"The Fielding Bible" is back, and it's (much) bigger and (definitely) better than ever. For example, Bill James' article about Defensive Misplays:
Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee's ersatz second baseman, had 44 diverse Defensive Misplays. These were:
• Letting a ball roll under his glove or between his legs -- 9 times
• Juggling or dropping a ball on which a smooth play might have gotten an out -- 7 times
• Making a poor throw on a double-play try -- 6 times
• Making a poor throw -- 4 times
• Mishandling the pivot on a double-play try (juggling or dropping the ball) -- 3 times
That's 29 Defensive Misplays, with 15 more to go (Bill describes them in loving detail), after which we get a spot of analysis:
I really like Rickie Weeks, and I feel strongly that he has major league ability that just hasn't come out yet. One of the reasons it hasn't come out yet -- one of several -- is that they keep playing him at second base, and he really is not much of a second baseman. I would compare him to Don Buford, a player of three or four generations ago who came up as a highly touted second baseman for the White Sox, but never really could put it together as a second baseman. But Earl Weaver moved him to left field, and he was a very valuable player as a left fielder/leadoff man.
I bring all this up for two reasons: (1) you should buy "The Fielding Bible," and (2) the people running the Brewers have been presented with a unique opportunity for intelligence and boldness.
The Brewers currently have a first baseman (Prince Fielder) who can't play first base, a second baseman (Weeks) who can't play second base, a left fielder (Ryan Braun) who probably shouldn't play left field, and an extra young shortstop (Alcides Escobar) who should have an everyday job soon.
Problems? No! Opportunities! I suppose it's too late in the spring to trade Fielder and move Braun to first base and find a new left fielder, but eventually all these things are going to have to find their natural balance, and the Brewers will be better off if management takes an active role in that process.