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Thursday, March 16, 2017

What does Statcast’s catch probability tell us about Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner? - River Avenue Blues

So, while Ellsbury’s 1-for-28 effort on Five Star Outs in 2016 may not accurately reflect his true defensive ability given the limited amount of data, it did happen, and it did cost the Yankees runs. My eyes told me both Gardner and Ellsbury were still above-average defenders last season, Gardner moreso. Neither was as good as we’ve seen them in the past, I don’t think, and that makes sense given their ages. The various defensive stats say the opposite is true, that they were better than they’d been in previous years. I was hoping catching probability would clear that up for us, but alas. It’s just more information to consider, not a definitive answer.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 16, 2017 at 11:21 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brett gardner, jacoby ellsbury, yankees

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   1. Captain Supporter Posted: March 18, 2017 at 10:11 AM (#5419214)
Any "advanced" metrics that says Brett Gardner cost the Yankees 40 runs in the field over a three year period (but gained them 12 runs in 2016), or that Jacoby Ellsbury was worth +26 runs in 2016 are metrics that I would not even bother looking at further. In any case, the vastly different results of these different metrics over a 4 year period (i.e., a decent sample size) is just another example of the still primitive state of defensive metrics. People keep laughing at those who prefer the eye test, but results like these make that hard to defend.

I'm quite certain that Brett Gardner is a good to excellent left fielder and that Jacoby Ellsbury is somewhere slightly above or below an average center fielder. While I am open to high quality statistical analysis that might change my mind, this article only acts to confirm my current thoughts that none of the metrics can be trusted. It is true that, as opposed to FRAA and Total Zone, UZR and DRS at least do not provide results that are clearly absurd on their face, but even with those two metrics the year to year fluctuations don't make a lot of sense (e.g., according to DRS, Gardner and Ellsbury both had their best years at age 33 in 2016) 'Information to consider'? Yes, and then reject.

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