The Reds wanted to improve their defense in the offseason and I believe it has been their defense that has kept them so close in the race; well, their defense, Joey Votto’s hitting, and Johnny Cueto’s pitching, in my opinion.

Bill James’s subscriber website has posted a column by writer John Dewan listing the top individual defenders thus far in 2009. Dewan is the author of The Fielding Bible series of books where the new defensive statistics are being unveiled.

Anyway, by cumulative runs saved, Brandon Phillips is listed tied for ninth with eight runs saved thus far. He does trail two other second basemen, Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, who are scored as saving 13 and 12 runs each, respectively. Jay Bruce is tied for 14th by saving 7 runs. Only three outfielders rank above him, Matt Holiday, Colby Rasmus, and Michael Bourn. The rankings are not by position, but overall for all players.

Kind of nice to see for a young player.

17 Responses

  1. Shawn

    Young players tend to be better defensively. Defense peaks about age 25, hitting around 27. Managers often like veterans because they make fewer errors, but younger players often have far more range.

  2. David

    So… What is the draw back in having Bruce in CF? I’d like to hear some thoughts. I guess my thinking goes, I like the Nix/Gomes platoon in LF. What about adding a guy like Dye in RF and moving Bruce to CF? That relegates Taveras to PF/PR with Dickerson being a LF PH off the bench? Doesn’t that add a ton of OF depth?

  3. Y-City Jim

    Bruce’s range in CF is below the league average and well below that of Dickerson and Taveras.

    I think SS is a far bigger problem for the Reds than anything else. Well, 3B and 1B are problems as long as Encarnacion and Votto are out. After Votto’s return, catcher becomes a problem because Hanigan will be relegated to the bench again, which is simply insane.

  4. Greg

    I say get Rameriez some reps at 3B and move him there when Votto returns. I know that his fielding is suspect – but honestly I’ve seen the defense lapse in key situations that cost the Reds more games. At least I’ve seen more lapses that big time clutch plays from Phillips, Gonzo, Dickerson (in left – in cf he’s a gem), even Bruce (and others) over shooting cut offs when there’s a play on the runner or simply allowing the runner to move up. I personally haven’t looked at the fielding statistics thus far, but Gonzo – IMO – has got to go for the Reds to make a push. The outfield platoon is working and I’ve been excited by Dickerson’s play in CF. I’d take the chance on Janish’s career avg. vs. his range compared to Gonzo. This team is better than last year, but it was around this time last year that the Reds began to shed payroll. So I’m not holding my breath! I’m just being honest by what I’ve seen lately, not on statistics. So this is just how I feel about the Pitching/Defense thing. Pitching is definitely there, defense unfortunately seems to be sporatic at time and weak when it’s most important. Just my thoughts

  5. Greg

    Excuse me Hernandez – was watching a highlight of Hanley Remirez – and dreaming!! :-} My fault!!

  6. Josh

    This is off topic, but does anyone think we should try stretching Masset out to see if he could be a starter again?

  7. Jared

    Yeah, I think as long as you have a solid rotation and Masset is tearing up the 8th inning, you don’t fix what ain’t broke.

    Dickerson’s better than Taveras, but he looks like he doesn’t have a clue most at bats. Get rid of Gonzo and Janish will at least give you what’s expected of a SS. Then get Votto and EE back and this is a team with a chance.

  8. Josh

    Well, it isn’t that we need Masset in the rotation now, but considering people are discussing trading away Harang, Arroyo, Bailey… wouldn’t it be good to see if he can do it? I think its clear (feel free to argue if you like) that if a pitcher can both be a starter and a reliever, there is more value in having him start (ala Joba Chamberlain).

    Let’s say for example that his ERA, by moving into the rotation, goes up by 3 full runs. Isn’t that still way more valuable? I think so. So if we move someone like Harang or Arroyo AND Bailey, would a rotation of Volquez, Cueto, Arroyo and two of Maloney, Massett and Owings look that bad? I think I’d feel comfortable with it.

  9. JerBear

    Josh Hamilton has a cannon…Jay Bruce has a nice arm. Outfield assists are an interesting stat to me. I almost feel like some of the guys that have more outfield assists are the ones who runners don’t really respect as much for some reason. And then surprisingly they get gunned down.

    I would expect people to stop running on Bruce as much now that the league knows, hey this guy has a pretty solid accurate arm much of the time.

  10. Chris

    honestly I’ve seen the defense lapse in key situations that cost the Reds more games. At least I’ve seen more lapses that big time clutch plays from Phillips, Gonzo, Dickerson (in left – in cf he’s a gem), even Bruce (and others) over shooting cut offs when there’s a play on the runner or simply allowing the runner to move up.

    I rip the daylights out of this team, but can’t agree with this. Yeah, there have been some bad plays here and there, but I can’t recall any of those guys making a mistake that cost a game. (Though Dickerson was pretty much a train wreck in LF to start the year). The only game-changing miscue was Taveras’ jog after that gapper a couple weeks back.

    As for Bruce, he doesn’t have a “cannon,” but he hustles to the ball every time, and gets rid of it very quickly. Those things, plus his above-average arm (and some poor baserunning decisions) have led to all his assists.

  11. JerBear

    One of the more impressive arms I remember seeing live was actually Austin Kearns when I saw him play on the Dayton Dragons years ago. I thought he had a canon.

    I think one of the most exciting plays in baseball is to see a guy with a great arm try and throw someone out. It seems there is Vlad Guerrero, Hamilton, and maybe Ankiel who have the best arms in baseball. But I’m sure there’s some other who are close to those guys, maybe even better that I haven’t seen too much on television.