A Preview of 2015 Team Defenses

It’s gettin’ to that time of year when folks tend to preview stuff ’round baseball. Our annual Positional Power Rankings will be coming to the site over the next couple weeks, you’ll surely see all sorts of divisional preview pieces pop up between now and Opening Day, and this right here is going to be a preview of team defenses.

We saw last year where a good defense can take a team. The Kansas City Royals were more than just a great defense, but it was evident, especially during the playoffs, how much an elite defense can mean to a ballclub. The same was true, but on the other end of the spectrum, for the Cleveland Indians. Our two advanced defensive metrics — Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating — agreed that the defense in Cleveland was worth around -70 runs last season. In Kansas City, it was something like +50. That’s a 120-run difference! That’s about 12 wins! Those teams play in the same division! Move 12 wins around and the result is an entirely different season! Defense isn’t the biggest thing, but it’s a big thing. Let’s look ahead.

All the numbers used in this piece will come from UZR and DRS. For the team projections, I simply utilized our depth charts and did a little math. We’re going to take a look at the three best, the worst, the teams that got better, the teams that got worse, and then all the rest down at the bottom. For the upgrades/downgrades, I used the difference of standard deviations above or below the mean between last year’s results and this year’s projections.

* * *

The Best

1. Kansas City Royals

Surprise! The Kansas City Royals should still have the best defense in baseball, and it’s not particularly close. They’ve got a projected seven-run lead over the next-best defense, led by the highest left field grade in baseball — thanks to Alex Gordon — and the second-highest center field grade — thanks to the ridiculous combination of Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. They’re one of just two teams in baseball to be at least league-average defensively at every position, and when Gordon, Dyson and Cain roam the outfield simultaneously, they form like Voltron to create the Ultimate Outfield.

cain1

With the absence of James Shields and a shaky offense, skeptics may wonder if the Royals will be able to reproduce a similar level of overall success — our projected standings put them four games below .500 — but there’s no need to second-guess which team has the best defense in the game.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

I’ll be honest, this ranking surprised me a bit, but perhaps it shouldn’t, as the Cardinals had a top-5 defense last year, too. I just think of the Cardinals, and I think of Matt Holliday in left. I think of all the weight between first and shortstop with Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta. I think of Jon Jay in center and Matt Carpenter at third, neither of which are particularly impressive fielding their positions. But, as we all know, Peralta defies the eye test, and maybe Adams does too. Jay will be spelled in center field by the fantastic Peter Bourjos. They’ve still got Yadier Molina behind the plate. Kolten Wong appears to be soundly above-average at second, and now they’ve got this in right field:

heyward1

Jason Heyward might just be the best defender in the game not named Andrelton Simmons. He’s the reason why the Cardinals’ right field unit receives the second-best defensive projection of any position in baseball, trailing only Simmons’ position in Atlanta. Heyward’s defensive value alone accounts for more than half of the Cardinals’ projection, and he should help turn an already-good defense in St. Louis into a great one.

3. New York Yankees

Since we started tracking advanced defense metrics in 2002, no team has accrued more negative defense value than the Bronx Bombers. Aside from Derek Jeter occupying shortstop all those years, the team has often been made up of aging, bat-first sluggers. While the aging, bat-first slugger component of the team’s identity remains in tact, Jeter has been replaced with an excellent defensive combination of Brendan Ryan and Didi Gregorius at shortstop…

ryan1

…and the club has sneakily constructed a skilled defensive team around its aging core. When I mentioned earlier that the Royals were one of just two teams in baseball to be at least league average at every position, defensively, what I didn’t mention is that the Yankees are the other team. Brian McCann may be aging, but he’s still great behind the dish. Mark Teixeira may be aging, but he’s still great at first. The Yankees get a full year of Chase Headley at third, who accrued more defensive value than any player last season. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury are both fantastic in the outfield, and Chris Young should be able to hide some of Carlos Beltran‘s shortcomings in right. The Yankees may be old, but don’t sleep on this defensive unit.

The Worst

28. Houston Astros

A couple things we know to be true about the Houston Astros: 1) their defense was terrible last year, and, 2) they made a lot of moves this offseason to improve their roster. Those improvements, however, came almost exclusively at the plate, and they seemed to pay little attention to improving their lousy defense. They went out and got Jed Lowrie, who is a butcher at shortstop:

lowrie1

Colby Rasmus might not hurt the Astros in center, but he certainly isn’t going to help. Evan Gattis might have to spend some time in the outfield — and no team wants that — and the first base trio of Gattis, Jon Singleton and Chris Carter will likely be a defensive trainwreck. I haven’t yet mentioned Jose Altuve, who has graded as the worst defensive second baseman in baseball since entering the league. The Astros will certainly be more fun to watch this year with their homer-heavy lineup, but the defense could be just as painful as ever.

29. Minnesota Twins

Just like the Astros, the Twins already had a bad defense last season, and did very little to improve it. They only have one position that ranks above average, and that’s at first base with Joe Mauer. The Kurt Suzuki/Josmil Pinto duo behind the plate is dreadful, and that’s without considering they’re two of the league’s worst pitch framers. In left field, they receive the lowest defensive projection in baseball, courtesy Oswaldo Arcia:

arcia1

Arcia is being moved back to left this year because the Twins acquired Torii Hunter, who has amassed the most negative defensive value in baseball over the last two years. Not much to see in Minnesota.

3o. San Diego Padres

And here’s one of the reasons why the projections may not love the Padres, and perhaps the biggest reason why all their fancy offseason acquisitions might not be as impressive as they are on the surface. Justin Upton isn’t a bad defender, but he’s far from great, and has fared poorly in left field, compared to right. Wil Myers is an already-underwhelming corner outfielder being forced into playing center. And then there’s Matt Kemp, who should probably be a first baseman or designated hitter, and is still playing the outfield. We don’t need any more Matt Kemp bad defense .gifs. You can read all about his defensive prowess, or lackthereof, right here.

Point is, the Padres outfield is projected to be 23 runs below average. More than 10 runs separate them from the next-worst team. That’s a whole win. The infield isn’t terrible — though it’s not good — but the outfield, in all likelihood, is going to be a disaster.

* * *

Most upgraded

  1. Yankees – We’ve already gone over this, so I’ll keep it brief. Take Derek Jeter off any team, and the defense gets better. Replace him with Brendan Ryan and Didi Gregorius, and you’ve done a 180. A full season of Chase Headley is a plus, and when Chris Young flanks Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield, the Yankees shouldn’t see too many balls drop.
  2. Indians – The big switch here is going from the dreadful Asdrubal Cabrera to the good Jose Ramirez and, perhaps eventually, the elite Francisco Lindor at shortstop. Less Carlos Santana at third base and less Nick Swisher anywhere bodes well for the Tribe defense, and they’re counting on Michael Bourn to stay healthy so Michael Brantley isn’t forced out of position to center field. The Indians still project to be a bottom-10 defense, just not historically bad like last season.
  3. Tigers – Like the Indians, the Tigers still don’t project to be a good defensive team, but even league-average is a step up from miserable. A full season of Jose Iglesias at shortstop would do wonders for the Tigers defense, and the innings butchered in the outfield by Torii Hunter and Rajai Davis will now be replaced with Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Gose.

Most downgraded

  1. Padres – We’ve already gone over this, too. Nothing good in the infield. Just wretched in the outfield. Things could get ugly in San Diego this year.
  2. MetsMichael Cuddyer has been a butcher in the outfield for more than a decade now, yet the full-time switch to first base still hasn’t happened. I don’t really get it. Now 36 with a rapidly deteriorating body, the Mets put their faith in Cuddyer in right field, and receive the worst defensive projection in baseball at that position as a result. Wilmer Flores full-time at short probably isn’t going to help either.
  3. Braves – Unlike the Padres and Mets, who have performed subtraction by addition, the Braves have performed subtraction by subtraction. Most of their downgrade comes from the loss of Jason Heyward in right field, who will now be replaced by Nick Markakis. Heyward’s absence also means Melvin Upton/Eric Young/Zoilo Almonte full-time in center. At least Braves fans still get to watch Andrelton Simmons.

As a final aside, here’s the full, sortable table of projected runs saved for 2015, broken down by position:

Team C 1B 2B SS 3B LF CF RF Total
Royals 7 0 0 2 3 14 10 4 39
Cardinals 8 1 4 4 -1 -1 2 17 32
Yankees 0 4 2 4 8 10 4 0 32
Orioles 4 1 2 6 16 3 -2 1 32
Red Sox 6 4 12 -6 0 2 2 5 25
Dodgers -2 8 2 1 10 3 1 2 24
Reds 0 3 5 6 2 0 7 -1 22
Athletics -1 0 1 -4 5 -1 5 10 14
Rays 6 2 -3 -7 6 1 1 7 14
Nationals 2 6 -1 -1 4 -4 3 4 13
Rockies -4 1 4 4 12 -2 -3 -2 10
Blue Jays 5 -1 -1 -8 9 5 -1 1 9
Brewers 4 -1 -1 -1 -4 4 8 -2 7
Dbacks 0 4 -3 2 -2 5 8 -7 7
Giants 3 4 0 4 -4 1 -5 0 3
Braves 0 0 -2 20 -8 -3 -4 -2 0
Marlins -5 -3 -2 -3 1 7 1 3 0
Tigers 1 0 6 4 -9 4 -1 -4 0
Mariners 2 -3 1 0 1 2 -2 -3 -1
Rangers 1 -5 -2 2 6 -3 6 -6 -1
Pirates -2 -3 -4 -2 2 6 -3 2 -5
Indians 5 -2 -5 3 -5 -1 0 -3 -8
Angels -3 4 -5 -2 -7 0 1 2 -9
Mets -7 0 -8 -2 1 -2 14 -10 -14
Cubs 1 7 -3 -4 -1 -2 -11 -1 -15
Phillies 2 -4 3 -2 -3 -6 -4 -2 -16
White Sox -2 -1 0 1 -4 -5 -3 -4 -17
Astros -1 -4 -6 -7 -1 3 -1 -1 -17
Twins -3 1 -1 -3 -6 -6 -1 -7 -26
Padres -3 3 -4 1 -1 -3 -12 -9 -26

 



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August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.


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Buctober 2015
Guest
Buctober 2015
1 year 2 months ago

The pirates numbers seem awfully low

beconstructive
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beconstructive
1 year 2 months ago

I thought these were supposed to be normalized. Why don’t they add up to 0?

Forrest Gumption
Member
Forrest Gumption
1 year 2 months ago

Other than Marisnick & Castro, every Astros player is not good-to-an abomination defensively. That pitching is going to have way higher ERAs than FIPs. They cant be serious with this crud, can they? Even worse are the pundits expecting big things from them…uh, no.

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
1 year 2 months ago

Who is predicting big things from the Astros?

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 2 months ago

Apparently “hey they’re not losing 100 games every year in perpetuity!” and/or “hey they may finish ahead of Texas!” = “big things” to some…

Buck Rotgut
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Buck Rotgut
1 year 2 months ago

Which pundits? Every pundit I have read expects the Astros to suck canal water.

Kyle
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Kyle
1 year 1 month ago

Hey! Keuchel won the Gold Glove last year. Respect!

Kennesaw State University
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Kennesaw State University
1 year 2 months ago

Lol, you chose a GIF for the Twins of when Kinsler was a Ranger.

Unapologetic Observer
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Unapologetic Observer
1 year 2 months ago

Well, he was showing how comically bad Arcia projects to be in LF. Be hard to show how bad Arcia looks in LF on a GIF from last season, since Arcia didn’t play LF last season, so he only had 2013 to choose from.

whatsit
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whatsit
1 year 2 months ago

not one of the red sox projected starting OF had ever played in the OF in professional north american baseball before august last year. the left side of the IF looks questionable as well. they have young rooks and sophs at all the toughest defensive positions.

seems to be an optimistic take on their defensive ability given how little track record and actual data we have on 5 of 8 defensive roles.

wildcard09
Member
Member
1 year 2 months ago

Did you look at the per-position numbers? Their -6 at SS and average at 3B, which both seem fair, but I could actually see Bogaerts improving due to another year experience. LF is only +2 which I agree might be optimistic, but Ramirez is still athletic and the Monster takes away a lot of possible plays to be made. CF is only +2 which I think is conservative, Castillo is rated everywhere as a plus defender with plus speed to match, his arm is average but range is the biggest thing in CF. RF is +5 and we all know what a healthy Victorino provides there, and when he’s out Betts will most likely be starting and he should easily be a positive RF. Unless you think Nava and Craig will get a lot of time in the OF I think these projections are accurate across the board, perhaps a little low if anything at SS and CF.

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

just imo, but +9 from an OF where the bulk of innings are going to guys with no track records and questionable arms, none of whom has been condidered a safe bet to handle CF, seems optimistic. and as talented as vazquez may be, projecting him as elite as a rookie also seems rosy.

the rest, based on track records, look fair.

its the wild guesses on the guys without track records that seem a bit weird to me at least.

Chowjuch
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Chowjuch
1 year 2 months ago

Vazquez is elite. He was elite all throughout the minors and was elite last year in the majors. He’s probably only behind Molina in defense. And the Red Sox are backing him up with Hanigan, another top defensive catcher.

Looks to me like the number on Napoli is low (he’s better than Rizzo and A-Gon), the number on Bogaerts is about right (but can only improve), the number on Sandoval is right, the number on Pedroia is right, the number on Hanley is high (guy looks terrible this spring), the number on CF is about right (For Betts alone it would be high but Bradley and Castillo will see time there as well), and the number on RF is right (Victorino, Betts, Nava, and Castillo will see time there).

I don’t think they’re being highly overrated. Maybe just barely. Boogie could improve though and they could be better than the Orioles.

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

“Vazquez is elite. He was elite all throughout the minors and was elite last year in the majors. He’s probably only behind Molina in defense.”

you know how homerific this sounds, right?

pencilling in rookies for elite status in anything is almost always a bad idea, especially at a position where experience is key, and especially for a guy whose bat may never be good enough to hold down a fulltime gig.

vazquez may not even be an mlber. he certainly has never been considered a can’t miss prospect, or anything even close to that.

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

like i said before the projections for castillo and betts are simply wild guesses, there’s literally no statistical or scouting backing to give them that +7 from CF and RF

on the other hand, I have an adept eye for outfield defense as well as a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of how the eye test and scouting reports translate to uzr numbers

as such those projections seem quite weird to me, I have them penciled in at -3, a number much more soundly found in facts and logic

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

also when will you fools learn your lessons on projecting red sox players without track records to be “elite”

calling vazquez elite this year is nonsense, does no one else remember what happened to jackie bradley jr last year?? people said his defense was elite and he ended the season back in aaa

experience is key at c, and since i can’t verify that vazquez ever played baseball before joining the red sox system I can only say that he’s had a paltry 565 games of experience at catcher throughout his minor and major league career. not nearly enough to have him develop into a good defender

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

how do you get scouting reports for positions guys have never played?

and since when do statistical projections include scouting reports?

you’re slippin, ol buddy ol pal.

LHPSU
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LHPSU
1 year 2 months ago

“remember what happened to jackie bradley jr last year?? people said his defense was elite ”

…and it was. Not sure what kind of point you’re trying to make here.

LeeTro
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LeeTro
1 year 2 months ago

I should probably not respond to you, everdiso, but JBJ did rate +15 in CF by both metrics last year. He was sent to AAA because his bat made “Melvin” Upton look good.

everdiso
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everdiso
1 year 2 months ago

the point is that you can’t make statistical projections based on scouting reports and that players taking up new positions/with limited experience should be given low projections by default

redsoxu571
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redsoxu571
1 year 2 months ago

When you start to criticize an “elite” projection for Vazquez’s defense as a “homer” opinion, you reveal your own biases.

There is a more-than-ample set of information and data that proves Vazquez to be a surefire top-end defensive catcher, right here, right now. There were some on this very website.

The statistical analysis was overwhelmingly clear on how great of a pitcher framer Vazquez is.

The eye test says he is excellent. Scouts say he is excellent. Players say he is excellent.

But everdiso and his trained eye calls it a homer bias. Well okay then…

Eric M. Van
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

“experience is key at c, and since i can’t verify that vazquez ever played baseball before joining the red sox system I can only say that he’s had a paltry 565 games of experience at catcher throughout his minor and major league career. not nearly enough to have him develop into a good defender”

I was under the impression that a respected scout called him “easily the best throwing catcher in professional baseball, and it’s not even close” based on his work in the minors, and that he then proceeded to throw out 18 baserunners while allowing 14 SB in the majors (on the way to +6 DRS in just 51 games worth of catching), and that scouts raved equally about his pitch-framing ability, and that measurements showed him to be the 3rd best in MLB. All of which, had it happened as I thought it did, would make him the best defensive player in all of baseball.

Thanks for telling me that it’s in fact impossible that he’s even above average. I’ll take that under advisement.

Chowjuch
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Chowjuch
1 year 2 months ago

Dude if you don’t think Betts is starting in CF you’re a wack job.

grant
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grant
1 year 2 months ago

Yeah, not sure Napoli better than Rizzo and A-Gon is realistic. And while Pedroia is good, the numbers have him 6 runs better than any other 2B in the entire MLB. For a guy with injury history and into his decline years that’s probably not realistic.

wildcard09
Member
Member
1 year 2 months ago

Trust me I want Betts to start in CF, but I’m hesitant to say 100% that’s what will happen. They paid Castillo a good amount of money and really want him there. He’s back to taking live ABs, so we’ll see where he is over the next couple weeks. I’m also assuming Victorino will be out pretty early in the season, and I’d rather see Castillo in CF and Betts in RF than the other way around.

tz
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tz
1 year 2 months ago

Victorino’s health will have a lot to do with the whole makeup of Boston’s OF

Chowjuch
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Chowjuch
1 year 2 months ago

Betts is a stud. If Farrell didn’t know it before he’s certainly been convinced of it this spring. There is absolutely no way Mookie doesn’t bat leadoff and start in CF (with Farrell’s spoken commitment to Victorino in RF considered. Otherwise I could see Castillo in CF and Mookie in RF). I actually understand everdiso’s uneasiness regarding Betts and Castillo. Neither is proven and honestly Betts looks pretty green out there. And Castillo didn’t play ball for almost a full year.

Still, they’ve got Victorino and JBJ to play out there (elite elite). And Betts and Castillo are world class athletes with plus speed and good arms. At least one of them will become league avg. That said, HanRam looks like trash in LF. And it may be Craig getting innings, not Castillo or JBJ. We shall see. I’d put them at +5 or +6, but not +9. With the improvements I expect from Boogie and the extra points I think Napoli deserves that brings them out to about the same total.

Doubting Vazquez’s defense is pretty crazy though. And not accounting for Hanigan’s defense if Vazquez does indeed fail is even crazier.

Napoli has the best range at first base bar none. Guy is a monster. I’d like to see him at third. He’s got that catcher arm.

vslyke
Member
1 year 2 months ago

Its incredible than Simmons single-handedly makes the Braves an average defensive team. Also incredible that SS projects to be the only above average defensive potential on the team.

CrazyPants
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

and imagine the Mets minus Lagares…

Dave Cornutt
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Dave Cornutt
1 year 2 months ago

Some of that is still variable since we don’t know who will actually be playing several of those positions, at least not at the start of the season. With Upton’s injury, and Markakis’ neck situation seeming to be a bit worse every time a report is issued, at the moment the Braves are only completely set at C, 1B, and SS. 2B might be Jace Peterson, which no one predicted back in February, and Chris Johnson might either get a platoon mate or (eventually) be replaced by Peraza at 3B; either of those should be upgrades. On the other hand, currently the outfield is open mic night. (Side observation: A lot of people seem to regard Eric Young Jr. as a defensive wizard. But he only has about 300 innings in CF, and UZR/150 grades him as just slightly above average in LF.) Todd Cunningham would be an upgrade over Upton in CF, but it’s not for sure that he’ll get the job since historically he doesn’t hit much. Hopefully the Braves aren’t tempted to use Terdoslovich in the OF too much, since he plays outfield about as well as Gattis does.

Al-Kendall
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Al-Kendall
1 year 2 months ago

I also don’t see Simmons being 3 times better than Cozart or Hardy, so using these relative values straight up is not likely accurate.

ivdown
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ivdown
1 year 2 months ago

It will be interesting to see when the Padres aren’t the “dumpster fire” everyone thinks they will be defensively.

Phillies113
Member
Member
1 year 2 months ago

Do you have evidence to support your claim that they won’t be?

Key-hote
Guest
Key-hote
1 year 2 months ago

Cuz DINGERZ!

daniel
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daniel
1 year 2 months ago

DRS thinks they’ll be -3 as a team… that’s not horrible at all.

Half Fast
Guest
Half Fast
1 year 2 months ago

Most downgraded
Nothing good in the infield. Just wretched in the outfield. Things could get ugly in San Diego this year.

Well, If THIS isn’t bulletin board material…But have heard this sentiment a lot.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
1 year 2 months ago

I know the reputation, but Brendan Ryan has been a butcher in the field for the Yankees.

Open
Guest
Open
1 year 2 months ago

How so? As a Yankee, Ryan has been above average at SS (1.2 UZR/150) and stellar at 2B (24.8). He was even great during his handful of innings at 3B and 1B.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
1 year 2 months ago

The UZR is entirely meaningless given the sample size. His problem is that he seems to frequently fail to record outs on routine balls. It seems like every time he gets in a game he misplays at least one ball that should be an easy out. Of course these plays stick in my memory more with Ryan than they do with other players, since Ryan is only on the field because of his supposed defensive ability. But if you are going to be an automatic out at the plate, you damn well better be automatic in the field. Ryan typically made you miss Jeter’s sure handedness.

Mike Green
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Mike Green
1 year 2 months ago

The most interesting thing to me is the cumulative Yankee number, and the distribution on the left side of the field. It’s easy to see how a left-hander on the Yankees could succeed in the Andy Pettitte or even Tommy John style. Apparently, that is Sabathia’s plan.

It’s a bit surprising to me that they didn’t seek out another left-handed depth rotation arm.

Orsulakfan
Guest
Orsulakfan
1 year 2 months ago

Sadly, I think the Yankees have done some smart things this offseason, and the improved defense is going to make them dangerous. I say sadly because I wish the Yankees would sink into the ocean.

Vil
Member
Vil
1 year 2 months ago

Nah. I don’t want the Yankees to sink into the ocean. Hating the Yankees if you’re an Orioles fan, if you’re any kind of baseball fan other than a NYY fan, is too much fun.

The truth is a decent Yankees team is a good draw. I can remember when the Yankees were, with the exception of the incomparable Don Mattingly, a lousy team during much of the 1980s. Who cared what they did?

But if you love to hate them, ponder this: Tanaka decided to avoid TJ surgery. I have a strong feeling he won’t make it through 15 starts this year before that ligament snaps. More money wasted by the Yankees.

j
Guest
j
1 year 2 months ago

Tanaka didn’t decide anything. Five different doctors all told him – don’t have TJ. In regards to you health – its smart to follow a doctors advice. You know, four years of medical school and years of experience.

Vil
Member
Vil
1 year 2 months ago

Four years of medical school and years of experience? Do you really revere doctors that much?

I’m 61 yrs. old and I could fill a book with stories from friends, relatives and even myself where doctors have missed diagnoses that resulted in pain and suffering from their patients.

Doctors are no different from mechanics, plumbers or even ball players. Some are very good, most are merely mediocre and some are just bad.

Miguel
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Miguel
1 year 2 months ago

And doctors paid massive sums by organizations with millions of dollars on the line are really hardly any more trustworthy than Fangraphs commenter baltic wolf.

j
Guest
j
1 year 2 months ago

Chris Capuano counts as left-handed depth.

reality
Guest
reality
1 year 2 months ago

I guess I don’t see from the table the separation between Cards, Yankees and Orioles – all end up with 32 total. The infield defense of the Orioles is much better than either the Cards and Yankees (granted Machado makes up a lot of value, but you could say the same for Heyward in the Cards OF, Pedroia for Red Sox and of course Gordon and two CF for KC).

As a side, I thought there was an article on how the IF defense was more important even for fly ball pitchers (thought it was here). Any further research on this and how would that effect Team defensive ratings?

j
Guest
j
1 year 2 months ago

Headley, Gregorious, Drew/Ryan and Teixeira is a pretty damn good infield – gotta be one of the best in baseball.

Can’t see how BAL is much better.

vignette17
Guest
vignette17
1 year 2 months ago

Color me surprised by the A’s 2b ranking. I’m guessing it will be almost entirely taken up by Zobrist and Sogard, two phenomenal defenders.

Tyler
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Tyler
1 year 2 months ago
StroShow
Guest
StroShow
1 year 2 months ago

The Mets better hope Lagares doesn’t get hurt, because he’s the only thing preventing his team from being worse than the Padres; they’re basically terrible everywhere else.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
1 year 2 months ago

If he gets hurt, I assume den Decker would take over. Heading into the 2013 season, the talk was about how great his defense was, he’s the best defensive player in the organization, etc. Lagares has been outstanding – much better than anyone predicted – but they’d still have a fine defender if he got hurt.

pft
Guest
pft
1 year 2 months ago

How is playing time allocated. Looking at the Yankees. Tex back up at 1B is Jones, not a good defensive player, Headleys back up at 3B is Arod, not a good defensive player. Young is good as backup in OF, but he is no better than Ichiro, and Beltran will be seeing more time in RF than last year .

Also, while there are a lot of greats to describe Didi, Ellsbury, Gardner and Tex, DRS never thought much of them last year

2014 DRS
Tex – 2
Gardner – 3
Didi- 0
Ellsbury (-3)

Seems to me the Yankees projection is optimistic. DRS in the FB IV has the yankees projected as 9th best in MLB. That passes the sniff test more than 3rd

Sandy A.
Guest
Sandy A.
1 year 2 months ago

Real sloppy job on the Mets. Cuddyer is our LFer, not RFer.

CrazyPants
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

yes, good thing capital punishment is still an option…

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 2 months ago

interesting decision since he’s deaf in his left ear.

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 2 months ago

ESPN also has Cuddy in RF and Grandy in LF.

Vil
Member
Vil
1 year 2 months ago

ESPN has Christian Walker ahead of Chris Davis and Steve Pearce at first base on their depth charts.

IHateJoeBuck
Member
IHateJoeBuck
1 year 2 months ago

Because it’s based on opening day, which Davis is suspended for.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 2 months ago

It’s interesting that while most think catcher defense is the most important position, there is only a 15 run difference between the best and the worst. The only position with a smaller difference is first base (not really a surprise).

It also is tied with SS for the position with the fewest outliers (those in red or green).

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 2 months ago

Sorry: catcher is tied with SS for the second fewest outliers behind first base.

Also, get rid of “I’m not a robot” and add an edit feature.

Catoblepas
Guest
Catoblepas
1 year 2 months ago

Doesn’t include receiving, which might have as much or more to do with overall catcher value as do the traditional defensive qualities (blocking, controlling the running game, etc.)

Statistics don't lie
Guest
Statistics don't lie
1 year 2 months ago

Pro-Yankees / anti-Orioles bias a little?

best – KC
2nd – Cards/Yanks/Orioles

Not a word extolling the Oriole’s defense. Why not?
I know – xFIP disparities is random statistical noise, not superior Oriole’s defense

Elsa
Guest
Elsa
1 year 2 months ago

Let it go.

CS Yankee
Guest
CS Yankee
1 year 2 months ago

Are projections are the new thing to get worked up about?

3B (Machado) is expected for 16 saved runs (2nd in projections for all positions) while the MLB leader (Headley) for last year for any position is projected for half that?

I’m sure anyone could pick apart these, but just look at the overall numbers being projected and say “hey, my O’s are elite in D’ and projected again to be a top 5 team in that arena”

Orsulakfan
Guest
Orsulakfan
1 year 2 months ago

I thought Snider, who I think will get the bulk of the playing time in RF for the Orioles, was considered a good defender. I haven’t seen the stats, though. I would anticipate improvement from Schoop this season, but those numbers for Manny, much as I love him, seem awfully high.

I am a skeptic of defensive ratings in general, though.

Psy Jung
Guest
Psy Jung
1 year 2 months ago

lol, defense doesn’t affect xFIP disparities

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
1 year 2 months ago

It would be interesting to see how the Rockies numbers would change if the depth charts actually listed them correctly. It has their starting outfield from left to right as Gonzalez/Stubbs/Blackmon. In reality, it’s Dickerson/Blackmon/Gonzalez.

I know that DRS and UZR like Cargo a lot more in right than they do in left, so that’s artificially bringing down their score.

DatDudeJD
Guest
DatDudeJD
1 year 2 months ago

My team is way too low. I don’t like it. Stupid numbers. Also, why didn’t my team receive a write-up? Some major bias there. Writer is clearly a Royals/Cardinals/Yankees homer.

brrrr
Guest
brrrr
1 year 2 months ago

Yadier Molina is twice as good as Jonathan Lucroy on defense? Ok.

Jason Bourne
Guest
Jason Bourne
1 year 2 months ago

This doesn’t take framing into account.

mettle
Guest
mettle
1 year 2 months ago

Help me out here with squaring these numbers.

I go to the depth charts (http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=3) and see yes, RS are listed at -6 at SS because of Bogaerts.
But when I go to his player page (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=12161&position=3B/SS) I have no idea where that number, -6, comes from.

His Depth Chart projection Def is 0.5
Steam projection on Def is -0.2

How do you get -6?

Is this opacity a bug or a feature?

HarryLives
Guest
HarryLives
1 year 2 months ago

That’s not even the best catch I’ve seen Heyward make.

HarryLives
Guest
HarryLives
1 year 2 months ago

Are the Astros really planning to play Gattis anywhere but DH or catcher? They’ve seen Evan Gattis, right? He might not absolutely kill all of his offensive value at first, but in left, we’re talking historically bad.

Joe Joe
Guest
Joe Joe
1 year 2 months ago

Gattis likely is 1B and DH with a game every now and then in LF. Rasmus is my guess for LF. The short porch in Houston should help him a lot.

BoyofSummer
Guest
BoyofSummer
1 year 2 months ago

Cincinnati will have one of the best defenses in 2015. And I’m not talking 9th.

Then again, I’m skeptical that any of the ratings projected here have any credence, regardless of team.

Miguel
Guest
Miguel
1 year 2 months ago

This comment has changed my perspective.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 2 months ago

I have to say that Heyward is still only the second best defender on his own team (maybe third best if you count the bench players). Even at 32 years old, Yadier Molina is still up there with Simmons as among the best defensemen in baseball. It’s just that catchers don’t get as much playing time or fielding chances as shortstops and right fielders do, plus the metrics are further behind in properly evaluating catcher defense than at the other positions.

Besides, Heyward may lose some playing time to Grichuk (who while solid defensively is still no Gold Glover) if he still has trouble hitting lefties.

oh Hal
Guest
oh Hal
1 year 2 months ago

Molina’s defense has been declining the past couple years. The reputation carries on though.

Bruh
Guest
Bruh
1 year 2 months ago

“Besides, Heyward may lose some playing time to Grichuk”

No he will not.

gnomez
Guest
gnomez
1 year 2 months ago

“Jed Lowrie, who is a butcher at shortstop”

The same Jed Lowrie who has a career UZR of -1.1 in over 4000 innings at the position, and is above-average elsewhere in the infield? I mean, he’s no Andrelton Simmons, but he’s certainly not a terrible fielder.

K
Guest
K
1 year 2 months ago

And -32 DRS

Interesting
Guest
Interesting
1 year 2 months ago

DRS paints a different picture all together.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 2 months ago

I like that all of the runs Andrelton Simmons’ defensive wizardry are expected to save are bled out at the Braves’ other defensive positions. Sans Simmons, they would be bottom three.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 2 months ago

A better hypothetical would be taking away each teams’ best player. Then, they’d be 5th worst, as the Cubs lose Rizzo and the Mets lose Lagaras.

Erik Trenouth
Guest
Erik Trenouth
1 year 2 months ago

I’m curious as to why the projection for Dalton Pompey’s defense is so bad. He is given a 55 current value and 60 future value by you guys, yet you give the Jays a -1 in CF, where your depth charts show him getting ~2/3 of the starts. Something isn’t adding up here. The Jays should be a top 10 defense, and the most improved over last year, even with Reyes pulling them down.

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