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Friday, September 21, 2012

Dewan: The White Sox, the Tigers and defense

The White Sox hold a two-game lead over the Tigers today in the race for the AL Central Division title. One of the key reasons the Sox are on top is defense. Not because theirs is so good, but because the Tigers’ is so bad. Detroit has the worst defense in the American League. Compared to the average team, they have lost 39 runs on defense. The White Sox’s defense has saved five runs, which makes them an average defense.

That’s a difference of 44 runs, a difference of four games in the standings.

When the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to team up with Miguel Cabrera, the plan was to supercharge their offense. While both players are having excellent seasons, it hasn’t worked as well as planned. In 2011, the Tigers scored 4.9 runs per game. This year, they are down to 4.5 runs. Defensively, both Fielder and Cabrera are hurting the team. Ten of the 39 runs lost on defense are from those two, five apiece at their respective positions.

I am somewhat surprised that Cabrera hasn’t been worse at third base. ...

Thanks to Gerry.

Repoz Posted: September 21, 2012 at 05:44 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, tigers, white sox

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   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 21, 2012 at 06:27 AM (#4241816)
10 out of 39 doesn't sound like a very large percentage.
   2. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4241831)

I bet you they've lost another 10 from SS (Peralta) and the cast of thousands at second base.

   3. bobm Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:12 AM (#4241873)
For single seasons, Playing for the DET, From 2011 to 2012, Played 50% of games at 1B or 3B

                                                                                       
Rk           Player OPS+ Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA  AB   R RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS   Pos
1      Brandon Inge   51 2011  34 DET AL 102 303 269  29  23 .197 .265 .283  .548  *5/D
2    Wilson Betemit  134 2011  29 DET AL  40 133 120  11  19 .292 .346 .525  .871    *5
3    Miguel Cabrera  181 2011  28 DET AL 161 688 572 111 105 .344 .448 .586 1.033  *3/D

4    Prince Fielder  148 2012  28 DET AL 148 637 534  77 100 .303 .405 .515  .920  *3/D
5    Miguel Cabrera  170 2012  29 DET AL 147 641 570 101 130 .333 .398 .616 1.014 *5/D3


                                           
Rk           Player WAR/pos Year Age  Tm Lg
1      Brandon Inge    -1.2 2011  34 DET AL
2    Wilson Betemit     0.4 2011  29 DET AL
3    Miguel Cabrera     7.3 2011  28 DET AL

4    Prince Fielder     3.7 2012  28 DET AL
5    Miguel Cabrera     6.4 2012  29 DET AL


10 runs lost on fielding vs 3.6 WAR gained to date. How did this part of Detroit's plan not work out?
   4. JJ1986 Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4241880)
How did this part of Detroit's plan not work out?


I think the fair comparison is 2012 Cabrera at 3B/Delmon at DH to hypothetical-2012 Inge at 3B/Cabrera at DH. That probably would have worked better (though I have no idea who the Tigers backup 3Bmen is then. Probably Don Kelly.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4241882)
I bet you they've lost another 10 from SS (Peralta) and the cast of thousands at second base.

BRef has Peralta as dead avg. on D, Fangraphs at +10.

I tend to believe avg. more.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4241908)
According to b-r, the big culprits are Boesch and Berry (both at -8) and, yeah, it looks like the parade of 2B have been about -5 or worse. Adding it all up by overall WAR:

Baker -.4
Berry .1
Boesch -1.2
Dirks 1.7
Infante .6
Inge -.5
Kelly -.9
Raburn -2
Santiago -.8
Worth -.3
Young -.7

That comes to -4.4 WAR. Given we're talking about 4 positions, that's 12 wins below average at 2B, LF, RF and DH. Any team would struggle to overcome that.
   7. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4241915)
I think part of the reason the plan didn't work is that no option emerged at DH. Out of the corner outfield/DH squad, Dirks has had a good year, Delmon has been Delmon, and then Raburn and Boesch absolutely cratered.

I don't think expecting Raburn and Boesch to play like slightly-above replacement players was an absurd expectation.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: September 21, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4241916)
That comes to -4.4 WAR. Given we're talking about 4 positions, that's 12 wins below average at 2B, LF, RF and DH. Any team would struggle to overcome that.


The LFers have to be giving positive value (Dirks, Berry and assorted), so it's even worse at the other 3 spots.
   9. something like a train wreck Posted: September 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4242509)
I don't know how the defensive statistics deal with extra bases through missing the cut-off man, throwing to the wrong base, not covering a base etc, but they are also terrible there. I think the typical fan grossly over values "fundamnetals," but the Tigers might be the excpetion -- it really is costing them runs and games.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4242622)
I don't think expecting Raburn and Boesch to play like slightly-above replacement players was an absurd expectation.

No, it wasn't but it wouldn't have been absurd to think that Brandon Inge would as well. And in fact Inge was barely above replacement on the year as a whole. What's somewhat surprising about that list is that not only did those guys hit like crap but most of them were below-average fielders as well.

But the key point is that you don't risk moving Cabrera to 3B -- where he was likely to be terrible defensively but hasn't been and where the risk of injury is surely higher -- in order to get players like Young, Raburn and Boesch into the game. The Tigers are apparently the last people on earth who think Delmon Young can hit.

In comparison, last year we had Youkilis going back to 3B, making room for Gonzalez and with Ortiz blocking the DH slot. That's a case where the payoff from the risk is obvious. Had they signed Fielder before VMart was hurt, then Cabrera's move would have been very similar to Youk's. And maybe next year that's the way it will work.
   11. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: September 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4242641)
Had they signed Fielder before VMart was hurt, then Cabrera's move would have been very similar to Youk's. And maybe next year that's the way it will work.


I don't think they'd have done the Fielder signing if VMart wasn't hurt. BUT I do think the Tigers, at least partially, had 2013 in mind when Miggy made the move to third. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit.

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