Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2014 Nationals Fielding Review #4

Here is an update to last time's fielding numbers. My source for this is Fangraphs, which includes all the main metrics that interest me except for Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression Analysis.* From Fangraphs, I've used 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. DRA is added to these two, while I have dropped Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved. Note that catchers do not have a Zone Rating. Instead, I have used the runs saved by framing, supplied by StatCorner.com

Player              UZR    Change    RZR   Change    LgAverage      DRA    Change   PFr
Lobaton (C)         n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        6.6     +0.3   -1.7
Ramos (C)           n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        2.5     -0.2   -0.6
Span (CF)          -3.4     -2.0    .925    -.004       .923      - 3.9     -0.3    n/a
Espinosa (2B)       0.1     +0.1    .790    +.011       .784        1.1     -1.2    n/a
LaRoche (1B)       -1.4     +0.9    .807    -.065       .812      - 5.8     -4.7    n/a
McLouth (LF)       -0.7     +0.3    .880     ---        .873      - 1.3     -0.5    n/a
Harper (LF)        -1.6     +0.1    .875     ---        .873      - 2.9     -0.3    n/a
Desmond (SS)       -3.9     +0.7    .799    +.004       .793      - 8.7     +2.0    n/a
Werth (RF)         -2.3     -1.0    .933    +.001       .900      - 4.0     -3.2    n/a
Rendon (3B)         0.5     +1.5    .713    +.006       .706        0.4     -0.6    n/a
Zimmerman (LF)      0.7      --     .971     ---        .873        2.2      --     n/a
minimum 160 innings

Let's start by looking at where the systems agree. UZR, RZR and DRA all think that Denard Span's fielding declined, with UZR seeing the decline as quite sharp. All three are also of the opinion that Ian Desmond's fielding has improved, with DRA seeing a substantial improvement. All other indicators are mixed, but RZR and DRA think Adam LaRoche's fielding has suffered in the past couple of weeks. DRA and UZR think Jayson Werth's fielding has declined. The interesting thing here is that in the last review DRA thought these same two players improved. I am of the opinion that this might well reflect the influence of Werth's counterparts on other teams pushing the league averages up. LaRoche's sharp RZR decline makes me think the falls in UZR and DRA are more meaningful.

Looking at overall sums, UZR sees a slight improvement of +0.6, which might have been a lot better except for the bad scores from Werth and Span. DRA, by contrast, sees a -8.7-run decline, which is almost an entire win. RZR sees all the regulars performing around league average, with the exceptions of Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Owing to family issues, I haven't been able to follow the games over this time, so I can't comment about which I think better matches my impressions.

Both catchers saw their pitch-framing runs saved decline by 0.3.
* These are available at the Baseball Gauge of Seamheads.com. 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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