Jump to content

Defense?


El Gordo

Recommended Posts

This statement is mindlessly ridiculous. It's one thing to say UZR is not perfectly accurate, and quite another to say it stinks. Go look at UZR's rankings for the top 5 defenders at every position and tell me how many of those players don't belong there. One might quibble over whether Granderson or Elsbury should be #1, but not that they are among the best. When Jones is consistently ranked below average by all the major defensive metric systems, but you think he should be a GG candidate, and he just happens to be a favorite player on your favorite team, perhaps you can understand why I question your objectivety.

I have not promoted Jones or Markakis as GG candidates. But I do think saying they are below average fielders is a not correct. Its the AL managers and coaches that voted Jones one of the best fielders, not me.

Now Wieters and Hardy should be in the the GG conversation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 138
  • Created
  • Last Reply
I already said the Reynolds was terrible at 3B and Andino was learning to play 2B. Thir stats figure greatly in the O's yearly stats. But both situations have changed. Focusing on the annual stats doesn't tell the current story. And using flawed stats doesn't prove anything.

You're really going to quibble with defensive efficiency as a statistic? Outs divided by balls in play?

I get what you're saying about Andino improving, and he may become above average but I find it highly unlikely he will be good enough to make up for some of the slack we're carrying elsewhere on the diamond. As for Reynolds, if you want the best defense possible he just doesn't belong on the field. Anywhere. Period. Now, if he can play 1B not-so-bad he gives away all his offensive value, or if he can become a much better 3B this offseason/spring, great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a reality-check thread, unfortunately. Orioles front office knows that home-runs will put more fans in the stands than defense will. Given that this organization is run in a risk-averse fashion with overwhelming regard for the bottom line, I don't expect the O's defensive woes to improve under current ownership. I expect to continue to see guys like Mark Reynolds and Luke Scott signed. To the casual fan, offense is exciting, defense is irrelevant. And the O's are all about selling to the casual fan right now.

This seems to ring true. As I was watching the first round of the playoffs, what I noticed was that outside of the Yankees, I'd take our offense over Detroit, Tampa, St. Louis, Philly, and Arizona. The Brewers and Texas are question marks. It just goes to show that our offense is not the issue. We need to improve pitching and defense this winter, neither of which signing Fielder will do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This seems to ring true. As I was watching the first round of the playoffs, what I noticed was that outside of the Yankees, I'd take our offense over Detroit, Tampa, St. Louis, Philly, and Arizona. The Brewers and Texas are question marks. It just goes to show that our offense is not the issue. We need to improve pitching and defense this winter, neither of which signing Fielder will do.

I agree with your general point. Pitching and defense are where we need to improve the most. But, we still have only a just above average ML offense. Every one of those teams except TB (one fewer run than us) scored more runs than us. Texas, Detroit, and St. Louis scored significantly more (147, 79, and 54).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're really going to quibble with defensive efficiency as a statistic? Outs divided by balls in play?

I get what you're saying about Andino improving, and he may become above average but I find it highly unlikely he will be good enough to make up for some of the slack we're carrying elsewhere on the diamond. As for Reynolds, if you want the best defense possible he just doesn't belong on the field. Anywhere. Period. Now, if he can play 1B not-so-bad he gives away all his offensive value, or if he can become a much better 3B this offseason/spring, great.

I agree that Reynolds will probably not be the most consistent of 1B. However, he may become average there. He proved he is not even an average 3B. The position that probably needs a defensive upgrade in 3B. Davis has a lot to prove at 3B.

I would still put adding better pitching as the top priority though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that Reynolds will probably not be the most consistent of 1B. However, he may become average there. He proved he is not even an average 3B. The position that probably needs a defensive upgrade in 3B. Davis has a lot to prove at 3B.

I would still put adding better pitching as the top priority though.

Fair enough. I couldn't disagree with the bolded if I tried. Better defense does help the pitching, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that Reynolds will probably not be the most consistent of 1B. However, he may become average there. He proved he is not even an average 3B. The position that probably needs a defensive upgrade in 3B. Davis has a lot to prove at 3B.

I would still put adding better pitching as the top priority though.

Fair enough. I couldn't disagree with the bolded if I tried. Better defense does help the pitching, though.

Me too. It would be great if this team could add better starting pitching, a better offense, a better defense, and a better bullpen ...... but there is only so much that a struggling, mid-market team can do through trades, free agent pick-ups, draft picks, etc. We need to prioritize, and improving our pitching (starting pitching and the bullpen) right now seems to be the highest on the list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides Markakis' numbers what other players metrics do you question? I have issues with defensive metrics as well. but I would say when determining the difference between the best and the worst they are pretty accurate. Now in trying too discern whether Teix is better than AGonz they are fuzzy. In general when there is an agreement between Rtot, UZR. and FB+-, about a player's general trends over o 2-3 year period I would say they are fairly accurate. In the case of Jones and Markakis they each had one very good season with the glove, and both have very good arms. But in terms of range they have been below average and trending downward ever since. IMO the fan bias has yet to catch up with reality. When defensive metrics are in conflict with a bias then they are not to be trusted, but when they agree then they are.
Every time there is a base hit to the outfield (or anywhere) I like to ask myself whether a better defender would have caught it. It's not an easy thing to do, actually. You have to imagine somebody with a better first step, better foot speed, better route to the baseball, etc. Maybe I am too judgmental but this habit very often leaves me feeling that balls hit to the outfield would have been caught by better outfielders (I feel this way about both Jones and Markakis, in addition to Reimold.) To my eyes, not paying any attention to the fielding metrics, I think our outfield, in terms of range, is well below average. I think our arms in the outfield are solidly above average, however.

For instance I watch Austin Jackson play in the outfield and he gets to all kinds of balls that Jones never touches.

I think Gordo makes a really good point about fan bias, and obviously there is a lot of subjectivity involved in trying to assess defenders' range just based on watching the games. I still can't get past (1) the home/away splits that defy common sense, (2) large swings in the numbers from one year to another that don't seem to comport with what I see, and (3) many instances where someone who I consider a mediocre fielder is rated very well, or vice versa. Also, while I accept that fielders can have better years or worse years just like hitters can, the year-to-year variance just seems too great to me, and I've never completely bought into the idea that the statistics aren't "stable" due to sample size issues. I just think fielding is a very hard thing to pin down into numbers, and that the tools that have been used up until now are pretty crude and, more problematically, not transparent. We never get to see which balls that Nick Markakis doesn't reach are the ones that FB or UZR says could have been caught by some other OF, and that makes it very hard for me to trust the stat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Gordo makes a really good point about fan bias, and obviously there is a lot of subjectivity involved in trying to assess defenders' range just based on watching the games. I still can't get past (1) the home/away splits that defy common sense, (2) large swings in the numbers from one year to another that don't seem to comport with what I see, and (3) many instances where someone who I consider a mediocre fielder is rated very well, or vice versa. Also, while I accept that fielders can have better years or worse years just like hitters can, the year-to-year variance just seems too great to me, and I've never completely bought into the idea that the statistics aren't "stable" due to sample size issues. I just think fielding is a very hard thing to pin down into numbers, and that the tools that have been used up until now are pretty crude and, more problematically, not transparent. We never get to see which balls that Nick Markakis doesn't reach are the ones that FB or UZR says could have been caught by some other OF, and that makes it very hard for me to trust the stat.
1)If someone could demonstrate that players other than Markakis and Jones suffer from playing at OPACY I might give some credence to this. But the fact that other players like Matthews and CPatt did well here, and both Markakis and Jones had their best defensive years here, makes me attribute it to flaws in their game as they have declined 2) I don't see these wide swings. In most cases the good fielders stay in the top 10 for 3-4 years until they start to slow down. They may change places with one another but they rarely go from best to worst in a year. I see no reason why Jeter can't be decent for one year with the glove, and poor for most of the rest of his career, any more than I can see this with any number of hitters 3) Who are these players? It's quite possible that a mediocre player or even a poor one like Reynolds can have a decent year with the glove. But unless these players are ones you watch regularly you have nothing to compare them to. That's the point of defensive metrics. without them you have nothing but bias whether it be from fans, coaches of GM's. The only way you can evaluate one players defense in relation to another is by using the metrics. Nobody else is in a position to watch them play side by side. What happens with the eyeballers, is a young guy with tools like AJ comes up and has a great year, gets the reputation for being good with the glove and that rep sticks for long after the facts begin to show differently. A lot of this has to do with speed, which declines faster than any other of a players tools. It certainly is the case with Jones. After the speed declines the player's technique and positioning is what will keep him among the better fielders. If he doesn't develop that, sooner or later the numbers will catch up to him. Hunter was a GG CF until he had to be moved to RF, because he was a liability in CF in 2010. In fact his last season as a plus defender was 2005. He won 4 GG after that because the guys giving it to him used their eyes and didn't trust the numbers. I expect there was a time before batting statistics were common place, when some one would say; "you know, batter X actually only gets a hit once or twice a week", and the response would be, " Hey come on, he's a great hitter, he had a whole bunch of ISTPHR's and doubles a couple of years ago, and he always get's a hit when we need one." Any new measur ment system is likely to ruffle feathers because it will invariably expose biases.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I already said the Reynolds was terrible at 3B and Andino was learning to play 2B. Thir stats figure greatly in the O's yearly stats. But both situations have changed. Focusing on the annual stats doesn't tell the current story. And using flawed stats doesn't prove anything.

The Orioles' third base situation doesn't currently have a solution. The fallback position is to use Reynolds at first and Davis at third, and that's probably worse than the Lee/Reynolds situation they had for most of this year.

Andino may be getting better at second. Left field is still probably an issue. So I don't see any definite positives or gains out of 1B, 3B, LF, CF, and 2B is either a small gain or an unknown.

It seems premature, at best, to assume that defense won't be a major problem in 2012.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Orioles' third base situation doesn't currently have a solution. The fallback position is to use Reynolds at first and Davis at third, and that's probably worse than the Lee/Reynolds situation they had for most of this year.

Andino may be getting better at second. Left field is still probably an issue. So I don't see any definite positives or gains out of 1B, 3B, LF, CF, and 2B is either a small gain or an unknown.

It seems premature, at best, to assume that defense won't be a major problem in 2012.

This can only be whispered, but the only positions not in need of defensive upgrades are SS and C, where we actually do have GG candidates. We could put Longoria at 3B and still be below average as a team.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clearly, they should play more zone and less man-to-man.

I agree, but the stipulation that there is a "defensive 3 seconds rule" that is attached to the legalization of the zone defense really undermines the entire process. Nick Markakis made that clear in a statement to the press when the change was implemented.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1)If someone could demonstrate that players other than Markakis and Jones suffer from playing at OPACY I might give some credence to this. But the fact that other players like Matthews and CPatt did well here, and both Markakis and Jones had their best defensive years here, makes me attribute it to flaws in their game as they have declined 2) I don't see these wide swings. In most cases the good fielders stay in the top 10 for 3-4 years until they start to slow down. They may change places with one another but they rarely go from best to worst in a year. I see no reason why Jeter can't be decent for one year with the glove, and poor for most of the rest of his career, any more than I can see this with any number of hitters 3) Who are these players? It's quite possible that a mediocre player or even a poor one like Reynolds can have a decent year with the glove. But unless these players are ones you watch regularly you have nothing to compare them to. That's the point of defensive metrics. without them you have nothing but bias whether it be from fans, coaches of GM's. The only way you can evaluate one players defense in relation to another is by using the metrics. Nobody else is in a position to watch them play side by side. What happens with the eyeballers, is a young guy with tools like AJ comes up and has a great year, gets the reputation for being good with the glove and that rep sticks for long after the facts begin to show differently. A lot of this has to do with speed, which declines faster than any other of a players tools. It certainly is the case with Jones. After the speed declines the player's technique and positioning is what will keep him among the better fielders. If he doesn't develop that, sooner or later the numbers will catch up to him. Hunter was a GG CF until he had to be moved to RF, because he was a liability in CF in 2010. In fact his last season as a plus defender was 2005. He won 4 GG after that because the guys giving it to him used their eyes and didn't trust the numbers. I expect there was a time before batting statistics were common place, when some one would say; "you know, batter X actually only gets a hit once or twice a week", and the response would be, " Hey come on, he's a great hitter, he had a whole bunch of ISTPHR's and doubles a couple of years ago, and he always get's a hit when we need one." Any new measur ment system is likely to ruffle feathers because it will invariably expose biases.

You haven't responded to my final point, which was about transparency. When I'm watching a game and the official scorer decides whether a play was a hit or an error, fans have complete transparency into that. We saw the play and can decide for ourselves whether the scorer got the call right or wrong, and as a result, we have a feel for how often the scorer gets it wrong. But there's nothing like this for UZR or +/-, and that is one of the big reasons why I have trouble trustig the metric when it disagrees with what I think I see. I think what the creators of these systems should do is put together a video of, say, 15 minutes showing how they make these judgments. Then, maybe I'd feel better about the whole thing. I also wish that they would publish ballpark splits. I note, by the way, that fangraphs has home/away UZR splits for prior years, but not for 2011. I don't know whether that's because they are not available yet, or because a decision has been made not to publish them. There's a "black box" aspect to these systems that I do not like or trust. And there is nothing you can say that will change my mind about that. It's up to the creators of these systems to be more open about them.

I'm also mindful of what Theo Epstein had to say in 2010:

I know there is a certain number we don’t use that is accessible to people online that had [Ellsbury] as one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball last year [2009]. I don’t think it’s worth anything. I don’t think that number is legitimate. We do our own stuff and it showed that he is above average."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You haven't responded to my final point, which was about transparency. When I'm watching a game and the official scorer decides whether a play was a hit or an error, fans have complete transparency into that. We saw the play and can decide for ourselves whether the scorer got the call right or wrong, and as a result, we have a feel for how often the scorer gets it wrong. But there's nothing like this for UZR or +/-, and that is one of the big reasons why I have trouble trustig the metric when it disagrees with what I think I see. I think what the creators of these systems should do is put together a video of, say, 15 minutes showing how they make these judgments. Then, maybe I'd feel better about the whole thing. I also wish that they would publish ballpark splits. I note, by the way, that fangraphs has home/away UZR splits for prior years, but not for 2011. I don't know whether that's because they are not available yet, or because a decision has been made not to publish them. There's a "black box" aspect to these systems that I do not like or trust. And there is nothing you can say that will change my mind about that. It's up to the creators of these systems to be more open about them.

I'm also mindful of what Theo Epstein had to say in 2010:

Errors really don't factor in for UZR and FB +-. It's the % of lpays made by all fielders at that position on balls hit to that particular bucket. It doesn't matter what the official scorer says, either the play was made or it wasn't. As to Ellsbury I think Theo was blowing smoke. 2009 was Ellsbury's first fiull year in CF at Fenway. FB UZR, and, Rtot all agreed he was -8-9 RS that year. I expect they were right. But that doesn't mean he is a poor CF. If his numbers remained- 6-9 RS for the following 2 years it probably would. It most likely means it's tough to learn how to play CF at Fenway. I wonder what players on the O's, the only team you are in any position to judge, besides Jones and Markakis, are not reflected accurately in the defensive metrics. They say Hardy and Wieters are among the very best at their positions Reimold has improved in a SSS, Andino is a little above averge at 2B, Reynold i, horrible at 3B, but ok at 3B, and Tatum is average as a backup catcher. Which of thes assesments do you take issue with? If not, how is it that they, are accurate with 7 players and so far off base with 2?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


  • Posts

    • If they added Brebbia and Erceg to bolster the pen. I’d pass on Kimbrel. He’s been mostly good but when he’s bad it’s been bad.
    • There is a better correlation between strong bullpens and winning in the playoffs vs starters. 
    • I went 95 plus … there are 66 games left. .500 the rest of the way gets then to 91. If they play .600 ball that 97. 
    • Can't see that happening unless another great back end option emerges this year (other than Felix). Tiny payroll and Kimbrel has been very good. Unlikely that Felix is back this year and I can't see the plan being for him to have his old usage % next year. 
    • Something tells me he wouldn’t be hurling a 16 LB bowling ball with a hook if he had a UCL tear. But, what do I know … I wouldn’t bother to argue my athletic credentials with him. 
    • I think they will move on from Kimbrel, especially if Felix returns and is healthy later this summer. I think they could make better use of the $12 million or so on the option. 
    • I covered about 15 consecutive All Star games at ESPN. In some of the early years, the players wore the uniforms they played with and seeing those players take batting practice wearing those uniforms was glorious to watch.Over the years I got to see Joe DiMaggio wear a Yankees uniform...Willie Mays wear a Giants uniform, Henry Aaron wearing a Braves uniform. I felt like I was transformed  back in time. It gave me goosebumps. One ASG in Pittsburgh, I saw Brooks Robinson take batting practice wearing his Oriole uniform. I took this picture. I showed it to Brooks years later. He smiled and said, 'Roy, look at the smile on my face. I loved to wear that uniform and take batting practice wearing it." Then he said something that moved me. He said, wistfully, "Thats the LAST time I ever took batting practice wearing my uniform for the Orioles." I believe MLB lost its soul a  little bit when they went for those silly "Beer League" uniforms, and those ridiculous day-glo colors too. Baseball, for me, more than ANY other sport is about tradition and legacy. Those All Star uniforms we saw the other night were almost vulgar, and something close to an insult on the tradition and history of the game.Brooks Robinson is gone now, and so are many who PROUDLY wore those uniforms and made history wearing them.I feel honored that I got to take Brooks Robinson taking batting practice for the last time wearing that uniform. I hear baseball, next year will go back to the tradition using the standard (not those grotesque city connect) uniforms and it will re- acquaint the nation with the uniforms the way they SHOULD look in a classic exhibition.It's never too late to honor the game and the uniforms great players wore doing great things.I just wish baseball would have gotten the message about 10 years ago.
  • Popular Contributors

×
×
  • Create New...