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  1. Why was he intentionally walked? The pitcher doesn’t bat. Even then some pitchers are better hitters than he is.

    Comment by adohaj — April 29, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  2. As a Royals fan I’m not worried. Sure he’s not gotten a big hit in key situations but a lot of other Royals have come up short too.

    His defense his beyond awesome and he’s posted a high average in several stops in the minors, so if he can honestly hit about 265 and not strikeout a ton then he’ll be a 1.5-2 WAR player with his defense. AND, he had 5 spring training home runs, so that has to count for something right? Right?

    Comment by Jeff — April 29, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

  3. One out, tying run on second…..or some combination that leaves the double play as the best possible outcome.

    Comment by Joel — April 29, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  4. How do you post and article like this, but not even mention how great he has been on defense? It shows how incompetent you are

    Comment by Ryan — April 29, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

  5. How do you post a comment like this and not put a period at the end of your sentence? It shows how incompetent you are.

    Comment by Steve — April 29, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  6. Because the article wasn’t about his defense?

    Comment by Shannon — April 29, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  7. Negative UZR is beyond awesome?

    Comment by Frank — April 29, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  8. Guess the stats are lying about his defense.

    Comment by Frank — April 29, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  9. The Royals have lost six in a row. Do you think it is Escobar’s bat or the 17 homers the pitchers have given up over those games?
    Seeing his defense, I am more than willing to give him a long leash in trying to figure out to be at least ok with the bat.

    Comment by Ron — April 29, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  10. You’re just used to seeing Yuniesky Betancourt :)

    Comment by Mike H — April 29, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  11. Since when do stats geeks buy into small sample sizes, let alone a fraudulent metric such as UZR on top of a tiny sample? Insane.

    My 2 yr old niece can tell AE has great range.

    Comment by LionoftheSenate — April 29, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  12. I don’t buy into small sample sizes for determining talent level, but over the small sample of this season Escobar has NOT been much better than average on defense. He hasn’t been much better than average over his entire career to this point.

    I understand that you want to still believe though.

    Comment by Frank — April 29, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  13. Per the provided link

    April 3rd, bottom of the 9th, 1 out, runners at 2nd and 3rd, game tied at 9, Kevin Jepsen intentionally walks him.

    Comment by filihok — April 29, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  14. Escobar’s defense is INSANE. I don’t understand how he could possibly have a bad range number…but my eyes tell me otherwise. He’s making one outstanding play after another.

    Comment by Bob — April 29, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  15. yeah, really makes me doubt some of these fielding stats.

    Comment by john — April 29, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  16. The Royals would be in the middle of a 12 game losing streak if not for his insane defense. I’ve watched every game so far and he’s one of the reasons.

    Comment by Todd — April 29, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

  17. 1) You are used to watching Yuniesky Betancourt, the man with the worst range in the history of the universe.

    2) Good plays stand out in your memory more than bad plays or missed plays.

    Comment by Philbert — April 29, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  18. 3) currently available defensive metrics are utter crap

    Comment by cs3 — April 29, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  19. 3b) …but are still much better than relying on errors, range factor, etc.

    Comment by Bryz — April 29, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  20. examples:
    in SF the the RF generally plays very deep and well into CF.
    routine fly balls to right that are usually ‘camp out and pitch a tent’ outs, sometimes require an incredible running catch where the defender runs 40 yards to haul it in. the very definition of “range”.
    does this show up in any metric?

    when ryan howard comes up and 3 defenders are on the right side of second base, does the 3B lose points when a groundball gets hit right where he’d normally be playing?

    buster posey sees the runner from 1st break toward second, trying to steal the bag. he pops up, and with an uncannily quick release, fires an absolute seed knee high, right over the bag… that sails into CF advancing the runner to 3rd because both the SS and 2B failed to cover second on the play. So who takes the UZR hit there?

    Comment by cs3 — April 29, 2011 @ 7:10 pm

  21. Royals fans are falling all over themselves to out superlative AE’s defense.

    Comment by Will — April 29, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  22. @cs3 – 1) Sure, because UZR already takes park factors into account to a certain degree.

    2) No he doesn’t, UZR ignores plays with a shift in place

    3) Catchers’ defense in general is one thing not covered by UZR, but I don’t think that rare plays like that have much of an impact one way or the other in terms of value.

    Comment by Philbert — April 29, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

  23. More interesting than the sub-50 wRC+ club is the sub-0 wRC+ club.

    Comment by Torgen — April 29, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  24. Philbert-
    thanks for the replies.

    Im not sure how park factors have any affect on range…
    specifically, does UZR record where defenders begin and end a play, or does it only account for where a ball was first fielded?

    If its the latter then theres no way UZR can properly adjust for positioning – and i suspect that it is so highly flawed that its almost a useless metric.
    This is one area that live scouting has a clear and definite advantage over its sabermetric counterpart.

    Comment by cs3 — April 29, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  25. Suck on that. Sac fly to short to take the lead in the 8th.

    Comment by UZR is a Joke — April 29, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  26. i’m not saying he is good defensively, but UZR doesn’t stabilize over a 6 month season, in fact not until 3 season’s worth of data. but it’s nonetheless accurate in one month? that doesn’t add up. personally, i don’t even look at UZR data until the very end of the season, while I would pay a lot more attention to hitting because it stabilizes earlier. i would, however, notice an extreme number of errors like 8 in a month or something.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — April 29, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

  27. sweet three paragraphs….not. Baseball not played on calculators fwiw

    Comment by not an article — April 30, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  28. I enjoy that you’re celebrating a sac fly.

    On the infield.

    Nothing like having high-expectations…

    Comment by Jason B — April 30, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  29. Ah the old “you kids and your new-fangled stats…GET OFF MY PORCH” saw. When you don’t have anything substantive to add, attack the metrics. Classic.

    (Not like his old-school stats don’t tell how abjectly awful he’s been with the bat, regardless…)

    Comment by Jason B — April 30, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  30. You could stop pretending as though these extreme shifts are the norm, rather than the exception.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — April 30, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  31. As a Kansas Citian who is anything but a Royals fan, but who has seen just about every game on TV, it is clear that the guy plays outstanding defense. Unless Philbert has seen every game, his criticisms that comparisons to Benancourt or remembering only outstanding plays are claimants’ criteria simply don’t hold water. Escobar clearly can’t hit at this point, and his ego is already a turn-off, but anyone who has watched him play has to at least acknowledge that his glovework is superb.

    Comment by Gump — April 30, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

  32. He knew exactly what he was doing and hit it at the perfect depth for Dyson to score.

    Comment by UZR is a Joke — April 30, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  33. For 2011 so far, Escobar has a negative UZR and a positive UZR/150. How is this possible?

    Comment by matt w — April 30, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

  34. Because of the sample size is and the in accuracies of UZR as the main source of identifying defensive ability over 26 games.

    Comment by Carl — April 30, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  35. Hey royal fans, I have ecscobar and Getz on my fantasy team. Both kind of suck. Getting a player back from injury. Which one should I hold on to. Both have similar bad stats so far. Thanks.

    Comment by Anthony — April 30, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

  36. *looks around for the fantasy advice forum*

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — April 30, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  37. But those would apply to both numbers. My point is, UZR/150 is supposed to be UZR over 150 defensive games. So if UZR is negative, how can it become positive when you scale it up to UZR/150?

    Comment by matt w — May 1, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  38. So tired of this. With less than 3 seasons of data, UZR isn’t reliable for determining talent level. That just isn’t the same thing as saying the data is not valid for three years – or even one. It just isn’t.

    UZR data is valid every year. And every month. The same way any other regular offensive stat is valid within every small sample. The SSS caution concerns the conclusions we might draw based on those samples. It is not a caution against observing the data.

    The writer claimed he HAS BEEN great on defense, not that he is a great defender. Thus, Frank’s comment refers to the fact that the stats make clear that he HASN’T BEEN great on defense, not that he isn’t a great defender.

    Your comment confuses these things and attributes that confusion to others.

    Comment by Reverend Black — May 1, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  39. A good defensive SS that cannot hit a lick…..Adam Everett is that you???

    Comment by Colin — May 1, 2011 @ 10:10 am

  40. “He knew exactly what he was doing”

    At the plate? We must be talking about different people.

    Comment by Jason B — May 1, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  41. My defense isn’t good enough to make up for my inconsistencies at the plate :( I hope the Royals don’t start looking down on the farm for my replacement.

    Comment by Alcides — May 1, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  42. Wouldn’t the fact that UZR/150 is positive while the UZR is negative give you some sort of pause to consider that its too early to draw conclusions about his defense based on these flawed statistics? Last year he had a positive WAR, entirely with his glove.

    There’s no doubt that he needs to hit better than he has, but I’ve seen bad shortstop play for years, and good shortstop play from opposing teams. Escobar’s range is exceptional. Some of these comments are going to look silly by the end of the year when a reasonable sample size catches up to what we have been seeing.

    Comment by Aaron — May 1, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  43. His UZR has been trending up today.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 1, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  44. Hey now! Alcides is a great defender, just like my good friend Branyan Pena. BTW, I’m going to hit .300 on the year so damn you sabermaetrics!!!!

    Comment by Alex Gordon — May 1, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

  45. Anybody see his bare-handed, short-hop grap and throw today? His s–t eating grin and Ryan Lefebvre’s pontificating will make you barf, but the man can pick.

    Comment by Gump — May 1, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  46. Pay no attention, that play did not happen. His 2011 1-month UZR and the posters above have concluded that he’s a bad defensive SS.

    Comment by Aaron — May 1, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  47. Just won the #1 Web Gem for that one. Sick play. (Note: I realize Web Gems are not a metric)

    Comment by jwise224 — May 1, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  48. I take offense that Alcides is getting this attention. Do you know how hard it it is to do what I’m doing as a FIRST BASEMAN?

    Comment by Brad Hawpe — May 1, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  49. So the argument is between uzr and seeing someone in real life? Maybe you could show a different defense metric (which often show the wide scoring varieties in defense metrics) or provide examples of bad plays that Escobar has made. I kind of think UZR vs real life has reached its reasonable argument length.

    Comment by Not Bill James — May 2, 2011 @ 12:33 am

  50. The discussion is more around sample size. OVer a season, Escobar was identified as a pretty good SS last season, and this season the eyeball test identifies him as an even better shortstop, perhaps gold-glove calibre.

    UZA says he’s bad, but UZR-150 says he’s good. That makes NO DAMNED sense AT ALL, and suggests there’s a problem with the stats, at least until they have a few more months to work worth.

    As long as your advanced fielding stats idiotically contradict themselves, you have to take our word for it that Escobar is at the very least a very good defensive shortstop, if not superb. Is that enough to make up for his bat? Maybe, maybe not, but anyone who is painting him as a bad SS based on this one month of UZR and not actually seeing his highlight reel play in the field is just completely ignorant.

    Comment by Aaron — May 2, 2011 @ 1:14 am

  51. UZR is a flawed statistic. If you read the write up on this site, it basically says positive or negative UZR ratings don’t necessarily tell you whether a player is good or bad defender. If it doesn’t tell you that, then what’s the point of even using it?

    Im not a Royals fan at all, and I can tell you from what I’ve seen Alcides Escobar does things defensively at the SS position that few human beings can do.

    In fact, if I believed that UZR was a good statistic, I would believe Jhonny Peralta is a better defender than Escobar. And if you believe that, then I don’t know what to tell you, other than watch a game or two instead crunching ridiculous numbers.

    Comment by UZR blows — May 2, 2011 @ 1:53 am

  52. In fact, if you had the foggiest idea of what you were talking about, you’d recognize that a one month sample of UZR is about as meaningful as a week’s worth of plate appearances, and that noboby with a clue would use such a sample to draw any conclusions.

    Trampling a bunch of strawmen isn’t going to change that.

    Comment by Small Sample Goodness — May 2, 2011 @ 2:02 am

  53. Thats true, and in this case ignorance is bliss. Regardless of sample size, I still think the stat sucks. While your waiting for at least 3 years of UZR data to get a general idea of hoping to draw some sort of conclusion, I will just enjoy watching a talented defensive player make plays.

    Let me ask you this. Say Jose Iglesias comes into MLB next year and becomes statistically the best defender in the league, which drops Escobar’s UZR, does that make him less a defender?

    Comment by UZR blows — May 2, 2011 @ 2:31 am

  54. UZR proponents often say that it’s a valid measure of what happens on the field, even if the sample size is too small to be predictive. But I don’t think this is true. Unlike regular offensive stats like say OBP, which does measure how often a player got on base even when the sample is too small to be predictive, UZR is meant to measure how many runs a player has saved compared to the average fielder. That’s what the respective numbers stand for.

    This isn’t a measure of what happened on the field; it’s a counterfactual. And we can’t know the counterfactual with any confidence until the sample is large enough to even out bad breaks. We don’t (I’m pretty sure) want to say that all balls in the same zone are equally easy to field. So we can’t say that UZR really measures how many runs someone has saved compared to the average fielder until we have enough of a sample that we can be fairly confident that it doesn’t incorporate an unusual number of plays that are easy or difficult relative to the zone they’re in.

    So yeah, UZR doesn’t tell us that he HAS BEEN great on defense, in the way that OBP tells us that he has reached base less than a quarter of the time. It’s just not that kind of stat.

    Comment by matt w — May 2, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  55. yep, UZR is fine as a statistic, flawed though it may be, it just requires a LOT more games than most hitting stats. One month simply isn’t enough, the UZR and UZR/150 still looks squirrelly, just like hitting stats after 10 AB showing a hitting with a 0.250 OPS or a 2.250 OPS, no one believes that will ultimately be happen.

    Escobar is a good example, just this one game that happened yesterday, after that result was fed into the fielding statistics, his UZR ubruptly shot up from negative to 0.0, and his UZR/150 is now over 6. He’s a good fielder, its just going to take UZR a while to catch up. Is it good enough to outweigh his bad bat? Well, it was last year, he was atrocious at the plate and still finished with a positive WAR. Fans of UZR need to recognize the sample size problem UZR has, or they end up looking foolish by pronouncing Escobar to be a bad fielder in April.

    And UZR isn’t completely worthless, for the longest time, Yankee fans continued to delude themselves that Jeter was not a terrible defensive shortstop. It may take a while longer than hitting statistics, but that doesn’t invalidate fielding statistics when they eventually give an unbiased measurement of fielding ability.

    Comment by Aaron — May 2, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  56. Escobar is totally an ungrade over Yuni, we would have lose much more runs due to Yuni’s horrible defense.

    Comment by Yamfun — May 5, 2011 @ 9:31 am

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