November 9, 2010
Between The Numbers
Today and tomorrow, the much-maligned Gold Glove awards are due to be announced. As you may have gathered from my article on Jeter earlier today, I’ve finished running the new Fielding Runs Above Average for 2010. What light can they shed on who the best fielders of the season were?
I introduced the metric here and here, but a quick referesher: the main goal in constructing the metric was to avoid biases that we see in other fielding metrics. A single season’s worth of numbers are not especially reliable, especially compared to offensive statistics. So take everything that follows with a rather large grain of salt.
(A note to those accustomed to the scale from other fielding metrics – the spread you see here is going to be much, much larger. Some of that is noise, but some of that is due to other metrics underreporting the spread of fielding performance, as I showed with Jeter.)
This list doesn’t seem to offer a lot of surprises. Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols both have reputations as outstanding defensive players at first base. What’s interesting to me is that you have a handful of standouts, and then a big clump of players barely above average (which is how someone like Yonder Alonso can sneak in there).
Again, I don’t see any names here that give me major pause. And given the MOEs involved, you could sort this list in almost any order and be nearly as comfortable with it. There’s a lot of reasonable candidates for the best fielding second baseman this year.
Well, I see at least one name here that jumps out at me. Yuniesky Betancourt is a guy who nFRAA has been very, very down on the past several years – he and Jeter have had a running contest for “worst fielding shortstop and baseball” for a while now. So I don’t know if he’s turned a corner, or if he just had a fluke season, or if he just ended up with a lot of easy chances this year.
And the rest of the list is pretty odd as well – this would easily be the best year of Alexei Ramirez’s career with the glove, by a long shot, for instance. There’s a lot of uncertainty here.
These are, again, quite a few of the names you’d expect. And you see something like first base, where there’s a handful of players in the top clump, and a lot of separation between them and everyone else.
Carl Crawford? It couldn’t be!
On a larger note – that’s a real tight spread, pretty much top to bottom.
Andres Torres just missed, for those wondering.
And yes, that’s another really tight spread of plays made in the outfield.
So, uh… how about Jay Bruce? He’s been very impressive in right field over the past two partial seasons as well, but still, that’s an absolutely mind-blowing number. Even regressed, that’s a heck of a season from a right fielder.