Daily Notes: Speed and Defense Leaders, Laggards

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Speed and Defense Leaders, Laggards
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Speed and Defense Leaders, Laggards
Introduction
This past November the author wrote a piece examining the value of elite speed as measured in wins — which it to say, those sorts of wins as might be produced by baserunning and (in this case) outfield defense.

What follows is a sort of conceptual relative of that brief study, insofar as the object has been to identify those players who have been most productive this season by means of baserunning and defensive ability alone. What the author has done is find, for each player, both his baserunning runs and also his total of defensive runs saved (UZR) with the positional adjustment from WAR included.

While the caveats regarding single-season defensive numbers absolutely apply in this instance, one will also observe that, by including positional adjustments, as well, that the effect of the volatility of those same numbers over a small sample is somewhat muted.

Speed and Defense Leaders
Here are the top-10 players this season by the methodology outlined above. Run is runs produced by means of baserunning. Def is a combination of UZR and the positional adjustment from WAR. Tot is a combination of those two figures.

Name Team PA Run Def Tot
Andrelton Simmons Braves 488 -1.0 22.7 21.7
Carlos Gomez Brewers 437 4.8 15.7 20.5
Manny Machado Orioles 514 -1.0 21.5 20.5
Shane Victorino Red Sox 356 2.6 16.0 18.6
A.J. Pollock D-backs 334 2.4 16.2 18.6
Nolan Arenado Rockies 356 0.0 17.9 17.9
Russell Martin Pirates 361 0.2 17.6 17.8
Lorenzo Cain Royals 386 -0.3 17.5 17.2
Elvis Andrus Rangers 500 8.0 7.6 15.6
Alexei Ramirez White Sox 479 4.1 11.0 15.1

Speed and Defense Laggards
Here are the bottom-10 players by speed and defense, according to the methodology outlined above.

Name Team PA Run Def Tot
Adam Dunn White Sox 437 -2.6 -17.5 -20.1
Prince Fielder Tigers 506 -3.0 -15.2 -18.2
Lucas Duda Mets 269 -2.0 -16.1 -18.1
Raul Ibanez Mariners 367 -2.6 -14.9 -17.5
Chris Carter Astros 402 -2.9 -13.7 -16.6
Paul Konerko White Sox 347 -5.9 -10.6 -16.5
Kendrys Morales Mariners 464 -3.9 -12.0 -15.9
Victor Martinez Tigers 475 -5.5 -10.4 -15.9
Maicer Izturis Blue Jays 357 -2.2 -13.6 -15.8
Michael Cuddyer Rockies 387 0.0 -15.6 -15.6

Three Notes
• Cleveland outfielder Michael Bourn, the player who most distinguished himself in that November study for producing wins by means of speed and defense, ranks only 96th among all major leaguers this season, at +5.0 runs total.

• Among players with more than 100 plate appearances recorded this season, Yankees (and former Dodgers) infielder Luis Cruz has produced the highest rate of speed and defense runs produced, with 41.7 of them for every 600 plate appearances. Among players with more than 300 plate appearances, Arizona’s A.J. Pollock is first overall, at 33.4 runs per 600 plate appearances.

• A complete page featuring every player is available here.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Miami at Atlanta | 19:30 ET
Jacob Turner (77.1 IP, 109 xFIP-, 1.4 WAR) faces Brandon Beachy (10.0 IP, 105 xFIP-, -0.2 WAR). While the latter has done less in the way of “preventing runs” then he’d likely prefer, he’s managed an 11.5% swinging-strike rate over his first two major-league starts — i.e. very similar to the mark from his excellent 2011 season.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Atlanta Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.3.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Kyle Gibson MIN 3 3 4 1 6 CHA John Danks 14:10
Jered Weaver LAA 4 7 6 7 6 CLE Scott Kazmir 19:05
Rick Porcello DET 8 8 8 3 9 NYA Ivan Nova 19:05
John Lannan PHI 2 1 4 2 7 WAS Dan Haren 19:05
Jarrod Parker OAK 3 6 5 6 5 TOR Esmil Rogers 19:07
Andrew Cashner SD 6 6 5 3 4 CIN Bronson Arroyo 19:10
Jacob Turner MIA 6 2 6 8 7 ATL B. Beachy* 19:30
Jake Peavy BOS 7 8 7 6 7 KC Ervin Santana 20:10
Liam Hendriks* MIN 6 3 5 1 7 CHA Chas. Leesman* 20:10
Matt Garza TEX 5 3 3 4 1 HOU Erik Bedard 20:10
Chris Rusin CHN 3 5 5 3 7 STL Lance Lynn 20:15
Francisco Liriano PIT 9 7 6 7 3 COL J. de la Rosa 20:40
Jeremy Hefner NYN 5 6 6 2 9 AZ Patrick Corbin 21:40
Kyle Lohse MIL 5 4 4 5 3 SEA Joe Saunders 22:10
David Price TB 8 10 7 3 5 LAN Chris Capuano 22:10
Chris Tillman BAL 4 9 4 5 2 SF R. Vogelsong 22:15

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.



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Matthew
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Matthew

I’m amazed the Rockies still have a 7 NERD score. They’ve been pretty close to unwatchable since the All-Star break

rusty
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rusty

IIRC from the last time the team NERD breakdown was posted, they were quite poor in Runs/G and HR%, but made up for it with youth, speed, defense, cheapness, and (at least until that Atlanta four-gamer) their better-than-their-record run differential.

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