Wednesday, 16 July 2014

2014 Tigers' Fielding Review #3

Here is an update to my regular survey of the Tigers' fielding. 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 league 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

Player              UZR    Change    RZR   Change    ALAverage     DRA    Change   PFr
Avila   (C)         n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a      - 3.5   -2.2     -8.1
Holaday (C)         n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a      - 1.1    0       -4.2
Kinsler (2B)        5.2     -1.2    .826   +.004        .799      - 7.4   -4.3      n/a
Jackson (CF)       -4.6     -0.7    .920   +.004        .909      - 2.2   +1.9      n/a
Cabrera (1B)        6.3     +0.1    .825   +.013        .800       18.1   +4.3      n/a
JD Martinez (LF)   -2.4     +0.3    .875   +.014        .881      - 3.2   +0.9      n/a
Rajai  (LF)        -3.6     +3.3    .856   +.008        .881      - 0.1   -2.2      n/a
Romine (SS)        -2.1     +0.6    .722   +.011        .752      - 4.2   +1.0      n/a
Hunter (RF)       -12.0     +1.9    .863   +.022        .888      - 9.0   +2.0      n/a
Castellanos (3B)   -9.1     -2.7    .616   +.005        .705      - 2.7   +2.1      n/a
Suarez (SS)         0.3     +0.1    .808   +.119        .752        2.8   +1.8      n/a
minimum 170 innings

RZR continues its positive views on the Tigers' fielding, seeing improvement across the board. Corner outfield and third base still are below the league average, but everywhere else the Tigers are getting to more balls in the zone than the average player at the position.

UZR sees an overall improvement, up by 1.7 runs. The extreme results see Rajai Davis playing better, while Nick Castellanos plays worse. DRA sees even more improvement, with the team overall up by 5.3 runs, or half a win. However, we ought to bear in mind that the last review showed a sharp fall in Tigers' fielding, and they have only made up part of that ground. A good part of the gains come from an improved showing by Torii Hunter, who is up by sizeable amounts across the board. I can't help but look at DRA and think that some kind of accounting trick has transferred some of Ian Kinsler's fielding to Miguel Cabrera. We might want to keep an eye on that.

The sharpest divergence comes at left field and third base, with Rajai Davis' UZR way up, while his DRA rating is down. Castellanos and, to a lesser extent, Austin Jackson reverse that.

On pitch framing, Alex Avila's previous improvement was largely undone, losing -1.1 runs. Brian Holaday also fell by 0.8.
* These are 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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