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Thread: The Fielder's Bible?

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    Member MasonBuzz3's Avatar
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    The Fielder's Bible?

    Here is an article that my friend sent to me from mlb.com. There is a book out that attempts to quantify defense called "The Fielder's Bible." According to this book the Reds had the worst OF defense in the NL, no real surprise. But some of the other picks sort of got my attention. Thought I would pass it on.

    http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/NAS...=.jsp&c_id=mlb

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    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    David Gassko has a nice review of this book here:
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...ielding-bible/

    I'm planning to pick it up at some point in the near future. It's become extremely popular in the stathead circles, as evidenced by this thread over at Baseball Think Factory:
    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...cussion/mlbj3/

    -j

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    Member PickOff's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Well, at least none of the Reds position players made the list for the worst - though I wonder how many innings you must log to qualify for individual honors - I'm sure Pena is wondering the same. On that note, could this have anything to do with Pena being gone?

    (from the same article):

    Behind the times: The Twins haven't had a player hit 30 home runs in a season since 1987. Just four teams in baseball have had a longer streak than that since the live-ball era began in 1920, and none of those streaks has occurred since 1970. The three sluggers whom the Twins signed in the offseason -- Tony Batista, Rondell White and Ruben Sierra -- have only three 30-plus homer seasons combined -- all from Batista.

    I wonder if this has more to do with the cost/value of home run hitters as seen by the Twins organization . . . and more importantly, does Waynesky share that view? Dunn better watch his homers....
    Last edited by PickOff; 03-24-2006 at 03:13 PM.
    Thank goodness for baseball.

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    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by PickOff
    On that note, could this have anything to do with Pena being gone and is Dunn on the way?....

    Behind the times: The Twins haven't had a player hit 30 home runs in a season since 1987. Just four teams in baseball have had a longer streak than that since the live-ball era began in 1920, and none of those streaks has occurred since 1970. The three sluggers whom the Twins signed in the offseason -- Tony Batista, Rondell White and Ruben Sierra -- have only three 30-plus homer seasons combined -- all from Batista.
    Yeah, I posted something about this bit last night on my blog. My hope is that Krivsky realizes that there will be some differences in what the Reds need vs. what the Twins need to win. The Metrodome is a fairly neutral/slight hitters park, but being an astroturf stadium I'd expect that groundball hitters and flyball pitchers would be somewhat favored (can't find those data though...). In contrast, the Reds' parks is fairly neutral/slight pitchers park that gives a boost to HR production and hurts singles/doubles production. Therefore, flyball hitters/groundball pitchers (and accompanying infield defense) are optimal for our club.

    Krivsky's a smart guy though, so I think he'll make the necessary adjustments moving forward. I have a feeling that the reason he didn't like Pena so much (relative to our other outfielders) was his low OBP/high K/poor defense attributes.
    -j

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Luck no lady in Cleveland: The Indians had the best bullpen in the Majors (2.80 ERA) last year, so it only stands to reason that would translate into success in one-run games. Think again. The Tribe went 22-36 in one-run games, and the club's 36 losses set a franchise record, were the most in the Majors and were the most by an AL team since 1968. The rival White Sox, who also had an outstanding bullpen, went a Major League-best 35-19 in one-run games and finished six games ahead of the Tribe.
    Faulty logic. The starting pitcher could leave the game trailing by several runs, and the bullpen could hold the opponents while the offense scores a couple of runs to bring them within one. It's a good example of how stats can be misinterpreted.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    I bought the book. It's provides a ton of info. It pretty much makes it clear that Griffey doesn't belong anywhere near center field and that EdE can be a good fielder while still making an errant throw everyonce in a while.

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    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by JinAZ
    David Gassko has a nice review of this book here:
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...ielding-bible/

    I'm planning to pick it up at some point in the near future. It's become extremely popular in the stathead circles, as evidenced by this thread over at Baseball Think Factory:
    http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/...cussion/mlbj3/
    Sorry to keep adding to this thread, but I just saw this interview with John Dewan of the Fielding Bible via David Pinto's Baseball Musings website:
    http://www.baseballdigestdaily.com/b...d=65&Itemid=39

    It's an interesting interview. One of the things I found most interesting was that he actually demonstrated awareness of UZR, and gives some indication of why it wasn't mentioned in his book. Anyway, I'm definitely going to pick this book up for a feature series I'm going to be starting sometime next week. Looks like a great resource. -j

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    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude
    I bought the book. It's provides a ton of info. It pretty much makes it clear that Griffey doesn't belong anywhere near center field and that EdE can be a good fielder while still making an errant throw everyonce in a while.
    Not only that but that Dunn is a pretty terrible LF himself as well.

    I bought it - I found it an extremely good read.

    Was easily digestable enough that I've been able to explain to non-stat inclined friends about it in just a few minutes and had them picking thru that in no time, with great interest, although I wish they did a little better job explaining how they arrive at a players "enhanced" plays, a number they cite often in the write ups on each additional player.

    One of the most interesting analysis pieces they do is hits and defense by stadium, figuring out what the major league average was of, say, balls hit in front of the CF

    The book says that number, the ML Average, was 89. The Reds however, had 95 balls fall in front of the CF in 2005.

    They chart the better than average #s in blue and the worse than average in Red, and lets just say most of the GABP is red.

    The book will open your eyes a bit - to some little known facts. They pump up Adrian Beltre as one of the best fielders in the game - something I wouldn't have guessed but that is what the numbers show. They also tag Michael Young as one of the worst since his switch to SS - after being one of the best 2B.

    They also took into account positioning - in talking about the weakness of Derek Jeter - Dewan described how he sets up much shallower than other SS, which means he already behind the range of most other SS in the game before the ball is even pitched - let alone his limited range once the ball is in play.

    The plus/minus system is ingenius, considering the time and effort it must have taken to chart all those balls in play.

    I recommend it - for both the stat friendly, and those that just want to learn a little more about baseball defense.

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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    I picked this up the other day, and while I haven't given the articles on statistics a thorough read (or even a glance) yet, I thought I'd give you my thoughts on it.

    The book is maybe 10% essays, 40% stats, and 50% player comments. My first impressions:

    * The first thing in the book is the essay by Bill James: "Jeter vs. Everett". Make no mistake - this is an essay about Derek Jeter. It breaks down the case against Jeter as a good shortstop, and uses Adam Everett - who they've identified as the best defensive SS in the game - as his counterpart. James also says that not only is Jeter the worst defensive shortstop in the game, he's also the worst defensive regular in baseball at any position, and probably the worst defensive shortstop of all time. Yikes.

    * Continuing the essay section are several ones about the new systems they've developed. This is the stuff I haven't read yet.

    * The next section is the stats section. There are pages of pages of defensive stats for every major league regular over the last three years which I'll never look at, and then a fairly interesting section showing a diagram of each team's stadium. They identified 19 different places hits can be given up, and evaluate each team's performance per zone as average, above average, or below average.

    * Next, the player reviews. This was the best part of the book. If you've read Bill James's Historical Baseball Abstract, he lists for each position, the Top 100 players. Same thing here, except by defense. You can see (for the last 3 seasons):

    - Who won the Gold Glove at that position
    - Who should have won it that season
    - Their objective (stats and opinions based) ranking of the best defenders
    - A list of players ranked by three year average of some defensive metric, and a brief scouting report about each's defensive capabilities

    So, that's the book. Some brief Reds info:

    * The Reds were average at every spot in the infield with the exception of the SS/3B hole, where they were below average. The outfield defense wasn't so good: front of LF/CF/RF was all average, as was down the RF line and over the RF's head. But all the gaps, over LF/CF's head, off LF/CF/RF wall, down the LF line, and HRs were below average.

    * Sean Casey last year was just above average; he didn't have terrific range, but he rarely missed on what he got to. No word on Hatteberg.

    * Womack's above average; they claim his speed gives him above average range, but he does make mistakes and his arm isn't so hot. Aurilia's average at 2B.

    * Randa was above average last season; they think higher of him than the stats show.

    * They weren't a fan of Lopez defensively - had a great offensive season, but no better than Aurilia defensively. They ranked him 25 out of 30. (Note: they only rank the top 10 and bottom 5, so not everyone has a ranking).

    * Dunn was ranked 29 out of 30 in LF, but they comment he was never really an OFer, and now he'll be at 1B.

    * Griffey was ranked 29 out of 30 in CF. What's interesting is they break down his defensive stats over his career, and though he won 10 Gold Gloves, they conclude he was never GG caliber during those seasons. His arm was always top-notch, but he was at or near the bottom in almost every range statistic that existed. Interestingly enough, there was one year he was the top defensive CFer in range and arm: his first year with the Reds....and he DIDN'T win a GG that year. Bizarre.

    * Austin Kearns is #5 out of 30 in RF. They say he's an excellent defender with very good range, he takes great routes to the ball, and has a strong arm. They claim he has the range to play CF if necessary and the arm to play RF. (Is there any thought of moving him to CF and Griffey elsewhere?)

    * Some players were rated very differently from the way they're viewed. Pujols is already a Gold Glover in their minds. Derrek Lee and (especially) Mike Lowell were not considered particularly special; Lowell was downright awful. (If you're curious, they claim Lowell is fantastic and fielding bunts and at balls down the third base line, but makes an astonishing number of misplays on balls hit right at him or to his left. Lee is somewhat easier to understand - the system seems kind of silly for first basemen, since it doesn't evaluate receiving throws, which is a large part of Lee's defensive reputation.)

    * James claims he wouldn't be terribly surprised to discover Jeter's the worst defensive shortstop ever: to make an NBA analogy; he doesn't know who the worst free throw shooter of all time was, but he'd guarantee whoever it is, he could play. You can't be the worst defensive shortstop ever and not have tremendous strengths in other areas. Jeter undeniably does.

    So that's a quick overview. My general impression is that it's a little short, but what they have is very good reading. My first thought was that they could probably make a very good annual preview magazine with this kind of stuff. To be fair, there was a large portion of it I'm planning to never really look at. But on the whole, it still comes recommended.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude
    I bought the book. It's provides a ton of info. It pretty much makes it clear that Griffey doesn't belong anywhere near center field and that EdE can be a good fielder while still making an errant throw everyonce in a while.
    which goes to show that improving the defense is nothing but lip service until the Reds get a different CF.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    I take any statistical analysis on defense as an attempt to quantify the unquantifiable. I don't know all that goes into determining range factors, but if it does not include a factor for how hard the ball was hit, then it is suspect. I think most of us will agree the Reds pitchers give up some hard hit balls. I do not believe the Reds have a very good defense, but that is more from observation than any statistical analysis. Do not put too much into such analysis.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by RED59
    I take any statistical analysis on defense as an attempt to quantify the unquantifiable. I don't know all that goes into determining range factors, but if it does not include a factor for how hard the ball was hit, then it is suspect. I think most of us will agree the Reds pitchers give up some hard hit balls. I do not believe the Reds have a very good defense, but that is more from observation than any statistical analysis. Do not put too much into such analysis.
    According to this article http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...nnsi&type=lgns, the authors used video of every play from last season to come up with their analysis. They came up with a rating system and used it to evaluate every single play that every player made (or didn't make) last season.

    I don't see how anyone could come up with a better evaluation.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Dewan described how he sets up much shallower than other SS, which means he already behind the range of most other SS in the game before the ball is even pitched - let alone his limited range once the ball is in play.
    Yea. It's cool how they're able to explain why Jeter is so bad. It's one thing to just see a number, but being able to explain why that is something you rarely get to see in a book like that.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
    According to this article http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...nnsi&type=lgns, the authors used video of every play from last season to come up with their analysis. They came up with a rating system and used it to evaluate every single play that every player made (or didn't make) last season.

    I don't see how anyone could come up with a better evaluation.
    JF, they actually think they can come up with better evaluations from what I have read. They are coming up with new ways/ideas of how to better their system. I havent seen the book, but I really would like to get ahold of the thing. It will be interesting to see what else they come up with to add to the system they are already using.

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    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: The Fielder's Bible?

    It will be interesting to see what else they come up with to add to the system they are already using.
    I know they are going to add a trajectory between fly ball and line drive called a fliner and try and create some sort of defensive runs stat similar to runs created.


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