UZR Tidbits Through May 3rd

The Mariners’ new centerfielder was the heavy favorite for the UZR king crown just a few weeks ago, and now the Mariners’ old centerfielder is paving the way for himself. Mike Cameron shot up the charts with a strong showing this week backed mostly on – or rather beside – his right-arm, which accounts for 2.4 of the 6.2 runs. Cameron’s range has been nice as well to the tone of 3.6 runs.

In second place is another former Mariner, Raul Ibanez. Uh, yeah I’m surprised too. A lot of people are going to point to this and say, “See, see! Raul is good!” which is funny, because these are the same people who probably said defensive metrics were lousy just a few months ago. A small sample size tag is implied on these posts, and Ibanez has a nice big sticker next to his. It’s hard to ignore Ibanez UZR track record over the last few years; -12.1, -20.5, and -5.8. You can’t just dump that data in favor of 200 innings worth. Let’s see how Raul continues to do, but it would be quite the outlier and oddity if Ibanez is suddenly rated as a positive defender come September.

Speaking of the Mariners, they are now back on top of the team UZR leaderboard, slightly ahead of the Rays. The Rangers, Brewers, and Astros (!?) round out the top five. The Orioles, Mets, White Sox, Marlins, and Indians are using oven mitts in place of gloves. As are Brian Giles, Cody Ross, and Vernon Wells; the department of silly statistics has those three finishing with UZR/150 of -38 and worse.

Gotta love and hate those small sample sizes.

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19 Responses to “UZR Tidbits Through May 3rd”

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  1. CajoleJuice says:

    I think the most surprising UZR tidbit (at least to a Mets fan) is Daniel Murphy having a positive rating. That alone makes me question UZR.

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    • Anthony says:

      agreed, and it’s good, not just barely good. Perhaps our reactions are jumping the gun.

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      • DK says:

        One would think that maybe seeing relatively comprehensive data that indicates something that conflicts with what one’s anecdotal, emotion-colored observations indicate, it would make one at least question such observations. But apparently not.

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      • Nick says:

        UZR isn’t even close to reliable after 1 month, so it doesn’t matter if he has a positive rating. I would trust your eyes more.

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  2. rfs1962 says:

    The Astros have only one terrible defender, Carlos Lee, and they take him out for defense when they can. Tejada’s not good but not dreadful. Pence and Berkman are outstanding. Bourn has good range. Matsui’s healthy, which helps. Blum has been a plus defender at third base for many years.

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  3. Joel says:

    (astros fan)

    they have been playing impressive defense this year. but its not like they were bad defensively last year.

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  4. Joel says:

    tejada has been making great plays this year

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  5. rfs1962 says:

    If you have not seen the play they made against the Reds in the seventh inning on April 20, it’s worth a look. Bourn plays a double off the wall on one hop, makes a perfect throw to the cutoff man Tejada, who makes another perfect throw to nail the runner at the plate. Seamless and impressive, even though they gave up two runs on the play and lost the game.

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  6. Adam says:

    I always thought that wild year-to-year swings of UZR were not uncommon. I would also imagine that some of the balls that might go for doubles in SafeCo are going for homeruns in Citizen’s Bank Park, which UZR can’t account for.

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  7. Joe says:

    Does the fact that Ibanez is playing in a different park have any impact on his UZR you think?

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    • PhD Brian says:

      I really wonder about park effects on UZR. It seems like it shoulld be significant. Can anyone help me out with this?

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  8. Michael says:

    Fact: Statistics do not have causal effects on the future.

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  9. Dan says:

    I’ve watched most of Raul’s innings this year, he is definitely sketchy out there but gets decent jumps on balls and has made pretty much every play but one when he dove and it went by him for a triple. At the least I’ve been surprised that he hasn’t been a lot worse. He is a solid ballplayer.

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  10. joser says:

    From watching Ibanez at Safeco the past few years, my impression was that he had decent speed when he got going but his reads of the ball off the bat were poor. In particular, he was ok at judging its lateral movement (left and right) but terrible at estimating its arc, which meant he was slow going back or coming in on the ball — and also meant his routes were “Family Circle” style excursions where he’d move over smartly and then wander forward and back to get under it rather than running straight to where it was headed. His limitations going in or back on the ball meant that he almost never caught one at the wall — it would go over his head and bounce on the warning track — and he was notorious for doing feet-first sliding traps of balls that bounced just in front of him (meaning they fell for hits rather than getting caught for outs, and sometimes they got past him for extra bases). In a park with less depth in left field (Citizen’s Bank has a 369 ft left power alley, vs 390 ft in Safeco), his particular limitations may be masked quite a bit.

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    • B says:

      I mentioned that when he first signed. CBP is a much easier left field to man then Safeco. Ibanez runs fairly well, whereas Burrell ran like a nose tackle in football he couldn’t get to half the balls Ibanez gets to.

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      • Joe says:

        Yea, but at least he can run through a wall with that style, which would make the casual fan THINK he was a great defender. :)

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  11. A friend urged me to read this page, nice post, fanstatic read… keep up the good work!

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