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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rosecrans: Is Brendan Ryan the best fielder in baseball? One group believes he is

So, who are the best fielders? According to those 10:

First base—Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Second base—Darwin Barney, Cubs
Third base—Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Shortstop—Brendan Ryan, Mariners
Left field—Alex Gordon, Royals
Center field—Mike Trout, Angels
Right field—Jason Heyward, Braves
Catcher—Yadier Molina, Marlins

Dewan, the author of the book, The Fielding Bible, called Ryan—a first-time winner—the “best defender in baseball.”

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, awards and honors, mariners, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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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. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4283653)
Warning: do not read comments.
   2. Matt Welch Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4283674)
As good as Trout is, he's no Peter Bourjos.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4283677)
Catcher—Yadier Molina, Marlins


???????
   4. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:45 PM (#4283678)
2 out of 8 ain't bad.
   5. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 25, 2012 at 10:13 PM (#4283718)
As good as Trout is, he's no Peter Bourjos.
With Bourjos and Trout in the outfield, I'll call the 2013 Cy Young Award for Jered Weaver.
   6. Brian White Posted: October 25, 2012 at 10:37 PM (#4283762)
Fielding Bible credits Ryan with 27 DRS, and B-Ref gives him 3.6 dWAR. Andrelton Simmons was credited with 19 DRS and 2.4 dWAR. Ryan was in the field for 1170 innings, against 426 for Simmons. So, on a rate basis, well, that's awfully impressive for Andrelton Simmons.

Yeah, yeah, defensive numbers in small sample sizes and all that. If Simmons plays a full season next year, he's not putting up a 6.6 dWAR (his 2011 rate over 1170 innings). But still.
   7. MM1f Posted: October 25, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4283924)
Dewan, the author of the book, The Fielding Bible, called Ryan—a first-time winner—the “best defender in baseball.”


This bothers me. If he is the best defender in baseball, how is he just now (at age 30) finally winning his first Fielding Bible award?
   8. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4283932)
He's been as close to consensus best SS in baseball around here for a couple of years, for what it's worth. Since this isn't totally objective, it's just as subject to bias and blindness as the regular gold glove.
   9. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: October 26, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4283938)
Sometimes it takes time to build up a reputation. The Mariner's broadcasters naturally hype their own players, but I didn't hear Ryan pumped up last year nearly as much as this season.
   10. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 26, 2012 at 02:13 AM (#4283965)
As good as Trout is, he's no Peter Bourjos.

How doe the Angels get all these amazing CF defenders -- Pettis, White, Edmonds, Erstad, Trout, Bourjos? And these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
   11. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: October 26, 2012 at 02:18 AM (#4283967)
How doe the Angels get all these amazing CF defenders -- Pettis, White, Edmonds, Erstad, Trout, Bourjos? And these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

You forgot Vernon Wells.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2012 at 02:57 AM (#4283969)
how is he just now (at age 30) finally winning his first Fielding Bible award?

Dewan says he was 2nd inn runs saved 2009-10 but first in 2011 so the question is why didn't he win it last year.

On the other hand, he says Seattle values his defense which is why they trot him out there game after game. Ignoring the earlier bit this season when they were saying he needed to get the average up to stay in the lineup (which they chickened out on), they only gave him 134 starts this season. That's his career high so teams are more than happy to put him on the bench for about 40 games a year. Which is about the same as other lousy hitting, great fielding SS of the last couple of decades.

You forgot Vernon Wells.

And, continuing with the snark, GMj and, non-snarkily, Torii Hunter although he wasn't top notch by the time he got there -- and it's no mystery how he got there.
   13. BDC Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4284028)
Bourjos is amazing, indeed. I know he was injured some this year, but if he can't hit above .220, he's going to be a CF version of John Vukovich, the 3B I mentioned in another thread recently. Vukovich was a better fielder than Mike Schmidt, but for some reason he didn't get many starts over Schmidt at third base :)
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4284037)
Why didn't Bourjos attempt to steal bases this season?
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4284041)
I'm amazed how great Alex Gordon has become. I never in a million years thought he would transition this well to the outfield.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4284045)
I'm amazed how great Alex Gordon has become. I never in a million years thought he would transition this well to the outfield.

Well, if you don't completely lack foot speed, LF should be quite a bit easier than 3B. A lot of his defensive value comes from his arm, and it makes perfect sense a former 3B would have a great arm for a LF.

I'm more surprised that after 1600+ PAs as a 95 OPS+ hitter, he's broken out into what he was supposed to be offensively. He really took that age-27 season stuff seriously.
   17. John DiFool2 Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4284062)
What does Guildenstern think, then?
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4284076)
What does Guildenstern think, then?

He thinks he did a hell of a job at Chattanooga, but choked at Chickamauga.
   19. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4284122)
Ordinarily it would be a surprise if a 30-year-old shortstop was the best fielder at his position, but Ryan didn't come out of nowhere. He's been around for a while, but he can't hit, so he doesn't play enough for people to notice him. Only on the 2012 Mariners could someone like that become a defensive darling.
   20. MM1f Posted: October 26, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4284343)
Dewan says he was 2nd inn runs saved 2009-10 but first in 2011 so the question is why didn't he win it last year.


That is kind of what I was trying to get at, rather than "Ryan can't be the best in baseball because he didn't win anything last year."
   21. AROM Posted: October 26, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4284348)
Bourjos is amazing, indeed. I know he was injured some this year, but if he can't hit above .220, he's going to be a CF version of John Vukovich, the 3B I mentioned in another thread recently. Vukovich was a better fielder than Mike Schmidt, but for some reason he didn't get many starts over Schmidt at third base :)


Nope. Peter at .220 is still miles ahead of the guy Sparky Anderson called Balsa Wood, who hit 161/203/222. And Peter has already hit .270 in the season where he was allowed to play full time. Balsa Wood was even worse than another Angel prospect who must be his cousin Brandon, who hit 186/222/289.
   22. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4284372)
Somehow I had totally missed that Ryan was regarded as a great defensive player. Of course, he can't hit worth #### and he's played nearly 700 games in six years, so perhaps I should have figured it out.
   23. McCoy Posted: October 26, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4284391)
22 posts in and no talk about Barney?
   24. geonose Posted: October 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4284445)
A lot of his defensive value comes from his arm

Well, sort of, I suppose, but Gordon's UZR is also tops amongst left fielders. So a lot of his defensive value comes from his range as well. It's unfair and incorrect to state that he ranks highly because of his arm.
   25. phredbird Posted: October 26, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4284462)
This bothers me. If he is the best defender in baseball, how is he just now (at age 30) finally winning his first Fielding Bible award?


didn't even come up to the majors until he was 25.

he was always well regarded as a defender, but i think he was overshadowed by other personalities on the cardinal teams.

he had a rep for being a bit flaky, and that was bad for him when he was on the cardinals, which is a team that was well known for being a really intense group because of TLR. ryan was the guy who got chewed out in the locker room by chris carpenter for running out on the field with the wrong glove, then running back in to the locker room to get the right glove, all this in the middle of a game.

i saw him in a series or two at dodger stadium, he really can pick it, as they used to say. if he's not the best in the majors, he's in the elite.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4284505)
Well, sort of, I suppose, but Gordon's UZR is also tops amongst left fielders. So a lot of his defensive value comes from his range as well. It's unfair and incorrect to state that he ranks highly because of his arm.

Look at the UZR breakdown on FanGraphs.

2011 Arm +11.2 runs, Range -2.1 runs, Errors 1.4 runs, Total 10.5
2012 Arm +7.7 runs, Range 4.4 runs, Errors, 1.9 runs, Total 14.1

In total 18.9 of his 24.6 fielding runs are Arm, 2.3 Range, and 3.2 Errors.

It is absolutely fair and correct to say he only ranks highly b/c of his arm.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4284563)
How the hell do you save 11 runs with your arm in LF?

if he can't hit above .220, he's going to be a CF version of John Vukovich

Or a CF version of Gary Pettis.

I'm curious to see what the Angels are going to do in the OF for 2013. I'd be tempted to resign Hunter at a reasonable price and mainly go Trout/Bourjos/Hunter (or maybe it's time for Hunter to move to LF). But then I don't believe in Trumbo, maybe they do. Anyway, I doubt there's a combination where a healthy Bourjos doesn't get 400+ PA.

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