Friday, 28 May 2010

Nationals Fielding Review #1

Sorry about the hiatus. I have been working hard and crossing oceans, despite volcanic ash, and then adjusting to new time zones and new routines. Worse, this post is something of a holding action, as I'm off again on Sunday. Hopefully I'll be back on regular posting starting after 6 June.

In the mean time, I'll try to post one or two tidbits, starting with a review of the Nationals' fielding so far, using the same measures as last season — Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Revised Zone Rating (RZR).

Zone Rating involves a person deciding whether a ball was in a notional fielding zone, then noting whether or not someone caught it. UZR converts this data and turns it into a +/- rating in relation to average, showing the number of rns. RZR converts this data into a percentage, while make an accounting distinction between Balls In Zone (which should be caught) and Balls Out of Zone (which are to be regarded as bonuses). There's been a bit of a stink about UZR recently, which included its creator, MGL, behaving most unconscionably towards a critic, Baseball Prospectus' Colin Wyers. I'd link to it but the crucial contributions have been edited out. However, the point is that UZR shouldn't be taken necessarily as the 'Gold Standard' in fielding metrics. For my part, I've always preferred humble RZR between the three, but Colin has had a go at that, too.

The table shows UZR, the anticipated UZR per 150 games, RZR and the NL average RZR for that player's position. I would have liked to have included Chris Dial's defensive runs calculation, but I haven't asked him to send me the data. Maybe next time. In the future, the Change column will show the change from last time.

Player              UZR   Change  UZR/150  Change  RZR   Change   MLBaverage
Zimmerman (3B) 4.1 - 21.7 - .742 - .698
Desmond (SS) 3.8 - 14.6 - .867 - .800
Gonzalez (3b) 2.7 - 45.9 - .875 - .815
Maxwell (RF) 1.4 - 27.7 - .833 - .898
Harris (RF) 1.1 - 14.0 - .818 - .898
Kennedy (2b) 1.1 - 7.4 - .839 - .803
Guzmán (SS) 0.5 - 7.1 - .767 - .800
Willingham (LF) 0.4 - 0.9 - .859 - .865
Guzmán (2B) -0.8 - - 3.1 - .817 - .803
Dunn (1B) -1.4 - - 5.1 - .782 - .782
Bernadina (RF) -1.7 - -14.3 - .897 - .898
Morgan (CF) -4.3 - -12.1 - .874 - .916
minimum 61 innings

The interesting thing, for me, is how well Dunn is doing at first base. I was quite the sceptic last season, but he's proved me wrong. Complimenti, Adam. He'd be my favourite National if it wasn't for a long-standing appreciation of mine for Pudge. The next interesting thing is Morgan's decline. What's going on? Third, is how the outfield generally is poor. All hail the infield though, as Guzmán has done just as well making the shift to second base as Dunn has to first.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

End-of-Term Catch Up: Why I hate Brian O'Nora

Well, first there was this game, which the play-by-play doesn't note that Brian O'Nora blew the call on the Luis Rivas home run. It was a foul ball.

Then, just recently, he gave the Dodgers' the edge on calling strikes out of zone, as this wonderful graph from Brooks Baseball shows. (Click on it to make it bigger.)

Plus, he called Pudge out at home.

He hates the franchise, so I hate him.