Originally Posted by M2
I agree. Yet the question is how much is that worth. One thing to keep in mind is that even the "bad" defensive CFs are usually pretty good fielders. Trout might not even be the best defensive CF on his own team. Peter Bourjos is no slouch.
We see this at work on the Reds. Drew Stubbs is a talented CF, but he's just sort of average for his position because guys like Carlos Gomez and Michael Bourn also play CF. Excellence in CF is pretty common and it's a bit premature to declare Trout superior to his group of highly qualified peers.
So definitely give Trout points for defense, but I recommend a little reserve in turning it into a gazillion dollar prize. He has a solid defensive advantage. If everything else is equal, then that should put him over the top. I think some analysis on this has been quick to get to everything else is equal.
What percentage of the outcome of baseball games do you think is a function of defensive performance?
I ask because your method of valuing defense seems to relegate it to a mere marginal contribution that has no sense of scale and which shouldn't even be considered if the player has an advantage at the plate.
I don't think that actually reflects how you value defense. That logic says Adam Dunn should be playing the outfield still. If defensive value has some scale associated with it, it should be treated as such. Maybe you think the difference in defense isn't worth more than say, 5 runs. I'd disagree, but at least then we can do the math. But when you treat it as a mere tie-breaker, you basically dismiss it entirely.
And if you treat multiple aspects of the game that way, you miss that those other things, small on their own, can add up to a fairly significant number in aggregate.
Let's take defense out of the question entirely. If we include all PA outcomes (e.g. double plays) and baserunning, do you think Cabrera was more productive than Trout?