As explained in the overview post, here, this is part of a series looking at the best and worst defensive performers over the past three combined seasons. Rankings are done by adding a player’s UZR with his aggregate positional adjustment so as to level the playing field with regards to difficulty. Essentially, it’s removing the grading curve.
Previously I covered the fifth best, Ryan Zimmerman and his 43.7 runs above average. Tonight, the fourth best player from 2007-9: SS Omar Vizquel.
It’s pretty remarkable that even during a period of time that covers his age 40-42 seasons, Vizquel still outperformed so many others on the defensive field. Also remarkable is that Vizquel amassed the needed counting numbers in just 299 games over the three year period.
Granted, Vizquel is on this list because of his terrific performance in 2007. He posted a 20.2 UZR that year in 143 games at shortstop for the Giants. Of his total 45.8 runs, 26.9 came from that year alone. He was also so poor with the bat that year (.621 OPS, .276 wOBA) that it canceled out his entire contribution from his stellar defensive play and positional adjustment.
If I repeat this next winter, it is clear that Vizquel will be nowhere near the top. He’ll lose out on his fabulous 2007 season and if he even plays this coming season, it’s going to be in an even further reduced role. Still, it’s been a remarkably long career for a player with one of the best reputations for glove work in recent memory.
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