Thursday, January 28, 2016
This team was phenomenal.
1. 1969-73 Baltimore Orioles. A pretty clear choice as the greatest defensive team of all time. If there was a Hall of Fame of Defense, Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Paul Blair would all be first-ballot inductees. When Bobby Grich replaced Davey Johnson at second, the defense got even better. There’s a reason Jim Palmer had a career .249 BABIP. In fact, he may owe his Hall of Fame career to the guys playing behind him.
Posted: January 28, 2016 at 06:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
6. 2013-2015 Kansas City Royals. Their +93 Defensive Runs Saved figure in 2013 is the second-highest of DRS era (behind only the +95 of the 2005 Phillies) and defense was obviously vital to their playoff runs in 2014 and 2015. Maybe they lack that one signature, historic defender, but they’ve solid across the board….
4. 2002 Anaheim Angels. They had a lot of excellent defensive ratings in this era with the 2002 World Series champs topping them off at plus-98 runs.Darin Erstad won a Gold Glove with an amazing year at plus-39 runs: He made 3.39 plays per game compared to the league average of 2.77. The rest of the team was above average across the board with no weak spots: Troy Glaus, David Eckstein, Garret Anderson, Adam Kennedy, Bengie Molina, Tim Salmon andScott Spiezio.
Posted: January 27, 2016 at 04:50 PM | 36 comment(s)
Monday, January 25, 2016
I look forward to when there is enough data to put a run value on each catch using StatCast data.
It’s not quite as big a gap, though Kiermaier still clearly covered more ground. The images line up well with the tracked numbers, which show that Kiermaier’s average distance covered of 58.5 feet on catches was well more than Pagan’s 51.2 or the average center fielder’s 53.8 feet.
Now, let’s be clear about what those images are showing and what they aren’t. Those dots are all catches, without concern for hang time or launch angle, and they don’t show missed balls. Ultimately, there’s an argument that since (in theory, anyway) many types of balls should be caught by literally every capable Major League outfielder, all that’s relevant is showing the extremes, the ones that a great fielder like Kiermaier can get to that lesser defenders cannot, and eliminating the rest. We need to show averages, and perhaps ranges of success. This is a very good first step, but just one of many.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Around the diamond, the Mets defenders rank somewhere between average and lousy relative to their positional peers; this is going to be a bad defensive team ... Rather than going for balance, the Mets have built a roster with two strengths and one big weakness; thankfully for them, their weakness is in the part of the game that matters the least.
Posted: January 23, 2016 at 09:48 PM | 142 comment(s)
Sunday, December 06, 2015
We are all the new Moneyball.
The bottom line: Despite all the talk about the Royals’ old-school, go-for-broke offense, Kansas City scored 724 runs this year, just 14 more than the AL average. And it’s scoring—not contact or aggressiveness or intangibles—that wins games. Even if we credit the Royals for smart or timely hitting (and we should—they scored 32 percent of their runners who reached base, the fourth-highest rate in MLB), their offense simply wasn’t championship level. Their pitching wasn’t so hot either. KC starters ranked 12th in the AL with a 4.32 FIP, a measure designed to separate pitching performance from defense and scaled to resemble ERA. As a staff, the Royals ranked sixth in the AL with a 4.04 FIP, behind teams such as the Indians, White Sox and Rays—none of whom won more than 81 games.
SO WITH ALL those decidedly average stats, exactly how did Kansas City win the World Series? By assembling undervalued players to form a devastating weapon: defense.
Monday, November 23, 2015
One area I have not seen quantified is the effect a good defense (such as that possessed by the Royals) might have when combined with a low-strikeout pitching staff. Would a good defensive team’s pitchers and defense record more outs and post lower ERAs than FIPs? Probably some, but also how much of difference would it actually make? I decided to perform a quick study to see if there was anything to my little theory.
Posted: November 23, 2015 at 01:36 PM | 1 comment(s)
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Occasionally, an outfielder will get a running head start, whether on a single or a sac fly, and throw a bullet to home plate, just like a pitcher, and it elicits a response. We can see with our eyes that the ball was thrown exceptionally hard, but we don’t see it on the radar gun, so these throws go unrecognized. You’ll hear about “pitchers who can throw 100,” but you never hear outfielders regarded in the same light. The pitchers who can throw 100 have their own exclusive, little clubs. Some can do it, but most just can’t. Outfielders are the same way, just without the club.
This season, there were 24 pitchers who threw a pitch that registered in the triple digits. There were 15 outfielders.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
“Congratulations to the nine outstanding Minor League Baseball players who deservedly won the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Award,” said Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of baseball for St. Louis-based Rawlings. “Minor League Baseball is and will always continue to be a great partner of Rawlings, and we knew the Rawlings Gold Glove Award would be a popular goal for many young players when we decided to rekindle this award platform in 2011.”
Posted: September 29, 2015 at 07:11 AM | 2 comment(s)
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Buster Posey must have grown up watching Blues Clues.
Monday, September 07, 2015
Interesting stuff.The BIS defensive stuff cannot compare to defensive analysis generated by the FIELDf/x (or whatever they are calling it) stuff. I wish this data was more readily available to public analysts.
I think the most important thing to take away from this discussion is that there can be a fairly large difference between team infield UZR which uses every GB, and the total of the individual UZR’s which uses only those plays in which no shift was relevant to the outcome of the play. As well, the more shifts employed by a team, the less we should trust that the total of the individual performances are representative of the entire team’s defense on the infield. I am also going to see if Fangraphs can start publishing team UZR for infielders and for outfielders, although in the outfield, the numbers should be similar if not the same.
Posted: September 07, 2015 at 08:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
Matt Harvey, Scott Boras, and Dr. James Andrews were unavailable for comment.
But some advanced defensive metrics rate Trout as average, in part because he doesn’t always get the best jumps or run the most efficient routes, an assertion that baffles and bothers Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.
“We have overhead [cameras] that read jumps, and he’s off incredibly quick,” Scioscia said. “From a scouting perspective, there’s no question this guy is one of the best center fielders in our game. The ground he covers is unbelievable.”
I will take eight more “average fielder’s” like Trout in a starting line up any day of the week. Screw the metrics, we get too carried away with numbers. What numbers can’t calculate is the hustle and heart of a player. Trout will run through or go over a wall to make a…
According to Fangraphs, Trout entered Sunday with 3.0 defensive runs saved, 10th among 22 qualifying major league center fielders. His ultimate zone rating of -1.2 and overall defensive rating of 0.7 ranked 13th.
UZR quantifies how many runs a player saved or gave up through his fielding prowess. The overall rating measures a player’s defensive value relative to league average.
“The whole notion of using technology to quantify what we see is really good … but I want to know what the technology is, and if it’s accurate, what’s going on?” said Scioscia, who is skeptical of newer defensive statistics.
“I can show you our overhead of that catch [Saturday] night. The ball is just coming out of his swing, and you see Mike cross over [for his first step]. You can’t tell me he gets bad jumps.”
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
I say Kiermaier’s catch was just a little better.
Friday, August 14, 2015
I thought the Pirates defense was good because of all the shifting that they do. :/
And hey, does that mean defense is no longer optional?
I felt compelled to ask Hurdle one-on-one afterward: Could he find a way to help this awful defense by essentially playing chess all night?
“I think there are things a manager can do, sure,” he answered. “Things obviously will get clearer when J-Hay and Jordy get back, so that’ll make a difference in that regard. But yeah, I’ll do what I have to do. We’ve got to make plays out there. It’s been 20 games now where we haven’t played good baseball. That’s got to change. And I’ll be part of that.”
It’s no tourniquet, but it beats a Band-Aid.
Posted: August 14, 2015 at 08:15 AM | 11 comment(s)
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Mention his improved standing in the controversial area of pitch framing, and Kurt Suzuki all but rolls his eyes.
It’s not just because the Twins’ beleaguered pitching staff has spent the past two weeks reversing the gains of the season’s first four months.
“I still think that thing is false,” said Suzuki, the Twins’ all-star catcher.
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