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Posnanski: Adam Jones the next defensive catfight


Tony-OH

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In defense of Jones, there is the possibility that he is rapidly improving defensively. He came up a SS and is still a work in progress in CF.

This is just like the fallacious argument that Felix Pie hasn't had enough time to learn how to play baseball because he only started playing late in adolescence. Adam Jones has been playing the outfield exclusively since 2006. He played 198 games there in the minors, and he has played 551 games there in the majors. That is a ton of games, and if he doesn't know how to read a fly ball by now, he is never going to know.

In my opinion, Jones was great in CF in 2008 when he arrived here. He had about 350 fewer games under his belt, but played better there then than he does now. I don't feel that lack of experience has any bearing whatsoever on Jones' defense.

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... I won't bother to continue debate someone, whose benighted opinion is that Jeter could be a comparable fielder to Cal, even though his TZ numbers show an 18 RS per year, difference between the two. The difference might be more or less than UZR but it would still be significant :rolleyestf:

LOL, I'm benighted. Well It's nice to know a refined gentleman like yourself can take name calling out of the gutter and provide some class and sophistication. I'm definitely honored.

Of course your logical generalization that all systems have flaws and doesn't require further analysis isn't benighted. No, that was pretty enlightning. Also pretty enlightning that a general correlation of a flawed system must correlate to every specific situation, including a superior system with pretty compelling statistical evidence to the contrary.

Jeter's away UZR being zero and his Tot being minus 8 likely means nothing at all. Probably nothing that Ripken's tot is more than twice as good at home than it was on the road. Why would anyone think there's something there?

Just from that alone, I could narrow the difference down from to as little 7.3 run differential from your 18. That's not even beginning to peel the onion into the myriad of issues with Tot/RF as compared to UZR as well as other factors, i.e.: play complexity, pitching staff characteristics, more refined field adjustments, number of total plays being more favorable to tot, age at position, relative competition, etc.

So yeah, do me a favor and put me on ignore or desist from the name calling. If there's anyone presenting an illogical argument here, it is most certainly you.

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I still understand why moving Jones to LF will make him a better defender. Doesn't everyone pretty much agree that Pie and Patterson were better in CF than LF? Why do people assume that Jones won't have the same problems they did?

He might indeed have issues adjusting to LF. It is different than CF and not easy to get used to. There would likely be an adjustment period. I'm not sure Pie and Patterson playing in part time roles are good examples. The talent pool will be less in LF than CF, so theoretically he should post better UZR numbers there.

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It's possible the metrics are off, sure. But when all the metrics are in agreement? Even ones that approach the analysis from completely different perspectives? It's highly unlikely. It's like saying a guy who bats cleanup for a good team has 80 RBI every year, but arguing he's still a good hitter. RBI are a very flawed metric, but it's almost impossible to be a real good hitter on a good team who only gets 80 of them every year.

Well, one of those metrics says he is a way better defensive CF on the road than at home. Is there some logical reason that would be true for any player? Obviously some parks are easier to hit or pitch in, but can a park be THAT much harder to field in?

(BTW, I agree with most of the comments and I "believe" the metrics, for the most part. Jones still plays a bit too shallow and doesn't always take great routes to the ball and occasionally gets turned around. I don't think he's an above average fielder. But when I see such a home/road differential in a stat it certainly gives me some pause as to the reliability of that stat, unless somehow the surface at Oriole Park is somehow harder to run on, like sand on the beach or something).

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Why doesn't someone post here every time Jones doesn't get to a ball he is "supposed to". I see some but not that many.

He got to the ball, but on that fly out that Youkilis hit to end the 4th, he took a step in before going back to make the play. He does this all the time, and it costs him sometimes.

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When I watch Jones, I don't see a terrible defender and I don't see a great one. When I watch the O's, I see a lot of hard hit balls and I see bad pitching in general.

I always wondered how well these different metrics take into account those measurables, much less measurables associated with simple inconsistent pitching strategies. I don't know the answer, but I have a hunch something worse (tangible or intangible) is happening with the O's and it's making our fielders look even worse. I could obviously be wrong though.

I guess the metric folks aren't quite good enough to calculate the distance from position to ultimate place where the ball lands, factor in time from bat to the ball and then find out if the player is actually getting the reads and routes right?

I definitely don't think Jones was or is anywhere near a gold glove defender. He plays like an average CF who has the athletic ability to make the spectacular play on occasion, but can take bad routes just as often.

I have to believe your point about how hard balls are hit and/or placed against bad pitching has to effect his defensive statistical measurements. The pitching he has played behind his entire career as been at the very bottom of baseball for the most part. I am very curious how a stat guru would explain how pitching could effect the formula.

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The pitching he has played behind his entire career as been at the very bottom of baseball for the most part. I am very curious how a stat guru would explain how pitching could effect the formula.

The advanced stats are going to try and classify the hit ball play based on multiple parameters (speed/vector/zone/subzone) and gauge the fielders performance relative to others based on a mathematical model. Theoretically, the advanced stats should neutralize the pitching as it's basically a relative performance/percentage calculation.

A more basic stat like Range Factor will be more heavily influenced by pitching as it favors total plays with less defined parameters.

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LOL, I'm benighted. Well It's nice to know a refined gentleman like yourself can take name calling out of the gutter and provide some class and sophistication. I'm definitely honored.

Of course your logical generalization that all systems have flaws and doesn't require further analysis isn't benighted. No, that was pretty enlightning. Also pretty enlightning that a general correlation of a flawed system must correlate to every specific situation, including a superior system with pretty compelling statistical evidence to the contrary.

Jeter's away UZR being zero and his Tot being minus 8 likely means nothing at all. Probably nothing that Ripken's tot is more than twice as good at home than it was on the road. Why would anyone think there's something there?

Just from that alone, I could narrow the difference down from to as little 7.3 run differential from your 18. That's not even beginning to peel the onion into the myriad of issues with Tot/RF as compared to UZR as well as other factors, i.e.: play complexity, pitching staff characteristics, more refined field adjustments, number of total plays being more favorable to tot, age at position, relative competition, etc.

So yeah, do me a favor and put me on ignore or desist from the name calling. If there's anyone presenting an illogical argument here, it is most certainly you.

IMO Dewans +- is the best defensive metric system avaailble. They have Jeter from '06 through today at an average -12 RS per year. His UZR from '02 is -4.8 RS, his career Rtot is -8 RS. Vizquel's UZR is 8.8 RS since 02, his +- is 6 RS and his Rtot career is 7 RS average. Ossie Smith has no UZR or +- numbers, but his Rtot is 13 RS to Cal's 10. Can you explain to me how these systems can be so flawed as to miss what is so apparent to you, that Jeter is a comparable defender to the 3 best fielding SS in recent history?
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IMO Dewans +- is the best defensive metric system avaailble. They have Jeter from '06 through today at an average -12 RS per year. His UZR from '02 is -4.8 RS, his career Rtot is -8 RS. Vizquel's UZR is 8.8 RS since 02, his +- is 6 RS and his Rtot career is 7 RS average. Ossie Smith has no UZR or +- numbers, but his Rtot is 13 RS to Cal's 10. Can you explain to me how these systems can be so flawed as to miss what is so apparent to you, that Jeter is a comparable defender to the 3 best fielding SS in recent history?

Be happy to respond to all of your points. You first respond to all of mine in my previous post.

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Be happy to respond to all of your points. You first respond to all of mine in my previous post.
Nice dodge. Your the one claiming that Jeters' Rtot vs Cal's is mening less. So explain how there can be iconsistancies with three exceptional defensisve SS, who's metrics are consistent in all 3 of the basic systems. The simple contention is when there is a correlation between these 3 on a given player there is good reason to believe there is a basic trend. Forget Cal or Ossie. Use Vizquel. You have numbers for them in all three systems. How is Jeter as good as Vizquel? When all three show him to be far worse?
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Nice dodge. Your the one claiming that Jeters' Rtot vs Cal's is mening less. So explain how there can be iconsistancies with three exceptional defensisve SS, who's metrics are consistent in all 3 of the basic systems. The simple contention is when there is a correlation between these 3 on a given player there is good reason to believe there is a basic trend. Forget Cal or Ossie. Use Vizquel. You have numbers for them in all three systems. How is Jeter as good as Vizquel? When all three show him to be far worse?

Do your homework and answer the mail. You don't get to ignore my points and throw something else against the wall. It's Jeter versus Ripken at this point. It's a specific comparison utilizing the data that we have. Not to mention your premise above is flawed. Also, I did not say the stats were meaningless. So stop the strawmans.

Explain why Jeter's UZR away splits are so pronounced? Why is he a zero UZR on the road and minus 10 at home? Why is it unreasonable to assume he's closer to a zero UZR (based on away stats) instead of a minus 8 (rtot)?

Why should I not consider a superior metric like Jeters UZR (many in his latter years) in favor of his careeer rtot?

Why are Ripkens Rtot splits so pronounced in favor of his home park (more than 2 times in favor of his home park)? Based on that why can't I adjust his rtot from 10 to 7.3?

What reason should the park factors be ignored when Yankee Stadium was a notoriously fast infield and Memorial Stadium/OPACY are/were reputationally slower and the stats seam to indicate that?

Explain to me why my logic is flawed and why I can't say Jeter was potentially a minus 7 run differential between Ripken instead of an 18 run differential based on the above logic alone?

I'll give you a break on rationalizing all the flaws with rtot as compared to UZR.

After you answer the above, I'll touch on all the reasons why your analysis (including your latest) is flawed and answer your specific questions.

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Hard to say but the differences are pretty amazing sometimes.

The cases of Jones and Markakis home/road UZR splits have been talked about a ton on this board. I also noticed on a non-Orioles blog that a Braves fan was talking about Dan Uggla having superior UZR numbers on the road than at home. Add in this Jeter debate as well.

Considering that UZR needs a rather large sample size, I'd put a lot more faith into the home UZR totals than the road totals due to the fact that all home games are played in the same stadium. I think small sample size's at specific stadiums on the road may screw with road UZR totals as a whole.

I have no dog in this fight and I barely look at rtot or any other defensive metric besides UZR, but from my perspective I think it's fairly safe to say that Jeter is a below average defensive shortstop.

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I'd put a lot more faith into the home UZR totals than the road totals due to the fact that all home games are played in the same stadium. I think small sample size's at specific stadiums on the road may screw with road UZR totals as a whole.

Interesting, I'd look at it just the opposite way. I'd be more inclined to look at the away splits. Large elements of data in small sample sizes, broader spectrum and randomness being more stable. Also not requiring the adjustments that might be necessary in a specific park and leading to errors.

but from my perspective I think it's fairly safe to say that Jeter is a below average defensive shortstop.

Yeah, that's a fair assumption and I won't argue with that. I just think Jeter is not nearly as bad as people assume and Cal Ripken was no where near Ozzie Smith's League, as apparrently at least one person on here believes.

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