielanek was the worst at –4 DRS.  That’s pretty close to average, but it would appear Grudz’ age is catching up to him.

The NL didn’t have the same tightness of data.  They have the best fielding second baseman in baseball with Chase Utley, and conversely, the two worst fielding second basemen in baseball.  Dan Uggla wasn’t a good fielder when he came up in 2006 (-4 DRS), and he got a lot worse in 2007, with a –16 DRS.  He was ugly, but not the worst.  The Skillet Award at second base winner posted –17 DRS in 2005, -9 DRS in 2006 and –17 DRS again in 2007.  I’m going with: “shouldn’t be playing second base”.  You ask for a player who cannot catch – I give you Rickie Weeks.

Third Base

Well, it sometimes gets so ugly as to not be believable.  The American League had three guys fielding with saucepans, and the worst was Toronto’s Russ Adams. What?  He only played third base for 123 innings.  Yes, and he had 23 GBs hit to him.  And he fielded 11.  That’s Michael Barrett bad.  That’s good for a –8 DRS.  It’s an amazingly poor performance.  Really, Josh “Doesn’t” Fields of the White Sox had a fractionally worse score but still –8 in 690 IP.  The Twins Brian “Plays like a” Buscher also posted a –8 in 243 IP.  For full-time players, Casey Blake was a –6 DRS, which is fourth in the league.

There’s no secret in the NL for the biggest (pun intended) bad third baseman in the league.  The former Marlin Miguel Cabrera is just not a good fielder scoring a -19 DRS.  I hope the Tigers don’t drop Brandon Inge to play Cabrera at third.  Of course, Miggy coming into his prime, and moving to the AL, can outhit Inge by 40-50 runs.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Ryan Braun’s butcher-ness out there.  He finished third at –15 DRS just behind Garrett Atkins at –15 (fractions and all).  Braun, if he plays a full season, will take Miggy’s crown, and it looks like he’ll wear it proudly.

Shortstop

See if you can guess whom the worst fielding AL shortstop was?  Here’s a hint: his number will be retired.  Yes, Derek Jeter regained his slot as the worst fielding shortstop in the majors this year.  It was bad too: -21 DRS.  Okay, Jeter is good at pop-ups, but this rating was further from the second worst than all but three players (including Jeter) were from average.  Did that make any sense?  There were about 60 SS in the AL last year, and only Jeter, Brendan Harris in Tampa Bay (-13 DRS), Jhonny Peralta in Cleveland (-11 DRS) and the two good shortstops, McDonald and Crosby, weren’t within eight runs of average.  Now, to be fair to Jeter, if Harris had played as many innings as Jeter had, he would have a worse mark (-22 DRS).  So there’s that.

The Marlins’ DER was terrible.  And they get to pick up another award!  Hanley Ramirez, come on down and get your frying pan!  Ramirez was simply terrible with –16 DRS.  He was terrible in 2006 (-17 DRS).  Hopefully, the Fish are considering him for third base (or something).  Coming in second was Milwaukee’s J.J. Hardy at –12. 

Catcher

It’s tough to be truly awful at catcher, but it can be done.  The AL didn’t have a singular really bad catcher, but Greg Zaun and Jason Phillips split time in Toronto and each posted a –6 DRS.  That’s –12 DRS from those two in 1200 innings.  Hmm, somebody was making up for all that good defensive play.  They can share the award, or just cook the Toronto pitchers breakfast every day.

The NL had a godawful catcher – Josh Bard and his 121 SBs allowed while catching ten runners.  He managed –14 DRS in his 927 innings.  Bard should be moved.  The collection of Cub/Padre catchers, the Cadre of catchers, including Rob Bowen, Michael Barrett, Jason Kendall and Bard caught 2400 innings and were -31 DRS.  That’s just abominable.  If you can’t catch, at least hit, gentlemen!

I am sure some of you were paying attention – the Brewers infield posted a total on -52 DRS from these guys.  I wonder where those wins went with all that hitting?  The Marlins were just as guilty, although first baseman Mike Jacobs was just average (-2 DRS).  Their starting infielders dragged it in at -53 DRS.  And that was with a decent 1B.

Calphalon Awards:

Pos   AL       NL
1B  Sexson  Young
2B  Grudz   Weeks
3B  Blake   Cabrera
SS  Jeter    Ramirez
C    Zaun   Bard

The outfields and some team summaries coming up next!

 

 

Chris Dial Posted: January 17, 2008 at 03:53 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. booond Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#2670345)
Chris,

Does anyone look at "park effects" for fielders. How one player does on the home vs. the road? I've seen it for Manny Ramirez to defend his fielding due to Fenway's wall but haven't seen it for others. Is there a large discrepancy for different infields?
   2. Chris Dial Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#2670346)
I am sure MGL does adjust, but I would be afraid of that without a huge amount of data.
   3. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2670355)
It'd be interesting to see a compliation video of all of Russ Adams's chances.
   4. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:39 PM (#2670363)
Unsurprisingly, these listings sync up pretty well with other stats and reputation.

On visual inspection (not that I trust my eyes) - Carlos Pena is solid and his rep is good (made BA's tools survey for the best defensive first basemen in the league - surprising given his lack of tenure). Wonder why his stats have never matched the rep (which, admittedly, is not as strong as it once was)?
Wiggy is funny, in that his numbers at second have historically been a lot better than you would expect given his tools and play at third. "He was due..."
Bard's SB numbers are, of course, impacted by the Padres' complete inability to hold runners. Not that he's very good (at all) - but he might be better than Jason Phillips.
   5. Ennder Posted: January 17, 2008 at 04:53 PM (#2670380)
I'm kind of surprised that Hardy came out as the 2nd worst SS in the NL. Other sources list him anywhere from above average to below average and seem to disagree on how much his positive OOZ offsets the negative in zone value.
   6. Mike Green Posted: January 17, 2008 at 05:09 PM (#2670388)
Russ Adams at third base was a predictable disaster. The man was moved from shortstop to second base because he didn't have the arm. After a year and a half at second base in the minor leagues, he is brought up to play third.

The Adams' DRS figure is completely consistent with what we observed here. And as for Jason Phillips, -6 DRS is probably too kind. He definitely deserves the award over Zaun for his equal suckitude over fewer chances.
   7. KJOK Posted: January 17, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#2670395)
Seeing where he is now defensively, it always amazes me to think about Dmitri Young being drafted as a SS....
   8. 1k5v3L Posted: January 17, 2008 at 05:26 PM (#2670402)
So the Marlins (Jacobs, Uggla, Ramirez, Cabrera) and Brewers (Fielder, Weeks, Hardy, Braun) had by far the two worst defensive infields in the National League. And I happened to have Capuano, Bush and Willis (and even Vanden Hurk) in my NL only league. At least I wisened up and benched all of them halfway through the season--but they damage they did to my ERA/WHIP took a long time to overcome. Still, won my league.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 17, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#2670522)
positive ooze? ewwww.

I just want to point out again, because I think it's about the funniest thing ever, that our good friends at BPro have Miguel Cabrera rated at 5 runs ABOVE average for 2007. And it's no fluke as he was +4 in 2006.
   10. plim Posted: January 17, 2008 at 07:50 PM (#2670528)
1. booond Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:23 AM (#2670345)

Chris,

Does anyone look at "park effects" for fielders.


Last time I checked, every infield was the same size and there are no walls strutting into STATS zones on the infield.

but there is that "landing strip" between the mound and home plate at the BOB. maybe that affects odog and stephen drew's ability to get to ground balls?

but seriously...the only infield park effect i can think of would be grass maintenance. edgar renteria used to complain that fenway was the worst kept infield. ironically, renteria had a higher RF in fenway than his 2 years in atlanta, and his ZR (.811) was inline with his atlanta numbers too (.816, .810). his errors were significantly down though (30 to 13/11). but yeah...unless someone else has a brown thumb, what kind of park effect can infielders have?

or does stats also incorrectly report foul territory zones as in play when they're in the stands?

9. kevin Posted: January 17, 2008 at 11:42 AM (#2670413)

So much for wanting to get Bard back as a back-up.


again?!
   11. Dizzypaco Posted: January 17, 2008 at 07:56 PM (#2670531)
Chris,

A question for you. Tampa Bay's DER last year was truly awful - the worst in the AL by a mile, despite having Carl Crawford in left field. I know Harris and Pena didn't rate well, but do the cumulative total of the individual fielder's stats on Tampa Bay match the awfulness of the team DER?
   12. Chris Dial Posted: January 17, 2008 at 08:25 PM (#2670551)
that our good friends at BPro have Miguel Cabrera rated at 5 runs ABOVE average for 2007. And it's no fluke as he was +4 in 2006.

That's only surpassed in it's flawedness by Chipper Jones' career rating. Just throw that measure out.
   13. Chris Dial Posted: January 17, 2008 at 08:26 PM (#2670552)
A question for you. Tampa Bay's DER last year was truly awful - the worst in the AL by a mile, despite having Carl Crawford in left field. I know Harris and Pena didn't rate well, but do the cumulative total of the individual fielder's stats on Tampa Bay match the awfulness of the team DER?

I'm kind of the idea guy one this one. When LWZRs don't match DER, it is a BIP distribution issue, which puts the brunt of the blame on the pitchers.

I'll check on the other fielders. Wigginton was bad.
   14. Marcel Posted: January 17, 2008 at 08:27 PM (#2670553)
Wasn't Carlos Pena considered to be pretty good defensively at one point? What happened there?
   15. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 17, 2008 at 09:13 PM (#2670584)
1st base: Pena (-5), Wigginton (-2)
2nd base: Upton (-5), Harris (-2), Wigginton (-7)
3rd base: Iwamura (0), Wigginton (-1)
Shortstop: Harris (-13), Wilson (-7), Zobrist (-4)
Left field: Crawford (17), Gomes (-3)
Center field: Upton (-4), Dukes (-6), Young (-5), Baldelli (2)
Right field: Young (2), Gomes (-1)

Other systems have Iwamura as below average which is just dead wrong, anyone who watched him can tell you that he was well excellent. Pena looked fine to me as well, not spectacular, but no worse than average; he was also very good at handling poor throws. This is just a random guess but could bad pitching, resulting in more hard hit balls, affect the corners more because they have less time to react? The middle infield was really lousy all season but the corner play never seemed to be a problem when Pena and Iwamura were there.

Upton had a grand total of one game of experience in the outfield before this year (he started a game in LF in 2004 because injuries had the lineup kinda screwy) so he was learning on the job, he looked much better as the season went on. Dukes and Young were truly awful in center though, that -11 came in just 575 innings and they actually looked worse than that.

The pitching has to get some blame though, there were plenty of pitchers who were just getting knocked around all the time and giving up hard-hit balls that no fielder had a chance at getting.
   16. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: January 17, 2008 at 09:36 PM (#2670605)
Wilson's -7 is in 417 innings, which I guess puts him on pace to be in Jeter's range in a full season. Jeter ain't good but the few times I saw Wilson I was appalled. He was truly horrendous.
   17. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 17, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#2670617)
is just a random guess but could bad pitching, resulting in more hard hit balls, affect the corners more because they have less time to react?

Is there a way to isolate DER for the various pitchers? How would Kazmir and Shields compare to the rest of the group?
   18. Sabradix Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:16 PM (#2670641)
...he had 23 GBs hit to him. And he fielded 11.


Cloud coverage on J.P.'s vision of Adams being a future super-sub maybe.
   19. villageidiom Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:43 PM (#2670671)
edgar renteria used to complain that fenway was the worst kept infield. ironically, renteria had a higher RF in fenway than his 2 years in atlanta, and his ZR (.811) was inline with his atlanta numbers too (.816, .810). his errors were significantly down though (30 to 13/11). but yeah...unless someone else has a brown thumb, what kind of park effect can infielders have?

For that one year, Renteria played in a park where the infield was closely situated to fans who show up, pay attention, and boo bad performance. ;-)

That said, there have been many complaints for many years about the Fenway infield maintenance. They did completely replace the playing field just prior to Renteria's arrival, for what it's worth.

Sox infielders' errors for 2004-05, from players who played the position in both years:

pos  player 2004 E/GS  2005 E/GS
3B   Mueller 14
/94   10/140
3B   Youkilis 5
/54 0/14

2B   Bellhorn   11
/118   6/82

1B   Millar   6
/66 7/102
1B   Ortiz 4
/31 2/10 


Or by position, regardless of player:

pos   2004 E 2005 E
1B  17  11
2B  15  14
SS  24  32
3B  22  13

ALL 78  70
xSS 54  38 


I suppose it could be that some of the improvement in other infield positions could be the official scorer; some could be returning players' familiarity; some could be that the improvements "took" differently by position; some could be road effects (the above are home+road); and some could be the distribution of BIP. I suspect, though, that a lot of it was Renteria.

I'd add the 2006 numbers, but once you add Lowell and Gonzalez (and drop Millar) it's sick. The four positions combined for 41 errors. In 2007, 51 errors.
   20. pancakehead Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#2670673)
What is the reasoning for leaving off pitchers? Did you forget or do they not count in your world of stats? Pitchers play in the infield and field also so you should name the two worst fielding pitchers.
   21. villageidiom Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#2670674)
Too bad we can't edit posts in Dialed In. Otherwise I'd straighten out those tables.
   22. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 17, 2008 at 10:47 PM (#2670677)
Wasn't Carlos Pena considered to be pretty good defensively at one point?
I'm treading on one of my prior comments, but...
His rep was: plus range, but a little inconsistent - good at scooping bad throws. This measure would not measure that last bit (don't know how TB TE for 2B/3B/SS differ from expectations), but would capture the first two. FWIW, he's never posted great zone rating type numbers, in any system. In BA's tools survey, he finished 2nd among AL 1B, between Teixeira and Kotchman. Granted, the same poll placed Jeter 1st at short, but most of the ratings there are reasonablish.
   23. Dizzypaco Posted: January 17, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2670696)
Is there a way to isolate DER for the various pitchers? How would Kazmir and Shields compare to the rest of the group?

One thing you could easily look at is BABIP for each pitcher. The league BABIP was .304. The BABIP against the Rays was .334, which is staggeringly bad. I looked at the BABIP for every pitcher who threw more than 35 innings:'
Kazmir: .337
Jackson: .344
Shields: .288
Sonnanstine: .328
Hammel: .333
Howell: .379
Seo: .388
Reyes: .245
Glover: .310
Stokes: .361
Camp: .434(!)
Salas: .259
Fossum: .360

Those are some amazing numbers - five pitchers worse than .360, and nine at .328 or worse. Kazmir's BABIP was terrible, although Shields was not. I personally believe that while some responsibility lies with the pitchers, the defense was really bad, which has somehow not been fully captured by the PBP defensive stats, although of course I don't have definitive proof.
   24. SG Posted: January 17, 2008 at 11:41 PM (#2670717)
the defense was really bad, which has somehow not been fully captured by the PBP defensive stats, although of course I don't have definitive proof.

Here's the plays made above/below average by postion for Tampa as a team by Zone Rating in 2007.

1B : -11
2B : -19
3B : -3
CF : -16
LF : 17
RF : 0
SS : -30
Total : -62
   25. Sparkles Peterson Posted: January 17, 2008 at 11:57 PM (#2670726)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Tampa Bay pitchers had 4379 balls put into play against them, so that number should be more than twice as negative to account for that BABIP .030 off the league average, right?
   26. tiger337 Posted: January 18, 2008 at 12:00 AM (#2670730)
Carlos Pena looks like a good defender to me as well. Statistically, he is above average on three systems - RZR, PMR and fielding bible +/-. Taking the average of the 5 systems (the others being ZR, UZR) his DSR comes out to +2. He is one of those players that the BIS systems like and the STATS systems don't. He also did well on the Fan Fielding Survey.
   27. SG Posted: January 18, 2008 at 12:19 AM (#2670744)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Tampa Bay pitchers had 4379 balls put into play against them, so that number should be more than twice as negative to account for that BABIP .030 off the league average, right?


Of those 4379 BIP, only 2954 were defined as fieldable by STATS (converted into an out at least 50% of the time by other fielders). The Rays converted 2337 of 2954 fieldable chances into outs, an average team would have converted 2399. I'd assume the difference is in unfieldable BIP, for which blame should be placed on the pitching staff.

That's part of the reason I'm not wild about using defensive efficiency to assess a team's defense. The pitching staff deserves some of the "credit" on BIP.
   28. Marcel Posted: January 18, 2008 at 12:21 AM (#2670746)
Component ERAs vs Actual ERAs last year

Kazmir 3.97 vs 3.48
Shield 3.24 vs 3.85
Sonnanstine 4.62 vs 5.85
Jackson 5.84 vs 5.64

Kazmirs ERC took a hit because of his high walk totals in the first half. Looking at Shields, the defense didn't seem to hurt him too badly, but he's also a good strikeout and control guy. I think Sonnanstine is a much better example of how much TB's defense hurt them, especially when you consider all the starts that went to similiar low-strikout pitchers like Howell and Hammel.
   29. Chris Dial Posted: January 18, 2008 at 12:36 AM (#2670756)
I'd assume the difference is in unfieldable BIP, for which blame should be placed on the pitching staff.

SG nails it right here. This is one of the problems with doing historical defense.
   30. jim in providence Posted: January 18, 2008 at 01:19 AM (#2670799)
There seems to be a minus sign missing from Jeter's DRS figure. Also, could you at least let the cruddy fielders field All-Clad pans?
   31. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: January 18, 2008 at 01:58 AM (#2670819)
Normally if a pitching staff was significantly to blame for a low team DER, you would expect to see high line drive rates or low popup rates. Tampa's pitching staff was precisely average in these respects last year, according to THT.
   32. booond Posted: January 18, 2008 at 02:55 AM (#2670859)
Last time I checked, every infield was the same size and there are no walls strutting into STATS zones on the infield.


My question about differences in infields and taking that into account was for the way the infield was maintained. It may or may not make a large difference but if the infield is slower or faster it would seem to make a difference as to how many balls the infield would reach.
   33. Chris Dial Posted: January 18, 2008 at 03:19 AM (#2670880)
Normally if a pitching staff was significantly to blame for a low team DER, you would expect to see high line drive rates or low popup rates. Tampa's pitching staff was precisely average in these respects last year, according to THT

The trick to what SG posted is whether or not the percentage of Balls In Zone (BIZ) to Balls In Play (BIP) (2954/4379) approaches average. I don't think it necessarily means an uneven distribution wrt anything else. It's *where*, not how.
   34. Ennder Posted: January 18, 2008 at 03:41 AM (#2670895)
My question about differences in infields and taking that into account was for the way the infield was maintained. It may or may not make a large difference but if the infield is slower or faster it would seem to make a difference as to how many balls the infield would reach.


An example would be Colorado which many say has the slowest infield in baseball. As part of their attempts to make it less hitter friendly they have grown the grass extra long to slow down balls on the infield. This could make Tulo look better than he was and make Atkins even worse than his stats as amazing as that is!

I'm sure there is a good way to statistically show if this is true or not though.
   35. Tiboreau Posted: January 18, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2670907)
The Marlins’ DER was terrible. And they get to pick up another award! Hanley Ramirez, come on down and get your frying pan! Ramirez was simply terrible with –16 DRS. He was terrible in 2006 (-17 DRS). Hopefully, the Fish are considering him for third base (or something).

I've heard that Hanley Ramirez's weakness at SS is the same as Derek Jeter's: reaction time. If so, wouldn't CF be a better spot than 3B, mitigating Ramirez's flaws while playing toward his strengths? The Marlins need a CF anyways. . . .
   36. Tiboreau Posted: January 18, 2008 at 03:57 AM (#2670911)
I feel bad because Pena wasn’t close to Richie Sexson, who posted a truly terrible –12 DRS. That’s terrible at first base. Why wasn’t he the DH?

Sexson wasn't DH because they had someone at the position who would have been even worse at his original position than Sexson was at his: Jose Vidro. Between Vidro, Sexson, and Raul Ibañez the Mariners have 3 players who would be better classified as DH, but with only one DH spot they have to play Sexson and Ibañez somewhere.
   37. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 18, 2008 at 04:27 PM (#2671150)
What were Grudz's numbers in 2006 when he won the Gold Glove? Did he really fall off that much or was his GG undeserved? His defense looked fine to me in 2007, although maybe his range, which was never that great, slipped somewhat. I guess I have a hard time believing he was the worst. Isn't Iguchi pretty limited?
   38. Chris Dial Posted: January 18, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2671152)
He was a +6, I think. He dropped some, but I wouldn't call him too far from average in either season. As for "the worst", he was just -4 DRS. that's really close to average.
   39. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 18, 2008 at 04:37 PM (#2671157)
One thing you could easily look at is BABIP for each pitcher.

I'm an idiot.
   40. Mike Green Posted: January 18, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#2671166)
"The trick to what SG posted is whether or not the percentage of Balls In Zone (BIZ) to Balls In Play (BIP) (2954/4379) approaches average. I don't think it necessarily means an uneven distribution wrt anything else. It's *where*, not how."

Are we talking about lots of fly balls to the warning track, or ground balls in the hole or up the middle? If it is the latter, that would be luck or perhaps a tracking anomaly. With Bartlett and Iwamura as the likely DP combination this year, I am pretty sure that Tampa pitchers will be much "luckier" with the grounders finding their way into BIZ. The demarcation points of in/out zone for grounders are very, very tight.

I would have thought that the argument was that Tampa pitchers gave up harder hit balls (hence less hang time on fly balls, ground balls getting through faster) rather than facing more Wee Willie Keelers. But, the best way to check is the fly balls to the track.
   41. SG Posted: January 18, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#2671181)
An example would be Colorado which many say has the slowest infield in baseball.

Here's how the 2007 NL IF splits look by ZR.

<u>2007 splits - Colorado (all players)</u>
1B: .872 ZR
2B: .857 ZR
3B: .751 ZR
SS: .839 ZR

<u>2007 splits - non-Colorado (all players)</u>
1B: .852 ZR
2B: .801 ZR
3B: .776 ZR
SS: .829 ZR

SSS caveats apply as always.
   42. flournoy Posted: January 18, 2008 at 10:03 PM (#2671438)
Seeing where he is now defensively, it always amazes me to think about Dmitri Young being drafted as a SS....


Along with Matt Stairs and Gary Sheffield. In a few years, when Miguel Cabrera is a DH, we'll say that about him too.
   43. DCW3 Posted: January 18, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2671446)
Sexson wasn't DH because they had someone at the position who would have been even worse at his original position than Sexson was at his: Jose Vidro.

Maybe Vidro would have been worse at 2B than Sexson was at 1B, but I have trouble believing that Vidro would have been a worse first baseman than Sexson.
   44. Tiboreau Posted: January 18, 2008 at 11:23 PM (#2671508)
Maybe Vidro would have been worse at 2B than Sexson was at 1B, but I have trouble believing that Vidro would have been a worse first baseman than Sexson.

According to Geoff Baker, the Seattle Times columnist who covers the M's, Vidro is no longer healthy enought to play 1B regularly. Whether this is true, or whether the M's believe it is, I don't know.
   45. Chris Dial Posted: January 19, 2008 at 03:24 AM (#2671617)
Are we talking about lots of fly balls to the warning track, or ground balls in the hole or up the middle?

We are actually talking about line drives that don't carry to the OF zones (less than 220 feet) Balls that carry to the track are still in zones.

there could be a larger number of balls in the hole and up the middle.

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