Originally Posted by dougdirt
Well my biggest thing is, a centerfielders zone, is typically singles area. When Freel has roughly 8 more games worth on action and 33 plays out of zone compared to 14 for Hamilton, that is a whole lot of doubles/triples that he has saved over Hamilton. So while Hamilton has that cannon and holds runners, I don't think it has made up for 19 out of zone plays, in which at least 75% probably were going for extra bases. I just wish Freel could read the ball off the bat like Hamilton.... or hit like Hamilton.... or throw like him.
Some of Freel's plays out of zone are surely in the gap and saved doubles or triples. Many are of the running forward and diving variety, which saves a single.
The other thing to look at is that Freel's ZR and RF are dropping, and he is 31 years old. One also wonders what impact his all-out play will have on whether he continues to have a high 'plays out of zone' number. How many more concussions can the man get? By the way, was his collision with Hopper one of those "plays out of zone"? I imagine it was...although I think Freel was playing rightfield in that game.
Hamilton is still learning. He may get better jumps on balls with more experience. He is only 26, but who knows how durable he will be given his personal history.
The other thing is that we are looking only at raw numbers of "plays out of zone". We don't get to see how many chances each fielder had to try to field those types of balls. And since we are dealing only with relatively small sample sizes for 2007, I am not yet convinced that Freel is necessarily that much better out of the zone.
Also, you can't forget that Hamilton is .894 in the zone compared to .824 for Freel. That translated to about ten less hits allowed to date 'in zone' by Hamilton than Freel. That makes up over half of the extra out of zone outs Ryan recorded.
That's itfor me tonight. Thanks for the good discussion.