# Defense and Range Topic

I remember seeing one of our site's resident mathematical geniuses do a breakdown one time of how many runs a good defense saves or a bad defense gives up. Anyone remember what I'm talking about?

Specifically, I'm nearing the end of a season in which I used 2008 Jimmy Rollins at SS for his A+/B fielding. He's winning the gold glove, but at first glance, it doesn't seem to make up for his lackluster offensive production. I'd like some way to quantify his value instead of giving up on him solely because he's not an offensive superstar.

Any productive comments would be appreciated!
5/22/2012 5:25 PM
It was jfranco.....I can't remember the name of the thread.
5/22/2012 7:16 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about a player's range because you can win with a D- range infield, as long as their fielding is good and what they give you on offense outweighs their range. Aside from a few select players, super range IMO just isn't worth it in OLs. A good example is your Rollins.
5/24/2012 10:28 PM
I marvel at how many players - including some that many of us consider to have been good fielders when they played - have a D level range. Granted the stats used to determine the rating are objective, but the assigning of grades for a certain level of performance has a human element to it. I know since giving letter grades for performance is what I get paid to do.

So if a certain number of assists is required to get a C or higher, and the result is that the majority of major league players are at D range, it means you need to lower the standard a little. If the majority of students in m classes got Ds the Dean would eventually notice. Obviously the solution is not to lower standards substantially, but someone must have had a C range if that is the medium level.

I always laugh when I see a major league baseball player that has an A defense rating and a D range - essentially that means that he you can't hit the ball past him - so long as you hit it right to him. Or those with D defense and A range - can get to any ball hit, but then can't field it.

A few more Bs and Cs, even at the risk of "grade inflation" would be good, since a lot players here agonize over defense only to find their teams massacred by the Vern Stephens, Bip Roberts and Howard Johnsons of the world.
5/25/2012 6:46 AM
Remember that WIS uses a simplistic RF/G number for range, and they use the same scale throughout history. That means guys who played in the deadball era when the K/9 was 3.0 have a lot more chances to rack up assists and putouts, compared to modern players in a 10 K/9 environment.
5/25/2012 8:22 AM
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Jfranco's thread that was bumped and linked to is as helpful as anything I've seen on this subject. What all this comes down to for me is that extreme good defense is helpful, but not a good value. Extreme bad defense is tough to overcome, even with a tremendous bat. There's a balance somewhere of good enough defense with good enough bat that makes the best value. Add into that the extra variables of such varied opponents and parks, and I unfortunately do not have the time or the patience to figure out where that balance is.

Anyone want to volunteer to take several months, buy dozens of teams, and help figure this out for me? :)
5/25/2012 2:33 PM
A couple of good examples of good fielders with poor range whose offensive output outweighs any negative effect of their range would be 92 Bip at 2B and 89 HoJo at SS.  Neither of them will make many errors and will have a ton of minus plays.  However, what they will give you on offense IMO clearly  outweighs the negative effect of their minus plays.
5/28/2012 2:11 AM
Posted by mixtroy on 5/28/2012 2:11:00 AM (view original):
A couple of good examples of good fielders with poor range whose offensive output outweighs any negative effect of their range would be 92 Bip at 2B and 89 HoJo at SS.  Neither of them will make many errors and will have a ton of minus plays.  However, what they will give you on offense IMO clearly  outweighs the negative effect of their minus plays.
I actually go through the hassle of calculating such things, I from what I can tell '92 Roberts is not a good choice at second.
Adjusting for defense and line-up position, Bip's equivalent line is:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 avg 0.298 0.297 0.297 0.296 0.295 0.294 0.293 0.292 0.291 obp 0.361 0.36 0.36 0.359 0.358 0.357 0.357 0.356 0.355 slg 0.387 0.386 0.385 0.385 0.384 0.383 0.382 0.381 0.379

For similar \$/pa you can get '94 Mark Lemke, who will give an equivalent line of:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 avg 0.333 0.334 0.334 0.335 0.336 0.337 0.339 0.34 0.341 obp 0.392 0.393 0.394 0.395 0.396 0.397 0.398 0.399 0.4 slg 0.39 0.391 0.392 0.393 0.394 0.396 0.397 0.398 0.4

You will note that as Roberts moves down the line-up his equivalent line gets worse.  This is because my model has him playing more innings at second and he turns out to be a defensive liability.  Lemke is exactly the opposite.  The further down the line-up you play his the more valuable he becomes because he is an asset on defense.
5/29/2012 1:29 AM (edited)

This comparison is fine as long as Roberts stays at 2B (rare for me), doesn't pinch hit frequently, park factors and stolen bases on weak armed catchers aren't considered and  a consensus has been agreed upon on the exact value, quantification and offensive equivalent of errors, negative plays and positive plays has been determined.

5/29/2012 8:53 AM (edited)
Posted by crimsonblue on 5/29/2012 8:53:00 AM (view original):

This comparison is fine as long as Roberts stays at 2B (rare for me), doesn't pinch hit frequently, park factors and stolen bases on weak armed catchers aren't considered and  a consensus has been agreed upon on the exact value, quantification and offensive equivalent of errors, negative plays and positive plays has been determined.

I have used various methods to compare players, but my latest is as uncontroversial as possible.  I compare payers to the league avg spreadsheet.  I add the differences between their feilding and an average player as follows:
+/- play = 1 hit and ~1.2 bases (the avg value of a non hr hit)
error     = 1 hit and 1 base
dp         = 1 hit and 1 base

I didn't consider park factor, but frankly since the comparision isn't even close I'm not sure that matters.
5/29/2012 10:51 AM

I do something similar that is very easy to figure out.  Consider the two hypothetical players.  Using the performance history...  Let's assume for simplicity both walk the same amount of time.

Player A: 600 AB, 180 Hits (=.300 AVG), 25 errors, 0 "+" plays, 20 "-" plays
Player B: 600 AB, 150 Hits (=.250 AVG), 15 errors, 15 "+" plays, 0 "-" plays

In comparing Player A to Player B, I simply adjust the batting average by the amount of extra plays made or lost.

Player A has 30 more hits but allows 45 more baserunners so I take Player B.  (Note that "+" plays for infielders are almost always hits turned into outs, while "+" plays for outfielders often involve doubles turning into singles, so the comparison isn't quite the same for OFs).  An A+++ infielder who can turn 30 or more "+" plays is worth the salary in my opinion (i.e., a .250 hitter with A+++ range = .300 hitter with avg range).

I ignore DPs since there is too much outside influence (i.e., bad pitchers = more baserunners = more DPs.  High-K pitchers = fewer DPs). I can say that having a catcher with a good arm will help with the DPs turned.  Can't get DPs when guys are stealing all the time.

5/29/2012 12:57 PM
Under the schwarze system Lemke's ABs prorated to 604 (Roberts performance history number) would have 17 less hits and an approx. net of plus 30 fielding(using performance history). Giving Lemke a +13.  The question for me is does Roberts versatility, steals(spotted against weak armed catchers) and 17 additional extra-base hits(prorated, performance history) offset this.
5/29/2012 2:55 PM
Posted by schwarze on 5/29/2012 12:59:00 PM (view original):

I do something similar that is very easy to figure out.  Consider the two hypothetical players.  Using the performance history...  Let's assume for simplicity both walk the same amount of time.

Player A: 600 AB, 180 Hits (=.300 AVG), 25 errors, 0 "+" plays, 20 "-" plays
Player B: 600 AB, 150 Hits (=.250 AVG), 15 errors, 15 "+" plays, 0 "-" plays

In comparing Player A to Player B, I simply adjust the batting average by the amount of extra plays made or lost.

Player A has 30 more hits but allows 45 more baserunners so I take Player B.  (Note that "+" plays for infielders are almost always hits turned into outs, while "+" plays for outfielders often involve doubles turning into singles, so the comparison isn't quite the same for OFs).  An A+++ infielder who can turn 30 or more "+" plays is worth the salary in my opinion (i.e., a .250 hitter with A+++ range = .300 hitter with avg range).

I ignore DPs since there is too much outside influence (i.e., bad pitchers = more baserunners = more DPs.  High-K pitchers = fewer DPs). I can say that having a catcher with a good arm will help with the DPs turned.  Can't get DPs when guys are stealing all the time.

I don't think double plays should be ignored.  We know at least before the last update this was the primary benefit of high range IFers.  Yes, pitcher K rates affect DPs as does a catcher's arm.  But pitcher year (season played) affect errors and we still consider them.  A pitcher's oavg has an affect of + and - plays and those are condiered as well.

My methods are a bit more complex and I hope more accurate.  I adjust performace according to innings played on defense.  As stated previously I not only adjust avg but also obp and slg.

I have Lemke as follows:
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 PA req/in 0.51 0.5 0.49 0.48 0.47 0.45 0.44 0.43 0.42 def in 1092 1118 1145 1173 1203 1234 1267 1301 1338 + adj -0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.9 -0.9 -0.9 - adj 8.2 8.4 8.6 8.8 9 9.2 9.5 9.8 10 e adj 12 12.3 12.6 12.9 13.2 13.5 13.9 14.3 14.7 te adj 2.2 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.7 dp adg -1.9 -2 -2 -2.1 -2.1 -2.2 -2.3 -2.3 -2.4 da avg 0.333 0.334 0.334 0.335 0.336 0.337 0.339 0.34 0.341 da obp 0.392 0.393 0.393 0.394 0.395 0.396 0.397 0.398 0.399 da slg 0.39 0.391 0.392 0.393 0.394 0.396 0.397 0.398 0.4

Bip Roberts:
 Batting 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 PA req/in 0.51 0.5 0.49 0.48 0.47 0.45 0.44 0.43 0.42 def in 1172 1200 1229 1259 1291 1324 1359 1397 1436 + adj -2.8 -2.9 -3 -3 -3.1 -3.2 -3.3 -3.4 -3.5 - adj -17 -17.4 -17.8 -18.3 -18.7 -19.2 -19.7 -20.3 -20.8 e adj 9.5 9.7 9.9 10.2 10.4 10.7 11 11.3 11.6 te adj 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.9 2 2 2.1 2.1 dp adg -9.4 -9.6 -9.8 -10.1 -10.3 -10.6 -10.9 -11.2 -11.5 da avg 0.298 0.297 0.297 0.296 0.295 0.294 0.293 0.292 0.291 da obp 0.361 0.36 0.36 0.359 0.358 0.357 0.357 0.356 0.355 da slg 0.387 0.386 0.385 0.384 0.384 0.383 0.382 0.38 0.379

I could understand if it were close, you would consider your pitchers, catcher park, line-up position etc.  However, this isn't even a close comparision.  Lemke is hands down a better player at 2nd.

5/29/2012 3:47 PM (edited)
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Defense and Range Topic