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June 2, 2014

Pebble Hunting

The Best Defensive Game of May

by Sam Miller


Last month, we started a thing: Trying to identify, and then appreciate, the single best defensive game any player had that month. Partly an excuse to make sweet moving pictures, mostly an attempt to put excellent short-burst defense in perspective, so that we can intuit the value of a great defensive game just as easily as we can process Chris Davis’ 4-for-5 with three home runs. To do that we had to turn these defensive plays into something like numbers, and to do that we turned to Inside Edge, provider of defensive data to major-league clubs, media outlets, and elsewhere. Inside Edge rates each defensive opportunity thusly:

  • Routine: Greater than 90 percent chance that it will be fielded
  • Likely: 60 to 90 percent chance
  • Even: 40 to 60 percent chance
  • Unlikely: 10 to 40 percent chance
  • Remote: 1 to 10 percent chance
  • Impossible: 0 percent chance

With each play rated, then, we could pick a winner, and for May that winner is Aaron Hill, for the game he played on May 14th. Here’s what Aaron Hill’s defensive performance looked like in the box score of the next morning’s newspaper:

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Related Content:  Defense,  Aaron Hill

11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

bleaklewis

Great series! Would love to see Andrelton Simmons next.

Jun 02, 2014 06:10 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Sam's subject is whoever had the best game, so that's up to Andrelton. (But Sam has written aboutSimmons.)

Jun 02, 2014 09:36 AM
 
Schere

sort of odd that "No player has made fewer Likely (60 to 90 percent) plays than Hill." Does that suggest that plays that might belong in this category are misclassified into one of the other categories?

Jun 02, 2014 06:55 AM
rating: 3
 
BrewersTT

Or could it mean that he has lousy range, and has to make spectacular plays just to get outs that average 2B make fairly easily?

Jun 03, 2014 09:00 AM
rating: 1
 
Scott D. Simon

I love this series. That is all.

Jun 02, 2014 09:03 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Jason Wojciechowski
BP staff

Okay, but do you have stills of a fish crossing the street?

Jun 02, 2014 09:04 AM
 
Myles Handley

I think it'd be a really good idea to link to last month's article (Starlin Castro).

Jun 02, 2014 09:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

It's linked in the first sentence.

Jun 02, 2014 09:34 AM
 
Myles Handley

Ah, I see now. It was a purple link that I just passed over. I wish I could delete my previous comment now (and I just dug it up to paste here, too!)

Jun 02, 2014 09:35 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian Kopec

So, he makes a ton of difficult plays compared to average but very few routine plays when compared to average.

Someone on the Diamondbacks should take a look at his positioning.

Jun 02, 2014 10:10 AM
rating: 1
 
SlackerGeorge

Any idea how to make iPad Safari animate these GIFs. They appear as a still frame.

Jun 04, 2014 02:54 AM
rating: 0
 
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