Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part I
posted at 12/22/2013 2:37 PM EST
In response to moonslav59's comment:
No offense, but you obviously rely way too much on defensive data IMHO. Everyone, including you and Moon said Drew was a bad defender last year.(since then Moon has adimttedly changed his mind on Drews defense) I told everyone to not rely on the defensive metrics because they are wrong. Drew was a lot better than the defensive metrics suggest. I was blasted pretty good with the same defensive data that Im seeing now. Drew turned out to be a very solid defender that saved us quite a few run runs, especially in the playoffs and WS.
I see your point, but feel that UZR/150 does reflect pretty closely how good a fielder is. Drew started off as a shaky defender. He improved over the years, but then injuries took their toll. I think the metric was basically accurate in reflecting performance, but the problem was more about some of us using it as a predictor of things to come.
The metric showed Drew had a very good 2013 season: was it wrong?
UZR/150 is supposed to be used in very large sample sizes, perhaps 3 seasons for OF'ers and 2 seasons for IF'ers. By and large, the rankings are fairly accurate on who are the best at each position:
IF 2012-2013 (1500+ innings)
1) Simmons +26.1
2) Barmes +12.5
3) Pennington +11.1
4) B Ryan +10.4
5) Peralta +9.6
6) Kozma +9.5
7) Hardy +8.7
8) Cozart +8.5
9) Y Escobar +8.4
10) Crawford +7.0
(Drew is placed 20th at -1.4, but he was much better in 2014.)
1) Barney +16.3
2) M Ellis +12.6
3) Pedey +11.2
4) Esinosa +10.5
LeMahieu, Phillips, Zobrist, Utley, Infante, Ackely & Cano all above +6.0
20th Middlebrooks at -3.1
A Rizzo +10.9
Votto, Pujols, B Belt, Overbay all above 3.9
OF 2011-2013 and 1500+ innings
V Wells +8.3
A Dirks +5.1
C Craw +2.1
C Gomez +21.0
C Young +11.0
D Span +10.5
A Rios +2.4
(if you lower the innings to 900+: Victorino +35.3 and G Parra +32.1)
These are prtty decent lists of rankings that compare to offensive lists based on OPS or other metrics.
I like stats just like the next guy, but I take defensive metrics with a grain of salt as there are way too many variables when it comes to defense to fully rely on them without seeing a player play that position. I dont disregard them and understand how they work, but I rely more on what I see with my own eyes with defense than relying on the stats. My eyes were right about Drew and a few others, so I will stick with what works.
There are many variables with offensive stats as well:
Home park size
Divisional opponent's park sizes
Strength of opponent's pitching
Strength of opponent's fielding
Facing more lefties or righties.
Who bats in front of you and behind you in the line-up.
Friendly home scorers
Facing hot or cold pitchers
I rely on offensive and pitching stats a lot more, and for obvious reasons. I understand how it all works, and I trust the offensive and pitching stats much much more than I ever will the defensive stats.
UZR/150 may seem complicated, but it really is based on how many balls are hit into your zone and how many you field or don't field for an out, then compare it to the league average.
With all that said, If I didnt get Naps at 1b, Hart is an obvious risk no matter what because of the knee issues. Hes played a little over 100 games at 1b and looked Ok for his 1st time. Not great, but showed some improvement in his short time there. I saw 1b as being better for his knees and I also figured he would improve some in 2014 if he played there FT after what I saw in 2012.
Napoli looked great at 1B. Like he was a 10 year vet.
I didnt want Nava or Carp there FT as I only saw them both as a PT option and I wanted a FT guy there. Same with Butler. Awful defense, but as a PT player there, I guess he would have been Ok in a pinch. Morse, same thing. So basically I didnt want any of those guys because all of them are below average or worse defensively at 1b and I see them all as PT players. Being a RHH was important to me as well as who I though would have the better D because of our young left side.
Thats why it was always Naps, then Hart with me. Money wasnt the issue, nor was losing a comp pick...As long as I kept that 1st round pick I could handle losing one of the comp picks. Theres always another move that can be made, but since we had absolutely nothing in the system to take over 1b, unlike the other positions, a good solid FT 1b was a priority to me this year and in 2015. Im very satisfied with having Naps for 2 more years. Hes a perfect fit for this team.
I'm happy with Napoli too, but I can see the value in keeping the pick and upgrading elsewhere. I wasn't so hot on a Carp/Nava 1b platoon, but Middy at 1B and Cecchini at 3B could have been something special.
While I respect the work you have done on defensive metrics, and as Ive said, I dont disregard them completely...I have just seen way too much with my own eyes that tell me something different when it comes to defense. I agree that there are variables with offense and pitching, but not nearly as much as defense.
Thats just me and will always be me Moon. I will never rely on defensive metrics if I havent seen the player play. I can rely more on offensive ones for obvious reasons.
Overall, Ben made the right move in locking up Naps for 2 years while we figure something else out for 2016.