Friday, 9 May 2014

2014 Nationals' Fielding Review #1

With a month of the season completed, it is time to start reviewing the fielding data periodically. My source for this is Fangraphs, which includes all the main metrics that interest me. I've used John Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved, Mitchel Lichtman's Ultimate Zone Rating, my personal first choice of the 'converted-to-runs-play-by-play' metrics, and my preferred measure of RZR. The last is Revised Zone Rating, which is like a fielding average but counts balls hit into a zone, rather than those the fielder actually reached. I have included the MLB positional averages for RZR, to help give the players' numbers some context. Note that catchers do not have a Zone Rating. I'll do something about pitch-framing runs saved another time, perhaps.

Player              DRS   Change  UZR      Change  RZR   Change   MLBaverage   DRA
Lobaton (C)         -1    --       n/a      --     n/a     ---         n/a      5.9
Span (CF)            1    --      -0.4      --    .922     ---        .912     -2.9  
Espinosa (2B)       -3    --      -1.0      --    .757     ---        .785      4.4
LaRoche (1B)         0    --      -0.2      --    .846     ---        .814     -3.2
Harper (LF)          1    --      -1.8      --    .875     ---        .865     -2.9
Desmond (SS)        -4    --      -4.6      --    .740     ---        .768     -8.7
Werth (RF)          -7    --      -1.9      --    .959     ---        .886     -1.2
Rendon (3B)         -3    --      -5.0      --    .642     ---        .721     -2.4
minimum 120 innings

I was a bit shocked that Ryan Zimmerman was absent even with a 70-inning minimum. Has he really been gone that long?

What the RZR data highlights is how poor the Nationals' infield defence is, relative to the rest of the league. Anthony Rendon in particular is hurting the Nationals' at third base. Jayson Werth doesn't look so bad in RZR, but his DRS number is a bit disturbing.

UPDATE: I have added the one-year numbers of Michael Humphrey's Defensive Regression Analysis system, available at the Baseball Gauge of, Humphreys wrote the excellent Wizardry, which is a way of looking at fielding using only the traditional statistics, and not the newfangled play-by-play metrics.

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