Wednesday, May 11, 2016
The Pirates are always looking to improve.
Let’s run through a few possible explanations for why the Pirates may have mandated this shift. The first explanation is the easiest, and it might be all we really need: maybe the Pirates just thought McCutchen and the rest of the outfield was playing way too deep, regardless of particular circumstance. McCutchen was one of the most extremely positioned outfielders in the league, and any time a player is doing something that could be perceived as an outlier, it’s worth considering the motive for that behavior. Hurdle did mention that McCutchen is more comfortable coming in than going back, but evidently not so much to prevent a change.
But the more convincing explanations are those which consider the individuals at play. Like, for example, McCutchen’s never had the reputation of a strong-armed outfielder. Quite the opposite, in fact. Could be that putting McCutchen closer to the infield is a way to help mask his deficiencies with the arm. In 2014, according to data provided by Baseball Info Solutions, McCutchen had one of the worst throwing years by a center fielder on record. In 97 instances where a base-runner was deemed to have an opportunity to take an extra base on a ball hit to McCutchen, the runner did so 70 times. That 72% advancement rate was the second-worst on record by a center fielder, dating back to 2006. Only Denard Span‘s 75% advancement rate in 2009 was worse.
Friday, April 22, 2016
An early look at two top pitch framers.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
While the Blue Jays watch Tulowitzki’s work ethic so that he gets rid of throws strongly, quickly and accurately however he reaches them, so too, on the other side the Red Sox have come to marvel at the throwing of Travis Shaw.
Now, for a guy who was moved to first base for awhile, Shaw’s athleticism has surprised the coaches and the front office. “I know I am very impressive with his defense,” says Dave Dombrowski. “Travis gets rid of the ball very quickly,” says Brian Butterfield, “and he does so with arm strength and exceptional accuracy. He impressed all of us when he came up last year, but he’s better than we imagined. And his throwing is special.”
Posted: April 17, 2016 at 12:46 PM | 8 comment(s)
Friday, April 08, 2016
This is ridicules.
he warning tracks, however, that currently adorn every major league baseball field are essentially useless. (Did you see what happened to Matt Kemp on Tuesday night in Colorado? More on that in a moment.)
At Coors Field on Tuesday night, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp slammed into the wall, hurting his right knee and jaw.
We want to believe the warning track is this awesome alarm system that tells a speeding outfielder that the wall is coming up soon. But funny enough, there is no regulation size for a warning track—guess the 10-foot thing went out the window. In one stadium, you have enough room to rescue a beached whale on the track, but then you go to the next town on that same road trip and it may be too small for a guppie. So if you rely on standardization of safety features (which would make sense), you will be disappointed. Of course, if you get used to a larger track at home but find smaller ones on the road, you better get ready to call your dentist to get all green padding out of your teeth, because that one-foot shorter track is going to cost you your smile.
Posted: April 08, 2016 at 08:47 AM | 15 comment(s)
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
The latest Robothal.
Posted: March 31, 2016 at 02:29 PM | 2 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
For infielders, Jose Oquendo’s reach extends their grasp.
The Cardinals’ choreographer relies on his feel for the game, his read on the pitcher and increasingly detailed spray charts to direct each infielder where there is a high probability of a play. It’s his sense of positioning that the groundball-greedy Cardinals have come to rely on, and one of the reasons they feel confident converting infielders, even at a premium position like shortstop.
Our Brock Hanke has been touting Oquendo for years.
Friday, March 04, 2016
Sunday, February 07, 2016
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.
for his generous support.
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