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21 Players Whose Fielding Could Affect Their Fantasy Value

Do any of you use fielding in your fantasy leagues? No. If by some fluke that’s incorrect, the stat being used is something asinine like errors. So it’s not surprising that we utterly ignore fielding when it comes to fantasy baseball analysis.

Major league teams are not ignoring fielding. When it comes to building a competitive roster, they’re relying on fielding more and more – especially teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics. Those teams are using fielding values to set playing time, and while fielding is meaningless to fantasy owners, playing time is potentially the most important stat (even though it’s not directly counted). Out there, lurking in your player universe, are guys with solid hitting stats and terrible fielding numbers. In some cases, real world teams will catch on and use a defensive replacement or more-than-occasionally sit the bat-first player.

I wanted to identify a list of players who might sit more than their fantasy owners would like for defensive reasons. I used the standard advanced stats on our leaderboards (UZR, UZR/150, DRS, and def) with a minimum requirement of 500 innings in the field last season. I removed catchers because they were annoying me. The table should be sortable, it’s initially organized by UZR/150. The Def column includes the position adjustment which is why a shortstop can have bad UZR and DRS scores and a decent looking Def.

Let’s pluck out some names. The actual table is at the bottom.

1. Matt Kemp, CF

Kemp was never a good defensive center fielder, but a return from ankle surgery can’t possibly help. Fantasy owners are stashing Kemp in the hopes of a mid-season star. I’m calling that a bad idea. The Dodgers could get Kemp into the lineup as the left fielder, which means Carl Crawford‘s playing time may be affected. Meanwhile, I’m expecting Andre Ethier to play fairly regularly.

2. David Freese, 3B

The advantage with Freese is that there really isn’t anyone backing him up. It’s also unclear if Mike Scioscia would even consider a late game defensive replacement. This is one to monitor.

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

Well, he’ll almost certainly lose third base eligibility next season. That’s a shame.

4. Michael Saunders, CF

I didn’t know this, but Saunders is actually pretty bad in center field (I thought he was acceptable). With Abraham Almonte competing for playing time, Saunders could quickly move down the defensive spectrum. Luckily for him, Corey Hart is in no way an outfielder and Dustin Ackley is on thin ice in left.

5. Adam Dunn, DH

We’ll see how Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko split designated hitter. I have a feeling Konerko isn’t going to hand Dunn the job as many assume (that may be because they both struggle). Jose Abreu is banged up at the moment, so there’s that.

6. Michael Cuddyer, OF

Cuddy is really terrible in the outfield. That hasn’t stopped the Rockies in the past (ahem, Brad Hawpe), but they do have four center fielders at their disposal. Cuddyer almost certainly will be subbed out late in games and benched in certain match-ups. The only redeeming factor is that he could push Justin Morneau out of the lineup rather than sit.

7. Carlos Beltran, OF

The Yankees have defensive replacement Ichiro Suzuki hanging out on the bench and Alfonso Soriano isn’t terrible in the field. Unfortunately for Beltran, he’ll have to share designated hitter with Soriano, Brian McCann, and Derek Jeter (at least). He’ll be a little frustrating to own if you don’t have a deep roster. When he does start, a defensive replacement is almost guaranteed.

8. Rickie Weeks, 2B

He’s been pretty awful in the field these last two seasons. With Scooter Gennett pushing for playing time, the few of you hoping for a Weeks renaissance will be disappointed.

9. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

Cabrera has always been a poor fielding shortstop. Francisco Lindor is getting close, and that proximity could interfere with Cabrera’s playing time later in the year. He could also move to third for the Indians which would probably hurt Lonnie Chisenhall and/or Yan Gomes most. A trade is possible, perhaps probable (maybe the Angels solve their Freese problem with Cabrera).

10. Melky Cabrera, OF

Another Cabrera. If he doesn’t tap back into his modest power stroke, he will find himself cut in short order. The glove isn’t the only reason why, but it’s not helping.

11. Will Venable, CF

I really like Venable, but he’ll get stuffed back into some kind of platoon if/when Cameron Maybin returns to action. He’s not a center fielder but he’s perfectly adequate in a corner. He’s just competing with way too many decent players in the Padres outfield. Chris Denorfia also loses value when Venable is bumped back to the corner.

12. Logan Morrison, 1B

Not that anybody is drafting Morrison for anything but “maybe Smoak gets hurt,” but I can’t rule out Morrison as Plan B to Hart or Ackley. If so, it shouldn’t take long to figure out that he doesn’t belong in the outfield.

13. Nick Franklin, 2B

It’s a tiny sample, but poor defensive marks at second base lead me to believe that maybe he isn’t a shortstop. That cuts his fantasy potential substantially.

14. Jed Lowrie, SS

Lowrie isn’t a good shortstop, but he should slide straight over to second base when Addison Russell gets the call. That mostly affects players who aren’t fantasy assets like Alberto Callaspo, Eric Sogard, and Nick Punto.

15. Will Middlebrooks, 3B

There’s more pressure on his bat than glove, but if both aren’t on track by sometime in May then Garin Cecchini could get a look.

16. Dan Uggla, 2B

We make a big deal about his bat, but if you look at all major league second basemen, he’s perfectly adequate with the stick. The problem has always been the glove. I’m not sure the Braves have enough margin of error to live through another year of Uggla at second. It’s a shame they don’t have the balls to go with the better option. At some point, Uggla will lose his job entirely and some sad sack fantasy owner will lament his passing.

17. Matt Holliday, OF

Holliday has been getting progressively worse in the field. The Cardinals have the personnel to do some late game substitutions.

18. Nick Markakis, OF

It’s about time for the Orioles to move on from Markakis. He was a replacement player last year – in part because he’s a poor fielder. They should start phasing him out this season if they’re smart.

19. Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B

The problem isn’t his defense so much as the roster crunch. The Mets are itching to see Eric Young in the infield. Who knows what’s up with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda. Murphy won’t lose playing time, he’ll either move to first base more regularly or get traded. The funny thing is, I think the Mets will be close enough to contending that they might care about a few defensive runs here and there. That’s a prediction for Atlanta and Washington to substantially underperform expectations – the Mets will still have a bad team.

20. Torii Hunter, OF

Hunter turned in a poor defensive season in 2013. I just got done saying I won’t bet against this guy, but the Tigers do need to at least put a backup plan in place for 2015. With the potential for his bat to fade at any time, a +15 run outfielder could possibly outperform Hunter.

Not Listed

Corey Hart, OF

Stop the madness. It shouldn’t take the Mariners too long to figure out that whatever modest benefit Hart provides with the bat is returned threefold in the field. Saunders should slide into right field full time once sanity checks in.

The Table

Num Name Team Inn UZR UZR/150 DRS Def
1 Eduardo Nunez NYY 608.1 -20.6 -40.7 -28 -17.4
2 Matt Kemp LAD 576.1 -16.2 -35 -6 -15.3
3 Alexi Amarista SDP 507.1 -12.3 -28.1 -5 -11.4
4 Juan Francisco MIL 532.1 -8.7 -27.1 -3 -13.2
5 Raul Ibanez SEA 824.1 -16.7 -25.9 -19 -20.9
6 David Freese STL 1050.2 -16.5 -22.7 -14 -14.7
7 Delmon Young – – – 503.1 -9.4 -22.2 -10 -12
8 Michael Young – – – 890.2 -14 -20.2 -20 -12.5
9 Miguel Cabrera DET 1234.2 -16.8 -19.9 -18 -14.6
10 Michael Saunders SEA 627.2 -9.6 -19.7 -14 -8.5
11 Adam Dunn CHW 627 -8 -19.1 -12 -13.4
12 Michael Cuddyer COL 992 -13.4 -18.9 -16 -18.5
13 Carlos Beltran STL 1138.1 -15.3 -18.7 -6 -21.1
14 Shin-Soo Choo CIN 1333 -16.9 -17 -17 -14.6
15 Rickie Weeks MIL 815.2 -9.7 -16.9 -15 -8.3
16 Asdrubal Cabrera CLE 1099.2 -12.8 -16.8 -16 -7.1
17 Ronny Cedeno – – – 627.2 -7.6 -16.6 -5 -4.3
18 Aramis Ramirez MIL 657 -5.6 -16 -12 -4.5
19 Ryan Zimmerman WSN 1245.2 -14 -14.9 -1 -11.9
20 Melky Cabrera TOR 620.2 -7.3 -14.8 -5 -10.5
21 Will Venable SDP 594 -7.2 -14.5 -4 -10.2
22 Logan Morrison MIA 691.2 -7.5 -14.3 -4 -13.4
23 Justin Upton ATL 839.2 -8.1 -13.9 -8 -12.4
24 Derek Dietrich MIA 502.1 -5.9 -13.7 -6 -5.1
25 Domonic Brown PHI 1123.2 -10.7 -13.6 -7 -16.5
26 Brandon Moss OAK 801.2 -6.5 -12.2 -12 -13.4
27 Josh Willingham MIN 607.2 -6.3 -11.9 -8 -9.4
28 Aaron Hicks MIN 701.1 -6.9 -11 2 -5.7
29 Angel Pagan SFG 579.2 -4.8 -10.9 -9 -3.8
30 Edwin Encarnacion TOR 698.2 -5.7 -10.8 -8 -11.7
31 Adeiny Hechavarria MIA 1297.1 -9 -10 -3 -2.3
32 Giancarlo Stanton MIA 1031.1 -7.8 -9.9 -7 -13.1
33 Dayan Viciedo CHW 892.2 -6 -9.7 -5 -10.6
34 Nick Franklin SEA 828.1 -6.8 -9.6   -5.3
35 Jordy Mercer PIT 594 -4.7 -9.4 -2 -1.6
36 Jed Lowrie OAK 1023.1 -6.8 -9.2 -18 -1.5
37 Chris Johnson ATL 1020 -6.6 -8.6 -6 -4.9
38 Trevor Plouffe MIN 1035.2 -7.4 -8.6   -5.6
39 Paul Konerko CHW 652.2 -4.1 -8.5 -3 -9.7
40 Christian Yelich MIA 505.1 -2.9 -8.5 -2 -5.5
41 Will Middlebrooks BOS 797.2 -4.3 -8.3 -8 -2.9
42 Jose Reyes TOR 793 -5.3 -8 -4 -1.3
43 Adam Jones BAL 1394 -6.8 -7.9 -2 -4.4
44 J.B. Shuck LAA 765.2 -4.4 -7.8   -8.3
45 Jon Jay STL 1285.2 -7.3 -7.5 -10 -5.1
46 Omar Quintanilla NYM 814 -4.6 -7.5 -8 -0.4
47 Erick Aybar LAA 1203 -6.6 -7.5 -7 -0.4
48 Josh Hamilton LAA 717 -4.4 -7.4 -8 -8
49 Adam Lind TOR 620 -3.9 -7.4 -7 -9.2
50 Dan Uggla ATL 1161.2 -5.9 -7.1 -19 -3.9
51 Matt Holliday STL 1150.1 -5.1 -7 -13 -11
52 Desmond Jennings TBR 1188.2 -5.8 -7 -6 -3.7
53 Jonny Gomes BOS 634 -1.7 -6.6   -4.9
54 Nelson Cruz TEX 906.1 -4.3 -6.5 -3 -8.9
55 Pablo Sandoval SFG 1152 -4.7 -6.3 -5 -2.7
56 Jason Kipnis CLE 1292.1 -6.3 -6.3 -1 -4.1
57 Chris Parmelee MIN 525 -2.2 -6.1 4 -4.9
58 Nick Markakis BAL 1381 -6.6 -5.8 -7 -13.7
59 Daniel Murphy NYM 1334.1 -4.9 -5.3 -13 -2.6
60 Torii Hunter DET 1236.1 -4.1 -5.1 -10 -10.5
61 Carlos Quentin SDP 556 -1.7 -5.1 -5 -4.6
62 Justin Smoak SEA 1084.1 -4.2 -5 -8 -13.5
63 Justin Ruggiano MIA 709 -2.8 -5 -5 -1.6
64 Michael Brantley CLE 1293.1 -4.1 -4.9 2 -10.8
65 Prince Fielder DET 1323.2 -5.2 -4.8 -13 -16.5
66 Andre Ethier LAD 645.1 -1.8 -4.7 -3 -0.7
67 Lonnie Chisenhall CLE 697 -2.4 -4.6 1 -1.2
68 Placido Polanco MIA 849.2 -2.4 -4.5 3 -0.9
69 Austin Jackson DET 1145.2 -3.8 -4.5 3 -1.8
70 Garrett Jones PIT 618 -2 -4.4 -1 -7.3
71 Aaron Hill ARI 741 -2.3 -4.2 -9 -1.1
72 Alejandro De Aza CHW 888.2 -2.7 -4.1 -18 -1.2
73 Todd Helton COL 910.1 -3.3 -4.1   -11.1
74 Jayson Werth WSN 1072 -3.3 -4.1 1 -8.8
75 Alberto Callaspo – – – 769 -2.1 -3.7 -6 -0.8
76 Ben Revere PHI 708 -2.3 -3.6 -5 -1.1
77 Gaby Sanchez PIT 652.1 -1.7 -3.6 -3 -7.3
78 Bryce Harper WSN 800.1 -2 -3.6 4 -6.2
79 Starlin Castro CHC 1418 -3.3 -3.5 -8 4
80 Juan Pierre MIA 564.1 -1.1 -3.4 4 -4
81 Kyle Seager SEA 1425 -3.8 -3.2 -8 -1.3
82 Ike Davis NYM 781 -1.8 -3.1 1 -8.5
83 Jose Altuve HOU 1261.2 -2.1 -3 -3 0.1
84 Conor Gillaspie CHW 940 -2.4 -2.9 -4 -0.8
85 Dexter Fowler COL 921.1 -1.9 -2.8 -3 -0.3
86 Jimmy Rollins PHI 1318.1 -2.7 -2.7 -15 4.1
87 Wil Myers TBR 604.2 -0.9 -2.5 -4 -4
88 Matt Dominguez HOU 1312.1 -2.4 -2.4 8 -0.1
89 Ryan Howard PHI 650 -0.9 -2.1 -1 -6.5
90 Matt Carpenter STL 1108 -1.6 -2   0.3
91 Adam LaRoche WSN 1272 -2.3 -2 1 -13.2
92 Coco Crisp OAK 919 0.1 -1.8 6 1.7
93 Everth Cabrera SDP 847.2 -1.1 -1.7 -3 3.2
94 Chris Davis BAL 1377.2 -1.2 -1.4 -7 -13
95 Adrian Beltre TEX 1289.2 -1.2 -1.4 -5 1
96 Gordon Beckham CHW 884.1 -0.5 -1.3 -3 1
97 Marco Scutaro SFG 1033.2 -0.8 -1.2 -7 1
98 Ian Kinsler TEX 1095.1 -1 -1.2 11 0.9
99 Nate Schierholtz CHC 1041 0.2 -1.1   -5.1
100 Jean Segura MIL 1251 -1.1 -1.1 3 5.3
101 Didi Gregorius ARI 894.2 -0.6 -1 -1 4
102 Michael Bourn CLE 1098.1 -0.5 -0.9 3 1.3
103 Justin Morneau – – – 1189.1 -0.8 -0.8 5 -11
104 Neil Walker PIT 1144 -1.4 -0.8 9 0.6
105 Brian Dozier MIN 1255.1 -0.9 -0.7 9 1.3
106 Brad Miller SEA 561 -0.2 -0.5 -2 2.7
107 Matt Adams STL 597.2 -0.5 -0.5 -2 -5.6
108 Pedro Alvarez PIT 1328.1 -0.3 -0.4 3 1.9
109 Mike Trout LAA 952.2 0.1 -0.3 -9 1.7
110 Brett Gardner NYY 1166.1 -0.5 -0.3 6 1.5
111 Drew Stubbs CLE 785 0.1 -0.2 -6 -3.9
112 Brett Lawrie TOR 888.2 -0.1 -0.1 4 1.4
113 Ryan Braun MIL 503 0.2 0.3 4 -2.4
114 Hanley Ramirez LAD 651 0.2 0.5 3 3.6
115 Emilio Bonifacio – – – 710.2 0.5 0.9 10 1.7
116 Robinson Cano NYY 1350.1 0.8 1.3 6 3.1
117 Mark Reynolds – – – 500 0.6 1.6 -5 -3.7
118 B.J. Upton ATL 975.1 1.1 1.6 2 2.7
119 Jedd Gyorko SDP 1008 1.7 1.8 -1 3.4
120 Chase Utley PHI 1071 1.5 2 -4 3.4
121 Joey Votto CIN 1430.2 2.2 2.1 6 -10.1
122 Eric Hosmer KCR 1372.1 2.5 2.2 3 -9.3
123 Nick Swisher CLE 910.1 1.8 2.2 6 -6
124 Omar Infante DET 1025.1 2 2.4 -5 3.8
125 Eric Sogard OAK 865 1.5 2.6 5 2.9
126 Freddie Freeman ATL 1290.2 2.4 2.6 7 -8.7
127 Marlon Byrd – – – 1168.1 2.1 2.6 12 -3.9
128 Brendan Ryan – – – 854 2.1 3.2 6 6.5
129 Allen Craig STL 775.2 2.1 3.3 -1 -4.5
130 Howie Kendrick LAA 1043.1 2.6 3.4 -3 4.4
131 Donovan Solano MIA 806.1 2.4 3.4 4 3.8
132 David DeJesus – – – 616.2 1.7 3.5 -6 2.7
133 Lyle Overbay NYY 1031 2.7 3.7 5 -6.1
134 Martin Prado ARI 881.1 2.7 3.8   4.2
135 Nate McLouth BAL 1138.2 2.8 3.9   -3.1
136 Alex Rios – – – 1365.2 3.8 4.1 -5 -3.3
137 Brandon Crawford SFG 1226 3.8 4.2 2 10.1
138 Norichika Aoki MIL 1288.1 3.2 4.3 13 -3.4
139 Ian Desmond WSN 1400 4.4 4.4 -3 11.6
140 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1446 5.4 4.4 13 -7
141 Pedro Florimon MIN 1099.2 4.3 4.5 12 9.9
142 Hunter Pence SFG 1431.1 5.5 4.6 -7 -1.9
143 Mitch Moreland TEX 1176 3.6 4.6 1 -6.5
144 Jhonny Peralta DET 935.2 3.5 4.8   8.3
145 Yonder Alonso SDP 771 3.1 4.8 7 -3.5
146 David Wright NYM 1003.1 3.7 4.9 5 5.4
147 Alexei Ramirez CHW 1400.2 5.5 5 1 12.7
148 Elvis Andrus TEX 1288.2 4.6 5 11 11.2
149 Brian Roberts BAL 540.1 2 5.1   2.9
150 J.J. Hardy BAL 1417 6 6.1 8 13.3
151 Eric Young – – – 790.1 3.9 6.2 2 -0.1
152 Brandon Barnes HOU 913 4.8 6.2 7 6.4
153 Adrian Gonzalez LAD 1291 5.7 6.5 11 -5.4
154 Anthony Rendon WSN 714.1 3.4 6.6 -5 4.6
155 Stephen Drew BOS 1093.1 5.3 6.7 -2 10.9
156 James Loney TBR 1277.2 6.1 7.2 4 -4.8
157 Brandon Belt SFG 1174.1 5.1 7.2 4 -5
158 Alfonso Soriano – – – 1163.1 7 7.3 1 1
159 Alex Gordon KCR 1364.1 8.6 7.3 16 1.6
160 Chris Getz KCR 541 3 7.5 5 3.9
161 Jose Bautista TOR 966 5.5 7.6 4 0.6
162 Troy Tulowitzki COL 1029.1 6.6 7.6 6 11.9
163 Zack Cozart CIN 1308 6.4 7.7 4 13.1
164 Mark Ellis LAD 950 5.4 7.8 12 7
165 Vernon Wells NYY 623 3.4 8 5 0.2
166 Pete Kozma STL 1051 6.7 8 8 12.1
167 Chase Headley SDP 1235 7 8.2 5 9.2
168 Jose Iglesias – – – 571.2 3.4 8.3   6.3
169 Andrew McCutchen PIT 1378 6.9 8.4 7 9.3
170 Brandon Phillips CIN 1347 8.6 8.5 1 10.9
171 Anthony Rizzo CHC 1415 8.3 9.2 16 -3.9
172 Carlos Gonzalez COL 857 7.1 9.5 10 2.7
173 Yasiel Puig LAD 773.1 4.7 9.7 10 0.7
174 Denard Span WSN 1300.2 10.2 9.9 3 12.4
175 Mike Moustakas KCR 1129.2 7.6 10 -3 9.6
176 Jay Bruce CIN 1438.2 10.2 10.1 18 2.8
177 DJ LeMahieu COL 750 6.4 10.3 10 7.7
178 Mark Trumbo LAA 1030.2 8.5 10.5 2 -0.4
179 Josh Donaldson OAK 1373 9.9 11.1 11 12.3
180 Dustin Pedroia BOS 1398 10.9 11.7 15 13.3
181 Alcides Escobar KCR 1388.1 10.9 12.1 4 18
182 Yunel Escobar TBR 1320 10.7 12.2 4 17.5
183 Jacoby Ellsbury BOS 1188.1 10 12.9 13 12
184 Andy Dirks DET 868.2 9.4 13.1 6 5
185 Todd Frazier CIN 1256.2 9.7 13.3 5 11.9
186 Mike Napoli BOS 1097.1 9.7 13.3 10 0.3
187 Yoenis Cespedes OAK 801.1 8 13.6 4 3.9
188 Ryan Flaherty BAL 515 5.9 14.1 3 6.8
189 Carl Crawford LAD 835.2 8.6 14.2 1 4.3
190 Clint Barmes PIT 804.1 8.9 14.2 12 13.1
191 Leonys Martin TEX 974.1 10.3 14.3 14 12
192 Ben Zobrist TBR 1017.1 10 14.7 7 11.8
193 Colby Rasmus TOR 1002.2 11.2 15.2 11 12.9
194 David Murphy TEX 980.1 10.8 15.5 8 5.8
195 Darwin Barney CHC 1237.1 12.5 15.5 11 14.7
196 Evan Longoria TBR 1289 14.6 16.2 12 16.8
197 Ichiro Suzuki NYY 993.1 11.6 17.8 7 6.5
198 Luis Valbuena CHC 760.2 8.3 18.6 6 9.7
199 Gregor Blanco SFG 550 7 20 5 7.9
200 Starling Marte PIT 1038.1 10.2 20.1 20 4.9
201 Jason Heyward ATL 697.2 11.6 21 15 8
202 Josh Reddick OAK 966.1 16.4 22.3 13 11.4
203 Nolan Arenado COL 1110 20.7 22.5 30 22.6
204 Lorenzo Cain KCR 761.1 12.8 23.9 17 14.2
205 Andrelton Simmons ATL 1352.1 24.6 23.9 41 31.6
206 Chris Denorfia SDP 530 9.9 24.8 9 7.2
207 Jarrod Dyson KCR 571.2 10.4 25 6 11.3
208 David Lough KCR 577.2 10.8 25.2 10 7.8
209 Carlos Gomez MIL 1242 24.4 27.2 38 26.5
210 A.J. Pollock ARI 915.2 17.4 28.6 15 19
211 Manny Machado BAL 1390 31.2 31.8 35 33.6
212 Gerardo Parra ARI 1042.1 26.6 32.3 36 21.3
213 Juan Lagares NYM 819.2 21.5 33.1 26 22.9
214 Juan Uribe LAD 900.1 24 35.3 15 25.5
215 Shane Victorino BOS 913.1 25 35.3 24 20.3