FanGraphs already had Inside Edge data from the past two seasons, but David Appelman rolled out an upgrade this week with new material showing up on the leaderboards and on player pages. It’s an exciting development, providing new stuff we get to play around with while we wait for reams of reliable information from the new MLBAM project in the future. Because there’s a new feature on FanGraphs, I feel somewhat obligated to put it to immediate use in a post. In this post, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford will be your guide through the near-impossible.
All balls in play are classified by the likelihood of a play being made. It’s somewhat subjective, but the classifications are: Impossible, Remote, Unlikely, Even, Likely and Routine. Most balls in play make for routine outs. No defender has converted an impossible play, which I suppose is in keeping with the definition. Last year, 8.3% of remote plays were converted into outs. Digging deeper, 6.0% of remote plays were converted into outs by shortstops. Last season, there were 31 players who converted exactly two remote plays. There were six more players who converted exactly three. Aaron Hicks converted four. Brandon Crawford converted five.
Put another way: At least in theory, remote plays capture the most difficult, yet makeable, plays. Brandon Crawford was the 2013 league leader in the category, turning five (of 24) remote plays into outs. So, below, let’s go over those five remote plays, in chronological order. No, the point isn’t that Crawford is the best defensive shortstop in baseball. Let’s just be content to watch Crawford at his best. You can get back to thinking about Andrelton Simmons tomorrow.
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