The Enquirer has an article on defensive stats based on a new book.

The Reds’ two most productive offensive players last year – Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. – were their two worst defensive players, according to a new book by an author who provides defensive analyses to 12 major-league teams.

The Reds are not one of the 12.

Shortstop Felipe Lopez is merely average. Austin Kearns is in the top third of right fielders. The Reds’ other positions – third, second and first – are in flux as platoon-type situations, so no players are rated by name, although they are as a group. The book, “The Fielding Bible – 2006” by John Dewan, doesn’t rate catchers.

I don’t think this is any big surprise to anyone. Maybe that Junior rated this low, but not Dunn.

Krivsky’s comments:

“Of all the areas to measure statistically, even the experts have the hardest time with defense,” said Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky. “It’s a huge part of the game for me, and one of the most overlooked.

“But it’s hard to quantify with statistics. I have to be at the game scouting, visualize what kind of jump the (defensive player) got, his first-step quickness, things like that. It’s a really difficult thing to measure.”

Krivsky’s comments are remarkably similar to those of great talent evaluator Branch Rickey, who 60-some years ago said, “There is nothing on earth anybody can do with (absolutely quantifying) fielding.”

I do agree with Krivsky on this. Every defensive rating (and I admit to being no expert) requires some type of subjective judgement in compiling the rating.

One Response

  1. JinAZ

    I’ve been using that book quite a bit this past month in my player profiles (I call those stats Dewan+-). And yeah, to an extent subjectivity plays into it (though I’d say subjectivity plays a roll in pretty much any statistic in some form or another). But the statistics in the Fielding Bible are about as objective as they get for fielding. Basically, they chart every ball hit on the field in terms of its vector from the plate, how hard it was hit, and, for the outfield, how far it was hit. Then, for each fielder, it compares whether a fielder made a play on each ball hit to him vs. how often plays were made around the league on the exact same type of plays–balls hit that hard, along that same vector, at traveling that same distance.

    There is a slight bit of subjectivity when it comes to assessing how hard a ball was hit, or whether it was a fly ball vs. a liner. However, assessing how many outs a fielder creates vs. how many outs other fielders created on the same play is pretty straight forward and objective. It doesn’t account for positioning or athletic ability — it just asks how many plays a guy made. Ultimately, that’s what matters when it comes to fielding.