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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dewan: Should Derek Jeter win his third consecutive Gold Glove?

“I got mine in blazing copper!”

Short answer: Are you kidding me?

Fact: Derek Jeter had the second worst plus/minus figure at shortstop in 2005 at -34.

Fact: Derek Jeter had the second worst plus/minus figure at shortstop in 2006 at -22.

Fact: Derek Jeter is tied for the worst plus/minus figure at shortstop thus far in 2007
at -34.

Fact: Virtually every other fielding metric shows similar results.

 

Repoz Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:24 PM | 102 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, yankees

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   1. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:39 PM (#2549703)
And for the 12th consecutive year his team is in the playoffs. I think there is a pretty good correlation there, whereas fielding stats correlate more with each other than winning games.

In any event, Jeter has a good chance for the GG again. There's no way a punk like McDonald or the other top guys on this list are going to get the votes IMO.

And, very few people take GG's seriously anymore.
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:46 PM (#2549705)
I thought ZR/UZR found Jeter's defense in 2005 to be reasonably averageish, and he wasn't a bad pick in a season when no one in the AL played much defense at shortstop.

This doesn't invalidate the larger point - that Jeter is now one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball, and the willed blindness of baseball commentators on this issue is depressing and comical in equal measure - but I figured I'd bring it up before one of the Yankee fans flips out.
   3. Darren Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:46 PM (#2549706)
And for the 12th consecutive year his team is in the playoffs. I think there is a pretty good correlation there, whereas fielding stats correlate more with each other than winning games.


The Red Sox won the AL East--let's give the MVP to Alex Cora.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2007 at 01:50 PM (#2549707)
And how about Omar Vizquel? +19 in his age 40 season. That's really rather remarkable. (He has a big lead in Zone Rating, as well.)
   5. Darren Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:06 PM (#2549714)
Tulowitzski is quite the player, eh? And that McDonald contract is looking pretty good right now too.
   6. BDC Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:16 PM (#2549719)
The dandy glove men all seem to be in the NL these days. The metrics (I'm looking at THT's fielding stats, which include a menu of different things) seem to indicate that Tony Pena should win the AL GG at shortstop, but he would be no better than third or fourth in the NL (not even including the mangled Adam Everett).

The other top AL candidates would be Michael Young -- whose numbers confirm my observation that he has worked his way up from dreadful to mediocre -- and Miguel Tejada. It is in fact a deep mystery to me why Tejada didn't win the GG in his MVP year '02 and then settle in as the incumbent. Instead AROD inherited the Glove from Vizquel and passed it along to Jeter.
   7. rsmith51 Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2549724)
Maybe if the MVP voters in '99 and '06 and Cy Young in '01 and '05 would have gotten the right player, I could get worked up about the GG. In Jeter's GG years, he hasn't been the most egregious choice, but still was an egregious choice in '06.

The fact that they didn't change the rules or fix the year that "DH" Palmeiro won a GG is really the problem. They should of selected 3 or 4 "finalists" at each position and voted on those. Jeter still might win, but at least players who were in the field < 120 games would be disqualified.
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:43 PM (#2549730)
Fact: Virtually every other fielding metric shows similar results.

Fact: That is not true. ZR had him as average in 05 and at -5 runs in 06.
   9. NetShrine Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:47 PM (#2549732)
So, Derek Jeter makes 34 fewer plays than the average player at shortstop. Derek Jeter averages about 155 games played per season. This means there is one play, at short, every 5 games (rounding up) that Derek Jeter fails to make that an average shortstop would handle.

What does that mean? Well, one study says that a batted ball out is worth -.299 of a run. So, if Jeter misses 34 plays a year, he's costing the Yankees around 10 runs a season with his play at short. Or, if you look at his games played per season, Jeter is costing the Yankees one run, with his glove, per every 16 games (rounding up) that he plays at short.

That doesn't seem like a lot of damage - does it?

But, again, this is compared to an "average" shortstop. If you compare Jeter to a Troy Tulowitzki type, then he's costing the Yankees around 20 runs per season - or one run, with his glove, per every 8 games (rounding up) that he plays at short.

What does this mean? Let's use pythagorean winning percentage for a test. The Yankees, to date, this season, have scored 938 runs and allowed 753 runs. That's a pythagorean winning percentage of .608.

Now, take away 20 runs (that Jeter allows compared to a great fielding SS) from that runs allowed total. This would give the Yankees a pythagorean winning percentage of .621.

The difference between the .621 and the .608, in terms of wins, over a 162-game season, is two wins.

Therefore, in the end, I would suggest that having Derek Jeter at short, compared to having a world-class fielding SS at that position, is costing, the Yankees two wins per season. (Keep in mind this is under the condition of the Yankees having a great offensive team.)

Without looking, I would bet that Jeter makes us those two wins, somewhere, with his bat.

Don't get me wrong here. My blood pressure goes up every time I hear "Past-a-diving Jeter" during a Yankees broadcast. And, when I hear it, the fanboy in me comes out and says "It's time to get someone with some range at short."

However, in the end, when you look at the numbers, it's really not like Jeter is hurting the Yankees with his glove - or, better said, he's not killing them with his glove. And, at this moment, it only makes sense to move Jeter off short if you had a replacement who fielded like Adam Everett and who could hit like Jeter.

So, unless you had a healthy Barry Larkin in his prime, you're not going to find someone who will help the Yankees more at short than what Derek Jeter is doing now...even with his defensive "shortcomings."
   10. philly Posted: September 29, 2007 at 02:50 PM (#2549734)
quote]Tulowitzski is quite the player, eh? And that McDonald contract is looking pretty good right now too.

That's a fantastic juxtaposition because the Jays could have taken Tulo in the draft, but went with polished pitcher Ricky Romero instead.

The McDonald contract looks less awful for Riccardi, but the decision to pass on Tulo, which was pretty wildly panned at the time, is looking increasingly awful.
   11. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:10 PM (#2549742)
Hmm, I understand 9, but I don't understand how it relates to GG.
   12. PJ Martinez Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:24 PM (#2549750)
"Maybe if the MVP voters in '99... would have gotten the right player, I could get worked up about the GG."

I know what you mean. Pedro was robbed.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:37 PM (#2549764)
Hmm, I understand 9, but I don't understand how it relates to GG.

That's because all Derek Jeter threads eventually wind up being indistinguishable from one another, and the nicely balanced critique that NetShrine wrote applies equally well to any of them, including this one.

And no, of course Jeter doesn't deserve a Gold Glove. Anyone who watches the Yanks on a regular basis and who isn't legally blind would know this. What of it?
   14. Jolly Old St. Overreacting Redneck Homophobe Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2549769)
jeter is pants
   15. AuntBea Posted: September 29, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2549772)
Jeter doesn't deserve the Gold Glove award. No, the Gold Glove award deserves Jeter. At his HOF induction ceremony they will officially rename the Gold Glove to the Derek Sanderson Jeter Award for Commitment and Excellence in the Field of Fielding.
   16. Paul D(uda) Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:01 PM (#2549785)

The McDonald contract looks less awful for Riccardi, but the decision to pass on Tulo, which was pretty wildly panned at the time, is looking increasingly awful.


I don't remember anyone panning the Jays for passing on Tulo, but rather, for passing on Maybin.
   17. JB H Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:14 PM (#2549794)
The issue is that Derek Jeter is the best shortstop in baseball. The first shortstop I would pick in all of baseball to play for my team this year or next year would be Derek Jeter (though I would have to consider putting A-Rod back at short as well). Jeter is great offensively and has tremendous leadership skills. But he is not one of the best defensively. The managers and coaches who vote for the Gold Gloves have a hard time separating the best defensive shortstop from the best shortstop.


why do these articles always say this

if jeter is really this bad defensively then he was a below average player this year
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2549797)
The first shortstop I would pick in all of baseball to play for my team this year or next year would be Derek Jeter (though I would have to consider putting A-Rod back at short as well).
Hanley Ramirez has the same fielding numbers by +/- and hit way, way better.
   19. Rich Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:34 PM (#2549802)
Give Jeter the GG, it's a meaningless award to anyone with a brain, but shift A-Rod to SS in 2008 (if he remains a Yankee, as I believe he will).
   20. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2549803)
18. Jeter will be an offensive monster next season, though. He basically hit .320 this season on one leg. I expect him to be back in the MVP mix for '08.
   21. Swedish Chef Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2549805)
Hanley Ramirez has the same fielding numbers by +/- and hit way, way better.


Hard to know how flukish this season was for him though.
   22. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2549808)
Fact: Virtually every other fielding metric shows similar results.

Fact: That is not true. ZR had him as average in 05 and at -5 runs in 06.


I guess it depends on what he means by "similar."

It's been very clear to me for about 20 years now that the primary determining factor in awarding gold gloves is inertia. On this basis, Jeter has an excellent chance to pick up another this year. The second most important criterion is offense. If Adam Everett could hit just a little bit, he'd be winning his third straight this year, even though he missed two thirds of the season.
   23. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:38 PM (#2549811)
In both of Jeter's "should be" MVP seasons there was a pitcher more deserving of the award than him. Of course both of those years he was also far more deserving than the players that actually won it.

NetShrine, your run values are way off. You can't just take the value of the out as your multiplier because you're ignoring the increased run expectancy that occurs with a man on base as well. It's closer to .75 runs per play.
   24. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2549812)
Hard to know how flukish this season was for him though.


He was very bad last year as well. Although I'd still say this season is flukish mainly because I don't believe someone truly that bad would ever get played regularly at SS.
   25. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 29, 2007 at 04:50 PM (#2549818)
at this moment, it only makes sense to move Jeter off short if you had a replacement who fielded like Adam Everett and who could hit like Jeter

How well Jeter's replacement would have to hit has nothing to do with Jeter's bat and everything to do with the bat that Jeter would replace at a different position. If Jeter's moving to RF, the Yanks had better find a slick-fielding SS who hits like Bobby Abreu. If he's moving to first base... well, the Yankees did not get a whole lot of offense out of 1B in 2007, so if Jeter could be a good defensive 1B, a slick-fielding SS who hit like Melky Cabrera would probably do quite nicely.
   26. BDC Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2549848)
a replacement who fielded like Adam Everett and who could hit like Jeter

Has there ever been a shortstop with those credentials? Honus Wagner, on balance. Maybe Joe Sewell for a year or two. Luke Appling in his youth? Tony Fernandez (1987 only)? If such a hybrid were the only guy who could drive a good-hit/no-field SS off of short, very few shortstops would ever move.
   27. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2549853)
The main issue with fielding metrics is simple: We simply don't know how to estimate the performance of any other shortstop given Jeter's specific set of opportunities and the way that the Yankees position their defense. And until we figure out a way to model expected positioning based on team-specific BIP distributions, and develop team-specific expectations for each defensive position based on the BIP distribution against that team, we're not going to move off dead center in this argument.

-- MWE
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2549854)
Just wondering how much credibility people give to Baseball Prospectus's system, which shows Jeter at comfortably above average in 2005 and 2006 and slightly below average this year.
   29. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2549866)
Just wondering how much credibility people give to Baseball Prospectus's system


Not much. Like most non-PBP systems, it doesn't do a very good job adjusting for opportunity.

-- MWE
   30. H_Vaughn08 Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:32 PM (#2549888)
People say Arod can't possibly move back to SS due to his poor metrics at 3B the last few years. Yet he moved off short at a time when he was generally thought to be better than Jeter. Given that he's only a year older than Jeter, why couldn't he move back to SS, if he moves to another team, and supply adequate defense?
   31. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2549891)
Instant runoff voting for Golden Gloves elections!
   32. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2549909)
Given that he's only a year older than Jeter, why couldn't he move back to SS, if he moves to another team, and supply adequate defense?

1) Rodriguez is 13 months younger than Jeter, not older.

2) Changing positions is harder than most fans seem to think, even if you're moving to the right on the defensive spectrum. Third base is not an easier version of shortstop, it's a fundamentally different thing. There's always going to be a learning curve. Similarly, playing shortstop is not like riding a bicycle; there's a forgetting curve, too.

3) Moving a player to a more demanding defensive position is always going to be a risk, even if it's to a position that he's played before.
   33. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 29, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2549930)
Taking into account age and defense, if I had to pick one SS for next year it would probably be Reyes, Ramirez or Rollins. Jeter is certainly in the top 5, but it's far from clear that he's the best SS in baseball.
   34. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 29, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2549932)
I think the problem with A-Rod at 3B is that he's horrible at charging grounders. He still has very good lateral range and I think would still be at least an average defensive SS.

I kind of wonder if Jeter would be good at 3B. He has horrible reaction times, but would at least have less ground to cover. To my eyes he's very good at charging balls as well.
   35. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 29, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2549934)
Given that he's only a year older than Jeter, why couldn't he move back to SS, if he moves to another team, and supply adequate defense?


In addition to what Ignoratio said, I'd add that ARod has bulked up some since moving to 3B, and I don't think he'd be able to recondition his body to regain the lateral range necessary for SS.

-- MWE
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 29, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2549958)
Jeter does some things well in the field that aren't captured by the various fielding metrics. He's good on relay throws, and given the weak-armed outfields the Yankees deployed during most of Jeter's career, that's not insignificant. He's also much better on balls in the air. Not many drop in between the 3rd base stands and the area behind 2nd base. Unclear to what degree that's attributable to Jeter getting a better jump on balls in the air or his speed allowing him to compensate more on balls in the air than grounders, but it seems apparent if you watch enough Yankee games. I doubt this skill set would have been enough to dislodge a legitmate Gold Glove SS, but it does seem to have made an impression on the post-Vizquel AL GG voters in the absence of consensus alternative.
   37. Srul Itza Posted: September 29, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2549961)
Should Derek Jeter win his third consecutive Gold Glove?


But Jeter won Gold Gloves in 2005 and 2006. And he’ll probably win again this year.


What am I missing here? Why wouldn't this be the fourth glove? Did he not win in 2004? Is BB-Ref wrong? Did they rescind the award?

Or is there some joke here that I'm just not getting?
   38. Neil M Posted: September 29, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2549978)
if I had to pick one SS for next year it would probably be Reyes, Ramirez or Rollins

'Probably' one of three. That's definitive.
   39. rawagman Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2550020)
Without a doubt in my mind, John McDonald is deserving of the AL Gold Glove for shortstops. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll win it because a)he plays up in Toronto and b) he is a poor hitter.
   40. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2550023)
'Probably' one of three. That's definitive.

Do you want a blood oath or something?
   41. Vogon Poet Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2550032)
What does that mean? Well, one study says that a batted ball out is worth -.299 of a run. So, if Jeter misses 34 plays a year, he's costing the Yankees around 10 runs a season with his play at short.


You also have to figure in the half a run that the single is worth, so it's more like 0.8 runs per play. So if Jeter is -35 plays as Dewan says, then he's costing the Yankees 28 runs a year versus average.

Explanation here. Scroll to the bottom.
   42. BDC Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2550038)
McDonald has played only 102 games at shortstop this year, another factor.
   43. Darren Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2550051)
What does that mean? Well, one study says that a batted ball out is worth -.299 of a run. So, if Jeter misses 34 plays a year, he's costing the Yankees around 10 runs a season with his play at short.


You're forgetting the outs and the context of where the balls are hit. Look at Dial's #s in his Dr. Strangeglove article.
   44. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 29, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2550122)
it's more like 0.8 runs per play

How often do these run values get updated? I know I'm probably missing something obvious here, but just eyeballing this year's AL hitting stats, it looks like only about 1/3 of non-HR baserunners score. Now some of those baserunners are walks and HBPs, but some of them are doubles and triples, too. So intuitively, it would seem that a ground ball single can't possibly be worth 3/4 of a run.
   45. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 29, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2550164)
How often do these run values get updated? I know I'm probably missing something obvious here, but just eyeballing this year's AL hitting stats, it looks like only about 1/3 of non-HR baserunners score. Now some of those baserunners are walks and HBPs, but some of them are doubles and triples, too. So intuitively, it would seem that a ground ball single can't possibly be worth 3/4 of a run.


There are two components to a missed ball. First, the actual ball in question becomes a single - which has a cost of around 0.45 runs. So you're right, a ground ball single is worth maybe 0.45 runs, not 0.75.

But because that ball went for a single (or an error), the team also gets one extra plate appearance. That's where the value of the out comes into play, which is about 0.3 runs.

Add them together and you get that a missed ball-in-play costs you about 0.75 runs. I don't know how accurate the 0.45 and 0.3 numbers are for the 2007 American League, but that's the logic of how you get a missed play being worth 3/4 of a run.
   46. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: September 29, 2007 at 08:01 PM (#2550169)
Missing a play not only adds the possibility of that runner scoring, but also increases the possibility of further baserunners and other baserunners scoring.
   47. 1k5v3L Posted: September 29, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2550217)
gold glove? gold glove? jeter should be the unanimous AL MVP. his greatness at SS enabled a-rod to have such a magical season. you put julio lugo at ss instead, and A-rod would hit like jd drew.
   48. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 29, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2550222)
I completely understand the logic, Kiko. I was only questioning the accuracy of the values. And I guess I'd also question whether the hit and out values are simply additive. Losing an out gives the other team an extra plate appearance. Is an extra PA really worth 0.3 runs? 11,000 runs in 84,000 PAs suggests that it may be worth quite a bit less. Similarly, is a single really worth half a run? Seeing only 1/3 of non-HR baserunners score suggests that it may be worth less.

Like I said, I'm probably missing something really obvious, but these things don't seem to add up.
   49. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: September 29, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2550267)
.75 to .80 runs/play? RoY for Tulo!
   50. Vogon Poet Posted: September 29, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2550289)
Looking at BPro's Run Expectancy matrix for 2007...

Turning a leadoff single into a leadoff out is worth the difference between runner on first/no outs and bases empty/one out. That's 0.92 - 0.28 = 0.64 runs.

How about bases loaded/one out...if we assume the runner on second always stops at third and the shortstop never tries for the double play, that would be the difference between bases loaded/one out/one run in and runners on second & third/two outs/one run in. 2.61 - 1.64 = 0.97 runs.

If the bases loaded single scores two and leaves runners on first & third/one out, that's worth 3.22 runs. On the other side, an inning ending double play obviously leaves the run expectancy at 0. So conceivably, a saved single could be worth over three runs.

We'd have to weigh all those possibilities by the frequency they come up to know the exact value, obviously.
   51. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 29, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2550291)
Echo #48!
Discarding XBH, HR, BB, and treating all hits as singles, I don't find a single team whose RA = H * 0.8. Given the prevalence of WHIP >1, why isn't a typical ERA >9.00?
   52. bookbook Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2550379)
+a replacement who fielded like Adam Everett and who could hit like Jeter

Has there ever been a shortstop with those credentials? Honus Wagner, on balance. Maybe Joe Sewell for a year or two. Luke Appling in his youth? Tony Fernandez (1987 only)? If such a hybrid were the only guy who could drive a good-hit/no-field SS off of short, very few shortstops would ever move.+

I agree with the basic point, #26, but had to wonder to what extent Cal Ripken would qualify. He deserved his GGs when he won them. (He wasn't Adam Everett defensively, but still.)

Switch Jeter and A-Rod and the defense probably gets better at two positions simultaneously. Would the offense suffer?
   53. bookbook Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM (#2550394)
Put Jeter in RF, and the replacement SS doesn't have to field like Everett and hit like Abreu... If the replacement SS is average defensively, he can create about 20 fewer runs on offense than Abreu and the team is at least as well off. (Factor in reduced stress on the pitching staff and it may be more. But then there's now reduced stress on the opponents' staffs. So never mind.)
   54. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:59 PM (#2550492)
The Gold Glove award is voted on by managers, no? If so, it's pertinent to note Bob Geren has called McDonald the best defensive shortstop in the AL. However, whether he'll actually vote for McDonald is another matter and, even if he does, I also doubt McDonald will take the award from Jeter, despite how impressive he's been in the field.

And if anyone doubts that he's had a fantastic defensive season, all you need to know is that Michael Kay called one of his plays against the Yankees "almost Jeteresque."
   55. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 30, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2550509)
Critics would be satisfied if Jeter could be more "Jeteresque."
   56. ronh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:25 AM (#2550653)
Just wondering how much credibility people give to Baseball Prospectus's system, which shows Jeter at comfortably above average in 2005 and 2006 and slightly below average this year.


None.

Last year it said that Jhonny Peralta was the best SS in the ML.

I don't think so.
   57. BDC Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2550668)
to what extent Cal Ripken would qualify

Ripken '83-'84 would probably have moved Jeter off shortstop. But what am I saying, AROD '02-'03 couldn't do it :-D
   58. Gaelan Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:08 AM (#2550681)
There are two components to a missed ball. First, the actual ball in question becomes a single - which has a cost of around 0.45 runs. So you're right, a ground ball single is worth maybe 0.45 runs, not 0.75.

But because that ball went for a single (or an error), the team also gets one extra plate appearance. That's where the value of the out comes into play, which is about 0.3 runs.

Add them together and you get that a missed ball-in-play costs you about 0.75 runs. I don't know how accurate the 0.45 and 0.3 numbers are for the 2007 American League, but that's the logic of how you get a missed play being worth 3/4 of a run.


I'm with those that say this is crazy. If a single is worth .45 runs then a missed ball in play is also worth .45 runs. I understand the logic but it makes no sense to count the value only once for the batter but to count it twice against the defender.
   59. Mister High Standards Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:12 AM (#2550686)
I'm with those that say this is crazy. If a single is worth .45 runs then a missed ball in play is also worth .45 runs. I understand the logic but it makes no sense to count the value only once for the batter but to count it twice against the defender.


Gaelan, you debit the hitter if he makes an out, when you use an average baseline. Most linear systems credit a single as work about .45 runs an out as -.3 runs.

The only time you use less than negative .3 runs is if you use a baseline besides average.
   60. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:29 AM (#2550701)
you debit the hitter if he makes an out, when you use an average baseline. Most linear systems credit a single as work about .45 runs an out as -.3 runs

So then a hypothetical .400 hitter with no walks or power is an average offensive player. But .800 is a fair bit above the average OPS, no? Something still doesn't seem right.
   61. Gaelan Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:32 AM (#2550707)
So it's not that a missed play is worth - .75 runs but rather that a made play is worth +.3 runs. So that when you compare it to average then a missed play is worth -.45 - (+.3)= -.75. So for both the hitter and the fielder there is a credit and a debit.

I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense. However, I wonder whether calculating runs in this fashion can ever add up to real runs since a team that is no-hit, for example, is going to score zero runs not negative eight. And, if it doesn't add up to real runs then what are we really talking about.
   62. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:36 AM (#2550712)
So then a hypothetical .400 hitter with no walks or power is an average offensive player. But .800 is a fair bit above the average OPS, no? Something still doesn't seem right.


Based on 2006 offense, that hitter would be worth 9 runs above average over 720 PA -- good for a .272 eqBRA (scaled like BP's eqA) and a 107 OPS+.
   63. Vogon Poet Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2550717)
I suppose that makes a certain amount of sense. However, I wonder whether calculating runs in this fashion can ever add up to real runs since a team that is no-hit, for example, is going to score zero runs not negative eight. And, if it doesn't add up to real runs then what are we really talking about.


It shouldn't add up to actual runs--it should add up to zero. It's a plus/minus system, so everything is expressed in runs above/below average.
   64. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:53 AM (#2550722)
that McDonald contract is looking pretty good right now too

It's a good backup's contract, which is pretty much what he is. Since August 1, McDonald is hitting .216/.261/.291 for a robust 552 OPS. Every run he saves with that glove he gives back with the bat, and more, but he is wonderful to watch.
   65. BDC Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2550729)
.800 is a fair bit above the average OPS, no?

It's about what we had fixed on for a latter-day Eddie Gaedel in another thread recently ... .800 OBP plus .000 SLG :)
   66. Darren Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2550743)
It's a good backup's contract, which is pretty much what he is. Since August 1, McDonald is hitting .216/.261/.291 for a robust 552 OPS. Every run he saves with that glove he gives back with the bat, and more, but he is wonderful to watch.


Not to be too precise with a throwaway line, but wouldn't that make him about average? Adjusted Batting Runs has him at -19.8 wins this year. At +26 plays on defense, he'd be + 20.8 runs. Combine them and he's 1 run above average. That's not a backup.
   67. Gaelan Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:18 AM (#2550745)
It shouldn't add up to actual runs--it should add up to zero. It's a plus/minus system, so everything is expressed in runs above/below average.


They still have to relate to real runs in some way otherwise you just have an abstraction that doesn't tell you anything meaningful. I don't see how if you did this on a team level it would add up to the actual +/- runs of a defense. A quick look at baseball reference and a quick division and it turns out the Yankees defense is + 15 compared to average. So if Jeter is -28, where is the + 43 coming from.

And all of this is ignoring pitching which obvious has an effect, except there is no way of knowing how much an effect in a way that is not tautological. Add it all up and that - 28 number smacks of false precision for reasons beyond the very legitimate criticisms MWE makes about the limitations of these systems.
   68. Darren Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:26 AM (#2550755)
A quick look at baseball reference and a quick division and it turns out the Yankees defense is + 15 compared to average. So if Jeter is -28, where is the + 43 coming from.


The other players.
   69. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:45 AM (#2550769)
So if Jeter is -28, where is the + 43 coming from.


Good question.

The Yankees FIP is 4.55, compared to the team ERA of 4.47. While FIP isn't a perfect way to assess this, it is generally true that a good defensive team will have a team ERA below its FIP, and a poor defensive team will have a team ERA worse than its FIP.

If the Yankees have a decent defensive team - which FIP suggests - with one worst-in-league player, then someone, somewhere, has to be close to best-in-league to offset that. It's not clear where that "someone" is.

-- MWE
   70. Darren Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:59 AM (#2550781)
They could have a few good defenders rather than a single someone who's great.
   71. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 04:34 AM (#2550812)
They could have a few good defenders rather than a single someone who's great.


They could, but who are they? And how do they combine to be +40 or so? The Yankees have had a bunch of guys undergoing OJT at 1B, Melky learning how to play CF, an injured Damon and Matsui - not to mention a declining ARod. Cano's been solid, Abreu has a good rep, but that's about it.

We need to be skeptical about fielding metrics, because the metrics are based on assumptions about fielding that have yet to be validated.

-- MWE
   72. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 30, 2007 at 04:35 AM (#2550813)
They could have a few good defenders rather than a single someone who's great.


Hmmmmm, Giambi?
Ummmmm, Damon?
Ahhhh, Matsui?
Alex got crossed off up the list.
I suspect it ain't Posada or Abreu.
So Melky and Cano are that good?
   73. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: September 30, 2007 at 04:45 AM (#2550819)
Melky's been very good this year. He still makes dumb mistakes occasionally, but typically he's very good and makes some great plays to make up for the mistakes.

EDIT: I'd also add Damon in LF on the positives. I'm not sure if his time there made up for Matsui, though...
   74. chris p Posted: September 30, 2007 at 05:12 AM (#2550832)
18. Jeter will be an offensive monster next season, though. He basically hit .320 this season on one leg. I expect him to be back in the MVP mix for '08.

so ... he should hit .640 next year. at least!
   75. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:14 AM (#2550859)
so ... he should hit .640 next year. at least!


Um no, I was thinking something more in line with his '99, or last season. He hasn't been able to drive the ball to right center as much because his lower body just hasn't been there. But, now that you mention it, can .640 really be out of the question!1!!!!1/????
   76. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:30 AM (#2550873)
Why is it hard for people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Jeter isn't that bad defensively?

-- MWE
   77. Rich Posted: September 30, 2007 at 08:07 AM (#2550887)
Why is it hard for people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Jeter isn't that bad defensively?


Jeter's range has been affected by various nagging injuries this season, but even when he has been healthy in previous years, his ability to get to groundballs hit to his left has been awful (at least from my perspective based on having watched nearly every game).

OTOH, few SSs are better at getting to flyballs.
   78. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:17 PM (#2550936)
Why is it hard for people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Jeter isn't that bad defensively?

Probably the same reason that it's hard for other people to accept the possibility that he isn't that good.
   79. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:25 PM (#2550942)
Why is it hard for people to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Jeter isn't that bad defensively?

Because he looks terrible out there. The "past a diving Jeter" joke wasn't made up out of whole cloth -- he constantly misses grounders that seem to be within his reach. So most people have no trouble accepting the stats that confirm that he is, in fact, a lousy SS.
   80. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2550952)
Because he looks terrible out there.

Except that 1) Mike's question was about Jeter being "not that bad" as opposed to being, you know, good; and 2) the endless statistical deconstruction of his defense started about seven or eight years ago, when he actually didn't look all that terrible.
   81. Gaelan Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:54 PM (#2550960)
Because he looks terrible out there. The "past a diving Jeter" joke wasn't made up out of whole cloth -- he constantly misses grounders that seem to be within his reach. So most people have no trouble accepting the stats that confirm that he is, in fact, a lousy SS.


Well I also think he looks terrible and have a hard time accepting that -28 number.
   82. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:57 PM (#2550963)
Except that 1) Mike's question was about Jeter being "not that bad" as opposed to being, you know, good; and 2) the endless statistical deconstruction of his defense started about seven or eight years ago, when he actually didn't look all that terrible.

No, his question was "why is hard for people to accept the possibility" that Jeter isn't that bad. When the advanced stats back up your direct observations, it's hard to "accept" the claim that both your perception and the stats are wrong.

As for your second point, IIRC, most of the defensive stats showed that Jeter wasn't that bad 7-8 years ago, and that his defense really declined around 2003-2003 (making his recent run of GGs all the more ridiculous). And my observations have been consistent with that: I was never blown away by Jeter's fielding in the late 90's, but it never stood out to me either. He always seemed fine. He's looked noticeably slower to me over the last 5-6 years.
   83. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:07 PM (#2550967)
I guess it's all in the emphasis:

"accept the possibility that Jeter isn't that bad."

And Mike's point is not to defend Jeter. It's about the fact that those "advanced metrics" really have not been validated in any meaningful way. I have all the respect in the world for Mike when it comes to evaluating defense.

it's hard to "accept" the claim that both your perception and the stats are wrong.

How about accepting that your perception is just fine, but that the stats are somehow scaled incorrectly, and thus overstate how much his defense harms the team? Maybe I'm way off, but that's the way I read Mike's posts.
   84. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2550977)
I think the reactions may be in part because Mike's comment is in a Gold Glove thread.

It's very hard for me to accept even the possibility that Jeter is a deserving Gold Glove winner this year.

That he's cost the Yankees about 10 runs against league rather than 25, though, that's a possibility I can envision.
   85. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2550978)
Looks like four factors of varying degrees of reliability are at work here.

The perception of the casual fan (and writers who only see a small number of his games) that Jeter's a great defender, based on a few spectacular plays, his range on popups, and his strong arm.

The perception of people who watch him a lot (like me) that his slow reaction time to grounders, especially going to his left, minimizes the good points above.

The advanced metrics that confirm my perception.

And the knowledge we have that advanced metrics are often far from perfect, and in fact may well not be based on enough information, information that like the statisicians of old WRT concepts like range, our new breed of statisticians just haven't thought about.

Me, I think that he's overall a slightly below average fielder, but that's overwhelmed by every other facet of his game, both tangible and (yes) intangible. Gold gloves are irrelvant to any discussion of Jeter's overall value, which would be first ballot HOF if he were to die today.
   86. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2550983)
How about accepting that your perception is just fine, but that the stats are somehow scaled incorrectly, and thus overstate how much his defense harms the team? Maybe I'm way off, but that's the way I read Mike's posts.

The stats may well be wrong, and I have no problem accepting Mike's point that defensive analysis needs a lot of work, but at the same time I'm not going to throw out Dewan's or MGL's work just b/c it isn't 100% bulletproof, esp. when those numbers are consistent with my direct observation. Mike's question was why is hard for people to accept that Jeter might not be that bad. My answer is that I accept the possibility, but until I see better evidence that he isn't terrible, I'm going to trust my direct observations and people like Dewan. I suspect many others feel the same way.

I also agree with MCA's comment.
   87. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2550985)
Gold gloves are irrelvant to any discussion of Jeter's overall value, which would be first ballot HOF if he were to die today.

Who disagrees with that? I thought we were all talking about defense.
   88. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2550987)
The Red Sox won the AL East--let's give the MVP to Alex Cora.


If his teams win a post-season spot with him nine more times in a row, then you might have a comparable argument. I'll give him credit for '04 (LA) and '05 (BOS), so we'll see if he can get his team to the playoffs 12 out of 13 years by 2015.
   89. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:36 PM (#2550991)
Me, I think that he's overall a slightly below average fielder, but that's overwhelmed by every other facet of his game, both tangible and (yes) intangible. Gold gloves are irrelvant to any discussion of Jeter's overall value, which would be first ballot HOF if he were to die today.

Right...I don't think anyone is arguing that he isn't a good player or a likely HOFer. I said above that he's clearly one of the top 5 SSs in the game, which is pretty damn impressive for a 33 year old. (come to think of it, how many SSs could say the same? Wagner. Smith. Probably not Ripken. Not Vaughn. Not Trammell.)
   90. AROM Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2551006)
If the Yankees have a decent defensive team - which FIP suggests - with one worst-in-league player, then someone, somewhere, has to be close to best-in-league to offset that. It's not clear where that "someone" is.


The big problem with Johnny Damon is his arm, and this statistics does not even pretend to measure the impact of an outfielder's arm. Damon is still a good flychaser, and playing in left field he's well above average. Cano has done very well in the defensive metrics. 1st base has been a plus - Giambi has only played 121 innings there this year, less than 10% of the team total. Doug's defense is amazing, by observation he looks like the best defender on the team every time I watch him. I'm not sure on Phillips, but don't think he is hurting them at all.
   91. AROM Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2551009)
As for Jeter I'm convinced he's below average but not as bad as this rating shows him. We've got several PBP measures out there using two different data sources, and John Dewan's has consistently rated Jeter worse than other PBP figures.
   92. AROM Posted: September 30, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2551010)
deleted stupid double post.
   93. Mister High Standards Posted: September 30, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2551066)
his question was "why is hard for people to accept the possibility" that Jeter isn't that bad. When the advanced stats back up your direct observations, it's hard to "accept" the claim that both your perception and the stats are wrong.


Mike Emeigh know more about defensive statistics that many 2 or 3 people on earth. If his opinion on the issue is that the stats are inconclusive, that it is more likely we as a whole are interperting the data wrong, than the data is actually correct.
   94. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:44 PM (#2551596)
Mike Emeigh know more about defensive statistics that many 2 or 3 people on earth. If his opinion on the issue is that the stats are inconclusive, that it is more likely we as a whole are interperting the data wrong, than the data is actually correct.

What a perfect example of an appeal to authority.
   95. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2551618)
Mike Emeigh know more about defensive statistics that many 2 or 3 people on earth.

Not much of an appeal here. I read that as "Mike knows more about this than a random grouping of 2 or 3 people on earth".
   96. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 30, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2551695)
Touche.
   97. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 30, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2551947)
The perception of people who watch him a lot (like me) that his slow reaction time to grounders, especially going to his left, minimizes the good points above.


His lack of range to his left is something that is very noticeable. When a routine grounder is hit up the middle to the SS side of second base and the camera angle changes to up-the-middle, very often not only does Jeter not get to the ball, but he doesn't get close, and sometimes is not even in the picture until the very last moment when he makes a futile dive at the ball. It's striking, and you just don't see that with other SSs.

Now, maybe this is because Jeter is positioned differently than most other SSs; I don't know. But routine grounders (I'm not even talking about hard hit balls) to the SS side of 2B really should be fielded. Other SSs get there, set themselves, and make the throw. Without needing to dive. How many times do you see other SSs needing to go into a dive on routine grounders to the SS side of 2B?

As for grounders to his right, he often does that jump-and-throw on balls deep into the hole, which the announcers drool over whether he record the out or not. Other SSs get into the hole, set themselves, and make the throw.

I agree he has some strengths on defense, as others have noted. And I'm not even making an overall comment on exactly where his defense ranks. My only point is that if Dewan's system is showing him to be horrible, it's not that much of a stretch to believe that it's true.
   98. Chris Dial Posted: September 30, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2552089)
If the Yankees have a decent defensive team - which FIP suggests - with one worst-in-league player, then someone, somewhere, has to be close to best-in-league to offset that. It's not clear where that "someone" is.

I don't believe that's required. BIP distribution is what matters here.

The Yankees may well have fewer fieldable BIP that don't land in anyone's zone.

I would also disagree about any terribly significant shortage of validation of methodology. There is some lacking, but I believe the infield ratings are pretty solid. Yes, so adjustments are needed, but really nothing that cannot be reasonably covered by BIS, to check on BIP during shifgts and whatnot.

Now, I don't know that I agree 100% with the way BIS handles the data, but they are consistent, and I would be very surprised that there is a large enough difference in BIP chance quality amongst MLB full-time infielders to invalidate the general rankings.
   99. JC in DC Posted: September 30, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2552113)
Mike Emeigh know more about defensive statistics that many 2 or 3 people on earth. If his opinion on the issue is that the stats are inconclusive, that it is more likely we as a whole are interperting the data wrong, than the data is actually correct.

What a perfect example of an appeal to authority.


It is, and it also may be a non-fallacious appeal to authority. Sometimes "authorities" are appropriate to appeal to, as the authority of the person or information may be a reliable gauge of the thing in question. MHS asserts that this is so for MWE. I have no idea if that's true, but it may very well be. But, the point MHS makes is that there's really not much difference b/w the appeal to the authority of the sage scout of defensive ability and the appeal to the authority of a defensive stat. Both purport to provide some valuable information about the thing observed. Both are imperfect. Both bear the weight of establishing that their insights are worthy. So, if you reject the appeal to authority, then when you're chopping off Mike's legs, be careful what you're doing to the stats as well.
   100. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: October 01, 2007 at 01:37 AM (#2552422)
However, I wonder whether calculating runs in this fashion can ever add up to real runs since a team that is no-hit, for example, is going to score zero runs not negative eight. And, if it doesn't add up to real runs then what are we really talking about.

Well, that's now how it works ...

... let's say you have a game where the opposing team hits 27 balls in the SS's "zone". He fields them all. Singles are worth .47 and and an out is worth .28, so he's prevent 20.25 runs.

What would the average SS do? In the Hardball Times/BIS zone rating, the average SS appears to convert roughly 80.5% of balls in his zone into outs. So if you hit 27 balls to this guy's zone, he's making 21.735 plays, which is worth 16.31025 runs.

How many runs is the perfect guy better than the average guy? 3.93975.

Tango has a good walk-through of it here, in a comment on AROM's blog.
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