FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball


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  1. Last year Tigers’ 3B were -8 in terms of defensive runs saved. So let’s say Cabrera is historically bad and is -35 runs that’s still “only” 27 runs over the course of the entire season. While that is certainly alot, when you divide it among starters it isn’t that much. So even if you want to say Cabrera is historically bad, and even if you want to pretend that he starts every game those two are on the mound it should only work out to about 6 runs per pitcher over the course of the entire season. Hardly enough to effect their value fantasy wise. I think the offensive output that they will get by having Cabrera and Fielder playing which should make them win more games will more than offset that.

    Comment by Matt — February 1, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  2. Matt,
    I made a similar point in today’s Valverde thread.

    On the other hand, defense does matter substantially to pitchers, and this article is (correctly) criticizing the Tigers’ entire infield defense. I have less to quibble with in this article.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — February 1, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  3. [Peralta’s] 9.9 UZR in 2011 was based on his ability to avoid errors, an outlier compared to the rest of his career.”

    Can you explain this? My understanding of UZR is that simple error-avoidance shouldn’t substantially impact the data one way or the other, which is exactly why it’s preferable to fielding percentage in the first place, despite its shortcomings. Am I missing something here? Not saying it’s not an outlier (it is), but I don’t think I understand the rationale you give for it here.

    Comment by davisnc — February 1, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  4. For instance, maybe Peralta was really well positioned (either by himself of the coaching staff) before plays last year and thus got to some balls that his speed/athleticism “shouldn’t” allow. I don’t know. Just spitballing.

    Comment by davisnc — February 1, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  5. UZR for infielders is based on three components: range, double plays, and errors. Peralta didn’t make many errors last year, so he was credited with avoiding them. His range and double play components were poor, but he saved +7 runs by not making errors, which is where most of his UZR comes from.

    UZR assumes that errors are made on a relatively easy ball to field, since that’s the rulebook definition of error.

    Comment by Mike Axisa — February 1, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  6. Gah. Sorry to triple up. I’m not sure I made my point/confusion clear. Of course avoiding errors on the plays you’re “supposed” to make will keep your UZR from tanking, but isn’t it that expectation piece that drives the stat? So to have an above-average UZR, you have to be making plays on balls that many of your peers are not, based on hit type and location?

    Comment by davisnc — February 1, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  7. So to have an above-average UZR, you have to be making plays on balls that many of your peers are not, based on hit type and location?

    Yep, exactly. UZR assumes an error 95% of the time on balls in play (the league average), and if you make an error with less frequency, you get credit for making more plays than the average defender.

    Comment by Mike Axisa — February 1, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  8. For fantasy purposes, and especially for these two pitchers, those ~6 runs could be the difference between a useful innings sponge/W’s guy and a borderline unusable pitcher.

    In a standard, 12 team deep league, I already had to hold my nose to swallow starting Porcello – and that was when he had very favorable match ups. Now he isn’t worth considering and Fister moves from easy to roster to bitter pill territory.

    Comment by The A Team — February 1, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  9. so what exactly is the position on what’s going to happen here. you start out by saying nobody expects miggy at 3B to work but all he has to do is get 5 games in for the eligibility, then the rest of the article seems to be written with the assumption that he’ll be over there all season, then oh maybe leyland will play inge at third for the groundball guys but it would surprise you. which is it

    Comment by wily mo — February 1, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  10. Detroit’s infield defense was a mess last year. It will be bad this year but I’m just not seeing a steep dropoff here that would cause me to avoid Fister in drafts. Dude is a stud regardless of who is manning the corners.

    Comment by hernandez17 — February 1, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

  11. Taking this a step further, Fielder, Mcgehee and Betancourt leaving the Brewers and Braun possibly missing 50 games and being replaced by Gomez and Aoki could be the most improved defense in baseball and could make what was a really solid rotation become even better this year. Obviously those changes mean the rotation NEEDS to be better to offset a ton of offense.

    Comment by Ender — February 1, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

  12. UZR can have the unwanted effect of penalizing high range fielders, who are often relatively unfairly tagged with errors on balls other players can’t get to.

    Comment by AA — February 2, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  13. UZR hates Braun, but DRS is fairly neutral on him.

    Comment by AA — February 2, 2012 @ 1:51 am

  14. Braun has turned into an adequate defensive LF but if Gomez is out there you get an elite one. It is a pretty big upgrade defensively.

    Comment by Ender — February 2, 2012 @ 8:56 am

  15. Detroit had Wilson Betemit starting the majority of the games at 3B after acquiring Fister. I understand that Cabrera at 3B should be worse than Betemit (as hard as it is to imagine someone worse than Betemit at 3B…), but considering Fisters numbers improved after moving to Detroit I think you are grossly overestimating the affect that Cabrera will have on Fisters numbers.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — February 2, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  16. So when Fister and Porcello are starting Cabrera plays 1st , Inge plays 3rd and Fielder is the DH. Problem solved!

    Comment by Jimmy Dahmer — February 3, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  17. Aramis Ramiriez isn’t an upgrade over McGehee, but your point is otherwise valid. Greinke and Narveson both had FIP’s well under their ERA and stand to show the most improvement of the group.

    Comment by jerbear1985 — February 6, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  18. I suspect Fister may be a conundrum that defies general regression theories, because at some core level his placement, movement, pitch mix and selective heat have been tuned up to play more sweetly than before. In other words, he’s mastered the art at the right time. At some level, he reminds me of Tiki Barber, who late in his career suddenly became a much better RB. When asked what was different, he clearly stated that he finally realized he didn’t need to be the quickest, fastest or most powerful RB to be successful, he just needed to learn the true art of using his blockers and when to apply what quickness, speed and power was at his disposal. As a fan, in those last days of his career, you could absolutely see what he was talking about…he made yards out of pure savvy.

    Comment by bbboston — February 8, 2012 @ 7:09 am

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