Because UZR over one season (yet alone less than one season) has a high degree of variability and the fangraph writers (despite knowing this?) continue to use the stat as if it is reliable in all circumstances.
Because while they are considered statistics, they are probably better described as modeled data with a bit of subjectivity. Useful in certain circumstances, however when the info is readily available it gets used without understanding the limitations (or not caring about the limitations)
I’m less familiar with DRS so I don’t know how much variability is in that stat.
This article pretends as though Cleveland has been running the same guys out there on a day-by-day basis and are leaving them in despite lower production.
They lost Asdrubal Cabrera with a broken arm, which cripples their defensive production from shortstop. They replaced him with the combination of Anderson Hernandez and Jason Donald, both of whom are below average defensively especially the latter.
The 2nd base position has been a revolving door consisting of Luis Valbuena (demoted), Donald, Hernandez, 437 year-old Mark Grudzielanek and now Jayson Nix.
3rd base is below average both offensively and defensively, but at this point Peralta is likely out the door and they could find a capable replacement at that point until Chisenhall is ready from the minors.
The defensive prowess is not as bad as this article makes it seem. Cabrera is a plus defender despite what his UZR says, and I Donald is certainly athletic enough not to hurt you down the line as he learns the nuances of the position.
At the beginning of the season, there was a post about how the Indians’ infield was well-designed to their groundball-inducing pitchers, playing shortstop-capable players at 2nd (Valbuena), 3rd (Peralta), and SS (Cabrera). How things change.
The article does leave out the fact that the Indians have dealt with injuries, Laporta at 1b, Cabrera at short. And the Indians would love to get rid of Peralta, but were hoping he’d have a good year and they could deal him for something, it’s not like there wasn’t a valid reason to hang onto him. But I agree completely with the main point: if you’re going to field a staff full of sinkerballers, wouldn’t it have made sense to acquire infielders who are actually good defensively, instead of ignoring this aspect of the game completely? They went out of their way to get Donald from Philly, signed Russell Branyan, who could/would barely move at 1b, and were previously fine with carrying Peralta at SS and Garko at 1b. Mark Shapiro has this reputation in the media as a GM who looks at advanced stats, but he’s completely ignored defense and has generally failed at creating a balanced team. The Indians have a groundball pitching staff with bad defensive infielders behind them, and they have an offense that can’t hit left handed pitching.
I disagree with the comments about Cabrera: he’s iffy as a fielder. He certainly is a vast improvement over Donald and Valbuena and has better range and a much better arm than them, he’s the only real shortstop the Indians have above AA, but he doesn’t have great range and he messes up easy plays too frequently. The more I’ve seen of Cabrera, the less I like his defense and the more accurate UZR seems on him.
The Indians are waiting for Laporta, Weglarz and Brantley to catch up to Santana (most valuable player in baseball) and Choo. Asdrubal just needs to be Asdrubal when he returns. When Hafner is off the books, that will free up a lot of money to plug holes.
In the rotation, they are hoping Masterson, Talbot and/or Huff will fill in the gaps between Carmona, Rondon and Carrasco.
Dealing Sizemore and Westbrook will bring in some monster talent and free up more money. They also intend to cut “dead Wood” any way they can, freeing up more money.
Everything until these events occur is just noise. There is not another small market team that is better positioned for long term success. Most of the guys playing right now are battling for a bench spot on the real team they are building.
There are other small market teams positioned as well, some may be better. The Indians’ pitching is still a big issue, and there is nothing close to a slam dunk that can fix that issue. Maybe guys like Rondon and Carrasco can be front of the rotation starters. They aren’t yet though.
Sizemore isn’t getting you that right now. Only if he gets back to where he was two years ago, you know, the Sizemore you would rather keep around. I don’t think Westbrook is getting you that much either, I think if that was offered (maybe suggest some names next time) the Indians would have already pounced on it. Knapp hasn’t pitched this season and is a long way off. Texas, Boston, Tampa all have young pitching that I would take over Cleveland’s in a heartbeat. It’s solid, and there are plenty of arms, but the best front of the rotation candidates seem to be Carrasco, who has some legitimate flaws, and White, who just hit AA and needs to get a few more strikeouts.