The Mariners were figuring out who to pinpoint as potential trade targets and Blengino ... had his eye on an outfielder he'd been monitoring since the prospect was in the Dodgers' system several years back. So, he researched some defensive numbers on Franklin Gutierrez, then a struggling young right fielder for the Indians, using traditional statistics like outfield chances, as well as some more advanced modern ones like Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Revised Zone Rating (RZR).
"We knew who the kid was," Zduriencik said. "But the numbers Tony showed us really opened our eyes."
These days, Gutierrez is regarded as possibly the best defensive outfielder in baseball.
Gutierrez is a prime example of the type of hidden gems the Mariners are hoping to uncover with their fledgling department of statistical analysis. The department is overseen by Blengino, and it has one full-time employee, four seasonal interns and two outside consultants.