Originally Posted by RedlegJake
EdE continues to be horrible at third base, sub par range no matter what metric you use, and sub par on routine plays. That surprised me. I always thought of him as mostly arm problems but he has below average range, too.
My impression is that EdE is a decent third basemen desperately seeking a nice target at first (and the confidence that such a target inspires). EdE's arm slot is a bit lower than most, and therefore his throws tend to sail on him. Moreover, the throwing errors have caused him to overthink and underreact--a big no-no at third. His footwork often looks unnatural, and he often pauses with the ball for an extra millisecond, perhaps because he is thinking about the impending throw. These issues would be nicely resolved if the Reds had a beast of a target at first, like one of these guys: http://actasports.com/sow.php?id=85
Look at Aramis Ramirez's defensive metrics, pre- and post-Derrek Lee, and you see what I am getting at.
More broadly, I would look to metrics that capture more defensive responsibilities, not just those variations on the number of plays made (a la range factor, +/-, OOZ, etc). As I've said elsewhere, here is my ideal framework for evaluating defense:
(a) How many plays were made
(b) Which plays were not made, i.e., where and how many hits fell and their associated cost
(c) How the player handled position-specific responsibilities (e.g., fielding bunts for corner infielders, fielding and relaying double plays for middle infielders, baserunning kills for OFers, digging out infield throws for 1B, etc.)
(d) What are the interactive effects among players on the diamond, and what is the value of the components of these effects. For instance a groundball out isn't just a play, it is a *process*, with several contributors to that process. Pitcher pitches --> hitter hits ball to shortstop --> shortstop fields --> throws to first. We shouldn't judge the defensive player, independent of the process, unless we better understand the out creation that goes into each step of the process. [note: the smart guys aren't anywhere close to figuring out (d) yet.]
Looking at the Reds, Hatteberg's defense is even worse when you consider the position-specific responsibilities, as he's virtually a non-target at first. On the other hand, Dunn looks much better, as he has one of the better LF arms.
One other issue with Reds fielders may be structural. For instance, all the Reds shortstops defensive metrics have looked worse after they arrived in GABP (Larkin, FeLo, Clayton, Gonzalez). Is there something inherently difficult about fielding in GABP? The Reds may never get to the point of having a plus defense.
The Reds current opportunities to improve the defense are in CF and 1B. If the Reds had good defenders at both of these positions, that should cover for any deficiencies elsewhere, assuming all else stays the same. It isn't a stretch to say the Reds could compete for a title with a plus defender in CF, 2B, 1B, and big negatives in the corner OF slots.