John Dewan: Jeter vs Ryan and 10×10 Buckets

When it comes to defensive analytics, two things are certain: It remains an inexact science and Baseball Info Solutions is at the forefront. Much of BIS’s groundbreaking work is included in the aptly-named “The Fielding Bible” — volume III is now available — which was edited by John Dewan and Ben Jedlovec.

Dewan was a panelist at this year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and between sessions he talked about a notable improvement to the Defensive Runs Saved system — and why Derek Jeter costs his team a lot of runs.

——

On Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan: “In the first book, six years ago, Bill James wrote an article comparing Derek Jeter to Adam Everett. He showed that, no matter how you cut it, Derek Jeter couldn’t carry Adam Everett’s glove. At that point, Jeter had two Gold Gloves. Did Bill’s article have any effect? No. Jeter won three more Gold Gloves. My conclusion is that whomever is voting didn’t read his article.

“For the new edition, I decided that we needed to take another shot at comparing Jeter to some of the best shortstops in baseball. Last year, the best shortstop in baseball was Brendan Ryan. Ryan saved 18 runs and Jeter cost his team 15 runs. That’s a 33-run advantage for Ryan over Jeter.

“There’s a line that goes out to the normal shortstop position, and to the right of that line — toward the second base side — shortstops fielded 13,000 grounders last year. To the third base side, they fielded 7,000 balls.

“To the second base side — the side where more grounders are hit — the average shortstop fielded 65 percent over that area. Interestingly, Ryan and Jeter — the best and worst defensive shortstops in the league — had essentially the same percentage. Ryan was league average, at 65, and Jeter was at 64.

“Why did Jeter finish last at his position? Let’s look to other side of the line and break it down [by segments]. On balls hit to the third base-shortstop hole, MLB shortstops averaged 82 percent on balls hit to that [nearest] 7-foot slice. Ryan was at 86 and Jeter was at 73. You go another 7 feet to the right and the average is 61, with Ryan at 78 and Jeter at 40. Go another 7 feet and the average is 34 with Ryan at 56 and Jeter at 16. Go even deeper in the hole, where the average is just 8 percent, Ryan is at 13 and Jeter is at 0. He can’t make that play at all. Essentially, the whole difference between the best and worst shortstops was on balls hit to their right.”

On the Batted-Ball Timer: “We’ve improved a couple of areas that are really going to make a big difference to our metrics. A lot of people are familiar with the plus/minus system, which is a primary component of our Defensive Runs Saved System, and we’ve basically revamped that.

“One of the things that we did was include a batted-ball timer, which measures how long it is from the time the ball hits the bat until it reaches a field-able location. Using that, we’re now able to get a more objective estimate — a more objective decision — of how long a fielder has to get to a ball. We have video scouts accumulating that data for us and we do multiple pass checks to make sure that it’s correct.

“We feel that the batted-ball timer gives us very accurate and objective information, and combined with the location of the batted ball, we’re able to more precisely determine [range]. Say, for example, a ground ball is hit 65 mph and 10 feet to the right of the shortstop position. We can see how often a shortstop gets to that ball, with an example being the comparison between Jeter and Ryan.

“We break the whole field down into buckets, so we know by 10×10 regions in the outfield, in different amounts of time, how difficult those plays are. Using those difficulty elements and comparing, say, Austin Jackson in a bucket 50 feet to his right, when the ball hangs up for 4.2 seconds, he makes that play 80 percent of the time while the average centerfielder only makes it 50 percent of the time.

“The data is pretty consistent with the old system, but there are some changes. Some players improved under the new system and some got worse. One example of a player who got better is Alex Gordon. He’s not rated quite as well for his range, but his arm is unbelievable — he won a Gold Glove because of his arm — and he was among the league leaders in Runs Saved at his position. Even so, when you measure his entire defense, he’s not as good as Brett Gardner. Gardner was the best defensive left fielder in the game last year.”




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David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from February 2006-March 2011 and is a regular contributor to several publications. His first book, Interviews from Red Sox Nation, was published by Maple Street Press in 2006. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA

70 Responses to “John Dewan: Jeter vs Ryan and 10×10 Buckets”

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  1. Hejuk says:

    Should shortstops be lining up more toward second base, if something like twice as many balls are hit there as to their right?

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    • Snapper says:

      Yeah, that’s a good point.

      Completely without thinking, I would have assumed you positioned yourself in the middle of the distribution: 50% to your R, 50% to your L.

      That would be my gut assumption as to how to maximizes the balls you fielded.

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      • Bryan says:

        Is it that simple? Almost all shortstops are right-handed, so plays toward second base are on their glove side and hence easier to handle. David doesn’t give us a percentage of total balls fielded to shortstops’ left (it’s 65% to the right), but it sounds like they’re making a similar percentage of plays on each side, in which case they’re positioned correctly.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        It matters how often the next nearest fielder can get the ball on a particular side. i.e. maybe Jeter is just making room for A Rod.

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      • OlMucky says:

        @Bryan What? You’ve misread the article. It is 65% to the LEFT:

        “To the second base side — the side where more grounders are hit — the average shortstop fielded 65 percent over that area. Interestingly, Ryan and Jeter — the best and worst defensive shortstops in the league — had essentially the same percentage. Ryan was league average, at 65, and Jeter was at 64.”

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    • nayr mit says:

      They already field a high percentage of the balls hit to the second base side (the throw is easier I would assume).

      If anything they should be further away from second because they are missing a lot of the plays in the hole. Chances are they are lined up somewhere near the equillibrium point right now.

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    • Steve the Pirate says:

      I would think this has something to do with covering 2nd base or double play positioning. Looks like even if you play as far toward 3rd as you can while still being able to cover 2nd, you can’t get into the optimal position.

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    • Dave S says:

      Only two players… but the “best” and “worst” players within 1% of each other on the second base side… that information suggests to me that the players already position themselves optimally to make all the “makeable” plays on that side.

      Those are the plays that must be made… or else you can’t play SS. Because thats where most of the balls are hit.

      SSs with better range/arms can position themselves in such a way that they can also get to more balls on the thirdbase side (deeper, farther towards hole), while still being able to cover the “must make” 65% towards second base.

      I’d be interested in seeing the data for all SSs covering the 2b side. Guess I need to buy the Bible! :)

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    • Slartibartfast says:

      Here’s a rough sketch of why SS field twice as many balls to their left:

      First, assume that the spectrum of batted balls is approximately evenly distributed.

      Second, realize that the gloves is on the player’s left side, and therefore he will ALWAYS field more balls to his left no matter what (assuming the spectrum is evenly distributed).

      Third, realize that it’s easier to make plays (throwing with momentum) on field balls hit to your left.

      So, taking that all into account, the optimal positioning would be to maximize the total number of balls you can successfully field, balancing your higher probability left hand chances, and your weaker right hand chances. Hence the correct SS position will be skewed to well to his left.

      What’s interesting is that SS never really think about it in those terms. The game has just been played for so long that it’s players naturally evolve to understand proper positioning.

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        Sorry, I meant to add a point to that third section: since SS can backtrack on the Y axis (go deep behind the second base bag) on balls to their left, but can’t do so on balls to their right, is the last major factor.

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      • Zach says:

        Seems to me that given your reasoning, which I agree with, the optimal positioning would be to the SS’s right of “straight up”, which maximizes the number of balls hit to his left.

        We’re probably saying the same thing with different terminology. Maybe by “the correct SS position will be skewed well to his left” you meant there will be more area to his left.

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      • Dave S says:

        I think all 3 of us are saying the same thing.

        Does anyone do precise “heatmaps” of defensive positioning?

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  2. Shane says:

    I find it humorous that the main problem with Jeter’s defense is his ability to field balls in the ss/3b hole when on ESPN every time a shortstop goes into the “hole” and makes a leaping throw to first it is referred to as “Jeterian.” Perhaps the man cannot go five steps to his right and make a play but he can go two steps to his right and leap in a fadeway manner while barely getting the guy at first. OH DEREK, How you make the simplest play ever appear so complicated. I’ll give you this; The ladies do love it.

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    • VJO says:

      Doesn’t matter what the data says, as long as you look good doing it.

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    • bstar says:

      Speaking of Jeter, have you ever noticed that he has a career UZR on the road of +0.6? This compared to over -43 at Yankee Stadium. What the hell??? Is there a bias against shortstops playing at Yankee Stadium? Do other SS blow a worse UZR also?

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      • MH says:

        Wasn’t that play where he dove into the stands at Yankee stadium too? I mean, based on the frequency of video replays, that play had to be worth, what? Like at least 125 runs.

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      • bstar says:

        It’s disappointing that’s the only reply I got. I just want an explanation.

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      • Tom says:

        Yes and ut’s odd for two reasons:
        - all else being equal, you’d expect a player to be better (or the same) at home
        - On a UZR/150 basis his career #’s have an 11 run difference, that is a massive gap for a sample size that large and would not seem to be random variation. This is a potential ~0.55/WAR yr difference (8-10 career WAR) if it is systematic variation. If that large a gap is random variation, it would make me start to wonder about 3 year UZR samples.

        Looking at the components; both errR and rngR are better on the road; I could almost understand errR if road official scorers give more deference to Jeter when ruling an error – though generally speaking official scores will side with the hometown team on 50/50 type calls. I guess the infield could also be significantly worse in Yankee stadium, but with the exception of artificial turf, I’d imagine most infields in baseball are fairly similar from a quality perspective.

        The Range doesn’t make sense (unless it’s 100ft from 2nd to 3rd in Yankee stadium?). Given the road data is a collection of a lot of different stringers and the home data is probably a smaller sample (unless they rotate people to avoid an issue like this?), if there is a data input bias I would tend to think it’s more likely to turn out to be a problem with the home data.

        Of course that would run contrary to the general SABR view of Jeter.

        Carl Crawford had a rather large split in the other direction and while he had a down year with Boston last year, I wonder with time away from the Trop if it will turn out his defensive skill (which is still quite good) was perhaps a bit overstated (UZR/150 at the Trop ~22.5, everywhere else ~7.5 prior to going to Boston). i think someone over at Tango’s site looked at potential input bias issues (is it BIS that UZR ueses?) and found in some cases that the distribution is not as even across the zones as you’d expect (I could be remembering that completely wrong)

        It would be interesting for someone with the access to the raw data to look at whether the zonal distibution of groundballs to Jeter in Yankee stadium are similar to the distribution on the road (and all of MLB) to see if it is potentially a data input bias issue

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      • bstar says:

        Thanks for the input, Tom. I think a small part of it might be that Yankee LF’s tend to play shallow, while the CF slides over a little to the left and deep to get to those Death Valley balls in leftcenter. The shallow LF may be taking away from Jeter’s putouts, especially when you’ve got superhuman speed like Brett Gardner in left.

        I would really, really like to see Yankee Stadium splits for all SS and see if there is a negative bias there.

        I don’t see enough Yankees games to give a great opinion on Jeter’s defense. I just find these splits striking. It is 10 years of half-season data, or 5 full seasons’ worth. By that time UZR should be painting a pretty clear picture, and it’s not doing that.

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  3. tz says:

    I’d love to see the “UZR Against” or “+/- Against” for batters over the last decade or so. I’d like to see how these would differ by zone between say Ryan Howard and Adam Kennedy.

    It would then be very interesting to see how effective the batted-ball timer is in removing subjectivity from the current state of the art defensive statistics. I think this has great potential to give the defensive metrics a lot more credibility.

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  4. Paul says:

    I’m pretty sure that Jeter used to have problems fielding balls to his left.

    I think the Yankees are lining him up much closer to second base on average — thus making it appear that he can’t get to the balls hit in the hole. However, it’s still the case that he has issues on balls hit to his right.

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  5. Joe Peta says:

    David, this is not in any way a defense of Derek Jeter’s glove. He is as bad a fielder as the data tells us — maybe even worse if, according to some who solely study play-by-play data, you strip out the possible bias of the at-stadium spotters who track batted balls.

    However, I disagree with the assumption that inserting Brendan Ryan in the Yankees’ line up for Jeter would save the Yankees 33 runs.

    Due to what I call the Maddox/Luzinski Pact (based on my teenage observations of the late ’70s Phillies) I suspect the effect of Jeter’s deficiencies is not that great. (In a preview of the defensive disaster which might befell the Detroit Tigers in 2011, I write about the “pact” in detail here: http://tradingbases.squarespace.com/blog/2012/2/23/2012-preview-detroit-tigers.html )

    Briefly, I believe Jeter doesn’t hurt the Yankees as much as the data suggests because defense isn’t the sum of nine different individual talents but rather one unit which can offset the strengths and weaknesses of its members. I tend to think baseball defense resembles the work of offensive lines in the NFL or even the +/- ratings in basketball and hockey which can reveal which teammates work best together.

    Is it possible those factors are more predictive of a team’s defensive efficiency than simply summing the work of each fielder in a vacuum? I ask because it never seems like the Yankees’ defensive efficiency is as bad as analysts would suspect based on the gaping deficiency which exists at the most important defensive position.

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    • LTG says:

      While your point about team defense is undoubtedly in some sense correct, it is not clear that it applies to the Jeter-Ryan comparison. In order to apply it, you’d have to show that someone else on the field would field some of the balls that Ryan would otherwise have fielded that Jeter did not. The only candidate, it seems, is 3B but 3Bs don’t steal many plays from SSs. The SS-3B tandem is not like the LF-CF tandem. 3B don’t cover the hole between 3B and SS on most of the balls that a SS could get to.

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      • adohaj says:

        I agree the theory Joe is talking about seems to apply much better to outfielders than to infielders. I think this is mainly due to the IF positions needing to cover certain bases.

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      • Joe Peta says:

        LTG, While I do think A-Rod gets some of those balls (and positioning can make it “seem” like less to the in-stadium spotter – Colin W. at baseballprospectus has a tremendous article on the certainty of obersever bias) cannibalization is only part of the story. I opine that due to the excellent double play skills of the other three fielders, the lack of walks the pitchers add to the base paths, etc Jeter’s single-granting tendencies do not add up, run-wise, to the “fielding runs allowed” figure that gets assigned him by analysts.

        I’m mobile now so I’m not in front of data, but there have been years when the difference between Jeter and the top shortstop has been so great that replacing Jeter with him would make the Yankees a better fielding team than the historically great (near-term) Rays last year. That just doesn’t seem logical. The hits allowed above average may be right, but I think the effect when converting to runs, is a team-based calculation.

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    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      How would you feel if the author here had included one of the last lines:

      “If Jeter had fielded the same percentage as Ryan in each one of those 6-8 foot areas, he would have turned 38 more hits into outs.”

      To give that context, I’ve estimated Frank Thomas as having 7011 balls in play over his career (10074 PA – 1667 BB – 1397 BB). Omitting ROE and the SB/CS stuff I peg him at a .413 wOBA over his career. Tack on another 38 singles and that goes to .416. That may not seem like a lot, but over his 10K+ PA that difference is worth around 30 runs. (.416-.413)/1.15*10074)

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        Another example, Marquis Grissom, essentially about as opposite as you can get from Frank Thomas had an estimated 7112 balls in play during the time frame of 1990 to present. I’ve got him at a .317 wOBA (he loses quite a few points when not factoring in SB/CS). Add in 38 singles and you get a .320 wOBA. Over those 8872 PAs that’s a difference of 30 runs.

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    • RMR says:

      Has anybody run the correlations of DER vs. summed UZR/DRS?

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    • Shane says:

      The Maddox/Lusinski thing makes sense to me. One outfielder’s range can cover for another’s due to hang time and further distance from home plate. I find it hard to believe Arod (who has been below average at third over his career) has been getting to balls in the hole that Jeter should be getting too. That just makes no sense if you ever played the infield in baseball. I can think of so many variables that would disprove this. Jeter is one of, if not the worst defensive shortstop in MLB history.

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    • bstar says:

      @Joe Peta, I kind of have a theory that the reason Jeter ranks much lower at Yankee Stadium than on the road is because the Yankees play Brett Gardner shallow and Curtis Granderson deep and toward LF to help cover Death Valley in left-center. As a result of Gardner being close and being one of the fastest players in baseball, Jeter is not having to catch nearly as many pop-ups in short left as a regular SS, deflating his value, but increasing Gardners’. Just a theory.

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  6. YanksFanInBeantown says:

    How many of the balls Ryan gets to that Jeter didn’t ended up being fielded by A-Rod? He was one of the best third basemen in the game last year.

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    • Darren says:

      Chris Dial did a great piece in the FBIII that showed third basemen rarely ‘steal’ balls from shortstops. I think only very slow rolling balls between the SS and 3B hole are picked off more by third basemen, but that is a good thing since they are converted to outs at a higher rate than if a SS tried for them.

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    • Woodrum's UZR Article says:

      great point. i remember thinking this about last year with granderson. gardner gets to so many balls that grandy could easily catch, but he doesnt have to. now because theyre routine im sure theyre in the 90% range of being converted into outs… but you take a bunch of those over the course of the year, and grandy is hurt by not being able to nickel and dime his UZR rating up.

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      • bstar says:

        Exactly, Woodrum. I think Gardner also takes a tad away from Jeter’s value by fielding any short pop-up that a shortstop without that fast of a LF would have to deal with.

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  7. Johnny Damon says:

    Come on… as long as a player looks like he’s at maximum effort when making a play, he’s a great defensive player. Simple.

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  8. Jason says:

    “Last year, the best shortstop in baseball was Brendan Ryan. Ryan saved 18 runs and Jeter cost his team 15 runs. That’s a 33-run advantage for Ryan over Jeter.”

    This is just silliness. The Yankees would not have given up 33 fewer runs with Ryan playing shortstop. 1) Balls that get by shortstops are only ever singles. Singles have low run expectancy. Jeter would have to let bushels of balls through to allow 33 real world runs. 2) Though shortstops get a lot of chances, the vast majority of them are very easy. Only the difficult fraction of chances can make a difference. 3) Difficult chances are rare enough that the sample size for measuring them are not meaningful and the number of games they can impact are few.

    For as long as I can remember the SABR crowd has been unthinkingly declaring that the Yankees can’t win with Jeter at shortstop. Every year the Yankees win about 95 games. How many games do the anti-Jeter people think the Yankees would win without him? 100+ every year? …maybe it’s time to start questioning your assumptions?

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    • williams .482 says:

      ““Last year, the best shortstop in baseball was Brendan Ryan. Ryan saved 18 runs and Jeter cost his team 15 runs. That’s a 33-run advantage for Ryan over Jeter.”

      This is just silliness. The Yankees would not have given up 33 fewer runs with Ryan playing shortstop. 1) Balls that get by shortstops are only ever singles. Singles have low run expectancy. Jeter would have to let bushels of balls through to allow 33 real world runs. 2) Though shortstops get a lot of chances, the vast majority of them are very easy. Only the difficult fraction of chances can make a difference. 3) Difficult chances are rare enough that the sample size for measuring them are not meaningful and the number of games they can impact are few.”

      He did “let bushels of balls through.”

      “For as long as I can remember the SABR crowd has been unthinkingly declaring that the Yankees can’t win with Jeter at shortstop. Every year the Yankees win about 95 games. How many games do the anti-Jeter people think the Yankees would win without him? 100+ every year? …maybe it’s time to start questioning your assumptions?”

      I have never seen anyone argue this. I dont think FJM even went that far. The general SABR consensus is that Derek Jeter is A) a first ballot, no doubter deserving hall of famer, and B) overrated and terrible *defensively*.

      Anyone who tried to make that argument is assuming that Jeter, being old, is in a serious decline and will be bad going forward, not that vintage Jeter hurts his team.

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      • Jason says:

        He did “let bushels of balls through.”

        This is false. He did not. The run expectancy of a single is something like 0.46, which means Jeter would have had to allow more than 66 additional singles through the shortstop hole than Ryan. There just aren’t enough difficult balls hit for this to be possible.

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      • Bill says:

        So Jason, let me see if I understand your point.
        Sabre people say Jeter has a bad glove + unaccredited SABR source who represents all SABR people makes a totally irrational statement the the Yankees can’t with with Jeter at short = Assumptions about Jeter’s lack of range are incorrect.

        Let me weigh this against my current belief:
        Scads of empirical data showing Jeter has no range + expert opinions saying Jeter’s range sucks = Assumptions about Jeter’s lack of range are correct.

        I think my current belief is wrong. You have convinced me to question my assumptions about Jeter’s defense. Thank you Jason.

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      • Jason says:

        Bill,

        I never said that Jeter had great or even good or even average range. You made that up.

        Do you believe that every other game Jeter lets a ball through the right side that Ryan would have fielded and turned into an out? Because that is the frequency with which it would have to happen for Jeter to have been 33 real world runs worse than Ryan last year.

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      • williams .482 says:

        A single is worth 0.46 runs over the “baseline” expecation before the PA happened, but the spread in value between a single and and out is more like 0.76 runs.

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      • buddy says:

        “Do you believe that every other game Jeter lets a ball through the right side that Ryan would have fielded and turned into an out?”

        It’s hard to tell for sure. I guess we can look at the rawest of raw stats to see whether this is possible.

        In 2011, Jeter played 1047 innings, and made 140 putouts and and 280 assists for a total of 420 “plays”.

        Ryan played 1060 innings, and made 186 putouts and 371 assists for a total of 557 “plays”. Obviously this is very rough, but it looks like there is a possibility that Ryan was indeed that much better.

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      • bstar says:

        Jason, these aren’t all Sportscenter highlight plays. Probably 3/4 are just real good, solid plays that make you say, “Damn. Brendan Ryan is good. I don’t know how many shortstops can make that play”. Do i think that happened 66 times last year? Yeah, probably.

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    • Sandy Kazmir says:

      Oops look like I should have replied here instead:

      How would you feel if the author here had included one of the last lines:

      “If Jeter had fielded the same percentage as Ryan in each one of those 6-8 foot areas, he would have turned 38 more hits into outs.”

      To give that context, I’ve estimated Frank Thomas as having 7011 balls in play over his career (10074 PA – 1667 BB – 1397 BB). Omitting ROE and the SB/CS stuff I peg him at a .413 wOBA over his career. Tack on another 38 singles and that goes to .416. That may not seem like a lot, but over his 10K+ PA that difference is worth around 30 runs. (.416-.413)/1.15*10074)

      Another example, Marquis Grissom, essentially about as opposite as you can get from Frank Thomas had an estimated 7112 balls in play during the time frame of 1990 to present. I’ve got him at a .317 wOBA (he loses quite a few points when not factoring in SB/CS). Add in 38 singles and you get a .320 wOBA. Over those 8872 PAs that’s a difference of 30 runs.

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      • Jason says:

        Sandy,

        You have singles producing runs 30/38 = 79% of the time. Is this correct?

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        I plugged the components into my wOBA calculator and looked at these players with their actual line and then tacked on 38 singles. PAs stayed the same.

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    • JDanger says:

      “For as long as I can remember the SABR crowd has been unthinkingly declaring that the Yankees can’t win with Jeter at shortstop. Every year the Yankees win about 95 games. How many games do the anti-Jeter people think the Yankees would win without him? 100+ every year? …maybe it’s time to start questioning your assumptions?”

      Haha, thats great, dude. Just make up an argument and refute it. I, personally, can’t believe Yankee fans refuse to wear pants. Maybe it’s time to wear pants, Yankee fans?

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  9. Eric R says:

    Granted it is old data:
    http://www.tangotiger.net/RE9902.html

    The run expectancy table says that with no outs and the bases empty, recording the out is worth 0.66 runs more than allowing a single. .46 runs if there was one out and a quarter of a run if there were two outs.

    With runners on base, assuming when it is an out, a DP is NEVER recorded and runners on base never advance more than one base on a hit and never advance on an out [ie, being extra conservative]-

    The average difference between an out and a hit with one runner on base was a full run for each occurance with 0 or 1 outs and about half that with two outs.

    With two runners on base, the average was about 50% higher; with the bases loaded another 40% on top of that.

    I’m going to guess that those 33 runs would be from something like turning 20-25 balls in plays into outs rather than hits…

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    • Simon says:

      Did you miss the bit when Jason explained that this wasn’t the case because he didn’t think it was possible for Jeter to be that bad.

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      • Jason says:

        show me the data then, thanks….

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      • Joe Peta says:

        Jason, I’m going to take the “over” on bushels, as long as you think 162 less plays made exceed a bushel. That’s the difference between Balt. and NYY shortstops. Here’s the data and a very amusing write-up:

        http://tradingbases.squarespace.com/blog/2012/3/5/2012-preview-new-york-yankees.html

        Note Balt and NYY essentially face the same hitters. Unles . . . . Jeter doesn’t have the opportunity to get to all the ground balls he hits to every other SS in the league. (I kid. I love Jeter.)

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      • Jason says:

        Joe Peta,

        Baltimore and the Yankees may face similar hitters, but they don’t have the same pitching staffs! The Yankees are amongst the top strikeout teams in baseball. Baltimore is absolutely terrible. Baltimore pitchers allow many more balls in play than the Yankees do. Why would you ever expect their shortstop to field the same number of balls as the Yankees shortstop? At least adjust your model for the number of balls in play….

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  10. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Why does Jeter win gold gloves? Just because he looks good fielding? He also played shortstop in front of ARod who I thought was better shortstop when he arrived in NY? When Vizquel played for the Giants he was clearly still a great fielding shortstop, even though he was a shadow of his former self. Same for Brooks Robinson, even as a old guy he could still pick it. I don’t think Jeter was ever a great fielder even in his young days.

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    • Frank says:

      Jeter isn’t the only undeserving Gold Glove winner.

      Gold Gloves are voted on by managers and coaches, who may only see a player a handful of times during the season, and vote mostly on a player’s reputation.

      What I mean is that a voter will see Jeter make a spectacular play (in his opinion) such as the “jump throw,” diving for a ball etc, and that will only further the cement Jeter’s reputation as a good defender in his mind. Also, Jeter – for all his defensive shortcomings – is by all accounts a very smart baseball player and usually finds himself in the right place at the right time.

      Jeter also isn’t a very error prone defender. Many of these voters still look at defense in terms of only how many errors a player has. Combine all these factors and I think that should give you a good look into why he has those Gold Gloves.

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      • Shane says:

        Remeber Palmeiro winning the gold glove at first base in 1999 or 2000 when he played less than 30 games at first.

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    • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

      i didnt know there were commenters on fangraphs that still cared about gold gloves.

      i stand corrected…

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  11. Westside guy says:

    Jeter is a Gold Glove winner, so he can’t be as bad as advertised. That puts him in elite defensive company with guys like Rafael Palmeiro.

    Hmm… can’t find the sarcasm tag…

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  12. pft says:

    Could it be that bad SS position themselves closer to 2B making it look like their range to the left is better than the right?

    Runners probably can advance further on balls hit up the middle than to LF (right of SS), and making a DP is easier if you are closer to 2B, which would explain the positioning strategy.

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    • Dave S says:

      BINGO! Yes. Exactly what I was saying earlier. This would cause the data to show SSs with all relatively equal stats on the 2b side, and exacerbate their differences on the 3b side!

      This is why I would like to see data on all the SSs. (to see if they all fit this profile)

      This why I would like to see “heatmaps” of SS pre-pitch positioning, broken down by runs/outs/batter speed.

      I would also think that SSs with cannon arms can also position themselves deeper (farther from home plate and farther from 1b) because their arms allow it.

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  13. jim says:

    account for cano and a-rod somehow, anyone?

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  14. WIN METHOD says:

    Just more garbage form stat frauds. Most flaws in convoluted defensive metrics have been mentioned here by several posters. None of the flaws can EVER be accurate or fixed by stat frauds as hard as they may try. Defensive metrics have always been useless and meaningless. Then to prove how ignorant the stat frauds are they ridicule professional baseball people for acknowledging who they view as the best defensive players by honoring them with their votes for the Golden glove.

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  15. WIN METHOD says:

    “I’ve always been a big, big fan of Jeter’s — and that was well before I knew anything about him personally,” Ryan said. “I loved the way he played the game, the way he moved, the way he took ground balls. I wanted to look like that, going back to high school.

    The above is a quote from Ryan at YANKEES spring training camp this season. It is amusing to see how in the real world a player like Ryan who Dewans stupid article lauds over Jeter, understands just how great Jeter truly is and says so. Dewans stats are for fools. The real world knows the difference.

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