How was Bernie THAT bad in centerfield? He had some speed and seemed to be athletic, so why the lack of range? Were his instincts truly that bad? Also, the yankees must have not had space in left field for Bernie to switch to because they kept him in centerfield. I assume that he was left in CF due to him not wanting to switch positions and because the yankees must not have paid attention to statistics much.
Bernie had two problems — a floppy Johnny Damon arm, and a TERRIBLE jump. It wasn’t just a defensive thing — in the ’90’s, he was one of the fastest players in baseball, but check out his stolen base numbers. He just could not get a good first step on anything, in the field or on the basepaths.
His defense was good — or at least adequate — earlier in his career because of his extremely impressive speed, which allowed him to get to a lot of balls. However, once that speed left, he was just kind of hopeless.
Also, it’s certainly not that the Yankees “didn’t have space” in Left Field for Bernie — Hideki Matsui was there in 2003-2005, but check out the revolving door of defenders the Yankees trotted out there before Matsui (each of these guys got at least 100 games in LF between 1996 and 2002): Rondell White, Shane Spencer, Chuck Knoblauch, Ricky Ledee, Chad Curtis, Tim Raines, and almost Gerald Williams (was their “primary” LF in 1996 in the sense that he played more than half the games there).
That’s because if it’s hit to Manny…you just keep running until you get home. Sure he’ll throw you out one out of five times, but the other times you get the extra bases. That’s why Alfonso Soriano gets assists, also. He picks up the ball when the guy is rounding first and just barely nabs him at third… Can we create an advanced statistic for measuring assists generated by a lack of arm strength and fielding ability?
Assists by Sheer Suckiness(ASS) – Somebody get on this…….
Comment by www.thehotteststove.com — December 29, 2011 @ 12:15 pm
From what I recall, Hawpe was also a butcher at 1B last year, even though the metrics suggest otherwise.
Bernie Williams is not a Hall of Famer, regardless of defense.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t include guys who were so bad at being defenders that they didn’t even get to mail throws into the stands anymore and got awesome nicknames because of it.. See: Encarnacion, Edwin aka E5.
It means simply that UZR/150 is being used rather than a cumulative UZR. It’s a matter of preference, much like you could compare hitters’ power numbers with total number of XBH since 2002, or you could compare their ISO’s since 2002.
I disagree about Manny’s arm. Strong, accurate, quick release. There was a reason he started out as a RF. The guys with the best arms don’t necessarily get the most assists, but guys with bad arms seldom get a lot of them. I’m interested if anyone who watched him play a lot really thinks he had a bad arm.
Going only by my eyes, this is a great list. However, where is Soriano? Are his stats really that much better than he actually is? I’ve seen balls go through his legs like the kid you stuck in RF in Little League because everyone had to play.
As a Braves fan, I was sorta hoping to get Dye back a few years ago for that power RH bat. But after watching Sox games here, you really get tired of seeing his butt as he bent over to pick up balls that got past him in RF. Anyone who got a ball past the first baseman should have been fined if he wasn’t thinking triple all the way.
Manny had a good arm..accurate and fairly strong probably 55 60 on the scout scale. It was why he played such bad d cuz he thought his arm could bail him out
Comment by Jim Lahey — December 30, 2011 @ 7:17 am
I think it means that Dunn has been playing terrible defense for so long that using UZR would result in him being far in the lead— not because he was the worst defender, but because he had been playing bad defense for the longest.
I thought he positioned himself cleverly at Fenway. A lot of guys stand the normal distance behind the SS, which means they’re backed up against the wall. Manny would stand the normal distance in front of the wall, which meant he was right behind the shortstop. This always made more sense to me. Not that it helped him all that much…
David Ortiz is a career -4.4 UZR/150 at first base; Manny -20.3. Think it is a SSS issue making Ortiz seem better than hereally was, or did the Red Sox severely drop the ball not making Manny their DH and Ortiz their 1B?
Ortiz played most of his innings at first as a young man in Minnesota, plus his first two seasons in Boston. Starting in his age-29 season he played 10 games or fewer in the field every year. Manny, on the other hand, played the field all the way through his 30s, which probably skews his career UZR numbers downward.
They may have done well to explore the idea of playing Ortiz at first and Manny as a DH (in fact, knowing the Red Sox, they probably did), but I doubt it would’ve made much difference.
So a single clear mistake is evidence to you that the Gold Glover voters are “very stupid”? ….I like this. But, then, I like irony. ….yes, the professional managers and coaches have no idea about baseball… …its a wonder they’ve got jobs.
Players that have incredible athletic ability are over-reliant on that ability, and never really learn the skills of the position (they don;t have to).
So, once that athletic ability is gone or significantly diminished, there’s little skill to fall back on.
If a cheetah cannot run down it’s prey (due to age or an injured paw), it’s pretty useless as a predator, right?
Don;t get me wrong, my 10yo son could likely vote just as well for the GG awards, and all he does is watch and remember all of the web gems on ESPN.
They aren’t using UZR (and I’, not sure they should be). Be interesting to see how Dewan, Fielding Bible, UZR, and ESPN Web Gems correlate with each other. Other than Azdrubal getting a boost, they’re probably all correlated rather well.
The Palmeiro s4election was just insulting since he barely played the position that year. It felt like when your congressman is absent for 80% of the votes. They’re basically telling you they don;t care enough to do it well.
Comment by CircleChange11 — January 2, 2012 @ 11:57 am
I’m not sure about the athletic ability stuff. In my (albeit limited) experience a lot of fielding involves instincts that are difficult to teach. Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones never take a bad route to the baseball. They both just know where the ball will be. On the other hand Jacoby Ellsbury and often Curtis Granderson run around like headless chickens searching for every fly ball. Griffey and Jones maintained this ability late in their careers even after they lost their speed. I doubt Ellsbury or Granderson will ever have it because I don’t think it can be a acquired (either you have it or you don’t).
I agree about the inexplicable laziness of the Palmeiro vote being evidence that the voters didn’t care that year (I don’t think this is evidence that they never care though). In fact I think the Palmeiro vote is very similar to the article we are commenting on. Voting a DH Gold Glove is like using nothing but UZR to determine the “worst fielders”. It is so intellectually lazy as to be insulting. And the results were predictably laughable. Ken Griffey Jr as the worst fielder in baseball really is as egregious as a DH winning a Gold Glove.
I was going to say that Bernie should really be a “worst fielder” since he played CF and his low UZR reflects the fact that he had more athletic competition than do corner outfielders. If he’d played a corner, he’d probably be well off this list.
Either that or random variation in the measurement made some years look better than others when in reality he has always played about the same. ….given that you are effectively trying to measure stature to the fraction of an inch using a yard stick with marked off in feet, I’ll prefer the null hypothesis of randomness.
None of these players won Gold Gloves during the period this study covers.
Gold Gloves voters only see most of the candidates play six times per year. So they’re mostly voting based on reputation and TV highlights. Maybe Palmeiro had a few Web Gems that year.
John Dewan’s voting correlates very well with the rest of the Fielding Bible panel.
The former Gold Glovers on this did not fare well in Fielding Bible award voting. Bernie Williams received no votes. Ken Griffey, Jr. placed 19th as a RF in 2007. Jermaine Dye placed 6th in 2006 and 13th in 2008. Voters only vote for the top ten, so it’s not like they rank them 1 through 35.
Jermaine Dye’s highest placing in 2006 was #4 from Mike Murphy, a Chicago radio talk show host. Dye was playing for the White Sox, so there may been a bit of homerism there.