Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ball Hogs

My new favorite baseball site,, posted this article about the differences in team fielding between this year and last year. Here are the top 5 most improved teams:
Tigers 97.9
Pirates 89.8
Reds 89.7
Rangers 84.7
Mariners 69.6
Those numbers are what is called Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). Other than being a very cool name, it indicates how many runs were saved by excellent fielding as compared to the average fielders. And since it is generally accepted that a difference of ten runs equates to a win, these numbers are fairly significant. It implies that the Tigers are on pace to win 10 more games than last year because of improved fielding alone.

And the bottom five:
Indians -51.0
Phillies -57.7
Mets -70.1
Red Sox -80.3
Nationals -81.7
The interesting thing from this is it's easy to point to certain acquisitions that make all the difference: Jason Bay from Pirates to Red Sox, Adam Dunn from Reds to Nationals, Raul Ibanez from the Mariners to the Phillies, Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians to the Mariners, and Endy Chavez from the Mets to the Mariners. (How about those Mariners upgrading the outfield!) Or new players coming up: Nyjer Morgan for the Pirates and Elvis Andrus for the Rangers.

And then there are my Orioles, at -40.7: losing 4 more games because of failing defense. Why? Well, because our outfield has fallen apart.

In 2008, the Orioles had Payton (+12.0), Jones (+9.9) and Markakis (+12.1).
In 2009, the Orioles have Reimold (-2.4), Jones (-4.8) and Markakis (-8.7).

Okay, fine. Switching out Payton for Reimold in left field cost us a decent bit. I'm willing to accept that to get a player 11 years younger (26 to 37) and 270 points higher in OPS (.908 to .637). But what happened to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis? Did someone install an obstacle course in right-center? Or is it simply one more reason for my favorite team to be the NotYankees?

1 comment:

Linda said...

There is so much that goes into baseball. It is true so times just adding a player or to can make all the difference just look at the Red Sox bullpen this year.