PDA

View Full Version : There is no defending this defense



M2
08-30-2007, 01:52 PM
The Reds have always played defense. It goes all the way back to players like Bid McPhee and Dummy Hoy. It persisted through Heinie Groh and Eddie Miller.

Since the invention of the Gold Glove the Reds have had four shortstops, four 2Bs, five OFs and two catchers take defensive honors.

Let's take a look at the modern defensive history of the club using DER, which measures how well the team gets to balls in play (in general you want to be above .700).

The Prelude

In 1961 the Reds re-tooled for what turned out to be a solid decade and the defense played a big role in that flourish.

1961 - .727
1962 - .716
1963 - .721
1964 - .719
1965 - .713
1966 - .706 (only losing season of the decade)
1967 - .718
1968 - .716
1969 - .716

A few notes to make here. If you've been under the impression that teams played better defense back then than they do today, you're right. On average teams did play better defense. There's three major reasons for it. One was they carried more slick leather, no stick players. An awful hitter could have an elongated career back in those days if he played top flight defense. Also, the hitters weren't as good. Certainly some were, but on average they weren't stroking the ball like modern players. That means that fielders weren't chasing as many lasers as they do today. Third, the mound was higher, allowing pitchers to throw on more of a downward plane, which helps to induce groundballs. Hitters didn't automatically figure out what to do with balls that sink less, but eventually they did and it transformed the game.

During these years the Reds weren't a stellar defensive unit (they only ranked in the top half of the league twice), but they were solid. So they entered the '70s with room for improvement.

BRM

1970 - .722
1971 - .735
1972 - .728
1973 - .725
1974 - .726
1975 - .724
1976 - .714
1977 - .707
1978 - .706
1979 - .713
1980 - .717
1981 - .727

They were in the top 10 in MLB every season except '76-'78, when the BRM started to get a little long in the tooth.

The Collapse

1982 - .702
1983 - .716
1984 - .708

The gloves collapsed with the rest of the team in 1982, but rebounded to middle-of-the-pack status in '83 and '84.

Rebirth

1985 - .723
1986 - .704
1987 - .706
1988 - .733
1989 - .712
1990 - .717
1991 - .710
1992 - .705

The Pete and Lou years had their ups and downs. The team was 2nd overall in DER in 1988 when younger players like Larkin, Sabo and O'Neill took over permanent jobs in the field. The veteran-heavy crews of '86 and '87 ranked toward the bottom of the league, but mostly the club graded out as middle of the pack during this run.

The Bowden Era

1993 - .692
1994 - .698
1995 - .705
1996 - .699
1997 - .704
1998 - .707
1999 - .731
2000 - .710
2001 - .695
2002 - .700
2003 - .698

This is where you need to don era-adjusted glasses. Expansion in 1993 changed the game irrevocably. Pitching and defense have never been the same and offense has proliferated. For the bulk of the JimBo years, the Reds played good defense relative to the rest of the league. The '93 results were awful (26th of 28 in MLB). Yet the '94 result was middle of the pack. The club then spent most of 1995-2000 in the top 10, with the exception of 1996 when it finished 11th. In 1999 the team finished first overall in MLB (with Mike Cameron, Pokey Reese and Barry Larkin up the middle). The current seven-season skid (I'm taking 2007 for granted at this point) coincided with an immediate decline in defense. The Reds ranked 23rd, 19th and 21st those seasons.

The Abyss

2004 - .696
2005 - .683
2006 - .691
2007 - .681

That's right, despite all the lip service paid to pitching and defense of late, the Reds have currently found a new low, slightly worse than the disasterbacle Wayne Krivsky inherited from Dan O'Brien. Only the comedy stylings of the two Florida-based teams in MLB are keeping them out of the cellar (which should serve as a reminder that youth isn't necessarily the cure for what ails them).

The main point here is the defensive fixes haven't worked. Hard questions need to be asked and harder choices made if the club wants to make the product on the field fit the stated vision of the front office.

pedro
08-30-2007, 01:58 PM
That's interesting M2 and it does hold with the data from earlier in the season. I will say that numbers aside, the Reds have, IMO played better defense this year, at least in the IF. Although AG doesn't have all that great of range I do believe there are a number of things he does better than Lopez (or Clayton) that don't necessarily show up in statistical review and I think Phillips has played better at 2B this year than last.

I would be curious to see how the DP numbers hold up compared to previous seasons.

IslandRed
08-30-2007, 02:26 PM
That's interesting M2 and it does hold with the data from earlier in the season. I will say that numbers aside, the Reds have, IMO played better defense this year, at least in the IF. Although AG doesn't have all that great of range I do believe there are a number of things he does better than Lopez (or Clayton) that don't necessarily show up in statistical review and I think Phillips has played better at 2B this year than last.

That fits my conception also. Phillips leads NL 2Bs in double plays turned, and Gonzalez has a pretty solid rate when scaling his DPs against innings played, since he's missed some time. When Encarnacion has his arm screwed on straight, I don't have any real complaints about the infield defense. Catcher is okay, not great, but okay with Ross back there.

So now we get to the outfield, which is horrendous defensively and where meaningful fixes most need to occur. But, as mentioned a few days ago in another thread, the two guys most in need of upgrading are the ones providing the most offense. Now, a lot of teams put up with a slugger's less than rangy presence for the sake of his bat. We're doing it at both corners, and they're not flanking an all-world center fielder who can make up for some of it.

This is not necessarily a permanent condition. Hamilton's fine with the glove, just not rangy enough to be a top centerfielder IMHO; Bruce is fine; Stubbs is great, if his bat comes around to where he wouldn't be an offensive sinkhole. For now, we just shrug off the bad outfield defense as the cost of having the best bats in the lineup. Hopefully we won't have to make that tradeoff forever.

Johnny Footstool
08-30-2007, 02:37 PM
This provides further support for my theory that Wayne Krivsky wouldn't know good defense if it walked up, bit him, and spat a chunk of his flesh back in his face.

D-Man
08-30-2007, 02:41 PM
I wouldn't necessarily say that "the fixes haven't worked" because the worst defenders, relative to the league, are the holdovers (Dunn, Griffey, and Encarnacion). Hatteberg is the only Krivsky guy that has been particularly bad.

Unfortunately, at least a portion of the recent poor fielding is structural and is here to stay. All of the "bad" defensive years have come in a different ballpark than the one from the BRM era. The new park that has a short porch, a tall wall in the OF, hard wall angles in the OF, limited foul territory, and a grass surface. Previous DERs were achieved under more optimal fielding conditions.

That would help to explain why the defense of many new players has taken a nosedive when they arrive in Cincinnati.

pedro
08-30-2007, 02:45 PM
This provides further support for my theory that Wayne Krivsky wouldn't know good defense if it walked up, bit him, and spat a chunk of his flesh back in his face.

I'd be very interested to see the numbers on a position by position basis. The only guy Krivsky brought in for defense has been AG. Your theory can't really be proven without looking at how AG stacks up against his predecessors, that is if we accept that DER is really giving us the complete picture, which I'd surmise it's not. My guess is that the drop off from Kearns to Griffey is as much a part of the story as anything and where exactly was Griffey supposed to play? (LF would be a start)

Ltlabner
08-30-2007, 02:49 PM
One question about DER. If it rates how well players get to balls in play, does it account for what happens to said ball after the player reaches it? i.e. how well does DER correlate to actual outs?

But overall, this is a bit suprising... Jr was moved out of CF to bolster the CF defense. Hamilton has played adequatley. Phillips seems to provide solid defense up the middle. Gonzo has had his issues (mostly related to off-the-feild distractions) but seems to get to a lot of balls. Keep has been adequate in his sted. EE isn't not a worry, and he seems to have made a lot of strides with his throwing issues. Dunn is..well...Dunn but it's LF. No team is really tearing it up out there. Hatte...well, middle of the road. I know the word "seems" and "appears" shows up a lot in the paragraph, but what I am saying is on the surface it's hard to imagine the Reds are 3rd last in total defensive skill (not that they are any great shakes, mind you).

So that leaves Freel/Hopper's time in CF, catching and RF. I can believe Freel/Hopper provide middle of the road defense, at best on good days, but it's hard to imagine they are a total drag on the team. Jr has 38 year old legs so I can see where there's an increase of balls dropping in his area of responsibility. While Javy's a bit of a mess behind the plate, I can't see where Ross is torpedeoing the entire teams DER.

I guess what I am trying to say, it that while I don't think the reds are a defensive powerhouse, my perception isn't that they are a total mess either. Doesn't mean my perception is reality, just trying to jive my perception with these numbers.

M2
08-30-2007, 03:01 PM
One question about DER. If it rates how well players get to balls in play, does it account for what happens to said ball after the player reaches it? i.e. how well does DER correlate to actual outs?

DER works in binary out/not out. It correlates 100% to actual outs.


I guess what I am trying to say, it that while I don't think the reds are a defensive powerhouse, my perception isn't that they are a total mess either. Doesn't mean my perception is reality, just trying to jive my perception with these numbers.

The reality is that they have been a total mess. They're aiming for a club record low DER and their right at the bottom of the league for team defense. It doesn't get much messier than this. My take on the defense is that there's one guy who's good out there (Brandon Phillips) and everybody could be improved. CF strikes me as the most glaring hole. The team has to determine whether Gonzalez can rebound defensively at SS. The IF corners need to get a lot better. Perhaps a quality 1B can act as a catalyst for the rest of the IF (perhaps it can't, just musing on that one).

Johnny Footstool
08-30-2007, 03:06 PM
The only guy Krivsky brought in for defense has been AG.

Royce Clayton and Juan Castro last year. Prime examples.

Johnny Footstool
08-30-2007, 03:11 PM
Perhaps a quality 1B can act as a catalyst for the rest of the IF (perhaps it can't, just musing on that one).

A good receiver at 1B could potentially increase the number of infield balls that become outs. Dunn, despite his lumbering nature when fielding grounders, appears to be pretty good at handling throws (I have no stats to back this up; it's merely an observation). Maybe it's simply due to his stature and wingspan, or his football TE instincts. Still, I place a lot more value on a 1B who can receive throws than one who can field grounders (Rich Aurilia, for example).

lollipopcurve
08-30-2007, 03:13 PM
My question is this -- could a poor DER be attributable to a poor pitching staff? The Reds give up a lot of bombs (would homers count as non-outs?) and don't strike out a lot of hitters relative to the league......

pedro
08-30-2007, 03:14 PM
Royce Clayton and Juan Castro last year. Prime examples.

Castro isn't a starter and compared to Lopez, Clayton's pretty much a wash.

Range is great but defense isn't always about getting the ball after initial contact. Sometimes it's about being in the right place after the the first player gets to the ball. I'll admit that Krivksy seems more caught up in not making errors and being in the right place vs. range but I do think those things are more important that many here seem to believe. Given the roster that he was handed it's probably going to be a while before we really know how well Krivsky evaluates defense. IMO it's certainly not as cut and dried as you claim.

IslandRed
08-30-2007, 03:24 PM
The reality is that they have been a total mess. They're aiming for a club record low DER and their right at the bottom of the league for team defense. It doesn't get much messier than this. My take on the defense is that there's one guy who's good out there (Brandon Phillips) and everybody could be improved. CF strikes me as the most glaring hole. The team has to determine whether Gonzalez can rebound defensively at SS. The IF corners need to get a lot better. Perhaps a quality 1B can act as a catalyst for the rest of the IF (perhaps it can't, just musing on that one).

CF is definitely a glaring hole, although "most glaring" is primarily because we're carrying glaring holes in both corners, IMHO.

It'll definitely be interesting to see what they do with the outfield both short- and long-term. They could keep going with the max-offense status quo; the big transition to a solid defensive outfield with Bruce and Hamilton flanking a CF to be named later; or something in between. The big variables are whether Dunn can be signed to a long-term extension -- if they even offer one -- and whether Bruce is any better in center than Hamilton is.

M2
08-30-2007, 03:27 PM
My question is this -- could a poor DER be attributable to a poor pitching staff? The Reds give up a lot of bombs (would homers count as non-outs?) and don't strike out a lot of hitters relative to the league......

Homers and Ks aren't balls in play so they don't get put into the equation. It has to be a ball in play and it either registers as an out or not an out.

If the staff is surrendering an inordinately high number of line drives (I haven't checked), that would have an effect, but otherwise the Reds defense is about three games worth of outs behind where it needs to be.

IslandRed
08-30-2007, 03:28 PM
Given the roster that he was handed it's probably going to be a while before we really know how well Krivsky evaluates defense. IMO it's certainly not as cut and dried as you claim.

I suppose it's a question as to how well he truly evaluates defense. I don't know. On the other hand, one thing I'm pretty sure about is that a GM obsessed with defense, and willing to walk the walk, would have packed Dunn and Griffey out of town long before now in favor of who-knows-what. The fact that he hasn't shows at least some awareness that the cure might have been worse than the disease.

lollipopcurve
08-30-2007, 03:38 PM
Homers and Ks aren't balls in play so they don't get put into the equation. It has to be a ball in play and it either registers as an out or not an out.

If the staff is surrendering an inordinately high number of line drives (I haven't checked), that would have an effect, but otherwise the Reds defense is about three games worth of outs behind where it needs to be.

Ah, makes sense. Interesting stuff. My take is that if they would upgrade the pitching some and, for example, put Hamilton and Bruce on the corners with Rowand in the middle, no more mess. Of course, that means trading Griffey and swapping out Dunn's dollars in a long-term deal for Rowand.....

Eric_Davis
08-30-2007, 04:03 PM
Nice work, M2.

Is it possible to post the individual DER rankings relative to their position in the National League for each of the REDS' players? I'd have to believe that Hopper is ranked in the top 10% in all outfield spots in the NL for players who have had the number of chances he's had (He would have different DER's for SL, CF, RF). I would also wager that whatever his DER is, it's 25% higher than any other outfielder on the team including Freel and Hamilton. I would also wager that Edwin's DER is among the top 25% of 3rd Basemen in the NL of those players who have had as many chances as he's had. I would wager that Phillips' is in the top 10% of 2nd Basemen who are starters.

I'd wager that Junior's DER for his position is at the bottom 20% in the NL of players that have had as many chances as he's had, and that Dunn, because of his speed, is not in the bottom 25% of starting LF's who qualify with enough chances to be considered a full-time starter in the NL. Gonzo is a mystery and he has issues beyond his control, but he and Phillips turn a great Double-play and will get better the longer they work together.

Eric_Davis
08-30-2007, 04:05 PM
We are playing .600 ball under Mackinen. Mostly because of a League-Leading Batting Average during much of that stretch. You put balls in play, things happen. That's one of the reasons the Angels are the best team in baseball. (they have superior defense and great pitching, too, though.)

M2
08-30-2007, 04:11 PM
E_D,

DER is a team only stat, which makes it great for big picture, but then you've got to find something else to break it down. My take remains that everyone outside of Brandon Phillips has contributed to the problem.

VR
08-30-2007, 04:16 PM
Not too familiar with the methodology of the old DER....will have to research a bit.

On the positive side, the Reds defense has turned around dramatically since the early season swoon. Fewest E's since the break, and pretty close to most DP's since June 1.

M2
08-30-2007, 04:33 PM
We are playing .600 ball under Mackinen. Mostly because of a League-Leading Batting Average during much of that stretch. You put balls in play, things happen. That's one of the reasons the Angels are the best team in baseball. (they have superior defense and great pitching, too, though.)

Balls in play means nothing if you don't put a good swing on the ball. It just leads to a lot of cheap outs and even your hits don't do that much damage. This is not the same game folks played in Little League and high school.

The Angels are a bit slappy. Seems to me their playoff chances are the same as always - get hot for three rounds or get skunked by a smart pitching staff.

VR
08-30-2007, 04:34 PM
I would be curious to see how the DP numbers hold up compared to previous seasons.

Double Plays (2007 YTD, all other are full year)

2007...131 (on pace for 160)
2006...139
2005...133
2004...123
2003...152
2002...169
2001...136
2000...156
1999...274
1998...142


Errors
2007...77 (on pace for 94)
2006...128
2005...104
2004...113
2003...141
2002...120
2001...138
2000...111
1999...105
1998...122

pedro
08-30-2007, 04:36 PM
thanks VR.

M2
08-30-2007, 04:39 PM
Not too familiar with the methodology of the old DER....will have to research a bit.

On the positive side, the Reds defense has turned around dramatically since the early season swoon. Fewest E's since the break, and pretty close to most DP's since June 1.

DER is literally the opposite of BABIP.

The Es and DPs are nice, but I don't think the DER needle has budged much all season. It started low and it's stayed low. I'd take more errors and less DPs if it came attached to more outs.

Johnny Footstool
08-30-2007, 04:47 PM
The Angels are a bit slappy. Seems to me their playoff chances are the same as always - get hot for three rounds or get skunked by a smart pitching staff.

I remember how the ChiSox completely embarrassed the Angels in the 2005 ALCS, holding them to a .175 BA, .196 OBP, and .266 SLG.

VR
08-30-2007, 05:03 PM
DER is literally the opposite of BABIP.
The Es and DPs are nice, but I don't think the DER needle has budged much all season. It started low and it's stayed low. I'd take more errors and less DPs if it came attached to more outs.


I agree...but I'd have to think EE, BP, AG and DR are quite a bit above average. Hammy average, Dunn and Griff...anvils.

This is where it would have been nice to have Denorfia in center.

M2
08-30-2007, 05:09 PM
I agree...but I'd have to think EE, BP, AG and DR are quite a bit above average. Hammy average, Dunn and Griff...anvils.

This is where it would have been nice to have Denorfia in center.

My guess is Encarnacion and Gonzalez will rate out below average in most measurements as will Hamilton in CF.

To put it another way, bad as the OF corners may be they only account for a small portion of the pie in terms of the number of outs they can contribute.

RedsManRick
08-30-2007, 05:15 PM
Average at best up the middle, poor on the corners. Not a good recipe.

I do wonder though, just as BABIP isn't really random, what LD% do our pitchers allow? LD%+.120 is the basic estimation for eBABIP. So shouldn't eDER be .880-LD%? Your defense can't control the types of batted balls which they have the opportunity to field.

VR
08-30-2007, 05:18 PM
My guess is Encarnacion and Gonzalez will rate out below average in most measurements as will Hamilton in CF.

To put it another way, bad as the OF corners may be they only account for a small portion of the pie in terms of the number of outs they can contribute.

That's interesting. How do we know where they rate as individuals?

M2
08-30-2007, 05:25 PM
That's interesting. How do we know where they rate as individuals?

There's a whole host of stats that come out at the end of the year. I tend to look for commonality among them to get a complete picture. Defense really is the undiscovered country of baseball - how best to measure it, what its effects are.

Cyclone792
08-30-2007, 05:37 PM
Average at best up the middle, poor on the corners. Not a good recipe.

I do wonder though, just as BABIP isn't really random, what LD% do our pitchers allow? LD%+.120 is the basic estimation for eBABIP. So shouldn't eDER be .880-LD%? Your defense can't control the types of batted balls which they have the opportunity to field.

The Reds' LD% as a team is 20% this season with the NL average being 19%, according to Hardball Times, though they don't go out to decimals so who knows how far off they average they really are. Anyway, only the Reds and Phillies are at 20% with most everyone else at either 18% or 19% (the Padres are the lone team at 17%). Hardball Times also has the Reds' DER at .677 compared to the NL average of .692. Only the Marlins are worse in DER at .669.

The Reds' ERA is 4.99, but their FIP is 4.58 (league average is 4.38) and their DIPS ERA is way down to 4.37 (league average is 4.27).

Also, the Reds are also second last in the NL in LOB% at 69%. Only the Cardinals are worse at 68%, and the league average is 71%.

So we've got a below average pitching staff plus a below average defense with a little bit of bad luck mixed in, and the result is a whopping 5.33 runs allowed per game.

Interestingly, the one aspect of defense the Reds aren't bad at is fielding percentage, errors and unearned runs. Their .984 fielding percentage is tied for 8th in the NL (basically average), and they have allowed 46 unearned runs (league average is 47 unearned runs).

So according to fielding percentage and unearned runs, the Reds defense is average. But in reality it's quite a bit worse than average.

IslandRed
08-30-2007, 06:42 PM
So according to fielding percentage and unearned runs, the Reds defense is average. But in reality it's quite a bit worse than average.

Which translates to bad range as a team.

For whatever my observation's worth, I think we're being hurt a lot more by the balls the outfielders aren't getting to than the ones getting through the infield. In those instances where Gonzalez has been 100% mentally here and Encarnacion's arm has been properly calibrated, I've been fine with the infield defense. I'm not fine with the outfield defense, not even close.

RFS62
08-30-2007, 07:13 PM
For whatever my observation's worth, I think we're being hurt a lot more by the balls the outfielders aren't getting to than the ones getting through the infield. In those instances where Gonzalez has been 100% mentally here and Encarnacion's arm has been properly calibrated, I've been fine with the infield defense. I'm not fine with the outfield defense, not even close.



That's exactly what I think too.

ochre
08-30-2007, 07:26 PM
Dunn is easy to pick on because he was so bad last year, but he's pretty much middle of the pack when compared to other qualified NL LFers in ZR (7th of 12). I know ZR has its limits, but it probably has some overlap with DER at least. That would mean, if it does have some overlap, that Dunn isn't really impacting the team DER all that significantly, at least in the context of ranking vs the NL. Of course, he isn't helping it any either. I think adding a top notch defensive CF would be more aggregate benefit than moving Dunn for defensive reasons at this point.

REDREAD
08-30-2007, 07:39 PM
Royce Clayton and Juan Castro last year. Prime examples.

Also, look at all the backups he's signed/resigned.. Valentin, Freel, Q McCracken, etc.. He has yet to sign a solid glove for the bench.

Supposedly the main selling point for Phillips was that a scout bragged about how he could pull Oswalt's fastball.. it seems that hitting and the cheap price was the main reason for picking up Phillips. In other words, Wayne wasn't searching the league looking to upgrade up the middle defense, he just grabbed an opportunity.

It was still a good pickup, but I see no plan to improve the defense (at least not a working one).

jojo
08-30-2007, 10:14 PM
Dunn is easy to pick on because he was so bad last year, but he's pretty much middle of the pack when compared to other qualified NL LFers in ZR (7th of 12). I know ZR has its limits, but it probably has some overlap with DER at least. That would mean, if it does have some overlap, that Dunn isn't really impacting the team DER all that significantly, at least in the context of ranking vs the NL. Of course, he isn't helping it any either. I think adding a top notch defensive CF would be more aggregate benefit than moving Dunn for defensive reasons at this point.

UZR (a play by play based metric) can shed light on how many balls a player isn't getting relative to his peers. Thru the ASB, Dunn was guilty as charged being near the bottom of all major league leftfielders based upon the metric. Jr might be the worst defensive outfielder in the game and Hamilton is grading out poorly as a CFer. The problems with the Reds outfield defense are almost entirely range-related.

I think this is one reason so many were rating Dunn as average in a recent informal ORG poll. Poor range is more subtle...it's kind of like high blood pressure-a silent killer in many ways.

Island Red hit the nail right on the head.

Eric_Davis
08-30-2007, 10:45 PM
Double Plays (2007 YTD, all other are full year)

2007...131 (on pace for 160)
2006...139
2005...133
2004...123
2003...152
2002...169
2001...136
2000...156
1999...274
1998...142


Errors
2007...77 (on pace for 94)
2006...128
2005...104
2004...113
2003...141
2002...120
2001...138
2000...111
1999...105
1998...122

Keep in mind that through the first 5-7 weeks of the year, the REDS were dead last in MLB in double-plays. They really turned it up a couple of notches once Gonzo had a chance to work with Phillips on a regular basis.

Eric_Davis
08-30-2007, 10:48 PM
I remember how the ChiSox completely embarrassed the Angels in the 2005 ALCS, holding them to a .175 BA, .196 OBP, and .266 SLG.


That pitching staff did it to everyone. It was amazing. Now, looking back, everyone thinks that Ozzie abused that staff that season.

Eric_Davis
08-30-2007, 10:51 PM
Imagine if Junior was in Center?

You might want to be close to the bathroom.

westofyou
08-31-2007, 11:33 AM
Also, look at all the backups he's signed/resigned.. Valentin, Freel, Q McCracken, etc.. He has yet to sign a solid glove for the bench.

Pedro Lopez and Norris Hopper say hi.

lollipopcurve
08-31-2007, 11:34 AM
Also, look at all the backups he's signed/resigned.. Valentin, Freel, Q McCracken, etc.. He has yet to sign a solid glove for the bench.

Ross is now a bench player (or should be).

M2
08-31-2007, 11:52 AM
UZR (a play by play based metric) can shed light on how many balls a player isn't getting relative to his peers. Thru the ASB, Dunn was guilty as charged being near the bottom of all major league leftfielders based upon the metric. Jr might be the worst defensive outfielder in the game and Hamilton is grading out poorly as a CFer. The problems with the Reds outfield defense are almost entirely range-related.

I think this is one reason so many were rating Dunn as average in a recent informal ORG poll. Poor range is more subtle...it's kind of like high blood pressure-a silent killer in many ways.

Island Red hit the nail right on the head.

And it's the combination of three rangeless OFs that's the real killer. Teams can survive a big hitting goof in an OF corner if the other two fielders can go get 'em. The Reds really need to find a quality CF and then they need to make decision on Dunn or Jr. Both doesn't seem to work. Perhaps neither will be the answer. Who knows, but there's an old adage that your CF can only shade toward one gap.

Seeing that Dunn can't be traded until June that probably means that moving Jr. is the course of action. The Reds need to get something for these guys and, while Jr.'s 10-5 rights are a complication, that's something the team can work around.

The IF is a problem too, though I don't think anyone quite knows what the problem is or how to fix it. Obviously there's the hope that Encarnacion is on the improve and that Gonzalez, understandably, hasn't been himself this season. That's why I suggested looking to 1B (though that might mean Joey Votto isn't the guy they need).

One thing is for sure, status quo won't get it done. I don't envy Wayne Krivsky on this one. He's going to have to make some decisions that hack off a lot of people to fix the defense and it's going to take finesse to fix it without completely undercutting the offense. It's one of the reasons why Adam Dunn is a good fellow to have around. He's a dependable big stick who enables a team to take on some added offensive risk in other areas.

westofyou
08-31-2007, 12:01 PM
Seeing that Dunn can't be traded until June that probably means that moving Jr. is the course of action. The Reds need to get something for these guys and, while Jr.'s 10-5 rights are a complication, that's something the team can work around.

Pedro and I pondered this exact scenario last night over pints. He could come west and go for 600 in Seattle, that's the most realistic move for all parties involved.

pedro
08-31-2007, 12:05 PM
I think Griffey is clearly the guy to move. The question then is whether or not Jay Bruce is ready and what type of upgrade would he be in CF? even if only for a year or two.

M2
08-31-2007, 12:10 PM
I think Griffey is clearly the guy to move. The question then is whether or not Jay Bruce is ready and what type of upgrade would he be in CF? even if only for a year or two.

What I'd really like to see is Bruce in RF and someone who currently hasn't been acquired in CF.

pedro
08-31-2007, 12:16 PM
What I'd really like to see is Bruce in RF and someone who currently hasn't been acquired in CF.

What to do with Hamilton? Use him as the 4th guy?

As for Dunn and the trade stuff. I'm pretty sure Dunn would waive his trade clause in ST rather than have to move in the middle of the season. At least to the right place. What the no trade to June 15th thing does for Dunn is give him some leverage in determining where he'll go. Or more importantly, where he won't.

IslandRed
08-31-2007, 12:20 PM
What I'd really like to see is Bruce in RF and someone who currently hasn't been acquired in CF.

Which works for me. Then the question becomes Hamilton vs. Dunn. I don't see a reason to make that call just yet. Picking up Dunn's option buys some time for Hamilton to come through another offseason unscathed and for Bruce to finish kicking the door in. Then we can figure out which one can be traded to greater benefit.

M2
08-31-2007, 12:33 PM
What to do with Hamilton? Use him as the 4th guy?

As for Dunn and the trade stuff. I'm pretty sure Dunn would waive his trade clause in ST rather than have to move in the middle of the season. At least to the right place. What the no trade to June 15th thing does for Dunn is give him some leverage in determining where he'll go. Or more importantly, where he won't.

I figure Dunn doesn't waive his trade clause unless he gets to negotiate a new deal with the club where the reds would send him. The upside of not waving his no-trade clause is that it pretty much guarantees that if the Reds trade him next summer, it's to someone in contention.

As for Hamilton, I see no reason to plan around him -- hasn't been healthy enough to demonstrate how he'd perform in a daily grind. He's a fine 4th OF and that's roughly a 250-300 AB position. If someone gets injured or traded or is ineffective, then he can step in. There's no reason to fear depth. It's far better to have too much talent than too little.

Plus, Hamilton might make for attractive trade bait this offseason. He's cheap. His numbers are good. He's a name player. Perhaps he might fetch a compelling arm. It's certainly something to consider.

pedro
08-31-2007, 01:13 PM
I figure Dunn doesn't waive his trade clause unless he gets to negotiate a new deal with the club where the reds would send him. The upside of not waving his no-trade clause is that it pretty much guarantees that if the Reds trade him next summer, it's to someone in contention.

As for Hamilton, I see no reason to plan around him -- hasn't been healthy enough to demonstrate how he'd perform in a daily grind. He's a fine 4th OF and that's roughly a 250-300 AB position. If someone gets injured or traded or is ineffective, then he can step in. There's no reason to fear depth. It's far better to have too much talent than too little.

Plus, Hamilton might make for attractive trade bait this offseason. He's cheap. His numbers are good. He's a name player. Perhaps he might fetch a compelling arm. It's certainly something to consider.

That seems pretty reasonable. I'd like to keep Hamilton being that he's LH and can play all 3 OF positions. That at the very least makes him a solid half a platoon. The Reds really could use a guy who could play some RF/LF and bat RH with some pop.

Eric_Davis
08-31-2007, 01:28 PM
Pedro and I pondered this exact scenario last night over pints. He could come west and go for 600 in Seattle, that's the most realistic move for all parties involved.


I thought Seattle threw their World Series hopes away by not moving on Dunn this Summer. I said as much many times during July on this site. Seattle dominates left-handed pitchers more than any team in the Majors, but they fall pretty short against Right-handers, where Dunn is as good as it gets. You can't say this about anyone else in the Majors, but you can pencil in 40 homeruns and 100 RBI's and 90 runs scored every year. They have good defense everywhere in the Outfield, so putting Dunn out there only gives them one disadvantage that he more than makes up for with his offensive prowess.

But, as tradition dictates, the Mariners always want to pull the famous line of Mike Brown, "and go with what we got", or however he put it many years ago.

Dunn is a perfect fit in Seattle.

....and the M's have what the REDS want, too, in that Catcher from USC.

Eric_Davis
08-31-2007, 01:33 PM
I figure Dunn doesn't waive his trade clause unless he gets to negotiate a new deal with the club where the reds would send him. The upside of not waving his no-trade clause is that it pretty much guarantees that if the Reds trade him next summer, it's to someone in contention.

As for Hamilton, I see no reason to plan around him -- hasn't been healthy enough to demonstrate how he'd perform in a daily grind. He's a fine 4th OF and that's roughly a 250-300 AB position. If someone gets injured or traded or is ineffective, then he can step in. There's no reason to fear depth. It's far better to have too much talent than too little.

Plus, Hamilton might make for attractive trade bait this offseason. He's cheap. His numbers are good. He's a name player. Perhaps he might fetch a compelling arm. It's certainly something to consider.


Give Hamilton a break. You can't make a health judgement on the guy who hasn't even played one season yet after being out of baseball for 3+ years. You're really jumping the gun and making some really false conclusions based upon limited information.

M2
08-31-2007, 02:06 PM
Give Hamilton a break. You can't make a health judgement on the guy who hasn't even played one season yet after being out of baseball for 3+ years. You're really jumping the gun and making some really false conclusions based upon limited information.

No, that's what you're doing. I'm actually making no conclusions when it comes to Hamilton. What I'm saying is Hamilton hasn't played enough to plan around him. If he's the best available choice for a slot come the start of the season then I've got no qualms about giving him the slot. Yet if the Reds instead stick Bruce in RF and a quality flychaser in CF with Dunn/Jr. in LF then I've got no qualms about using Hamilton as a 4th OF. In fact, I'd be pretty jazzed about that kind of depth on the bench because, as I noted above, your 4th OF tends to get a lot of work.

Obviously you recognize that Hamilton has yet to define himself as a player ("limited information"). So stop jumping the gun and pretending you know how he'll respond to regular work. Beyond that, if the Reds aren't willing to trade a guy like Hamilton to help land the sort of arm the team desperately needs then they've completely lost the plot. Josh Hamilton has a lot of potential uses for this franchise. That's a good thing.

oregonred
08-31-2007, 02:10 PM
I thought Seattle threw their World Series hopes away by not moving on Dunn this Summer. I said as much many times during July on this site. Seattle dominates left-handed pitchers more than any team in the Majors, but they fall pretty short against Right-handers, where Dunn is as good as it gets. You can't say this about anyone else in the Majors, but you can pencil in 40 homeruns and 100 RBI's and 90 runs scored every year. They have good defense everywhere in the Outfield, so putting Dunn out there only gives them one disadvantage that he more than makes up for with his offensive prowess.

But, as tradition dictates, the Mariners always want to pull the famous line of Mike Brown, "and go with what we got", or however he put it many years ago.

Dunn is a perfect fit in Seattle.

....and the M's have what the REDS want, too, in that Catcher from USC.


Yes the Mariners modus operandi in playoff contending seasons is baffling. "Stand Pat" Gillick cost them at least 1-2 WS appearances a few years back while most of the young pitching talent they would have giving up at the time either flamed out or developed arm trouble.

jojo
08-31-2007, 02:23 PM
I thought Seattle threw their World Series hopes away by not moving on Dunn this Summer. I said as much many times during July on this site. Seattle dominates left-handed pitchers more than any team in the Majors, but they fall pretty short against Right-handers, where Dunn is as good as it gets. You can't say this about anyone else in the Majors, but you can pencil in 40 homeruns and 100 RBI's and 90 runs scored every year. They have good defense everywhere in the Outfield, so putting Dunn out there only gives them one disadvantage that he more than makes up for with his offensive prowess.

But, as tradition dictates, the Mariners always want to pull the famous line of Mike Brown, "and go with what we got", or however he put it many years ago.

Dunn is a perfect fit in Seattle.

....and the M's have what the REDS want, too, in that Catcher from USC.

Actually they only have good defense in center except on the rare nights McLaren plays Jones in a corner. Ironically, the Ms have no desire to add Dunn and it has nothing to do with his defense/contract.

Too bad the Reds don't have a flamed out aging veteran reliever with a *track record*. Then Bavasi and Krivsky might have some dealing to do.... What are the chances that Stanton could pass through waivers?

Rojo
08-31-2007, 03:52 PM
There's no point in worry about who goes and who stays until you've identified you're centerfield target.

GAC
08-31-2007, 08:34 PM
Hatteberg is the only Krivsky guy that has been particularly bad.

I don't agree with that. In 2006, He didn't commit an error in 100 games from 5/6-9/23, a career high and the longest errorless streak by any Major League first baseman since TB's Travis Lee in 2003 (121 games).

This year, among NL 1Bman, he is 2nd in FPCT (Helton - .998; Hatteberg - .997); 3rd in ZR at .908; had the fewest errors (2); and is the middle of the pack as far as PO's (put outs).

But I do concede his range is not the greatest. But overall, he's not terrible IMO.

D-Man
08-31-2007, 11:17 PM
I don't agree with that. In 2006, He didn't commit an error in 100 games from 5/6-9/23, a career high and the longest errorless streak by any Major League first baseman since TB's Travis Lee in 2003 (121 games).

This year, among NL 1Bman, he is 2nd in FPCT (Helton - .998; Hatteberg - .997); 3rd in ZR at .908; had the fewest errors (2); and is the middle of the pack as far as PO's (put outs).

But I do concede his range is not the greatest. But overall, he's not terrible IMO.

He's dead last in the NL in Range Factor. He has only made nine (!!) plays outside of his zone in 739 defensive innings. That's atrocious. By comparison Dmitri Young has made 16 out of zone plays in 783 innings, and Pujols has made 45 out of zone plays in 1100+ innings. When Hatt is making half as many plays as Da Meat Hook, you know his defense must be pretty bad.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/index.php?view=fielding&linesToDisplay=50&qual_filter=1&season_filter[0]=2007&league_filter[0]=2&pos_filter[0]=3&Submit=Submit&orderBy=outs_out_of_zone&direction=DESC&page=1

Add in a relatively weak arm (as evidenced by his low assist totals), poor fielding on bunts, and a small target at first (Hatt's nowhere to be found on the list of best 1B for digging out throws, see http://actasports.com/sow.php?id=85), and well. . . The best thing I can say about his defense is that he makes plays on the balls that he gets to, and he sure knows how to work the count at the plate. :(

Regarding the broader themes of the thread, I agree that the Reds can't continue to put both Griffey and Dunn in the OF and expect a good defense to flourish. CF is one position where the Reds should be focusing effort to upgrade the defense, and either Griffey or Dunn should be let go as a result. I would target an undervalued flycatcher along the lines of Joey Gathright. I know he's playing LF this year, but he is lightning fast and could have been had for peanuts rather recently.

The other opportunity for meaningful defensive upgrade is first base. EdE and his wild throws, in particular, would benefit tremendously from having a Derrek Lee- or Pujols-like target at first. I doubt Votto would be a defensive improvement over Hatt at first, so the Reds need to find next year's Carlos Pena.

I'm probably in the minority, but I think the Reds could contend for a championship with a middle infield of AGon and Phillips, so long as the club fields a plus 1B defender and an average (or better) OF defense. A Dunn-flycatcher-Bruce OF would be a plus defensive group.

But some of the infield issues are structural and some of the issues are (perhaps) fleeting. The harsh environment of the GABP will make the Reds' raw, unadjusted defense metrics (DER) look poor. And I think EdE is a great bounce-back candidate in 2008, both offensively and defensively. Good thing, because he is incredibly important to the club's fortunes, as he provides the most meaningful RH power bat to the lineup.

IslandRed
08-31-2007, 11:53 PM
Good post, D-man. If, as suggested by you and others, we need to find a good defensive CF from outside the organization, and also a good-picking first baseman, preferably right-handed to better balance the pop in the lineup, and then we always need pitching... well, if Votto isn't the answer defensively at 1B and Bruce isn't an answer in center, then we have five left-handed-hitting corner outfielders. Good hitters, too. Krivsky has an opportunity to deal from strength to fill holes just like he did out of the gate with Pena-Arroyo, and if we're lucky Good Wayne will be on the job this offseason.

Ron Madden
09-01-2007, 02:31 AM
He's dead last in the NL in Range Factor. He has only made nine (!!) plays outside of his zone in 739 defensive innings. That's atrocious. By comparison Dmitri Young has made 16 out of zone plays in 783 innings, and Pujols has made 45 out of zone plays in 1100+ innings. When Hatt is making half as many plays as Da Meat Hook, you know his defense must be pretty bad.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/index.php?view=fielding&linesToDisplay=50&qual_filter=1&season_filter[0]=2007&league_filter[0]=2&pos_filter[0]=3&Submit=Submit&orderBy=outs_out_of_zone&direction=DESC&page=1

Add in a relatively weak arm (as evidenced by his low assist totals), poor fielding on bunts, and a small target at first (Hatt's nowhere to be found on the list of best 1B for digging out throws, see http://actasports.com/sow.php?id=85), and well. . . The best thing I can say about his defense is that he makes plays on the balls that he gets to, and he sure knows how to work the count at the plate. :(

Regarding the broader themes of the thread, I agree that the Reds can't continue to put both Griffey and Dunn in the OF and expect a good defense to flourish. CF is one position where the Reds should be focusing effort to upgrade the defense, and either Griffey or Dunn should be let go as a result. I would target an undervalued flycatcher along the lines of Joey Gathright. I know he's playing LF this year, but he is lightning fast and could have been had for peanuts rather recently.

The other opportunity for meaningful defensive upgrade is first base. EdE and his wild throws, in particular, would benefit tremendously from having a Derrek Lee- or Pujols-like target at first. I doubt Votto would be a defensive improvement over Hatt at first, so the Reds need to find next year's Carlos Pena.

I'm probably in the minority, but I think the Reds could contend for a championship with a middle infield of AGon and Phillips, so long as the club fields a plus 1B defender and an average (or better) OF defense. A Dunn-flycatcher-Bruce OF would be a plus defensive group.

But some of the infield issues are structural and some of the issues are (perhaps) fleeting. The harsh environment of the GABP will make the Reds' raw, unadjusted defense metrics (DER) look poor. And I think EdE is a great bounce-back candidate in 2008, both offensively and defensively. Good thing, because he is incredibly important to the club's fortunes, as he provides the most meaningful RH power bat to the lineup.


Well said, D-Man.

vaticanplum
09-01-2007, 07:12 PM
Hatteberg is an extremely labored first baseman. The stats prove it, yes, but the laboredness is actually visible to the naked eye in his case. Ironically, that's one reason I'm so fond of him: you can practically see his thought process every single time a ball is hit toward the general first-base vicinity. Plant, lunge, catch, hooray!!! And if the ball doesn't fall into those steps, literally and figuratively, then he freaks out just the tiniest bit. It's like watching Little League, which is very charming -- but, of course, Little League is not quite what you want to be reminded of while watching a professional baseball game. Hatteberg is a prime example of why I think speed and agility are so splendifreakishly important in every single aspect of baseball, even in those areas in which it is not touted. I give speed an occasional break in left field. Nowhere else, not even catcher.

But I love Hatteberg as I love my own soul; he brings things to the table that no other Red does, and the things that he brings are, thankfully, the kinds of things that can actually stand up through age 38 or 39 or however old he is through the end of his signing. I completely agree that, in the bigger picture of things, the defensive issue with this team is the outfield. That hurts my heart a bit because I love our outfield, but as much as I thought shortstop needed to be a huge focus of last offseason, centerfield needs to be the primary one of this upcoming one. Along with pitching, pitching and pitching.

GAC
09-02-2007, 06:21 AM
Didn't the Reds have the fewest errors in the month of August (8), which led the NL?

And can anyone break that defensive matrix (DER) down and show WHO is the main cause (or largely contributing) to it being sub-.700? And it must be noted that even DER has it's flaws. For instance, it doesn't credit an outfielder who keeps a runner from taking an extra base, or penalize a catcher who airmails a throw to second on a stolen base attempt. It only tracks errors on batted balls. Lastly, no corrections are made for the type of ball in play. Line drives are harder to turn into outs than ground balls.


Is youth (inexperience) a factor? We've seen the struggles of kids like EE; but it seems evident that his defense has vastly improved. Phillips, Hamilton and Keppinger seem to be showing they are consistent defenders.

How much do our two corner OFers contribute to that sub .700 DER?

And is RZR a more reliable defensive matrix then DER?

SteelSD
09-02-2007, 01:24 PM
Didn't the Reds have the fewest errors in the month of August (8), which led the NL?

And can anyone break that defensive matrix (DER) down and show WHO is the main cause (or largely contributing) to it being sub-.700? And it must be noted that even DER has it's flaws. For instance, it doesn't credit an outfielder who keeps a runner from taking an extra base, or penalize a catcher who airmails a throw to second on a stolen base attempt. It only tracks errors on batted balls.

DER is the percentage of balls hit into the field of play that are turned into Outs. It's not isolated to just Errors on BIP events. In fact, it doesn't even care about Errors.


Lastly, no corrections are made for the type of ball in play. Line drives are harder to turn into outs than ground balls.

That's a fair question. Unfortunately, THT chose to truncate its team pitching stats, but we do know that the Reds have one of the top two Line Drive rates in the NL at @20%. NL average is 19%. We don't know whether either of those are rounded up or rounded down, so the gap between the Reds and the NL average may be as high as nearly 2%. I'd suggest it's probably around 1% so let's see how much that would affect DER.

CIN DER: .680
BIP Events: 3755
Non-Out BIP Events: 1201
LD Events: 751
LD Events x 1.01 = 759
Adj. Non-Out BIP Events: 1193
Adjusted DER: .682

Assuming a 1% drop in Line Drive rate, the Reds would likely leapfrog over only two other teams (PIT, SEA) in DER; leaving them as one of the five worst DER rankings in the game. Even assuming a maximum 2% drop in Line Drive rate, their adjusted DER (.684) wouldn't be high enough to move up another slot.


And is RZR a more reliable defensive matrix then DER?

I'm not sure what you're looking for because DER tracks exactly what it's supposed to and it's 100% accurate.

D-Man
09-03-2007, 11:14 PM
Didn't the Reds have the fewest errors in the month of August (8), which led the NL?

And can anyone break that defensive matrix (DER) down and show WHO is the main cause (or largely contributing) to it being sub-.700? And it must be noted that even DER has it's flaws. For instance, it doesn't credit an outfielder who keeps a runner from taking an extra base, or penalize a catcher who airmails a throw to second on a stolen base attempt. It only tracks errors on batted balls. Lastly, no corrections are made for the type of ball in play. Line drives are harder to turn into outs than ground balls.


And is RZR a more reliable defensive matrix then DER?

DER is a raw, unadjusted, aggregate metric, and therefore it provides a rather rough proxy for the quality of the entire defense. That also means that it has a little bit of everything mixed in: defense, pitching, ballpark factors, and randomness.

RZR is better for measuring individual contributors. If you use all of Hardball Times' zone rating measurements, you will get a very good picture of an individual contributions to defense. It probably provides a more accurate and precise measurement of defensive quality. I think this article helps to explain.


DER had an R-squared of about .3 with the plus/minus system. Not terrible, but not terribly good. When I looked at this a year ago, I found an R-squared of .5. Don't know what happened in 2006. . .

Then I took all the Revised Zone Rating variables (balls in zone, plays in zone and plays out of zone) for each team and compared that to the plus/minus system and found a correlation of .7. Better still. Not perfect, but pretty good"

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/fielding-stats-at-the-hardball-times/


Is youth (inexperience) a factor? We've seen the struggles of kids like EE; but it seems evident that his defense has vastly improved. Phillips, Hamilton and Keppinger seem to be showing they are consistent defenders.

In general, one would expect to see more range and less reliability (i.e., more errors) with less experienced players. And if the Reds' problem is lack of range, that certainly doesn't bode well for future improvement of the defense.


How much do our two corner OFers contribute to that sub .700 DER?

To answer your question, one must make assumptions about how much of the defensive pie should be devoted to each position on the field? And how do you account for plays in which discretion was involved, i.e., two players converge on ball and the other one calls the other player off?

I think that this is where they are headed. That quest for breaking down the defensive pie appears is the latest holy grail of statistics. I think John Dewan's plus/minus system makes some nice headway, but it isn't freely available to the public, and even it needs some work.

GAC
09-04-2007, 06:10 AM
DER is the percentage of balls hit into the field of play that are turned into Outs.....I'm not sure what you're looking for because DER tracks exactly what it's supposed to and it's 100% accurate.

I'm not really "looking for" anything per say, and fully agree that DER basically tracks the number of outs a defense produced on balls in play. No argument from me there. I am trying more to learn/understand.

What I am asking is if even DER is an accurate measurment to track a team's defense overall? That even it has it's "weaknesses", and that RZR addresses those weaknesses by adjusting the zone rating for the type of ball in play.

I got the following info on DER from BP... http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=204024

and created this comparison between the Blue Jays (ranked #1) and the Reds (ranked #28)...


H BB SO HBP HR RoE DER
1. BlueJays 1138 394 878 43 134 50 .719
28. Reds 1369 411 894 66 161 45 .680

All the above, except for RoE (fielding errors), are the results of pitching.

We all know where the Reds pitching stands in MLB. The Blue Jays is pretty good - 3rd in ERA (3.98) and WHIP (1.27), 2nd in TBs (1801) and DIP% (105).

And we committed 5 fewer fielding errors then the BJs.

My question? Is our atrocious pitching (which is defense) heavily contributing to our sub .700 DER. Would our DER vastly improve if we improve our pitching?

mth123
09-04-2007, 06:48 AM
I'm not really "looking for" anything per say, and fully agree that DER basically tracks the number of outs a defense produced on balls in play. No argument from me there. I am trying more to learn/understand.

What I am asking is if even DER is an accurate measurment to track a team's defense overall? That even it has it's "weaknesses", and that RZR addresses those weaknesses by adjusting the zone rating for the type of ball in play.

I got the following info on DER from BP... http://baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=204024

and created this comparison between the Blue Jays (ranked #1) and the Reds (ranked #28)...


H BB SO HBP HR RoE DER
1. BlueJays 1138 394 878 43 134 50 .719
28. Reds 1369 411 894 66 161 45 .680

All the above, except for RoE (fielding errors), are the results of pitching.

We all know where the Reds pitching stands in MLB. The Blue Jays is pretty good - 3rd in ERA (3.98) and WHIP (1.27), 2nd in TBs (1801) and DIP% (105).

And we committed 5 fewer fielding errors then the BJs.

My question? Is our atrocious pitching (which is defense) heavily contributing to our sub .700 DER. Would our DER vastly improve if we improve our pitching?

I think they go hand in hand GAC. Yesterday is a perfect example. The pop fly that was clearly in Grffey's area that fell in for a double would have converted a Ball in Play event into an out had the defense done its job. It didn't show up as an error and the basic disagreement is your statement that everything in the referenced stats are the result of pitching except for events where hitters reach on an error. I think the Red's outfield has probably lead the world in pop flies that should be caught falling in for hits since Griffey was acquired. Similarly the infield has been a little "range challenged" for the last few years or so (its better this year) and ground balls that other teams turn into outs become hits against the Reds. Again, no error, but it is a defensive shortcoming not a pitching issue.

Your question about line drive rate is very appropriate and a large difference in that area is a pitching based reason that could have some impact. But, Steel did a good analysis showing that the difference in the line drive rate that the Red's staff allows compared to league average doesn't account for too much difference in the DER result that the team has. Even if adjusted back to a league average LD rate, and an out conceded on the difference, the DER is still very poor. In essence DER is the measurement of outs converted on balls in play (not HRs, BBs or Ks) and is the result of how efficiently the defense turns the balls into outs. DIPS ERA is the measurement of the other plate appearances (HRs, BBs, and Ks). The basic assumption is that the defense is resposible for turning balls in play into outs and the pitching is responsible for the HRs, BBs and Ks. We know this isn't completely true and your question about types of balls in play (LD Rate) is one of the reasons. But it is still accurate enough to glean some things from it that we probably already know by watching:

1. Get defenders that can turn routine plays into outs instead of singles and doubles and the DER will improve. Also less baserunners and more outs acquired will improve the pitching stats without any difference in the pitching itself. (There is no question Harang gave up a couple of extra earned runs yestereday direcly as a result of the play in RF that resulted in a double when an out should have been the outcome.)

2. Get better pitchers who give up fewer hard hit balls resulting in hits that lower the DER. I think Steel's analysis shows this has a much smnaller impact on DER. But, better pitchers will proibably result in fewer BB's, fewer HR's and more K's making the poorp DER less damaging.

Better defenders will improve the DER and the pitching stats will improve asd a result. Even so, better pitchers are still needed. So once again, all these stats have done is told us what we probably already can tell by watching - The defense stinks and so does the pitching.

Personally, I think a better defensive player in RF will go a long way. If the CF only had 1 guy to cover for its would certainly help. I don't think the team has a true CF either and hasn't since Cameron was dealt. The IF is improved with EdE getting better. SS is the other spot. I thik Gonzalez is ok out there but he isn't the stellr guy we thought he'd be. I'm willing to compromise in LF for a bat.

RedlegJake
09-04-2007, 08:00 AM
I am learning a lot in this thread. A coup,e of things. It seems toi me that since the Reds have a high line drive rate that the pitchers tend to be getting hit harder when the ball is put into play grounder or fly balls, too. Line drive are generally indicative of very solid contact to me. The sharper a ball is hit the tougher it is to get to, hence, a deleterious effect on RZR. Right? Which would tend to indict the pitching staff as much as the defense. Which is why I think the line drive rate should be onsidered hand in hand with a pitchers FO/AO ratio. A pitcher might have a high percentage of air outs but if a relatively low number of those air outs were line drives he might still be very effective (albeit a tendency to a bit higher HR allowed pct, especially in a park like GAB). I never liked defensive metris but DER and RZR are very interesting - certainly better than looking at raw errors. RZR also seems to me to really hurt a mediocre or poor pitching staff much more than it would a good pitching staff, where a solid offense would better compensate for defensive liabilities.

On the Reds certain position seems to me to really hurt the overall team RZR - right field with Griffey, centerfield with Hamilton, left field with Dunn, 1st base with Hatteberg. Where would you find the RZR for individual players?

SteelSD
09-04-2007, 08:35 AM
I am learning a lot in this thread. A coup,e of things. It seems toi me that since the Reds have a high line drive rate that the pitchers tend to be getting hit harder when the ball is put into play grounder or fly balls, too. Line drive are generally indicative of very solid contact to me. The sharper a ball is hit the tougher it is to get to, hence, a deleterious effect on RZR. Right? Which would tend to indict the pitching staff as much as the defense. Which is why I think the line drive rate should be onsidered hand in hand with a pitchers FO/AO ratio. A pitcher might have a high percentage of air outs but if a relatively low number of those air outs were line drives he might still be very effective (albeit a tendency to a bit higher HR allowed pct, especially in a park like GAB). I never liked defensive metris but DER and RZR are very interesting - certainly better than looking at raw errors. RZR also seems to me to really hurt a mediocre or poor pitching staff much more than it would a good pitching staff, where a solid offense would better compensate for defensive liabilities.

On the Reds certain position seems to me to really hurt the overall team RZR - right field with Griffey, centerfield with Hamilton, left field with Dunn, 1st base with Hatteberg. Where would you find the RZR for individual players?

Go here and select "Fielding" from the drop-down boxes:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/stats/

RedsManRick
09-04-2007, 10:23 AM
GAC, I'm not sure how you can judge "accuracy" of any defensive system that is pitching independant, other than to say it strongly correlates with some other measurement. The problem is that we have no definitive measurement of overall defense with which we can compare our model. If we already had the ability to "accurately" assess the quality of the defense, this conversation would be moot.

We can say that this measurement aligns with plus/minus, FLD%, scouts, UZR, etc. However, other than that, all we can say is that it measures what it measures and decide if that thing is important to us. I would say that an adjusted DER that accounts for batted ball types allowed would be a very good overall measurement.

What's interesting to me is this:
- 2 teams that both allow 4500 BIP events.
- Team A has DER of .720
- Team B has DEF of .680

Team A turned those 4,500 BIP in to 3,240 outs. Team B turned them in to 3,060. A difference of 180 outs. That's right. Team A created 6.6 GAMES worth of outs over the same number of balls in play. Another way to look at it is that Team B would need 265 more balls in play to create the same number of outs.

In either case, when you consider that the gap between the best "error team" and the worst is 51 errors, you can quickly see that range is much more influential in making outs than is not making errors.

GAC
09-04-2007, 03:49 PM
The pop fly that was clearly in Grffey's area that fell in for a double would have converted a Ball in Play event into an out had the defense done its job. It didn't show up as an error and the basic disagreement is your statement that everything in the referenced stats are the result of pitching except for events where hitters reach on an error. I think the Red's outfield has probably lead the world in pop flies that should be caught falling in for hits since Griffey was acquired.

But then aren't you falling back on ZR which itself relies heavily on the subjective decision of STAT reporters? I understand that the playing field is equally divided into 22 zones; but isn't the decision-making still surrounded by subjectiveness.... "I think he should have caught that ball"

pedro
09-04-2007, 04:18 PM
But then aren't you falling back on ZR which itself relies heavily on the subjective decision of STAT reporters? I understand that the playing field is equally divided into 22 zones; but isn't the decision-making still surrounded by subjectiveness.... "I think he should have caught that ball"

and then doesn't a persons preconceptions about an individual players skills thusly further skew the data when they convince themselves that the catch was extraordinary b/c of who made it or conversely that the lack of a catch was that much more egregious because of who didn't get to the ball?

VR
09-04-2007, 04:58 PM
In either case, when you consider that the gap between the best "error team" and the worst is 51 errors, you can quickly see that range is much more influential in making outs than is not making errors.

I'd say crappy pitching is the first issue to resolve. Cuz when you're consistenly facing an entire staff, sans Harang, throwing 86 MPH heaters, you're going to put more balls into play. You can have 9 Ozzie Smiths out there, and their not going to corral all the hard hit balls this staff gives up.

GAC
09-04-2007, 05:06 PM
and then doesn't a persons preconceptions about an individual players skills thusly further skew the data when they convince themselves that the catch was extraordinary b/c of who made it or conversely that the lack of a catch was that much more egregious because of who didn't get to the ball?

Good point.

RedsManRick
09-04-2007, 06:52 PM
I'd say crappy pitching is the first issue to resolve. Cuz when you're consistenly facing an entire staff, sans Harang, throwing 86 MPH heaters, you're going to put more balls into play. You can have 9 Ozzie Smiths out there, and their not going to corral all the hard hit balls this staff gives up.

This is true. If you can cut down on the homers and up the strikeouts, the rate at which you allow hits on balls in play is less influential.

The Reds are middle of the pack in K/9, at 6.55. The Dodgers lead MLB with 7.44. That's about 123 more balls in play to date because of non-strikeouts - though only 39 of them would have become hits. If we assume that the Reds had 123 fewer BIP events and 39 fewer hits, then our team BAA would drop from .286 (29th) to .276 (23rd). (yes, I know this excludes homers)

Cut down on the homers as well, and now you're talking. The one thing that's tough about position players, is that you can't fix your defense without affecting your defense. I'm not sure I see many ways to significantly improve our defense without significantly harming our offense.

jojo
09-04-2007, 08:33 PM
Cut down on the homers as well, and now you're talking. The one thing that's tough about position players, is that you can't fix your defense without affecting your defense. I'm not sure I see many ways to significantly improve our defense without significantly harming our offense.

*cough* Jay Bruce in '08 *cough*

:cool: