Regarding WAR, I assume you're commenting specifically on the UZR component? Assuming you are, we should keep in mind that you are only judged against the opportunities you have. So fewer opportunities will affect the scale of UZR (more opportunities means more chances to move away from average).
Let's compare Bruce's 2010 to his 2011.
- .230 balls in zone per inning
- 3 errors on 276 balls in zone (1 error per 92 balls in zone)
- 93.8% conversion on balls in zone
- 1 play out of zone every 14.3 innings
- .195 balls in zone per inning
- 3 errors on 114 balls in zone (1 error per 38 balls in zone)
- 89.5% conversion on balls in zone
- 1 play out of zone every 18.9 innings
So, he's getting about 20% fewer opportunities -- a non-trivial difference. But if that we're the only difference and he were performing at the same rat of effectiveness as last year, we'd expect to see him at +7 this year instead of a projected +9.
But that's not what's happening. He's also making more mistakes, converting fewer reasonable opportunities and making fewer great plays.
Now, given the small sample size, this data is not necessarily an indicator that he's suddenly less talented defensively. However, it seems reasonable to suggest that he has performed worse defensively thus far in 2011.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.
Last edited by RedsManRick; 06-17-2011 at 01:37 PM.