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Friday, August 07, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers’ defense could be among the best in recent memory

The Dodgers might rank up there with the two best defensive teams I’ve seen in my lifetime: the 2001 Mariners and 2016 Cubs. Now, that’s an opinion open to argument, but here are some numbers to back it up. The Mariners pre-date the DRS era (since 2003), but they have the fifth-best total zone runs saved rating between 1950 and 2002:

1973 Orioles: plus-119
1969 Orioles: plus-114
1990 A’s: plus-107
1984 Twins: plus-106
2001 Mariners: plus-104…

The 2016 Cubs are plus-96 in total zone, so they are close to the 2001 Mariners, but a reason to consider those two clubs as the best of the 21st century is they rank 1-2 in lowest batting average allowed on balls in play since 2000 ... by a large margin:

2016 Cubs: .255
2001 Mariners: .260
2011 Rays: .265
2002 Angels: .269
2003 Mariners: .269

So, let’s have some fun and go position by position: 2001 Mariners vs. 2016 Cubs vs. 2020 Dodgers. Who is the best defensive team—if not of all time, then at least of this century?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 09:57 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: defense, dodgers

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: August 07, 2020 at 05:58 PM (#5968360)
Those O's teams with Brooks, Belanger, Grich, Blair ... I don't know that anybody can realistically touch them. Granted Belanger didn't play every day.
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 06:06 PM (#5968363)
Rate vs value. The Dodgers may have the best defense by rate but all the strikeouts in contemporary MLB give them fewer opportunities to amass value.
   3. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5968366)
Having read the article, my only quibble is ranking Bellinger ahead of Cameron in terms of center field defense. Well, that and thinking it's blasphemy to say Cameron might have been better than Griffey. He was clearly better than Griffey.

Deciding who has the edge in right field is tough. I think I'd name a different player each time you asked me.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: August 07, 2020 at 07:07 PM (#5968372)
those Orioles teams were so obviously ridiculously good defensively that frankly I would have struggled with any stat that didn't reflect that - but they do.

in the HOM Jim Palmer thread, it was interesting that it turned out that his K rate - which was not overpowering - improved with a runner on 3rd and one out. that's a spot where you need a K most, too. huh.

Palmer led the AL in IP 4 times - but not the year he threw 323 IP, as Catfish Hunter tossed 5 more.

not needing three strikes to get batters out, when you have a group of octupuses* fielding behind you, sounds like a plan.

Palmer also never allowed a grand slam. as of 2018, no pitcher who could claim the same had even half as many IP as Palmer did.

* amusing because each octopus "works alone," as the top Hollywood stars used to say. so there is no equivalent like "gaggle of geese" or "murder of crows."
   5. Rally Posted: August 07, 2020 at 07:51 PM (#5968376)
Joey Devine was the anti-Palmer, gave up a slam in only his 2nd MLB inning, and first game.

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