Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PP: A look at the Yankees right fielders using Inside Edge data

This looks interesting…but who knew Courtney Love worked for FanGraphs?

gbb

Although he never really looked the part, Nick Swisher was actually a pretty decent right fielder, putting up a +12 UZR over his four years in the Bronx. Swish generated most of his value with his bat, but his defense was an underrated part of his game.

Ichiro Suzuki may not be much of a hitter anymore, but he’s still capable of playing an above-average right field. Despite pushing 40, Ichiro graded out very well the last couple of years, especially with regard to the more difficult plays. He figures to play a much lesser role with the team this year, but should come in handy as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.

The newly-aquired Carlos Beltran figures to get the majority of starts in right field this year with a little bit of Ichiro and Alfonso Soriano sprinkled in as well. Once a top-flight center fielder, Beltran’s defensive prowess has been sapped by recurring knee problems. Even as a corner outfielder, the Inside Edge data and the advanced metrics agree that Beltran’s below average at this point. He’s probably still passable right, but plus defense just isn’t part of his game anymore.

Repoz Posted: March 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4673293)
So Nick Swisher is great at making the easy plays, but rarely makes a web gem.
   2. DKDC Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4673336)
Has anyone spent much time with this data? I don’t have any context for how reliable/useful it is.

I have had a theory that Nick Markakis is unfairly treated by UZR because of the big wall and high scoreboard in RF at Camden Yards. He routinely rates in the -5 to -10 range for UZR. His rankings among 28 RFs with at least 1000 innings over the last two years:

90 – 100%: 8th of 28
60 – 90%: 15th of 28
40 – 60%: 1st of 28
10 – 40%: 15th of 28
1 – 10%: tied for 7th with 21 others

Of course, Markakis is the kind of player that is sure-handed and does other things well (he has a strong arm), so maybe he is precisely the type of player who will have their range overrated by a scouting-based system.
   3. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4673369)
I think one of the issues (for me) with this data is how incredibly skewed it is, and how it breaks down an already small sample size into even smaller bins. The way this graph is presented, one might get the impression that the data is uniform across the categories, but a huge percentage of plays made are in the 90-100% category.

Ichiro made
239 out of 240 plays in the 90-100% category,
9/10 in 60-80
7/11 in 40-60
4/8 in 10-40
4/12 in the 1-10

Beltran
234/234 in 90-100
9/11 in 60-80
1/1 in 40-60
0/4 in 10-40
0/2 in 1-10

These seem like pretty small samples, and I don't have a good understanding of what separates a 60-80 play from 90-100 play, or the amount of subjectivity involved in doing so. Still, cool to see the fine detail.

EDIT: Wait, what am I doing wrong? These numbers look nothing like the graph.

EDIT2: Oh, the graph is 2012/2013 numbers. Never mind.
   4. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4673368)
So Nick Swisher is great at making the easy plays, but rarely makes a web gem.

In other words, he starts off well, but then doesn't go too far.
   5. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 18, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4673370)
Interesting stuff re Markakis. I've wondered the same thing about UZR -- he's definitely lost some range in the last few years, but it's a little hard to believe that he's well below average.
   6. Knock on any Iorg Posted: March 18, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4673402)
"Degree of difficulty" axis seems backwards. I would expect a play with 100% difficulty to be nearly impossible to make. Once I got over that hump I wondered what time endpoints were imposed on this data set. One season? 4 seasons? I don't feel like reading TFA to find out.
   7. Greg K Posted: March 18, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4673528)
I wonder if this type of analysis can be useful for nailing down a type of fielder if not the quality. Swisher's line certainly looks like the one oddly shaped one, I wonder if it's representative of a guy who catches everything he gets to but doesn't have great range or speed (which seems to jive with what I know of Swisher).
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 18, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4673597)
So to ask a stupid question, if a player gets to, say 14% of remote plays (1-10%), does that mean he is above average (ignoring sample size issues) at making remote plays?

Does anyone know how they chose the gaps (1-10, 10-40, 40-60, etc.)?

Alex Gordon has a pretty unusual looking distribution (in 2788 innings, the 6th largest sample available). 25% of remote plays (10th in the Majors over the last two years), 71.4% of unlikely plays (3rd), 68.8& of about even plays (25th), and then only 78.6% of likely plays (79th!). I have no idea what that says about him, maybe great tools but has trouble making reads? But he's not a fast guy. So maybe he just goes balls to the wall on everything and misreads a lot of plays. Any thoughts from Royals fans?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2014 at 12:59 AM (#4673722)
Alex Gordon has a pretty unusual looking distribution (in 2788 innings, the 6th largest sample available). 25% of remote plays (10th in the Majors over the last two years), 71.4% of unlikely plays (3rd), 68.8& of about even plays (25th), and then only 78.6% of likely plays (79th!). I have no idea what that says about him, maybe great tools but has trouble making reads? But he's not a fast guy. So maybe he just goes balls to the wall on everything and misreads a lot of plays. Any thoughts from Royals fans?

Simplest explanation would seem to be positioning. A guy shaded heavily towards LCF (relative to the typical LF) should make more remote plays to LCF, fewer routine plays to straight LF and then stuff down the line he doesn't have a prayer on. (Or vice versa of course). The question then would be if he really gained anything -- maybe he makes more plays overall but maybe the ones he misses down the line are more damaging. Or he makes fewer plays overall but the remote plays he gets to would have been more damaging.

The Swisher line I would guess is good break, lousy speed. Maybe also good routes.

The vast majority of OFs make the play on virtually anything they get to, so it should mostly be a function of what you get to. That would seem to be determined by 4 factors -- positioning, reaction, routes/read, speed. So, for Gordon, if his reactions and routes were great, he wouldn't miss so many "likely" balls. But bad reactions, routes and OK speed doesn't get you to remote balls either. But an OF with average reaction, route and speed skills that is positioned much differently than the typical OF will have a much different distribution. The fancy new software should allow us to measure most of this stuff, most importantly (from a saber perspective)* starting position.

*I'm guessing. I mean in the end we care about what the guy gets to and not so much if his routes could use some work. The latter would of course be valuable to scouts/coaches. But just knowing position (and ball path which the new system also measures), we should be able to classify "likely" "remote" etc. relative to starting point. Then we can worry about the value of a play not made although that too must differ by starting position -- i.e. if Gordon has farther to run to the line, a triple becomes more likely.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Harveys Wallbangers
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogSielski: A friend fights for ex-Phillie Dick Allen's Hall of Fame induction
(56 - 4:13am, Oct 20)
Last: Sunday silence

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1959 Ballot
(2 - 3:12am, Oct 20)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogOT:  October 2014 - College Football thread
(439 - 2:48am, Oct 20)
Last: AuntBea

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(2527 - 2:06am, Oct 20)
Last: Joe Kehoskie

NewsblogJosh Byrnes seen as a leader for job under Dodgers president Friedman - CBSSports.com
(4 - 1:54am, Oct 20)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogJAVIER prospect comparison system, now with speed! - Beyond the Box Score
(1 - 1:34am, Oct 20)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(260 - 1:22am, Oct 20)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogDombrowski told that Iglesias 'will be fine' for 2015
(18 - 1:14am, Oct 20)
Last: Cooper Nielson

NewsblogCould the Yankees ever be Royals? Young and athletic K.C. is everything that Bombers are not - NY Daily News
(9 - 12:43am, Oct 20)
Last: Dr. Vaux

NewsblogAngell: Gigantic
(33 - 12:41am, Oct 20)
Last: Steve Treder

NewsblogBrisbee: The 5 worst commercials of the MLB postseason
(94 - 12:12am, Oct 20)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogCardinals proud of fourth straight NLCS appearance | cardinals.com
(30 - 10:52pm, Oct 19)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogJoe West named ALCS crew chief
(44 - 9:55pm, Oct 19)
Last: tfbg9

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(824 - 9:02pm, Oct 19)
Last: ursus arctos

NewsblogESPN: Brian Roberts retires
(20 - 8:47pm, Oct 19)
Last: toratoratora

Page rendered in 0.1336 seconds
52 querie(s) executed