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Monday, January 14, 2008

The 2007 NL Gold Glove Awards

These are the 2007 Gold Glove Awards as I see them.  Now, these are calculated as I laid out before, and reproducible by you.  There are several good defensive systems available now, and thanks to STATS and BIS, they produce data that seems to be pretty consistent, with the occasional stray value.  This year, we’ll take a look at other votes – the MLB Awards and John Dewan’s.

I have never come up with a satisfactory name for my defensive ratings.  Dan Szymborski suggested I name them for what they are – Linear Weights Zone Ratings – LWZR.  That appears to be pronounced Lew-zer.

So here are the LWZR Awards.  Run values (Defensive Runs Saved – DRS) are “compared to league average”, and are an approximate value – players within a handful of runs can be considered approximately equal.  Yes, that’s the same few paragraphs as the AL report.  I’m not as creative as some.

First Base

Albert Pujols came into the league as a third baseman, and he was pretty good.  He moved to the outfield, and he was pretty good.  He’s now moved to first base, where he is very good.  I don’t know if the Cardinals are maximizing Pujols – does the lessened wear-and-tear on his body at first base extend his hitting?  He’s one of the greatest hitters ever thus far in a career, and he’s also one of the better fielders.  If playing first base has eased his pain, then the Cards are doing the right thing.  He’s going to earn as many Gold Gloves as he can while mashing the ball too.  He’s one of the top two players in MLB.  Tough to get better than that.

In the LWZR ratings, Pujols led the league with 12 DRS, followed by Todd Helton and Adam LaRoche.

The Rawlings GG went to Derrek Lee.  Lee has been a good fielder in the past, but he isn’t remotely the best first baseman for 2007.  He is smooth, and a solid 1B, but there are several clearly better.

Dewan had Albert Pujols in his Plus/Minus system as the best, as well as the overall voting for the Fielding Bible.  Todd Helton was also second in his ratings.

Second Base

The LWZR GG goes to Chase Utley of the Phillies.  Utley was the best defensive 2B in 2005 and the best for 2Bs with 1200 IP.  He’s an excellent fielder, and coupled with his bat, is routinely a MVP candidate.  Utley is probably the most underrated player in the NL.  Orlando Hudson finished second among those with 1000 innings, but Kaz Matsui (13 DRS) and Marcus Giles (6 DRS) finished ahead of him in the LWZR rankings, even with less playing time.

The Rawlings Award went to Orlando Hudson again.  Playing behind Brandon Webb, he can get plenty of chances, and plenty of opportunities to look good for the voters.

Dewan’s rankings also rated Utley at the top.  Utley is also the top second sacker over the last three seasons in Dewan’s rankings.  Hudson finished second in Plus/Minus, followed by Matsui.

Third Base

If Scott Rolen could play an entire season, he’d be one of the greatest 3B of all time.  I take some of that back – Scott Rolen already is one of the best of all-time, and closing in on HOF stats.  He’s the best defensive 3B in at least 20 years, and may well lay claim to the greatest ever.  However, he cannot seem to play a full season, and thus finds himself short of another Gold Glove.  Okay, Rolen has won seven of the last ten, but he was better than the recipient in two of the three seasons he didn’t win.

Despite Rolen’s prowess, the last two years the best third baseman in the NL has been Pedro Feliz of the San Francisco Giants.  Feliz isn’t getting any recognition from the Rawlings voters, but he’s been significantly better than the non-Rolen winners, and better than Rolen the last couple of seasons.  Feliz also had a great 24 DRS - the top fielding season.  Rolen finished second with 17 DRS and Ryan Zimmerman was third with 14 DRS.

David Wright won the Gold Glove, and he improved more than anyone else – but much of that is grounded in how poor he was in 2006.

Dewan’s Plus/Minus had Feliz as the top fielder by a wide margin as well.  Ryan Zimmerman and Aramis Ramirez finished second and third with Rolen fourth.

Shortstop

“Ol’ Man River, He jes’ keeps rollin’ along.”  Omar Vizquel was 40 this past season, and played great defensively.  He was putrid offensively, with a OPS+ of 62, but he was outstanding defensively with 23 DRS.  That could have been enough to make Omar an average player in 2007, shocking as that sounds.  Vizquel was second in the NL in 2006, and doesn’t seem to have lost anything with the glove.  Troy Tulowitzki finished second (16 DRS), with Jose Reyes (15 DR) third.

The Rawlings voters often confuse offense with defense.  They voted for Jimmy Rollins, who was eighth in LWZR with -2 DRS.  He was a terrible choice, as he was 5 DRS from seventh place.

In the Plus/Minus ratings, Troy Tulowitzki was way out in front, but Omar was second and Adam Everett third despite few innings.

Left Field

Matt Holliday had an incredible season. He took the Rockies to the World Series with clutch hitting, and an incredible play at the plate.  He also deserved, although did not receive a Gold Glove.  He plays in a park that is generally rough on the fielders, and he still led the NL with 13 DRS.  Eric Byrnes was outstanding, posting a solid 9 DRS with less than 1000 IP.  Geoff Jenkins finished third.

The Gold Glove from the voters went to a right fielder and three center fielders – there was a tie, so we’ll just cover those when we get to center.

Dewan also separates the outfield, and in left, he rated Eric Byrnes at the top.  He had Willie Harris second and Jenkins third.  Harris only played 620 innings, but had 7 DRS, which would have been good enough for third in LWZR ratings.

Center Field

The Rawlings Gold Gloves have always awarded to three outfielders without regard for the positional differences.  Perhaps players switched around enough back when they were started that Rawlings felt “OF” was descriptive enough.  This year, there was a tie, so there were four Gold Glove winners, three of which were center fielders.  The Rawlings centerfield winners were Aaron Rowand, Carlos Beltran and Andruw Jones.

The LWZR Center Field Award goes to Carlos Beltran with 11 DRS.  Aaron Rowand finished second with 5 DRS.  That’s pretty good for the Rawlings awards.  Andruw Jones catches an odd subset of balls in play and doesn’t rate very well.  Juan Pierre finished third – so there were no arm ratings included.

Dewan’s CF ratings had Beltran and Andruw at the top, with Nook Logan coming in third.

Right Field

Shane Victorino, the Flyin’ Hawaiian, all 5’9” posted the best mark for right fielders.  He had a 10 DRS nd also had a good year throwing out runners.  Victorino only played about 900 innings, so he wasn’t getting much consideration for the Rawlings Gold Gloves.  Austin Kearns was second with 9 DRS.

The Rawlings Awards did give one to a non-centerfielder this year. Jeff Francoeur won a Gold Glove, and he won it for his arm.  Frenchy had 19 assists, and played an average right field otherwise. 

Plus/Minus had Austin Kearns at the top, followed by Andre Ethier and Corey Hart.  Victorino and Francoeur show up further down the list.

Catcher

Catcher ratings are a little different because they don’t get m/any ZR chances to make that an appropriate rating for catchers.  Catchers make errors and allow stolen bases, so their defensive ratings are built on that, but using the same “compared to average” structure.

Yadier Molina was the tops in LWZR ratings at 10 DRS, followed by David Ross, both with very good caught stealing rates.  Russell Martin finished third.

The Rawlings Gold Glove went to Russell Martin who caught more innings than either of the guys on the LWZR ratings, and was a good catcher.  IN another 400 innings, Molina and/or Ross could have made more errors or given up more SBs.  Martin is a good catcher and this GG is an okay selection.

Dewan doesn’t have a Plus/Minus for catchers, but the Fielding Bible Awards rated Molina the highest and Martin second.

Overall:


Pos LWZR   DRS Dewan   DRS Rawlings   DRS
1B Pujols   12 Pujols   12 Lee     -2
2B Utley   21 Utley   21 Hudson     3
3B Feliz   23 Feliz   23 Wright     1
SS Vizquel   23 Tulowitzki 15 Rollins     -2
LF Holliday   13 Byrnes     9 Rowand     5
CF Beltran   11 Beltran   11 Beltran     11
                          Jones       -5
RF Victrino   10 Kearns     9 Francoeur   -1
C Molina   10 Molina   10 Martin     6

If LWZR and Dewan didn’t match, they were either a coin flip – first/second - Vizquel/Tulowitzki, Holliday/Byrnes, Victorino/Kearns.

Based on that and the AL results, I’d say the LWZRs work very closely in describing the best fielders with the Dewan system.

 

Chris Dial Posted: January 14, 2008 at 01:51 AM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. smells like team spirit Posted: January 14, 2008 at 01:59 PM (#2667702)
I can understand not dividing the OF GGs; it's hard to imagine most average CFs wouldn't be better than the best LFs, and likewise (save arm strength, which is overrated anyway, cf. Francoeur) for RFs. The IF positions all have different skill sets.
   2. Chris Dial Posted: January 14, 2008 at 03:33 PM (#2667774)
Sometimes. In almost every case, the ability to read the ball off the bat and run the right path does vary. Balls hit to CF are hit straight, balls hit to LF and RF curve more, particularly to the opposite field.
   3. Alex_Lewis Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:17 PM (#2667808)
Yay Pedro Feliz!
   4. Chris Dial Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:22 PM (#2667819)
Good point, kevin.
   5. Rally Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:28 PM (#2667826)
As a general rule yes, but its not as clear cut as with the outfielders. Case in point: A-Rod. He's not as good at 3rd as he was at short.
   6. Alex_Lewis Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#2667835)
And Brandon Inge is a better 3B than he was a catcher! He was a catcher, right? Or am I confusing him with Robert Fick?!
   7. Chris Dial Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:44 PM (#2667836)
Case in point: A-Rod. He's not as good at 3rd as he was at short.

Mike cameron isn't as good in RF as he is in CF (wrt catching FBs)
   8. CraigK Posted: January 14, 2008 at 04:52 PM (#2667845)

And Brandon Inge is a better 3B than he was a catcher! He was a catcher, right? Or am I confusing him with Robert Fick?!


Yes, he was a catcher.
   9. joker24 Posted: January 14, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2667861)
Case in point: A-Rod. He's not as good at 3rd as he was at short.


Confounding alert: he also put on 20(??) maybe more pounds after the move so he could hit 54 bombs in Yankee Stadium.
   10. Honkie Kong Posted: January 14, 2008 at 10:41 PM (#2668232)
Chris,
what do you mean by Andruw catches an odd subset of balls? It seems that every year the Braves LF have excellent defensive ratings, while looking none too smart with the glove. Is there some bleed off effect?

And also, are you going to be doing Lead gloves too? Those are more fun!
   11. pancakehead Posted: January 14, 2008 at 11:40 PM (#2668284)
Hey man its cool you can calculate a bunch of random stats, but have you ever seen a real baseball game? You say Pujols deserved the GG? That is hilarious. He a terrible fielder. David Ortiz fields better as a DH. Matt Holliday? Please, the guy is a worst fielder than Wily Mo Pena. Did you not see his crucial errors in the WS, where it mattters most? Why dont you factor in the assists for outfielders? Your formula is cool and sounds smart, but it doesnt take into account crucial variables. I suggest you modify to actually do good.
   12. JPWF13 Posted: January 14, 2008 at 11:55 PM (#2668297)
Cool a one time hit and run troll-
   13. Kyle S Posted: January 15, 2008 at 12:05 AM (#2668308)
I'm still waiting for the article on how Chipper is much better than FRAA says... :)

Godot is absolutely right about Braves LF - it's getting to be comical (Kelly Johnson? Matt Diaz?). Who knows what's going on there...

I don't understand the comment about Francoeur's arm being over-rated. This isn't Manny throwing out guys going to second on funny bounces off the monster. Francoeur is gunning down guys at home who would have scored on pretty much any other right fielder. According to Dewan, Francoeur saved 12 runs above average with his arm, which is more than Beltran saved with his glove! (albeit when compared with other CF - i'm not necessarily advocating for JF's gold glove this year)
   14. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 15, 2008 at 12:13 AM (#2668316)
Vizquel looked really smooth at shortstop in the few games I watched him in 2007 and I am glad that he rates well.
   15. tiger337 Posted: January 15, 2008 at 12:18 AM (#2668318)
Inspired by Chris and others, I converted all the systems - ZR, RZR, PMR, +/- (the ones that were available) to defensive runs saved per 150 games. I also took whatever UZR numbers were available. So every player had 3 to 5 values. I took the average value for each player. For the outfielders, I then added John Walsh's arm data to the outfielders. I'm posting all the results at http://www.detroittigertales.blogspot.com/

Here are my NL Gold gloves:

1B. Pujols (Pancake, I've seen him a lot and he's outstanding!)
2B Utley
SS. Tulowitzki
3B. Feliz
LF. Soriano (It was Byrnes before I added Walsh's data)
CF. A. Jones (Beltran before I added Walsh's data)
RF. Victorino
C. I haven't figured that out yet.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: January 15, 2008 at 12:40 AM (#2668330)
what is 12 supposed to be pretending to be? Is it just a poor parody of Joe Morgan or is there a deeper joke involved?
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 15, 2008 at 12:43 AM (#2668333)
I think he's the guy who invented Pancake Flops to make David Ortiz look good.
   18. pancakehead Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:10 AM (#2668387)
What is 17 suppopsed to be? Is it a giant cow or some kind of bitter guy whos team finished what second to last in NL central?
   19. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:45 AM (#2668419)
A giant cow?

Good one, bro.
   20. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:50 AM (#2668428)
I think pancakehead should think before he posts something that might offend any giant cows that happen to be commenting here.

As a manatee I think he might be prejudiced against me as well.
   21. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:14 AM (#2668445)
Utley is probably the most underrated player in the NL.

Really? If he hadn't gotten hurt, he probably wins the MVP.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:27 AM (#2668457)
I was just curious as to if it was an attempt at humor or not? and if it was an attempt what was it attempting?

as to bitter guy? Umm, my team won a world series in the past two seasons, I don't think anyone has a right to be bitter until there is at least 30 years between world series titles.(possible exception is Minnesota fans who were one of the first team to have 3mil in attendence and yet were nearly contracted by their owner--that is rightful bitterness, beyond that I don't see many reasons to be a bitter fan of most teams)

and be nice about those cows, after all a cow single handedly nearly wiped Chicago off the map, have to respect that about cows...
   23. DCW3 Posted: January 15, 2008 at 09:21 AM (#2668552)
Really? If he hadn't gotten hurt, he probably wins the MVP.

Well, he's probably one of the two or three best players in all of baseball, and, if you asked most fans, I doubt they'd put him anywhere close to that.
   24. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:16 PM (#2668587)
According to Dewan, Francoeur saved 12 runs above average with his arm, which is more than Beltran saved with his glove!

Do you really think that passes the sniff test?
   25. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:22 PM (#2668591)
what do you mean by Andruw catches an odd subset of balls? It seems that every year the Braves LF have excellent defensive ratings, while looking none too smart with the glove. Is there some bleed off effect?

I don't know what's going on with Braves' LFs, but there is definitely something to that. Andruw rates poorly in ZR. He just does. Certainly poorly against his reputation. He does very well in Dewan's system. The two are very similar. Andruw, and I've noted this for a long while, takes all the discretionary outs in the OF. So, when you take a system that evaluates how often a CF catches a ball in a particular location, and he catches a bunch that most SS or 2B take, then he piles up lots of "points" despite the fact they are discretionary outs. He also takes all teh discretionary outs in LCF and RCF.

Bill James made an observation about Nap Lajoie(IIRC) doing this for the White Sox at second base, but no one seems to see that for Andruw.

One thing is certain to me - for very similar systems like LWZR and Dewan to disagree so much, there has to be an odd thing happening. We do know that Andruw catches many more balls definied as popups than other CFs.

Does PMR cover in/out distances for OFs? I also wonder if this was a factor in Seattle in RF.
   26. Rally Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:37 PM (#2668608)
Bill James made an observation about Nap Lajoie(IIRC) doing this for the White Sox at second base, but no one seems to see that for Andruw.


It was a little unusual for a 2B to do that, but its a centerfielder's job. When multiple players call for a ball everyone is supposed to defer to the CF. Andruw may just be a little more assertive about his fielding rights than most CF.

One thing is certain to me - for very similar systems like LWZR and Dewan to disagree so much, there has to be an odd thing happening.


I know MGL accounts for discretionary plays. If a ball is fielded 90% of the time, and 75% its the LF, and 15% its the CF, and 10% its the ground, he gives +.10 to the CF, the difference between an actual out and an expected out. Dewan might be giving the CF a +.85 or something.
   27. Mister High Standards Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:46 PM (#2668610)
Rally, while this isn't the place for the question I'm asking anyway... whats up with your Scott Kazmir projection, it BLOWS away every other projection for him by more than half a run in ERA (james) or nearly half a run (Zips). What is Chone seeing that Bill James and ZiPs isn't?
   28. Rally Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:50 PM (#2668613)
I think the Devil Rays are actually going to field a defense this year.
   29. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 02:56 PM (#2668620)
It was a little unusual for a 2B to do that, but its a centerfielder's job. When multiple players call for a ball everyone is supposed to defer to the CF. Andruw may just be a little more assertive about his fielding rights than most CF.


It's not quite that way. The field captain, or often better fielder, takes the discretionary outs. Yes, at lower levels, the rule of thumb is that the OF has a better bead on the ball coming in than an IF going out, but that's not how it works at the highest levels. Derek Jeter takes the discretionary outs in the Yankee short field. It is often decided by simply who gets there first. When neither player outranks the other, the OF will call the IF off. that is the practical dynamic in MLB.
   30. Boots Day Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:20 PM (#2668644)
Bill James made an observation about Nap Lajoie(IIRC) doing this for the White Sox at second base, but no one seems to see that for Andruw.

You recall correctly about Lajoie, but he never played for the White Sox. It was mostly the Indians and A's.
   31. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 03:55 PM (#2668687)
My bad.
   32. Honkie Kong Posted: January 15, 2008 at 04:07 PM (#2668701)
A theory, which might be BS. Anecdotally, the Braves LFs play much closer to the line than most other teams. So balls in the LCF gap, which would be the LF's responsibility are poached by Andruw.
So when Andruw catches them, they don't count against the LF's opportunities, and count as OOZ lpays for Andruw so don't show up for him, while in plus minus, they show up as a high run value play for Andruw? And LFs get additional credit for making more plays down the line...

This is checkable by seeing how many OOZ plays Andruw makes in the LCF zones. I don't know how to do that...
   33. Rally Posted: January 15, 2008 at 04:23 PM (#2668720)
This is checkable by seeing how many OOZ plays Andruw makes in the LCF zones. I don't know how to do that...


I don't think you could do that without paying thousands for their pbp data.
   34. Charter Member of the Jesus Melendez Fanclub Posted: January 15, 2008 at 04:32 PM (#2668728)
I think pancakehead is just upset that Dial hasn't gotten around to calculating complete Pancake Flops for 2007 yet.
   35. rdfc Posted: January 15, 2008 at 05:06 PM (#2668766)
Shortstops, in general, can field every infield position better than the guys who play elsewhere. They have better arms than the secondbasemen, better range than the thirdbasemen and better everything than the firstbasemen.


Sometimes, but not always. Third basemen require a lot quicker reaction time than shortstops, who can make up for slightly slower reaction times with their speed at short but not at third. Also, a shortstop with other attributes can get away with not having the greatest arm strength at second but that is not something that anyone can get away with at third. Neither of these problems are particularly unusual. More unusual are shortstops who can't transfer to second base because they just aren't good enough at pivoting from second base. This is rare but not unheard of.
   36. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#2668838)
A theory, which might be BS. Anecdotally, the Braves LFs play much closer to the line than most other teams. So balls in the LCF gap, which would be the LF's responsibility are poached by Andruw.
So when Andruw catches them, they don't count against the LF's opportunities, and count as OOZ lpays for Andruw so don't show up for him, while in plus minus, they show up as a high run value play for Andruw? And LFs get additional credit for making more plays down the line...

This is checkable by seeing how many OOZ plays Andruw makes in the LCF zones. I don't know how to do that...


Not BS. I've proffered that theory before. And while AROM is right, MGL could check that if he wanted to.
   37. Rally Posted: January 15, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2668859)
David Pinot or Shane Jensen could check this also. But then you'd need context, preferably the league average of LCF catches or at least a sampling of a few other players. Otherwise we might learn that Andruw made 87 or so of his catches in that part of the field, but have no idea if thats a normal figure.
   38. pancakehead Posted: January 15, 2008 at 10:11 PM (#2669055)
As a manatee I think he might be prejudiced against me as well


Hey sorry if I offended any manatees. Ive got to admit I agree more with Chris Dial than the voters on the actual gold glove winners. Rollins for short? My dog fields better than him.
   39. base ball chick Posted: January 15, 2008 at 10:27 PM (#2669075)
about andruw and the LF playing the lines closer - it might could be interstging to look at the plays there when langerhans was playing left as he's an outstanding glove, unlike most of the other guys i can think of who played left (especially larry wayne) and i wonder if the number/location of balls andruw got were different in any way.

my own eyeballs say that andruw is excellent and gets to more balls that are shallow than any other CF.

rollins is also pretty darn good, but was not the best fielding SS in the NL last year and he wouldn't have got the GG if he had had adam everett's hitting stats

and pancakehead just might could be a female you know, pretending to be male, remembering that using rudeness and insults to introduce your own self to a new group of males is a good way to get other people to think you are male
   40. pancakehead Posted: January 15, 2008 at 11:07 PM (#2669131)
be nice about those cows, after all a cow single handedly nearly wiped Chicago off the map, have to respect that about cows...

very true. i lay awake at night fearing cows will destroy my town
   41. Chris Dial Posted: January 15, 2008 at 11:27 PM (#2669158)
But then you'd need context, preferably the league average of LCF catches or at least a sampling of a few other players. Otherwise we might learn that Andruw made 87 or so of his catches in that part of the field, but have no idea if thats a normal figure.
As I said, the data MGL has is already in shape to do this. I don't know about David Pinot and Shane Jensen. Do thy have the data and a site somewhere I am unfamiliar with?
   42. RollingWave Posted: January 23, 2008 at 06:30 AM (#2674483)
Considering how shitty Chris Duncan is out there, shouldn't the Cards seriously considering flipping around Pujols / Duncan?
   43. DCW3 Posted: January 23, 2008 at 07:32 AM (#2674500)
Pujols was moved from the outfield to first base after injuring his elbow to the point that he could no longer even really throw. I very much doubt the Cardinals would want to move him back there and risk him needing Tommy John surgery.

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