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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WSJ: There’s No Defense for Jeter’s Glove

At age 38, with a healthy ankle, Derek Jeter was rated as the worst defensive shortstop in baseball by most every advanced defensive metric in 2012. He was sure-handed as always, but his range—which has never been a strength—declined to near-statue levels.

Derek Jeter will turn 39 years old this season. He is coming off a broken ankle and now has a plate and screws in his leg. He was unable to work out his legs all winter as he rested and rehabbed from the surgery.

If this sounds like a bad combination, well, it probably is.

Jeter played shortstop Wednesday night, his first time playing defense since breaking his ankle exactly five months before. His return brings stability to the position for the undermanned Yankees, who are already down several key players with the start of the season just a few weeks away.

Jeter’s leadership and offense will be essential to the success of the Yankees. But they may have to succeed despite his defense; it will represent a coup if Jeter is merely just as poor as he was last year. In all likelihood, he will be worse.

...According to Fangraphs.com, Jeter’s Ultimate Zone Rating, a combination of his range and his propensity to make errors, was -16.5, worst in the majors among the 21 full-time shortstops. By Baseball Info Solutions’ Defensive Runs Saved system, Jeter cost his team 18 runs in 2012 with his fielding. That was again worst in the majors.

And those ratings take into account how remarkably sure-handed Jeter is. The Yankee shortstop is an expert at fielding the balls he gets to and firing them to first base. The problem is that he doesn’t get to all that many anymore.

Thanks to Mr. Armbruster.

Repoz Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:02 PM | 98 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM (#4388043)
Fish: Barrel: Fire away!

   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:25 PM (#4388044)
I'd like to suggest that such articles should probably start with ... wait for it ... range factor.

Yes, there are obvious issues with range factor but you can get into those as you talk about the more advanced methods. But if the idea is to persuade someone on this topic, why not start with this:

Derek Jeter made 3.7 plays per 9 innings last year while the average shortstop made 4.4 plays. Over a full season that is about 90 fewer plays made than the average SS.

Then, sure, did the Yanks give up fewer GB, fewer GB in the SS direction, were they harder to field than the typical for whatever random reason. But if you just start with "90 fewer plays", the average reader can get it and the burden of evidence shifts to those trying to show he's not that bad. (Note I didn't actually use the term range factor that nobody will have heard of ... potentially you use assists rather than plays.)

Smartly and rightly, the Cabrera MVP supporters didn't hesitate to start with RBI, OPS, triple crown ... as they should. "Boy, this guy sure looks like a much better hitter than Trout" is where the debate should start and it is then the Trout supporter's job to bring in park effects, defense and baserunning. Conversely, as was regularly pointed out by posters here, the pro-Trout case should have started with "Trout is an excellent hitter, an excellent defender and an excellent baserunner -- an outstanding all-around player having a great all-around season" ... then go to WAR.
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:31 PM (#4388048)
90 fewer plays than average sounds wildly high, and should indeed be adjusted for chances/difficulty/etc even before one claims to be at a starting point.
   4. bobm Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM (#4388053)
Fish: Barrel: Fire away!

To change the subject completely ... where was this thread?

New York Post
"Numbnuts! Mets' Valdespin nailed by Verlander — then ripped by Collins for not wearing cup"
By MIKE PUMA
Last Updated: 9:33 AM, March 12, 2013

Jordany Valdespin could use a cup to runneth over.

The Mets utilityman exited [Monday's] exhibition game against the Tigers after he was hit in the genitals with a Justin Verlander 94-mph fastball, and left club officials shaking their heads by revealing he wasn’t wearing a protective cup.

“You would think if you are starting at second base, you would be smart enough to wear a cup,” manager Terry Collins fumed to The Post after the Mets’ 11-0 victory at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Valdespin, who homered leading off the game facing Verlander, was attempting a bunt in the fifth inning against the stud fireballer when he was struck, crumpling him to the ground in agony.

Asked where the pitch hit him, Valdespin replied, “in the d--k,” adding that everything is “fine” and he doesn’t expect to miss action.

“Everything is good, working good, normally, everything is great,” Valdespin said.

The flamboyant 25-year-old departed the ballpark before it was revealed to The Post he wasn’t wearing a cup. But it wasn’t that Valdespin got hit in the sensitive area without a cup that miffed Collins as much as the player showing a probable lapse in judgment by shunning the protection on a day he was playing second base. One former major league infielder said it’s “highly unusual” for a second baseman not to wear a cup.

“If you are playing the infield, it is part of the uniform,” the former infielder said.

Valdespin’s penchant for flying open early on bunt attempts leaves him vulnerable, said one Mets instructor.

Verlander, a former MVP and Cy Young Award winner, said it was the first time he had drilled a batter in that spot.

“He took a hack at the first pitch and the next one — he already hit one bomb — and the next one he totally squared [toward] me,” Verlander said. “And I’m like, ‘Oh God, this isn’t going to be good.’ Right out of the hand it’s like, ‘Oh, [bleep]! That is right at his [genitals].’?”

Collins has told Valdespin this spring to eliminate some of his antics, warning that he might become a target for pitchers. One such warning came two weeks ago after Valdespin faked a bunt leading off a game against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg. In the same at-bat, Valdespin singled and received a glare from Strasburg as he ran to first base.

“We’re going to settle some of that stuff down,” Collins said. “[Valdespin] has been told a lot in the last couple of years about how to handle himself on the major league field, especially when you are a young player. He understands it, he’s adjusting to it and once in a while you always get caught up in the moment.

“When you’ve been doing some things your whole life sometimes you have a little difficulty making some adjustments, but he will make them. We’ve got some good veterans on this team. They will make him.”

Both Collins and Valdespin said they doubted Verlander was throwing at the player.

The cup controversy comes as Valdespin has emerged as the Mets’ hottest hitter in camp. He is batting .370 this spring with three homers and six RBIs, and appears to have solidified a spot on the team’s Opening Day roster. [Emphasis added]


http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/mets/plunked_in_the_junk_SGl8HCJWp9vQKWmHIfbmyN
   5. Darren Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4388054)
I disagree, Ray. I think a lot of people view the advanced stats as doing a lot of hocus pocus behind the scenes. This argument starts with what actually happened, and then makes clear that the hocus pocus adjustments are needed to bring Jeter back toward respectability.
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:05 AM (#4388062)
Verlander, a former MVP and Cy Young Award winner, said it was the first time he had drilled a batter in that spot.


WTF, this isn't a WBC game where everything counts! Did he do this on purpose? I was told no one ever gets drilled nor slides into bases during these spring season games...what the heck is going on? I want answers dammit!
   7. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4388068)
-18 on D doesn't sound all that bad to me for a 38 year old SS with his offense. Not to mention potential measurement issues that tend to overstate how bad he is.
   8. Spectral Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4388071)
This just in, Jeter not great at defense? I thought that most people basically knew that at this point, am I just wearing BTF colored glasses? I guess I thought even folks that thought he was good in his 20s decided that he'd lost a step and didn't get to ground balls well anymore.
   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4388075)
Wait, Valdespin was hit in the dark?
   10. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4388078)
Insta primey for #9
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:18 AM (#4388081)
Article in #4 deserves its own thread. Surviving a 94 MPH HBP to the groin contradicts BBTF conventional wisdom.
   12. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4388085)
Limited range but soft hands and a rifle for an arm.

Put him behind the plate.
   13. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:40 AM (#4388087)
90 fewer plays than average sounds wildly high, and should indeed be adjusted for chances/difficulty/etc even before one claims to be at a starting point.


Why should it be adjusted? Does anyone suggest that someone who batted .330 should have their ba adjusted because they got a lot of meatball pitches to hit that season? What about someone hitting 50 HRs? Does anyone adjust that for seasonal weather conditions? or games that were already out of reach?

I'm sure any/all of these could be adjusted, but it just seems in the case of fielding, its even less likely that the fielder is benefitting from some sort of inherent bias as opposed to the pitches the batter is seeing. There's basically a seasons worth of balls being hit to the SS area, it would be hard to imagine that they are anything other than a random distribution.

In the case of shifts, and "discretional chances" I get that these may skew fielding range. I think once sabermetrics correct for these, fielding range should be even more accurate barometer.



   14. Mendo Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:58 AM (#4388091)
His return brings stability to the position...


Wouldn't the Yankees prefer he bring mo-bility...?
   15. PreservedFish Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:01 AM (#4388093)
Surviving a 94 MPH HBP to the groin contradicts BBTF conventional wisdom.


He says it hit his d--k. Not his n--s.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4388095)

I'm sure any/all of these could be adjusted, but it just seems in the case of fielding, its even less likely that the fielder is benefitting from some sort of inherent bias as opposed to the pitches the batter is seeing.

Unless I'm missing some point you're making here, no. The bias is inherent because while Jeter, on average, hits against the same pitchers as everyone else over the course of the season, he doesn't field behind the same pitchers as every other SS. And the strikeout/flyball/groundball tendencies of those pitchers can have a big effect on the number of balls hit to him.

Anyway, while you would think everyone knows Jeter's defense is bad at this point, I'm not sure most mainstream folks do. And the guy won Gold Glove awards with defensive numbers that were comparable to last season's.
   17. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:39 AM (#4388098)
And the strikeout/flyball/groundball tendencies of those pitchers can have a big effect on the number of balls hit to him.



Well how big is the effect? I havent followed it closely in recent years, but I dont recall seeing anything that was real convincing years ago when I would read about this.
   18. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:06 AM (#4388100)
One former major league infielder said it’s “highly unusual” for a second baseman not to wear a cup. “If you are playing the infield, it is part of the uniform,” the former infielder said.
The only appropriate response to this from the "flamboyant 25-year-old Valdespin" is that
I couldn't find one to fit. Also, {adding that} everything is “fine” and {i} don’t expect to miss action. ANY action. Including {former infielder's} mom, last night
Anyway, I noticed a difference in my (through high school) 2B performance when wearing a cup. Wasn't huge, but somewhere between half a step and a step. If I was a fringe prospect, I'd definitely take the risk.
   19. KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:52 AM (#4388101)
Valdespin should tell everyone he wasn't able to fit the cup on because his junk was still swollen from spending the night with Verlander's Mom.
   20. vivaelpujols Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:13 AM (#4388111)
Agree with Walt. That's something Tango used to do a lot. You could also start with a basic version of WOWY.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:16 AM (#4388112)
Collins has told Valdespin this spring to eliminate some of his antics, warning that he might become a target for pitchers. One such warning came two weeks ago after Valdespin faked a bunt leading off a game against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg. In the same at-bat, Valdespin singled and received a glare from Strasburg as he ran to first base.


I don't get it, what is wrong with squaring around to fake a bunt? That is about the dumbest thing for anyone to "glare" at someone over. I think Strasburg is the one who needs to grow up.

I disagree, Ray. I think a lot of people view the advanced stats as doing a lot of hocus pocus behind the scenes. This argument starts with what actually happened, and then makes clear that the hocus pocus adjustments are needed to bring Jeter back toward respectability.


Agree, you start with the big number, and agree to whittle it down for the conversation. The problem with the advanced numbers is that they put it into usually a run score or win context and that involves a lot of behind the scenes adjustment. They are of course more accurate, but for the sake of debating with people who are not fans of numbers, it's best to argue from actual results, not theoretical models. 90 fewer plays is tangible and a result of what actually happened. Saying 23.3 runs worse than an (theoretical)average player is not so tangible(it's understandable, but it's relying multiple levels of methodology that is hard to keep up with)

Why should it be adjusted? Does anyone suggest that someone who batted .330 should have their ba adjusted because they got a lot of meatball pitches to hit that season? What about someone hitting 50 HRs? Does anyone adjust that for seasonal weather conditions? or games that were already out of reach?


Because we do mental adjustments all the time. .330 average in 30 games is not as impressive as .330 in 150 games. The point of doing the adjustments is a process of the debate. You start out with 90 fewer plays than average. Then when someone says "there is no way he's that bad" you acknowledge that it's possible that the numbers don't account for everything(at this point in time, you are now using methods used to develop advanced stats, and getting the buy in of the person you are debating) You point out that you could adjust those numbers by whether his staff is a strikeout staff. Adjust again for ground ball/flyball tendency, and again by side of the diamond the balls are hit to, and now you have a number that is still probably pretty high, but at this point the person is seeing how you are coming up with these numbers.


There's basically a seasons worth of balls being hit to the SS area, it would be hard to imagine that they are anything other than a random distribution.


For fielders the difference is more likely greater, as pointed out in post 16. Some teams like a ground ball staff, others prefer the strikeout. There are some teams that have 0, 1, 2 left handed starters. Those are going to affect where the ball goes, and how it gets there. On top of that, if your team allows fewer runs, your number of opportunities is going to be reduced strictly because fewer batters are coming up per game(yes you still get the same number of outs of course, but a staff that allows 9.0 hits per 9 versus a staff allowing 8.0 hits per 9, is going to have roughly 162 more chances in the course of a season, that works out to(without any adjustments, just going by strictly randomness) roughly 18 chances per player(obviously location of hit balls isn't purely random, but hopefully you get the point) A staff that has a k/9 of 7.0 versus one of 8.0 is going to have (roughly)162 fewer chances over the course of the season.

Edit:Note I hate the k/9 stat, but for this purpose it works to illustrate what I'm trying to say, much more clearer than k% would.
   22. vivaelpujols Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:17 AM (#4388113)
There's basically a seasons worth of balls being hit to the SS area, it would be hard to imagine that they are anything other than a random distribution.


Try harder. Pitchers have a strong effect on batted ball distributions and Jeter plays for the same ~15 for the entire year.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 07:38 AM (#4388123)
Why should it be adjusted? Does anyone suggest that someone who batted .330 should have their ba adjusted because they got a lot of meatball pitches to hit that season?


? I absolutely look at how many PAs a hitter has. As does everyone.

   24. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2013 at 07:43 AM (#4388126)
Minor boo-boo ... Jeter's RF/9 was 3.8 not 3.7 (his RF/G) so that brings it down to more like 80 plays.

Looking a little deeper, it would probably be better to look at assists. For example last year, Aybar had about a league average RF/9 and also had nearly exactly the same number of innings as Jeter. (Amazing, first guy I looked at is exactly what I wanted to find). Jeter made 95 fewer plays than Aybar but 60 of those 100 were extra putouts. That's probably got very little to do with SS ability. (I'll admit that I'm surprised such a large percentage of SS chances are putouts.)

35 fewer assists is a lot more reasonable, that's 1 every 4 games or so.
   25. OsunaSakata Posted: March 14, 2013 at 08:20 AM (#4388134)
When A-Rod went to the Yankees, I thought Jeter should have been moved to CF. Jeter has a bad first step and poor instincts, but he has great make-up speed. Think of the dive into the 3rd base stands. Those sound like CF skills. Of course, it's too late now.

As far as Jeter's fielding reputation, he has Gold Gloves so the casual fan think he's a great fielder. Heck, most talking heads still say he's a great fielder. The New York Daily News did post the headline "Fools's Gold" when he won the Gold Glove in 2010.
   26. Honkie Kong Posted: March 14, 2013 at 08:26 AM (#4388138)
There's basically a seasons worth of balls being hit to the SS area, it would be hard to imagine that they are anything other than a random distribution.

This is not true, based on the tendencies of the staff. If its a staff full of flyball pitchers, the SS is going to have less chances to deal with.
I think the classic case is the Atlanta 3B position through the Leo Mazzone era. It was always pitch outside...outside..outside.
So the number of chances the 3B encountered was significantly less than other 3Bs in the league, thus affecting their defensive ratings.
   27. Publius Publicola Posted: March 14, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4388144)
Asked where the pitch hit him, Valdespin replied, “in the d--k,” adding that everything is “fine” and he doesn’t expect to miss action.


I wonder what kind of action Valdespin is referring to here.
   28. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4388149)
Cano's always much closer to league average in assists than Jeter, as are other Yankee SSs. There really isn't any evidence that Jeter is systematically deprived of potential assists, or facing more difficult chances.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4388151)
Unless I'm missing some point you're making here, no. The bias is inherent because while Jeter, on average, hits against the same pitchers as everyone else over the course of the season, he doesn't field behind the same pitchers as every other SS. And the strikeout/flyball/groundball tendencies of those pitchers can have a big effect on the number of balls hit to him.


I thought Sunday Silence was objecting to the way Ray made his case. Ray's No. 2 seems to work from the assumption that the 90 is too high, and thus an adjustment must be made to get to a starting point.

Walt's argument is that the 90 is the starting point (at least in terms of putting the onus on the Jeter's not so bad defenders). Now, there may very well be reasons to adjust that number downward (staff tendencies, specific chances in a given year, etc.) once further investigation is done, but that shouldn't be the default assumption. It could get adjusted upward once those things are done. But you don't work from the idea that the 90 is wildly high.
   30. vivaelpujols Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4388153)
But you don't work from the idea that the 90 is wildly high.


I kind of disagree with this. It's regression to the mean. Whenever you see a huge outleir (such as a .390 BABIP, 55 homers, etc.) you're default assumption should be that there were some mitigating factors (such as luck, Coors, etc.).
   31. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4388156)
But you don't work from the idea that the 90 is wildly high.

I kind of disagree with this. It's regression to the mean. Whenever you see a huge outleir (such as a .390 BABIP, 55 homers, etc.) you're default assumption should be that there were some mitigating factors (such as luck, Coors, etc.).


True, but several seasons worth of data suggest that 2012 is no outlier for Jeter's fielding. RF/9 for 2009-12: 3.90, 3.78, 3.61, 3.76. League RF/9 has ranged from 4.36 to 4.43.
   32. vivaelpujols Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4388158)
True, but several seasons worth of data suggest that 2012 is no outlier for Jeter's fielding. RF/9 for 2009-12: 3.90, 3.78, 3.61, 3.76. League RF/9 has ranged from 4.36 to 4.43.


Right, in a large sample size you can eliminate luck as a factor, and you can partially eliminate biases. But I'm guessing there are still some holdovers from earlier years. Have the Yankees had a complete turnover in pitching staff?
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:29 AM (#4388161)

I kind of disagree with this. It's regression to the mean. Whenever you see a huge outleir (such as a .390 BABIP, 55 homers, etc.) you're default assumption should be that there were some mitigating factors (such as luck, Coors, etc.).


It may be fair to guess that's where the adjustments will take you, but I don't think you work from the idea that the 90 is too high and that the starting point should be lower. That seems to be introducing unnecessary biases.

   34. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4388162)
But you don't work from the idea that the 90 is wildly high.

I kind of disagree with this. It's regression to the mean. Whenever you see a huge outleir (such as a .390 BABIP, 55 homers, etc.) you're default assumption should be that there were some mitigating factors (such as luck, Coors, etc.).


True, but several seasons worth of data suggest that 2012 is no outlier for Jeter's fielding. RF/9 for 2009-12: 3.90, 3.78, 3.61, 3.76. League RF/9 has ranged from 4.36 to 4.43.
   35. GEB4000 Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4388165)
It is truly amazing that Jeter is 3rd in starts at Shortstop. The top 20 list is comprised of good to excellent defensive players and Jeter. Is there any other bad defensive player that had a long career at a important defensive position? He's historic.
   36. TomH Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:35 AM (#4388168)
Hornsby, the almost-consensus best 2Bman ever.

okay, career not quite as long, but you get my point. And you shouldn't hold his time at shortstop (fewr career G at 2B) as a factor against him if discussing career length.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4388176)
It is truly amazing that Jeter is 3rd in starts at Shortstop. The top 20 list is comprised of good to excellent defensive players and Jeter. Is there any other bad defensive player that had a long career at a important defensive position? He's historic.


Ted Simmons as a catcher. Has 1771 games played at catcher, which puts him top 15 of all time. And if you believe the press, Piazza at 1630 isn't too far off.

(Note:Simmons is my favorite player of all time, so I don't personally buy into the bad defense rep, and Piazza's rep is solely about his arm, he's excellent at all other aspects of the job of catcher)

Willie McCovey(2045 games at first, career -78rfield) probably fits the bill among first baseman. By Rfield, Eddie Yost(2004 games at third, -111 rfield) wasn't that good of a third baseman. Bernie Williams(1856 games at cf, -139rfield) is probably hurt by his decline phase and them not moving off of the position. Ray Durham (1843 games at second, career rfield -102)
   38. SG Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4388177)
Just looking at 2012, the average AL team had 12.04 ground balls hit against them and the Yankees had 11.83(per Baseball Reference's splits). On average, about 30.4% of ground balls go to shortstop. Pitcher and opposing batter handedness is another factor, but ignoring that for now that means in theory Yankee shortstops had 3.6 chances per game compared to a league average of 3.66. I'm assuming that RF/9 includes line drives which is why this is lower.

So it's hard to say that the Yankees' ground ball percentage in 2012 was a significant reason for Jeter's range factor to look so poor. FWIW, Eduardo Nunez(4.19) and Jayson Nix(3.90) were both better than Jeter(3.76) as well, although they only combined for about 250 innings.

   39. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4388180)
So it's hard to say that the Yankees' ground ball percentage in 2012 was a significant reason for Jeter's range factor to look so poor.


Nobody is saying that though.
   40. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4388193)
As Walt indicates later, range factor is a pretty crude measure. Much better to look at assists, or even better is all plays made on groundballs. And by those measures it is clear that Jeter has over his career routinely made 35-40 fewer plays per season than an average SS. Now, opportunities certainly can vary a lot from year to year. So, seven or eight years ago it was still vaguely plausible that this reflected fewer opportunities than average for Jeter. But this is no longer plausible. Over his career, NYY pitchers have allowed an average number of groundballs and faced a typical distribution of hitters (as tends to happen over huge samples). The only possibility left is that Jeter is responsible for the large majority of this shortfall in plays made.
   41. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4388214)
True, but several seasons worth of data suggest that 2012 is no outlier for Jeter's fielding. RF/9 for 2009-12: 3.90, 3.78, 3.61, 3.76. League RF/9 has ranged from 4.36 to 4.43.


There could still be a systematic problem with the distribution of chances Jeter gets from his pitchers, or with what the 3B is doing, etc.
   42. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: March 14, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4388256)
More RHP should mean more LH batters which should mean more ground balls to the right side.
   43. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4388259)
But this is no longer plausible. Over his career, NYY pitchers have allowed an average number of groundballs and faced a typical distribution of hitters (as tends to happen over huge samples). The only possibility left is that Jeter is responsible for the large majority of this shortfall in plays made.


This. Its not like Jeter's had the same pitching staff the whole time he's been in the big leagues.
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4388261)
This. Its not like Jeter's had the same pitching staff the whole time he's been in the big leagues.


But he _has_ had only two managers. (*) Do managers help plan where infielders should position themselves; who should take which plays; etc.?

(*) Now someone will nitpick that he had Showalter or Zimmer for two weeks.
   45. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4388268)
But he _has_ had only two managers.


I don't think Joe Torre is so stupid as to have been playing his SS in the wrong place for 12 years. Girardi? Maybe.
   46. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4388272)
Maybe Jeter's pitchers channeled Jack Morris, but instead of pitching to the score, pitched to the fielders to keep the batted balls away from him.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4388275)
The thought of Zimmer brought back the memory of the surreal situation in which he charged Pedro and ended up on the ground, with everyone in an outrage over Pedro, faced with an impossible no-win situation given that Zimmer was 70 years old, lightly defending himself against a man who was rushing him.
   48. Lassus Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4388277)
In fairness, just about everyone backed off their outrage pretty quickly when giving the whole thing a second look, especially with Zim himself admitting he was completely in the wrong.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4388278)

I don't think Joe Torre is so stupid as to have been playing his SS in the wrong place for 12 years. Girardi? Maybe.


Actually, if you look at UZR, Jeter's numbers improved dramatically when Torre left. Jeter averaged -13 p.a. in '05-'07.

In Girardi's first year ('08) he jumped to average (-0.4) and then was +8 in '09, and has declined from there (as you'd expect at his age).

B-Ref shows the same pattern. Jeter ~-20 in '05-'07, improves to -10 in '08, and +3 in '09, and then declines.

I think there's at least some circumstantial evidence that Torre and his staff were making Jeter look worse than he was.
   50. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4388286)

? I absolutely look at how many PAs a hitter has. As does everyone.



Thats not what I am saying. WHen I used the term "Meatball" I am specifically referring to the quality of a pitch that the batter faced. Or more technically, the distribution of those pitches over the course of a season , or a career or whatever. the distribution namely being how good those pitches were, speed/location that sort of thing.

The first pt. I made was that no one challenges that stuff in terms of batters. They dont. They simply assume that over the course of a season it will average out; or that it doesnt really matter; or they dont care, or something else.

   51. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4388295)
Actually, if you look at UZR, Jeter's numbers improved dramatically when Torre left. Jeter averaged -13 p.a. in '05-'07.

If you look at DRS, the data is a bit more murky, as Jeter's '08 number was pretty close to what he posted in '03 and '04:

2003 -13
2004 -13
2005 -27
2006 -16
2007 -24
2008 -10
2009 3
2010 - 9
   52. BDC Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4388298)
Jeter's numbers improved dramatically when Torre left. Jeter averaged -13 p.a. in '05-'07

I have always attributed a lot of the Yankee success of the late 1990s to Willie Randolph, who seemed to be their most plausible authority on infield play at the time; Scott Brosius, at least, was fairly miraculous in his positioning, and Jeter himself didn't look bad for a few years there. But who knows, success has many fathers and Derek Jeter's fielding is an orphan.
   53. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4388300)
Try harder. Pitchers have a strong effect on batted ball distributions and Jeter plays for the same ~15 for the entire year.


Totally missing what I said. I was talking about a seasons worth of balls hit to the SS area. Are you telling me pitching staffs can control how many line drives and how many bunny hoppers are hit there?

You say "batted ball distributions" so I guess you are talking about GB v FB. That's not what exactly what I am saying. I am talking about balls hit to him. I get the pt. about GB vs FB; perhaps the Yankee pitching staff is expert at inducing FB.

NOW CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW MUCH THAT VARIES PER PITCHING STAFF?

Still quite curious about this. It comes up all the time; Im sure someone has tried to quantify it, but every time it comes in discussion that I see here there is no follow up to explain just exactly how much difference that might be. (again maybe misremebering something, but I'd like to see what factor it is, if anyone knows)

Hitters themselves have large variance in GB/FB. Going from memory, I think it was similar to the variance among pitchers. whatever the case, it is also seems likely that the batter himself would have a significant effect on GB/FB. If so this would diminish whatever effect the pitchers are having on this.

I am skeptical about how much this can effect things but anyhow do we have any idea?
   54. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4388314)
SS: The distribution of balls can vary quite a bit, due mainly to the pitchers on a team. The mix of opposing hitters never changes much, but some pitchers allow many more/fewer GBs than others, and the left/right distribution can vary quite a bit too. And then there's just random luck on top of that. Over a career we don't have to worry about luck, but the pitcher influences can still be substantial. That said, there's no evidence that pitchers explain Jeter's low number of outs made -- when the identity of his pitchers is taken into account (WOWY) his numbers don't really change at all.

   55. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4388320)
Fangraphs provides totals for plays made (successfully) on groundballs since 2003, which is much better than range factor and even better than assists. For these 10 seasons, plays made per 150 games played:
Jeter: 339
AL SS: 376
Diff: -37
So Jeter has made 37 fewer plays, which is -26 runs per season over a decade.

Fangraphs also reports how many balls were hit into Jeter's "zone." There are reasons to think this data is biased in favor of poor fielders (the farther the fielder is from a ball, the less likely it is to be scored as in his zone), but if we want to give Jeter the benefit of the doubt he had 3% fewer BIZ than the average AL SS. If we adjust for that, then Jeter is -27 plays (-5 in his zone and -22 on out of zone balls), or -19 runs. So the generous case for Jeter is that he costs his team about 20 runs a season with the glove. More likely it's around 25.

And if people want to blame Joe Torre for this, thinking that he forced his All Star SS to play out of position for years, well, I don't even know what to say.
   56. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4388350)
More RHP should mean more LH batters which should mean more ground balls to the right side.

Could be some Stadium influence, too. You'd think left-handed batters would be hitting the ball in the air to Yankee Stadium's comparatively short right field, even more so in the new version than the old. Might even be some tendency for right-handed hitters to try to avoid eft field's Death Valley, too, although those fences have been brought in from the original configuration.
   57. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4388369)
Could be some Stadium influence, too. You'd think left-handed batters would be hitting the ball in the air to Yankee Stadium's comparatively short right field, even more so in the new version than the old. Might even be some tendency for right-handed hitters to try to avoid eft field's Death Valley, too, although those fences have been brought in from the original configuration.


Let's not forget the unique NYC weather patterns resulting from global warming. The prevailing winds push groundballs away from Jeter and toward Cano (or is it toward A-Rod? I forget).

And those black helicopters landing and departing from the U.N. building probably play a role too.

I'll say one thing: as the years go by, Jeter denialism becomes increasingly entertaining.....
   58. vivaelpujols Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4388374)
Or more technically, the distribution of those pitches over the course of a season , or a career or whatever. the distribution namely being how good those pitches were, speed/location that sort of thing.


A hitter faces, what, 100 different pitchers over the course of a season? A fielder is playing behind the same 15 pitchers (with the same 5-7 starters making up the bulk of the innings). No doubt there is some bias with hitters, but it's much smaller than with fielders.
   59. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4388378)
NOW CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW MUCH THAT VARIES PER PITCHING STAFF?


Looking at 2012 You have the Cardinals, the most ground ball friendly team recording 1722 ground outs, 1312 fly outs(couldn't find the raw flyball/groundball numbers)...Meanwhile the A's recorded 1496 ground outs, and 1633 fly outs. The A's are the most extreme fb team .73 gb/fb ratio vs the league average is .83, and the Cardinals is the most groundball inducing team .96.
   60. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:25 PM (#4388411)
Meanwhile the A's recorded 1496 ground outs, and 1633 fly outs. The A's are the most extreme fb team

Probably some park factors in play. Lots of foul ground basically turns unreachable foul balls into pop outs. The big OF turns home runs into fly outs. Basically that stadium creates a lot of fly outs at the expense of other outs.
   61. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 14, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4388413)
Could be some Stadium influence, too. You'd think left-handed batters would be hitting the ball in the air to Yankee Stadium's comparatively short right field,

Have the Yankees pitchers, especially starters, skewed LH or RH? The influence of the stadium could lead the team to value LHP more, maybe?
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4388452)
Let's not forget the unique NYC weather patterns resulting from global warming. The prevailing winds push groundballs away from Jeter and toward Cano (or is it toward A-Rod? I forget).


Well, linking Jeter's defense to anthropogenic global warming would be as solid as any other evidence we have for the existence of AGW.
   63. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4388490)
Have the Yankees pitchers, especially starters, skewed LH or RH?


% RHB:
Jeter: 57%
MLB: 58%

Percentage of PAs that produced a GB:
Jeter: 31%
MLB: 31%

If you find Tango's WOWY article on Jeter in one of the old THT annuals (2008?), you will see that the pitchers Jeter played behind were extremely average in terms of the number of plays made by SS behind them (when Jeter was not their SS). This isn't always true, by the way. Rafael Furcal has played behind pitchers who give up a LOT of GBs to SS, so his raw stats make him look better than he is. But as it happens, Jeter's pitchers have not been unusual.
   64. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4388494)
What I'm actually having more trouble wrapping my brain around is how in the world could Jeter have 60 fewer putouts than an average SS.

People here often claim he's good on popups so it's presumably not that. Also if he were getting fewer GB opps due to a FB pitching staff, he would be getting more popups. Is he literally so bad going to his left that he can't even get to 2B in time to take the throw? Have Yankee 2B of the last 18 years been going to first by default? How do the Yanks rank on double plays? (Or does somebody have 4-6-3 DP info)

Yonks ago, somebody (Dial? Emeigh?) actually looked at the video of Jeter over an entire season. They did find evidence that the Yanks employed odd positioning such that the 3B was much further off the line and getting many more balls to their left, reducing Jeter's number of chances.

Fangraphs provides totals for plays made (successfully) on groundballs since 2003, which is much better than range factor and even better than assists.

How is a successful play on a ground ball different than an assist? OK, I guess there's the occasional unassisted force at 2B but obviously Jeter's not piling up a lot of those.

Anyway, yes, something like assists/9 or GB fielded per 9 is the place to start. Raw numbers, nothing to do with how hard the ball was hit, not worrying about where the plays made and not made occur, not worrying about the denominator yet. Just start with:

Derek Jeter fields 35 fewer groundballs per year than the average SS.

In this particular case that also gives you the "nice" outcome that apparently all the fancy adjustments HELP Jeter. 35 fewer groundballs is 25+ runs per year yet Rfield tends to put him around -15. Jeter's defenders think he's being screwed over by these crazy defensive stats.

In the post-WAR world, the discussion of worst defender ever pretty much starts and ends with Gary Sheffield: -195 Rfield, -29 dWAR. By that measure, he gave back Aramis Ramirez's career with the glove.
   65. GuyM Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:09 PM (#4388515)
Walt: as best I can tell, Jeter makes about 9 fewer POs than average per year -- nothing close to 60. It's probably mainly force plays at 2B not made. Maybe he handles fewer SBA than average? In any case, it's not a big number.

And yes, it's the advanced metrics that make Jeter look better, not the raw stats. And that's fundamentally because these metrics are built one play at a time. Since there is uncertainty about the responsibility for most non-outs, responsibility is often shared among multiple players. This ensures a certain amount of excess regression to the mean for both great and terrible fielders. The metrics don't "know" this is Derek Jeter and that he's had the same crappy result for 15 consecutive years. So when a ball goes into the OF, Jeter shares blame with Cano, or A-rod, or whomever. (And Jeter gets some of the credit when he plays along side good fielders, which he often has.) It's an inevitable result of these methodologies.
   66. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 14, 2013 at 06:19 PM (#4388518)
How is a successful play on a ground ball different than an assist? OK, I guess there's the occasional unassisted force at 2B but obviously Jeter's not piling up a lot of those.

With two outs and a runner on second and a seemingly unplayable ball hit into the hole, a diving stop to keep the ball on the infield is a successful play (in that it prevents a chance at a run) that doesn't result in an out. That's probably not one that figures into the numbers, however.
   67. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4388551)
thanks everyone for all that info. I had not seen it in discussions before. I post in rhetorically form quite often, but I really do want to know what info we have on this issue.

DOing some quick math, I would guess that based on the stats in post 59 (thx fanboy) there's something like plus/minus 6% difference from extreme FB or GB vs league average. (adjusting for hits/pop ups/LDs etc). So probably enuf factor that it need some adjustment for extreme ends of the spectrum.

Really enjoy the dicussion thanks.
   68. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2013 at 07:52 PM (#4388568)
DOing some quick math, I would guess that based on the stats in post 59 (thx fanboy) there's something like plus/minus 6% difference from extreme FB or GB vs league average. (adjusting for hits/pop ups/LDs etc). So probably enuf factor that it need some adjustment for extreme ends of the spectrum.




You can go to mlb.com and look up go and ao for each team. it has totals for ground outs and fly outs. for the record, Yankees were 1480 gb outs, to 1406 air outs. while having roughly a league average gb/fb ratio of .83
   69. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 14, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4388581)
DOing some quick math, I would guess that based on the stats in post 59 (thx fanboy) there's something like plus/minus 6% difference from extreme FB or GB vs league average. (adjusting for hits/pop ups/LDs etc). So probably enuf factor that it need some adjustment for extreme ends of the spectrum.

You also have to take into account the strikeout tendencies of a staff. Some staffs allow more balls in play, some get more Ks. Just looking at last year, the average team allowed ~26.3 BIP per 9 IP, but the range went from the Twins at 28.5 to the Rays at 24.4. That is nearly a 17% gap between the high and the low in terms of the number of balls in play.
   70. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:51 AM (#4388756)
actually I think my quick estimate was pretty good. Pop ups seem to be accounted for as Fly balls (at least in fangraphs). LD% is about 20% but only 1/4 of those are caught, so I think that means that only 5% of outs are made by LD. K% is now at an all time high of about 27%. Then there are a few CS, Fielders Choice and DP, so roughly speaking about 60% of outs are made by FB and GB.

Based on cardsfan post, there's about a +/- of about 10% from avg for FB and GB. But since only 60% of outs are made by FB and GB I multiplied .10 x .6 = 6%. So an extremely good GB team might provide a Mark Belanger with at most an extra 6% assists; and an extreme FB team might be robbing a Jeter (or hypothetical player being screwed by assist numbers) to the tune of about 6%....

However, also noted above there are some important park effects such as large foul territory which must also be skewing that +/- number. That should be accounted for certainly. My best guess then is even the most extreme GB or FB pitching staff might account for merely 3-4% boost/depression on asssists.

a decent link for starters is here:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspxpos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0&type=2&season=2011&month=0&season1=1901&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&players=0&sort=0,d
   71. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4388757)
not sure why this link is not posting but again:

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=2&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter;=&players=0
   72. cardsfanboy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM (#4388767)
not sure why this link is not posting but again:


I had problems trying to post my mlb.com link so edited it out. Not sure what it is doing, but it seems to be having some problems.

I assume you are clicking the carrot a icon for the hyperlink.
   73. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 01:56 AM (#4388768)
I simply copied and pasted from the address bar of the page found on the fan graph website. A simple google search of GB and FB should produce that page. NOt sure what you mean by "clicking the carrot a icon" in this context; I think you mean I edited the link so it can show up as a link when I posted??? I simply did a google search and found a page with seasonal GB/FB rates, and then cut and pasted from the address bar.

html not my forte..
   74. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 02:21 AM (#4388771)
HEre's another article comparing the foul territory in Oak vs in Miami, just based one season. Go the comments about the first dozen or so. They figure about 1.1 more foul outs per game in Oak vs Miami. Since this is for both teams you have to divide by about 52 1/2 outs per game, so about a 2% difference from extreme high to low foul out tendency. So this would suggest instead of a +/- 6% factor, it might only be +/- 5% for extreme pitching staffs. just a rough guess. Heres the link...

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-potential-marlins-park-park-factor-factor/
   75. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4388931)
while having roughly a league average gb/fb ratio of .83

/

I think you inverted terms here. FB/GB is about .83 while GB/FB is the inverse or roughly 11/9. I think.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: March 15, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4388990)
I simply copied and pasted from the address bar of the page found on the fan graph website. A simple google search of GB and FB should produce that page. NOt sure what you mean by "clicking the carrot a icon" in this context; I think you mean I edited the link so it can show up as a link when I posted??? I simply did a google search and found a page with seasonal GB/FB rates, and then cut and pasted from the address bar.


Carrot icon was wrong word, it's not a carrot, it's a greater than less than sign(not sure what the correct term is for those--angled brackets?)
At the top of the comment box is an a surrounded by greater than less than signs. clicking on that sign brings up a box for you to paste in the link then another box to paste in what you want the link to say. It does all the html work for you. (just like the quote option that you used.)

I think you inverted terms here. FB/GB is about .83 while GB/FB is the inverse or roughly 11/9. I think.

That is correct it should have been FB/GB.
   77. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4389073)

Just to add further insight, here's a pretty good discussion of park effects on strikeouts, this was done 5 years ago:


http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/batted-balls-and-park-effects/

It shows about a +/- 10% diff in different parks. If we apply that to the above (KOs account for 27% of outs), lets call it 2.5%. So park effect would account for a 2.5% increase or decrease in the type of outs being produced. Combine with foul territory we'er up to 3.5%. Even just another mere 0.5% would leave us with like perhaps a 2% variance in types of outs based on a pitching staff. That's for an extreme FB or GB pitching staff.

So the effect of a pitching staff on all this, has got to be fairly small for extreme staffs, and probably not even measureable for most staffs.

I'll have to file this away for future use.
   78. StillFlash Posted: March 16, 2013 at 05:48 AM (#4389369)
The biggest problem with range factor is using innings as a measure of opportunities. The number of ground balls hit to an infielder will vary based on the strikeout and ground ball rates of the pitchers he plays behind.

A modified range factor, which requires no fancy match or assumptions, is to measure how many ground balls an infielder got to divided by how many total ground balls were hit to anyone while he was playing his position.

From Gameday, I made a list of the 50 most ground balls reached (this includes infield hits and reached on errors), which was 700 or more covering the period 2005-12. The top rating was Everth Cabrera who got to 24.9% of the ground balls hit while he was playing shortstop. The rest of the top five are Jack Wilson, Brendan Ryan, Starlin Castro and Elvis Andrus. I would doubt any of you would be surprised by my claim that those five had the best range at shortstop. Coming in last, 50 of 50...is Derek Jeter at 20.5% Just above him, in ascending order, are Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Yuniesky Betancourt and Angel Berroa. Reyes might not be expected, but it's a very similar ranking to what I get from my advanced metric. Jeter's best season, 2007, was 21.8%, which would rank 45th. 2008 was his worst, as 18.5%.

   79. GuyM Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4389419)
StillFlash: Could you tell us what the average % was for SS in your data? And how many total GBs are hit per season while Jeter is on the field?
   80. Sunday silence Posted: March 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4389424)
35 fewer groundballs is 25+ runs per year yet Rfield tends to put him around -15...


THis from post 64. Walt, I take it this 25 runs is based on some sort of linear weights concept? That works out to about 0.7 runs per ground ball through the infield. Can you tell me a little about how this was worked out? It seems a little high to me. In some I see, a single is usually worth about 0.5 and a walk that only moves runners up one base if any, is about 0.25. So that seems a little bit high to me.
   81. GuyM Posted: March 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4389433)

SS: the value of a single is about .47 runs. But allowing a GB to become a hit also means failing to record an out, which is worth about -0.23 runs. So the net cost of failing to make a play is about .7 runs.

The reason RField estimates Jeter's defense as less bad is primarily because of two factors: 1) the underlying BIS data, for at least most seasons, is biased in favor of bad fielders and against good fielders (range bias), and 2) in assigning blame for hits, the metrics assume Jeter and his teammates are all average fielders -- they don't "know" that Jeter is Jeter.
   82. StillFlash Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4389763)
Jeter's data - opp is total ground balls hit while he was playing SS, GB is number he handled. MLB average is .228. This for all ground balls, not just outs. How many of the GB's he got to that he got outs on is my "hands" rating, for which Jeter scores very high. GB outs divided by opps would be an approximation of an overall individual defense efficiency rating. Adjustment could be made for number of LH vs RH batters, but these are raw, factual numbers.

Year Pos Opp GB Pct plays
2005 6 2016 428 0.212 -32
2006 6 1722 349 0.203 -44
2007 6 1800 392 0.218 -18
2008 6 1802 333 0.185 -78
2009 6 1586 325 0.205 -37
2010 6 1711 343 0.200 -47
2011 6 1459 294 0.202 -39
2012 6 1639 350 0.214 -24

player            mlbamid year pos opp   gb   pct plays
Cabrera, Everth    465784 2012 6 1317 337 0.256 +37
Dozier, Brian      572821 2012 6 1142 289 0.253 +29
Ryan, Brendan      453895 2012 6 1568 392 0.250 +34
Crawford, Brandon  543063 2012 6 1661 413 0.249 +34
Pennington, Cliff  460060 2012 6 1066 265 0.249 +22
Hardy, J.J.        429666 2012 6 1999 488 0.244 +32
Janish, Paul       457926 2012 6  708 169 0.239  +8
Andrus, Elvis      462101 2012 6 1746 413 0.237 +15
Castro, Starlin    516770 2012 6 1962 463 0.236 +16
Lowrie, Jed        476704 2012 6 1197 281 0.235  +8
Ramirez, Alexei    493351 2012 6 1788 417 0.233  +9
Barmes, Clint      425549 2012 6 1649 383 0.232  +7
Aviles, Mike       449107 2012 6 1612 371 0.230  +3
Escobar, Yunel     488862 2012 6 1847 421 0.228   0
Aybar, Erick       430947 2012 6 1604 363 0.226  -3
Furcal, Rafael     279577 2012 6 1569 355 0.226  -3
Cabrera, Asdrubal  452678 2012 6 1734 390 0.225  -5
Rutledge, Josh     592710 2012 6  739 166 0.225  -2
Gordon, Dee        543829 2012 6  923 205 0.222  -5
Johnson, Elliot    471107 2012 6 1046 232 0.222  -6
Rollins, Jimmy     276519 2012 6 1769 388 0.219 -15
Cozart, Zack       446359 2012 6 1663 364 0.219 -15
Drew, Stephen      452220 2012 6  891 192 0.215 -11
Escobar, Alcides   444876 2012 6 1864 400 0.215 -25
Tejada, Ruben      514913 2012 6 1305 280 0.215 -18
Jeter, Derek       116539 2012 6 1639 350 0.214 -24
Peralta, Jhonny    425509 2012 6 1727 355 0.206 -39
Desmond, Ian       435622 2012 6 1548 316 0.204 -37
Reyes, Jose        408314 2012 6 2064 409 0.198 -62
Bloomquist, Willie 217100 2012 6  774 146 0.189 -30
   83. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 17, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4389771)
Mets hijack (Bluejays hijack?):

Reyes has been a bad fielder for his career, and has been getting worse (-17 rfield last year per BBref). Is there some point at which he can't be a starting ss anymore, and where does he go from there?
   84. GuyM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4389788)
Thanks, StillFlash. So, over 8 seasons, Jeter has been -40 plays per season on average, after we control for the most important factor (his pitchers' GB tendencies). Opposing hitters have been slightly (-1%) less likely than average to be RHH, so let's estimate that RHH create twice as many SS outs as LHH, and credit Jeter with another 3 plays made. That leaves him -37 plays, or -26 runs, per season. As it happens, that's exactly what I got (post 55) without using PBP data at all. In Jeter's case, his opportunities have been quite average overall (though it's always good to check).

Honestly, I don't see how there is much left to debate about Jeter's fielding. Maybe he's been -20 rather than -25, but that's the range of possibilities.
   85. bobm Posted: March 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4389842)
[83] Reyes has been a bad fielder for his career, and has been getting worse (-17 rfield last year per BBref). Is there some point at which he can't be a starting ss anymore, and where does he go from there?

For single seasons, From 2009 to 2012, Played 50% of games at SS, (requiring Qualified for league batting title), sorted by smallest runs_fielding


                                                       
Rk                Player Rfield Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA
1        Orlando Cabrera    -29 2009  34 TOT AL 160 708
2    Yuniesky Betancourt    -27 2010  28 KCR AL 151 588
3         Hanley Ramirez    -19 2010  26 FLA NL 142 619
4            Derek Jeter    -18 2012  38 NYY AL 159 740
5    Yuniesky Betancourt    -18 2009  27 TOT AL 134 508
6             Jose Reyes    -17 2012  29 MIA NL 160 716
7            Derek Jeter    -15 2011  37 NYY AL 131 607
8          Miguel Tejada    -15 2009  35 HOU NL 158 674
9             Jose Reyes    -13 2011  28 NYM NL 126 586
10        Starlin Castro    -10 2011  21 CHC NL 158 715
11        Edgar Renteria    -10 2009  32 SFG NL 124 510
12      Cliff Pennington     -9 2011  27 OAK AL 148 570
13        Jason Bartlett     -9 2011  31 SDP NL 139 618
14           Derek Jeter     -9 2010  36 NYY AL 157 739
15          Ronny Cedeno     -9 2010  27 PIT NL 139 502
16         Jimmy Rollins     -8 2012  33 PHI NL 156 699
17         Jimmy Rollins     -7 2011  32 PHI NL 142 631
18   Yuniesky Betancourt     -7 2011  29 MIL NL 152 584
19          Elvis Andrus     -7 2010  21 TEX AL 148 674
20           Ian Desmond     -7 2010  24 WSN NL 154 574
21           Ian Desmond     -6 2012  26 WSN NL 130 547
22      Asdrubal Cabrera     -5 2012  26 CLE AL 143 616
23         Rafael Furcal     -4 2012  34 STL NL 121 531
24        Starlin Castro     -4 2010  20 CHC NL 125 506
25            Jose Reyes     -4 2010  27 NYM NL 133 603
Rk                Player Rfield Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA
26            Juan Uribe     -4 2010  30 SFG NL 148 575
27      Asdrubal Cabrera     -4 2009  23 CLE AL 131 581
28           Ian Desmond     -3 2011  25 WSN NL 154 639
29       Alcides Escobar     -2 2012  25 KCR AL 155 648
30       Cristian Guzman     -2 2009  31 WSN NL 135 555
31         Jimmy Rollins     -2 2009  30 PHI NL 155 725
32        Jhonny Peralta     -1 2012  30 DET AL 150 585
33           Erick Aybar     -1 2011  27 LAA AL 143 605
34        Jason Bartlett     -1 2010  30 TBR AL 135 532
35       Orlando Cabrera      0 2010  35 CIN NL 123 537
36          Stephen Drew      0 2010  27 ARI NL 151 633
37         Marco Scutaro      0 2010  34 BOS AL 150 695
38          Ryan Theriot      0 2009  29 CHC NL 154 677
39           Erick Aybar      1 2009  25 LAA AL 137 556
40        Jhonny Peralta      2 2011  29 DET AL 146 576
41        Alexei Ramirez      2 2009  27 CHW AL 148 606
42        Hanley Ramirez      2 2009  25 FLA NL 151 652
43           Erick Aybar      3 2012  28 LAA AL 141 554
44        Starlin Castro      3 2012  22 CHC NL 162 691
45      Asdrubal Cabrera      3 2011  25 CLE AL 151 667
46           Derek Jeter      3 2009  35 NYY AL 153 716
47           Erick Aybar      4 2010  26 LAA AL 138 589
48        Jason Bartlett      5 2009  29 TBR AL 137 567
49          Elvis Andrus      7 2011  22 TEX AL 150 665
50        Alexei Ramirez      7 2011  29 CHW AL 158 684
Rk                Player Rfield Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA
51         Yunel Escobar      7 2011  28 TOR AL 133 590
52         Cesar Izturis      7 2010  30 BAL AL 150 513
53       Alcides Escobar      7 2010  23 MIL NL 145 552
54         Yunel Escobar      7 2009  26 ATL NL 141 604
55         Rafael Furcal      7 2009  31 LAD NL 150 680
56          Elvis Andrus      8 2012  23 TEX AL 158 711
57            J.J. Hardy      8 2011  28 BAL AL 129 567
58         Alex Gonzalez      9 2011  34 ATL NL 149 593
59         Yunel Escobar      9 2010  27 TOT ML 135 567
60          Stephen Drew      9 2009  26 ARI NL 135 595
61       Alcides Escobar     10 2011  24 KCR AL 158 598
62       Troy Tulowitzki     11 2011  26 COL NL 143 606
63           Zack Cozart     12 2012  26 CIN NL 138 600
64         Marco Scutaro     12 2009  33 TOR AL 144 680
65           Mike Aviles     13 2012  31 BOS AL 136 546
66      Cliff Pennington     13 2010  26 OAK AL 156 576
67       Troy Tulowitzki     13 2009  24 COL NL 151 628
68        Alexei Ramirez     14 2012  30 CHW AL 158 621
69         Yunel Escobar     15 2012  29 TOR AL 145 608
70          Elvis Andrus     15 2009  20 TEX AL 145 541
71            J.J. Hardy     18 2012  29 BAL AL 158 713
72       Troy Tulowitzki     19 2010  25 COL NL 122 529
73        Alexei Ramirez     20 2010  28 CHW AL 156 626
74         Alex Gonzalez     27 2010  33 TOT ML 157 640


   86. bobm Posted: March 17, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4389856)
Jeter's and Reyes' hitting helps keep them at SS despite their defense, for now.

For single seasons, From 1961 to 2012, Played 50% of games at SS, (requiring runs_fielding<=-17 and Qualified for league batting title), sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+

                                                                    
Rk                Player OPS+ WAR/pos Rfield Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA
1         Hanley Ramirez  145     4.2    -28 2007  23 FLA NL 154 706
2          Michael Young  131     3.0    -32 2005  28 TEX AL 159 732
3            Derek Jeter  128     4.4    -23 2000  26 NYY AL 148 679
4            Denis Menke  127     3.5    -18 1970  29 HOU NL 154 665
5         Hanley Ramirez  126     2.6    -19 2010  26 FLA NL 142 619
6            Derek Jeter  125     3.7    -27 2005  31 NYY AL 159 752
7            Derek Jeter  124     4.9    -17 2001  27 NYY AL 150 686
8            Derek Jeter  121     3.7    -24 2007  33 NYY AL 156 714
9            Derek Jeter  114     2.1    -18 2012  38 NYY AL 159 740
10           Denis Menke  114     2.5    -17 1969  28 HOU NL 154 658
11            Jose Reyes  111     2.8    -17 2012  29 MIA NL 160 716 
12           Derek Jeter  111     3.5    -18 2002  28 NYY AL 157 730
13         Michael Young  109     1.6    -27 2004  27 TEX AL 160 739
14        Shawon Dunston  108     0.5    -19 1995  32 CHC NL 127 503
15        Brendan Harris  106     0.9    -20 2007  26 TBD AL 137 576
16           Wil Cordero   98    -0.5    -22 1995  23 MON NL 131 564
17        Shawon Dunston   96     1.0    -18 1997  34 TOT NL 132 511
18         Sonny Jackson   95     2.2    -19 1966  21 HOU NL 150 670
19          Felipe Lopez   91     0.4    -23 2006  26 TOT NL 156 714
20         Jose Offerman   90    -0.3    -17 1992  23 LAD NL 149 598
21           Robin Yount   90     0.1    -22 1975  19 MIL AL 147 607
22   Yuniesky Betancourt   88    -1.3    -27 2010  28 KCR AL 151 588
23       Orlando Cabrera   86    -0.8    -29 2009  34 TOT AL 160 708
24        Alan Bannister   85    -0.6    -29 1977  25 CHW AL 139 630
25           Wil Cordero   82    -0.1    -20 1993  21 MON NL 138 521
Rk                Player OPS+ WAR/pos Rfield Year Age  Tm Lg   G  PA
26          Angel Berroa   81    -0.9    -21 2005  25 KCR AL 159 652
27         Frank Taveras   80    -0.5    -17 1980  30 NYM NL 141 598
28       Ricky Gutierrez   79    -1.4    -17 1998  28 HOU NL 141 561
29     Mark Grudzielanek   79    -0.8    -20 1998  28 TOT NL 156 641
30         Andre Rodgers   79    -0.7    -18 1963  28 CHC NL 150 601
31           Chris Gomez   77    -2.7    -33 1997  26 SDP NL 150 589
32        Rafael Ramirez   76    -1.1    -17 1989  31 HOU NL 151 575
33         Andres Thomas   76    -2.0    -20 1988  24 ATL NL 153 627
34       Dave Concepcion   74    -1.5    -17 1984  36 CIN NL 154 600
35         Desi Relaford   69    -0.8    -17 2000  26 TOT NL 128 502
36          Felix Fermin   67    -1.3    -20 1993  29 CLE AL 140 514
37   Yuniesky Betancourt   66    -2.3    -18 2009  27 TOT AL 134 508
38         Ozzie Guillen   62    -1.4    -18 1997  33 CHW AL 142 527


   87. StillFlash Posted: March 17, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4389895)
Pointing out that in my chart in #82, that's strictly range. Included in the GB total are infield hits and reached on error. Jeter gets runs back for being sure handed on those ball he does get to as well as being above average turning DPs. I also have a play by play method of measuring range by estimating how many ground ball hits to the outfield each infielder was responsible for, but here I wanted to make the metric as simple as possible.
   88. GuyM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4389909)
Pointing out that in my chart in #82, that's strictly range.

Ah, OK, I missed that. What % of his "gets" does Jeter turn into outs? And how does that compare to league average?

Interesting that you have him above avg on GDP. Rally has him slightly below average.
   89. bobm Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4389940)
I found this data on B-R:

2012 Player Advanced Fielding -- ss

Top 30 players by PA in the field, sorted by F2O%

                                                                                                              
Rk                    Age  Tm   PA RHB% BIP% GBIP% Fld F2O%
1           J.J.Hardy  29 BAL 6071  56%  75%   32% 619  92%
2       AlexeiRamirez  30 CHW 5880  56%  74%   30% 546  92%
3        YunelEscobar  29 TOR 5386  55%  75%   33% 532  92%
4     CliffPennington  28 OAK 3343  54%  78%   31% 336  92%
5           JedLowrie  28 HOU 3339  63%  76%   34% 328  92%
6          PaulJanish  29 ATL 1858  54%  76%   33% 186  92%
7       JhonnyPeralta  30 DET 5360  49%  75%   30% 481  91%
8         ClintBarmes  33 PIT 4928  58%  75%   33% 489  91%
9          ZackCozart  26 CIN 4846  52%  75%   32% 474  91%
10     AlcidesEscobar  25 KCR 5905  58%  76%   30% 531  89%
11        ElvisAndrus  23 TEX 5578  57%  74%   31% 540  89%
12    BrandonCrawford  25 SFG 4626  60%  75%   32% 496  89%
13        RubenTejada  22 NYM 4089  55%  74%   30% 349  89%
14      HanleyRamirez  28 LAD 2080  61%  72%   32% 178  89%
15      StarlinCastro  22 CHC 6093  62%  75%   30% 617  88%
16          JoseReyes  29 MIA 6055  53%  76%   32% 497  88%
17       JimmyRollins  33 PHI 5713  59%  73%   29% 496  88%
18    AsdrubalCabrera  26 CLE 5032  49%  77%   33% 494  88%
19         IanDesmond  26 WSN 4754  59%  73%   31% 404  88%
20      ElliotJohnson  28 TBR 2813  54%  72%   33% 251  88%
21         DerekJeter  38 NYY 5023  53%  74%   32% 432  87%
22         ErickAybar  28 LAA 4953  51%  76%   32% 494  87%
23        BrendanRyan  30 SEA 4846  54%  77%   31% 487  87%
24         MikeAviles  31 BOS 4728  56%  75%   33% 479  87%
25      EverthCabrera  25 SDP 3938  60%  76%   33% 427  87%
26       RafaelFurcal  34 STL 4340  55%  75%   35% 444  86%
27        BrianDozier  25 MIN 3176  60%  79%   35% 333  86%
28          DeeGordon  24 LAD 2738  60%  73%   30% 259  86%
29   WillieBloomquist  34 ARI 2269  56%  75%   32% 179  85%
30       JoshRutledge  23 COL 2173  60%  78%   33% 206  84%



Fld -- Number of balls fielded [...]
F2O% -- Percentage of balls fielded that resulted in outs
   90. GuyM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4389957)
Thanks, Bob. For the 8 years that StillFlash provided data, Jeter has been about league-average in F20% (90%). So I don't think it changes our assessment for 2005-2012. But over his career he has been a bit above average (91%). That makes his "hands" worth about 5 runs per season. (Although this is a mixed blessing, as Jeter's failure to knock down some GBs that other SSs would get to and turn into infield singles allows more baserunners to advance.)
   91. StillFlash Posted: March 17, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4390081)
Maybe Jeter's arm is going too, which would really screw his defense

Year Opp IFH ROE  Hands Rank 
2005 428  28  11  0.909   2
2006 349  17  13  0.914   4
2007 392  31  17  0.878  15
2008 333  28   8  0.895   9
2009 325  27   7  0.898   7
2010 343  37   7  0.875  19
2011 294  35  12  0.840  26
2012 350  42   7  0.860  26
   92. GuyM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4390085)
Flash: thanks. For comparison purposes, what is the average "hands" percentage?
   93. StillFlash Posted: March 17, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4390099)
.878 is the MLB average 'hands' pct from 2005-12. Best qualifying single season (2005-12, top 30 in opps) was Yunel Escobar .933 in 2012, worst Starlin Castro .812 in 2011.
   94. Dan Posted: March 17, 2013 at 06:53 PM (#4390100)
Hasn't Jeter's arm always been somewhat of a liability? I thought he played shallower than most shortstops due to his arm. It also seems to be why he does the silly jump throws instead of planting and throwing off his back foot.
   95. AROM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4390110)
"Hasn't Jeter's arm always been somewhat of a liability? I thought he played shallower than most shortstops due to his arm. It also seems to be why he does the silly jump throws instead of planting and throwing off his back foot."

Playing shallow would indicate a weak arm. But the jump throw? That's a lot harder to do than planting and throwing. You don't get any help from your legs if you are jumping in the opposite direction from where you're trying to throw.
   96. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 17, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4390121)
Jeter doesn't have a weak arm. With some of the outfields the Yankees had, his relay throws were the only thing preventing everyone from taking an extra base. Now he could start losing some arm due to age, but he started out just fine.
   97. StillFlash Posted: March 17, 2013 at 08:09 PM (#4390136)
To my comment of Jeter's arm, the last three years he has allowed mote infield hits than ever before, without a rise in ROE. Maybe His arm is not as strong as it was, or he's playing deeper in an attempt to cover more ground laterally (or both), which lets a few extra batters beat ouu base hits.

Here's a link to the powerpoint I presented at the 2012 SABR Analytics http://sabr.org/sites/default/files/SABRanalytics-Cartwright-slides.ppt
   98. GuyM Posted: March 17, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4390140)
So just to close the loop on Flash's data, Jeter's "Hands" for 2005-2012 is .884, vs. a league average of .878. That gives Jeter credit for another +2 plays made, leaving him at -35 plays per season for the last 8 years, or -25 runs per season.

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