Lets Talk Some Defense!

Stumbled onto this link over at the daily musings at THT. It links to David Pinto's 2007 Probabilistic Model of Range defensive charts. An explanation of the model can be found at the bottom of this page

A good way to kill some time on a Saturday afternoon. I decided to look at our favorite topic of discussion around here (other than asonJ ayB of course) and take a peak at how each of the projected starters (if you believe recent reports suggestion its Blake's job to lose at 3B) for our 2B,SS,3B next year based off of last years numbers.

I want to just look at fielding groundballs. Line drives, fly balls, and bunts seem too likely to be influenced by luck and positioning due to there being fewer of them hit.

Casey Blake's chart looks like this:

We can see that Blake was about on par or slightly better than expected moving to his right, but showed a marked inability to field ground balls at the level expected as successfully to his left.

Here's Jhonny Peralta's chart:

Well surprise! surprise!. Maybe Jhonny isn't that bad after all. As has been commonly accepted about Jhonny, his ability to field groundballs hit to his left is a bit lacking. But, it appears, according to this chart, that he only suffers on balls hit up the middle (over or near 2B) and actually handles balls hit directly to his left (between SS positioning and 2B bag) on par with what would be expected. And looky here! He fields groundballs to his right better than what would be expected. Good going Jhonny!.

Now lets look at Asdrubal. A point needs to be made that his ratings are only based on 45 games with the Tribe last year, at a position that he only played 5 games combined in AA and AAA at last year, and 30 games in low A back in 2005 within the Seattle organization. This isn't meant to say he couldn't handle a switch over to 2B in the future, but that I would suggest allowing time for him to adjust. That being said, here's his chart from last year:

Asdrubal will have some room for improvement in regards to balls hit at him or near him. But, his range to his right all the way over to the 2B bag and over it looks very good. I assume with time at the position we would see him improve in the area of groundballs hit at or near him.

I believe that this diary post is long enough, so I'm not going to include all of the positional rankings in regards to ratio of defensive efficiency, but Blake was ranked 37th, Peralta was 9th, and AsCab wasn't ranked due to limited playing time. You can scroll through the archives and find these full lists here

Peralta certainly isn't the best fielding SS, but he may be adequate for next year. Blake on the other hand isn't adequate for next year. If Marte can hit nearly as well as Blake, than he needs to be playing over Blake. Blake is likely best suited as a outfielder due to his arm strength. But a full season of Casey Blake at 3B may cause us more harm than coping with Peralta at SS. Blake's poor range to his left, although slightly compensated by Peralta's good range to his right, is cause for concern. I full expect AsCab to improve and provide stellar defense at 2B given time to adjust.

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