Tigers 97.9Those 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 -51.0The 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.
Red Sox -80.3
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?