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SpringfldFan
07-23-2003, 11:35 AM
I was just looking at team stats today and was somewhat surprised when I came across the fielding statistics. From MLB.com, here is a list of teams as ranked by fielding percentage. Also, I noticed that the Sox are #2 (behind only Montreal) in percentage of base-stealers thrown out (43%).

Just food for thought :smile:



Team FPCT

Seattle Mariners 0.990
Philadelphia Phillies 0.988
San Francisco Giants 0.988
Minnesota Twins 0.986
St. Louis Cardinals 0.986
Florida Marlins 0.985
Houston Astros 0.985
Baltimore Orioles 0.984
Chicago White Sox 0.984
Montreal Expos 0.984
Anaheim Angels 0.983
Colorado Rockies 0.983
Texas Rangers 0.983
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.983
Boston Red Sox 0.982
Milwaukee Brewers 0.982
San Diego Padres 0.982
Oakland Athletics 0.982
Chicago Cubs 0.982
Atlanta Braves 0.981
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.981
Kansas City Royals 0.981
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0.981
New York Yankees 0.980
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.980
Cleveland Indians 0.979
New York Mets 0.979
Toronto Blue Jays 0.979
Detroit Tigers 0.978
Cincinnati Reds 0.975

voodoochile
07-23-2003, 11:40 AM
I've thought our defense has been very solid all year long and gotten better with the acquisition of Alomar. LF/CF have been the only major problems on the team and that won't get better, so I've learned to adjust my expectations. So long as those positions provide runs, I am happy...

xil357
07-23-2003, 12:06 PM
The stats look good but don't address range. Sox OFs have much less range than Seattle in addition to being statisticaly inferior to the M's on defense. The only above average spots -- range and stats -- I see on the Sox are C (Olivo), 2B (Alomar) and 3B (Crede). The rest are average or below average. Not good enough in my book.

The Sox need a fast CF with tremendous range because the CF at the Cell is one of the most difficult MLB CFs in which to play. Hopefully when Reed and Borchard are ready the OF defensive picture will improve. Defense, speed and range never go into slumps, either (except with injuries, of course), whereas hitting does. Hence, Seattle's success despite losing the productive (at that time) bats of ARod and Griffey and stud pitcher Johnson.

Nellie_Fox
07-23-2003, 12:16 PM
Wow, common ground with xil!!

I haven't been able to watch a lot of games this year, but I've seen games with serious defensive gaffes that weren't called errors. I've seen outfielders overrun the ball so that it ricocheted off the wall and went behing them. I've seen the shortstop and center fielder not calling each other off and the ball fall in. I saw Jiminez mishandle a routine grounder so that by the time he got the feed off to Valentin it was too late to get the throw off to first to complete the DP, and it was so late that Valentin was already three feet across the bag when he got the throw and there should have been nobody called out.

I won't even go into the number of defensive misplays the Sox made at the Humpdome in the game Buehrle started (like two consecutive bunt singles.) Most of them weren't called errors either. Fielding percentage is a very limited stat.

This is still a very shaky defensive ballclub.

SpringfldFan
07-23-2003, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by xil357
The stats look good but don't address range. Sox OFs have much less range than Seattle in addition to being statisticaly inferior to the M's on defense. The only above average spots -- range and stats -- I see on the Sox are C (Olivo), 2B (Alomar) and 3B (Crede). The rest are average or below average. Not good enough in my book.


Yes, I was aware that range is not factored into this (in fact I knew it would not be long before someone posted about range, zone rating, etc.) However, during the last few seasons, the Sox were near the bottom in fielding percentage. At least, range or no, they are not making as many errors. Also, I am a little surprised you don't include our SS range as above avg. I have often heard Jose's supporters saying that although he makes a lot of errors, he has good range and makes plays other SS's may not. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is what I have heard in the past.

Hey, if anyone has access to team stats that account for range (zone ratings), I would love to see how the Sox stack up in that regard. In any case, at least it is a step in the right direction that the Sox are at least able to avoid botching the average plays now...

voodoochile
07-23-2003, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by SpringfldFan
Yes, I was aware that range is not factored into this (in fact I knew it would not be long before someone posted about range, zone rating, etc.) However, during the last few seasons, the Sox were near the bottom in fielding percentage. At least, range or no, they are not making as many errors. Also, I am a little surprised you don't include our SS range as above avg. I have often heard Jose's supporters saying that although he makes a lot of errors, he has good range and makes plays other SS's may not. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is what I have heard in the past.

Hey, if anyone has access to team stats that account for range (zone ratings), I would love to see how the Sox stack up in that regard. In any case, at least it is a step in the right direction that the Sox are at least able to avoid botching the average plays now...

Valentin's range is excellent. It is currently second in the AL at 4.81 behind Barroa and in front of Tejada (really effectively a tie with Tejada) after those 3 it drops fairly dramatically to number 4.

His 12 errors while not great are certainly solid compared to what Sox fans were expecting. If he finishes the season around 20 errors (his current pace) people really cannot complain about his defense, IMO.

SS defense comparison (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=7&season=2003&seasonType=2&split=82&sortColumn=rangeFactor)

Gumshoe
07-23-2003, 12:45 PM
Boys, this is why the create the stat called defensive efficiency. Believe it or not, the Sox are very high on that list too. Valentin doesn't have above average range, xil? you must be crazy. He has made TREMENDOUS plays with his range and arm this year. You just forgot them all, I'm sure, conveniently.

Defensive efficiency is, by the way, outs per ball put in play. So, who cares about the subjective error. Sox are still like 8th in the majors in that stat.

gosox41
07-23-2003, 01:41 PM
Originally posted by xil357
The stats look good but don't address range. Sox OFs have much less range than Seattle in addition to being statisticaly inferior to the M's on defense. The only above average spots -- range and stats -- I see on the Sox are C (Olivo), 2B (Alomar) and 3B (Crede). The rest are average or below average. Not good enough in my book.

The Sox need a fast CF with tremendous range because the CF at the Cell is one of the most difficult MLB CFs in which to play. Hopefully when Reed and Borchard are ready the OF defensive picture will improve. Defense, speed and range never go into slumps, either (except with injuries, of course), whereas hitting does. Hence, Seattle's success despite losing the productive (at that time) bats of ARod and Griffey and stud pitcher Johnson.

I haven't seen this years rankings, but I always thought Valentin ranked in the top half in range.

Bob

maurice
07-23-2003, 01:59 PM
Valentin has very good range and a very good arm. His problem on defense is his tendency to bobble routine plays, resulting in 20 to 37 errors per season (or about an error every five games) plus an equal number of uncharged errors (IMHO).

voodoochile
07-23-2003, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by maurice
Valentin has very good range and a very good arm. His problem on defense is his tendency to bobble routine plays, resulting in 20 to 37 errors per season (or about an error every five games) plus an equal number of uncharged errors (IMHO).

20-37 errors? That's a HUGE difference (almost 100% difference). It's the difference between 1 error every 5 games and one every 8 games. The part about routine plays was true 3 years ago, but he has become much more consistent. Stop assuming he has trouble because he wasn't great 3 years ago and look at this years play. He has been very solid.

20 errors isn't that bad for a SS these days. Jose is in the middle of the pack in terms of errors, and 2nd in RF.

maurice
07-23-2003, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
20-37 errors? That's a HUGE difference (almost 100% difference). It's the difference between 1 error every 5 games and one every 8 games.

If your fuzzy math were correct (it's not), the HUGE difference in rates would only demonstrate extreme inconsistency on defense, ranging from bad to really, really bad.

Unfortunately, your math erroneously assumes that Valentin has started about 160 games at SS each of those seasons. Actually, he's never started more than 145 games at SS and has not started more than 136 games at SS since '96, when he posted 37 errors. In 2000, he infamously had 36 errors in only 136 starts. He'll likely start only about 130 games this season, since he essentially is platooning with Graffy. This limited action keeps his error TOTALS down, though his error RATE at SS has not improved over the last two full seasons. He had 8 errors in 47 starts at SS last season, and 9 errors in only 36 starts at SS in 2001. (His 2003 error rate cannot be determined until the second half of the season is completed.)

The part about routine plays was true 3 years ago

Well, it's been true the last three years also, unless you believe that he's been throwing balls away instead of booting them. (Contemporary official scorers only charge errors on booted routine plays or bad throws.) I'm giving him credit for having a strong and accurate arm.

20 errors isn't that bad for a SS these days.

According to ESPN, only one AL SS had more than 20 errors in 2001 and only one had more than 20 errors in 2002.

voodoochile
07-23-2003, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by maurice
If your fuzzy math were correct (it's not), the HUGE difference in rates would only demonstrate extreme inconsistency on defense, ranging from bad to really, really bad.

Unfortunately, your math erroneously assumes that Valentin has started about 160 games at SS each of those seasons. Actually, he's never started more than 145 games at SS and has not started more than 136 games at SS since '96, when he posted 37 errors. In 2000, he infamously had 36 errors in only 136 starts. He'll likely start only about 130 games this season, since he essentially is platooning with Graffy. This limited action keeps his error TOTALS down, though his error RATE at SS has not improved over the last two full seasons. He had 8 errors in 47 starts at SS last season, and 9 errors in only 36 starts at SS in 2001. (His 2003 error rate cannot be determined until the second half of the season is completed.)

Well, it's been true the last three years also, unless you believe that he's been throwing balls away instead of booting them. (Contemporary official scorers only charge errors on booted routine plays or bad throws.) I'm giving him credit for having a strong and accurate arm.

According to ESPN, only one AL SS had more than 20 errors in 2001 and only one had more than 20 errors in 2002.

Excellent points, but Valentin has played 89 games at SS this year and had 409 chances with 12 errors. That's 1 error every 7.5 games roughly which is a far cry from 1 ever 5 games. Did you check out that link I posted in the earlier message? Currently his 12 errors is tied for 5th while his range factor is 2nd. There are 6 guys who are on pace to commit 20 errors at SS this year. Sure, we won't know how it finishes until it finishes (thanks, Yogi). But, right now he is playing defense as well as any SS in the league from a chances/9 innings (RF) combined with errors/game perspective.

Again, I am not arguing about past years, but this year he has been fine. Arguing about whether he was a good shortstop last year, the year before or the year before that means next to nothing to me and if that is what you want to talk about, I have nothing to add. Currently he is playing well that's a fact. How he finishes, time will tell...

maurice
07-23-2003, 05:45 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
I am not arguing about past years, but this year he has been fine. Arguing about whether he was a good shortstop last year, the year before or the year before that means next to nothing to me and if that is what you want to talk about, I have nothing to add. Currently he is playing well that's a fact. How he finishes, time will tell...

"Past performance is no guarantee of future success" (or failure), but it sure as heck is the best indicator. Props to Valentin for playing mostly adequate defense so far this season. Almost anything is possible between now and the time the fat lady sings, but (like Loaiza' ERA) Valentin's current fielding percentage is extremely likely to regress towards his bad career norm over the remainder of the season. I'd rather it didn't regress at all, but facts are facts (and, the despite the protests of many non-Voodoo posters here, statistics also are facts).

jeremyb1
07-23-2003, 05:49 PM
Originally posted by voodoochile
Valentin's range is excellent. It is currently second in the AL at 4.81 behind Barroa and in front of Tejada (really effectively a tie with Tejada) after those 3 it drops fairly dramatically to number 4.

His 12 errors while not great are certainly solid compared to what Sox fans were expecting. If he finishes the season around 20 errors (his current pace) people really cannot complain about his defense, IMO.

SS defense comparison (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=7&season=2003&seasonType=2&split=82&sortColumn=rangeFactor)

i personally agree that jose has pretty good range, but range factor can be a pretty ineffective statistic. it simply measures the number of balls a player gets to per game. the problem is that it does not account for factors such as the pitcher which would address the number of balls hit in a player's general direction. for instance, a shortstop on a team that strikes out a lot of players or has a lot of fly ball pitchers will have a lower range factor. loaiza ranks 24th in baseball in groundball to flyball ratio, buehrle 32nd, and garland 57th, so our infielders see a fair amount of ground balls from our starters.

Gumshoe
07-23-2003, 05:55 PM
good posts, gentlemen. My sole purpose is that in watching Jose since we acquired him in 2000, there have been only a few games where he really hurt us with his ERRORS. I am guessing that he came up big in clutch hitting situations to make up for those. That is just what I remember.

My main point, however, is that of the range factor. Voodoo points out well that CHANCES are more important to consider than games played in regarding errors. He makes some unbelievable plays with his range and arm sometimes that people regard those as ordinary when they should really be applauding greatly (ie if they saw ARod or Ripken make those they'd say OOOHH or something). But since he does flub a few routine ones now and again, that hurts his rep MORE.

Finally, he's a winner. I fear his time here is limited, but I would love to win with no one else but Jose at SS. He deserves it. The few fiery characters on this team over the past few years.

Gumshoe

Gumshoe
07-23-2003, 05:59 PM
A good comparison point was Royce Clayton. Royce made the routine plays and every once in a while made an above average "major league" play. BUt how many times did he get to a ball in the whole and not have the arm to throw the runner out? TONS. Obviously, he wouldn't get an E for those instances. But Jose gets THOSE guys out. The same guys that Jose makes E for or Royce couldn't get out that get on base are more than made up for by the times Jose gets a runner with a strong throw that wouldn't ordinarily get him --- had it been with a different shortstop.

Gum

idseer
07-23-2003, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by Gumshoe
A good comparison point was Royce Clayton. Royce made the routine plays and every once in a while made an above average "major league" play. BUt how many times did he get to a ball in the whole and not have the arm to throw the runner out? TONS. Obviously, he wouldn't get an E for those instances. But Jose gets THOSE guys out. The same guys that Jose makes E for or Royce couldn't get out that get on base are more than made up for by the times Jose gets a runner with a strong throw that wouldn't ordinarily get him --- had it been with a different shortstop.

Gum

poo

idseer
07-23-2003, 06:39 PM
Originally posted by idseer
poo

ok, i guess i should explain the 'poo' (even tho this is very old ground).

if any of what gumshoe said is true then after 11 years it would bear out in the assist stat. it doesn't! jose would have way more per game along with the errors. he doesn't!
it stands like this:

jv in 950 games (not incl. this season) had 2.94 apg.
rc in 1429 games had 2.91 apg. essentially the same.

the big difference is that jv made an error once every 4.9 games and rc made one every 7.85 games ... a vast difference.

if this were based on a sample of half season or maybe even a couple seasons, it could perhaps be an anomaly. but it's based on their whole careers. 11 plus seasons. there is no way that val gets to more balls than royce does (or did).

xil357
07-24-2003, 02:26 PM
Originally posted by xil357
The stats look good but don't address range. Sox OFs have much less range than Seattle in addition to being statisticaly inferior to the M's on defense. The only above average spots -- range and stats -- I see on the Sox are C (Olivo), 2B (Alomar) and 3B (Crede). The rest are average or below average. Not good enough in my book.

The Sox need a fast CF with tremendous range because the CF at the Cell is one of the most difficult MLB CFs in which to play. Hopefully when Reed and Borchard are ready the OF defensive picture will improve. Defense, speed and range never go into slumps, either (except with injuries, of course), whereas hitting does. Hence, Seattle's success despite losing the productive (at that time) bats of ARod and Griffey and stud pitcher Johnson.

I hereby amend my above statement to admit that many Sox fans here say that Valentin has above average range. I still would trade the Sox starting 8 fielders for the Mariners starting 8 position players in a heartbeat. The Sox should not be satisfied with having three, arguably four, above average defensive players. They should aim to have superb defenders (who also get on base) at every position. The Sox play on one of the larger fields in the MLB. This should be a huge advantage that the Sox should be able to exploit against other AL teams. And when going on the road to predominantly smaller fields, this should be even more of an advantage. If I'm the Sox GM I want three OFs capable of playing CF in my starting outfield. Right now we have only corner outfielders of average or below-average range. The starters are chosen on their ability to hit, which is important, but the defense is lacking which affects our pitchers, the majority of whom are not high-K totals pitchers.

As long as the Sox have a surplus of DH-1B types and a dearth of CF types, they will be at a significant defensive disadvantage.