Saturday, November 7, 2015

Fielding metrics are totals, so playing more increases your total.

Just when the you thought the smart guys had actually figured out a way to measure fielding, the term I prefer to defending.

The 2015 American League Gold Gloves, by the Numbers
by August Fagerstrom - November 5, 2015
fangraphs.com

For the thousandth time: no defensive metric is perfect. However, they’re the certainly better than fielding percentage, the eye test, and “who is the best hitter,” and they’re currently the best public way we have to evaluate defense, so they’re what we use...

I pulled three advanced defensive metrics for consideration: Defensive Runs Saved, calculated by Baseball Info Solutions, Ultimate Zone Rating, calculated by Mitchel Lichtman and used as the in-house FanGraphs metric, and Fielding Runs Above Average, calculated by BaseballProspectus and used as their in-house defensive metric. I summed the three, then averaged them together to figure a “total” defensive runs saved number...


You already know this, but the numbers don’t always agree. Sometimes, people don’t like that, but it is what it is. That’s why it’s better to use them all.
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Maybe I'm missing something but aren't all three totals?  If so, the more a player plays, the higher the total, right.  If one shortstop plays 150 games and another plays 130 games, the 150 SS should have a higher total if they both perform with the same proficiency, right.  Am I missing something basic?

It's like judging home run hitting by using the total number of homers hit in a season.  Oh, wait.  That is how we do it.  Well, we should divide at bats by homers and use that.  Home runs are a blunt stat, especially because baseball is played in non-uniform playing areas where home run distances and wall heights differ not just among ball parks but even within each ball park.  Oh, wait again.  That would impact fielding, too.

So without even attempting to understand the three fielding metrics mentioned in the fangraphs.com article quoted above, no matter how sophisticated the method, the result is still a total.  The author is trying "to figure a “total” defensive runs saved number".  That and the apparently obligatory and predictable elitist swipe at Derek Jeter, who didn't even play in 2015.
Photo of Derek Jeter

On the "fielding" of pitchers and catchers:
1. Pitchers actually field balls?
2. Catchers are now also judged on pitch framing:

Pitch framing: isn't that like NBA flopping? Friday, April 3, 2015

The intent is to deceive, not the opponent, but the official.  And isn't that cheating?

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Framing pitches by catchers: doesn't that mean there's a serious problem with calling balls and strikes? Wednesday, April 30, 2014

... the umpire is guessing ...

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1 comment:

Michael Lynch said...

Some good points about defense. The problem with any defensive metric, in addition totals can affected by the home field, surrounding position players, and pitching.