2018 UZR and UZR Update!

Ultimate Zone Ratings (UZR), provided by Mitchel Lichtman, are now available for the 2018 season! These will update weekly as usual.

In addition to the the new 2018 data, the 2012 through 2017 data has been updated. You might recall that in 2017, there were some changes to the UZR methodology that were to be backported to 2012 – 2016. This has now happened. Here is a brief refresher on what those changes were.

– UZR now uses hit timer data (hang time) rather than hit type designations, which is an improvement on the methodology and thus the results.

– The methodology has changed a little that allows UZR to account for some of the noise associated with imperfect data. The net result of this change is that extreme UZR’s, which were likely caused by, to some extent at least, noise in the data, rather than extreme performance, will be slightly ‘dampened.’ We think that these new values, while very close to the old ones in most cases, more accurately reflect the actual performance of the players in question.

Below you will find the changes of 5 or more runs in each season:

2012

2012 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2012 Curtis Granderson CF Yankees -18.0 -5.4 12.6
2012 Brandon Inge 3B Tigers -0.2 10.1 10.3
2012 Shin-Soo Choo RF Indians -15.5 -7.2 8.3
2012 Miguel Cabrera 3B Tigers -10.9 -3.0 7.8
2012 Michael Morse LF Nationals -9.0 -1.3 7.6
2012 Hunter Pence RF Phillies -7.7 -0.5 7.2
2012 J.D. Martinez LF Astros -7.6 -0.6 7.0
2012 Brennan Boesch RF Tigers -11.5 -4.7 6.9
2012 Dexter Fowler CF Rockies -12.0 -5.2 6.8
2012 Matt Kemp CF Dodgers -12.3 -5.8 6.5
2012 Dayan Viciedo LF White Sox -5.6 0.9 6.5
2012 Rickie Weeks Jr. 2B Brewers -14.2 -8.0 6.2
2012 Carlos Gonzalez LF Rockies -5.4 0.7 6.2
2012 Yoenis Cespedes LF Athletics -9.6 -3.5 6.1
2012 Derek Jeter SS Yankees -13.2 -7.1 6.1
2012 Rajai Davis LF Blue Jays -10.8 -4.9 5.9
2012 Jose Altuve 2B Astros -11.4 -5.6 5.9
2012 Ryan Theriot 2B Giants -8.2 -2.4 5.8
2012 Andrew McCutchen CF Pirates -6.3 -0.7 5.6
2012 Alex Gordon LF Royals 6.4 1.3 -5.1
2012 Ben Revere RF Twins 13.5 8.5 -5.1
2012 Chase Utley 2B Phillies 7.6 2.4 -5.2
2012 Trayvon Robinson LF Mariners 5.3 -0.1 -5.4
2012 Adrian Gonzalez 1B Red Sox 14.3 8.7 -5.5
2012 David Murphy LF Rangers 10.6 5.0 -5.6
2012 Danny Espinosa 2B Nationals 6.5 0.6 -5.9
2012 Alex Presley LF Pirates 8.2 2.1 -6.1
2012 Jon Jay CF Cardinals 5.6 -0.5 -6.2
2012 Chris Young CF Diamondbacks 7.5 1.3 -6.3
2012 David Wright 3B Mets 15.8 9.0 -6.7
2012 Starling Marte LF Pirates 7.6 0.4 -7.2
2012 Peter Bourjos CF Angels 13.6 6.1 -7.5
2012 Michael Bourn CF Braves 21.3 13.8 -7.5
2012 Josh Reddick RF Athletics 13.9 5.9 -8.0
2012 Jason Heyward RF Braves 23.2 11.7 -11.5
2012 Brandon Inge 3B Athletics 8.1 -4.3 -12.4

2013

2013 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2013 Matt Kemp CF Dodgers -18.0 -5.2 12.8
2013 Miguel Cabrera 3B Tigers -17.6 -7.5 10.1
2013 Aaron Hicks CF Twins -10.4 -0.6 9.7
2013 Shin-Soo Choo CF Reds -16.5 -7.3 9.2
2013 Asdrubal Cabrera SS Indians -12.5 -3.8 8.6
2013 Alexi Amarista CF Padres -10.5 -2.3 8.2
2013 Adam Jones CF Orioles -12.8 -5.4 7.4
2013 David Freese 3B Cardinals -17.0 -9.6 7.3
2013 Nick Markakis RF Orioles -9.2 -1.9 7.3
2013 Eduardo Nunez SS Yankees -20.3 -13.0 7.3
2013 Adeiny Hechavarria SS Marlins -9.9 -2.8 7.1
2013 Placido Polanco 3B Marlins -2.4 4.7 7.1
2013 Alex Gordon LF Royals -1.0 5.6 6.7
2013 Carlos Beltran RF Cardinals -10.8 -4.2 6.6
2013 Nori Aoki RF Brewers -4.3 1.8 6.0
2013 Raul Ibanez LF Mariners -11.7 -6.0 5.7
2013 Nick Franklin 2B Mariners -7.1 -1.5 5.6
2013 Charlie Blackmon CF Rockies -7.8 -2.2 5.6
2013 Melky Cabrera LF Blue Jays -6.3 -0.8 5.5
2013 Dayan Viciedo LF White Sox -9.5 -4.1 5.4
2013 Brendan Ryan SS Mariners -0.5 4.8 5.3
2013 Derek Dietrich 2B Marlins -6.2 -0.9 5.3
2013 Domonic Brown LF Phillies -14.6 -9.4 5.1
2013 Chris Johnson 3B Braves -6.1 -1.0 5.1
2013 Adrian Gonzalez 1B Dodgers 6.1 1.0 -5.1
2013 Yunel Escobar SS Rays 10.8 5.7 -5.1
2013 Nolan Arenado 3B Rockies 20.5 15.3 -5.2
2013 David Murphy LF Rangers 7.1 1.9 -5.2
2013 Yoenis Cespedes LF Athletics 6.6 1.3 -5.3
2013 Will Venable CF Padres 7.3 2.0 -5.3
2013 Chris Denorfia RF Padres 6.5 1.2 -5.3
2013 Starling Marte LF Pirates 10.7 5.1 -5.6
2013 Mark Ellis 2B Dodgers 5.7 0.1 -5.6
2013 Mark Trumbo 1B Angels 8.0 2.3 -5.7
2013 Carl Crawford LF Dodgers 8.2 2.2 -5.9
2013 Juan Lagares CF Mets 9.2 3.2 -6.0
2013 Mike Moustakas 3B Royals 6.9 0.3 -6.6
2013 Andy Dirks LF Tigers 10.2 3.3 -6.9
2013 Ben Zobrist 2B Rays 11.3 4.1 -7.2
2013 Carlos Gomez CF Brewers 19.1 11.3 -7.8
2013 Hunter Pence RF Giants 8.3 -0.4 -8.7
2013 Evan Longoria 3B Rays 15.3 6.3 -8.9
2013 Gerardo Parra RF Diamondbacks 17.5 8.5 -9.0
2013 Clint Barmes SS Pirates 8.8 -0.2 -9.0
2013 Jacoby Ellsbury CF Red Sox 14.1 5.1 -9.1
2013 Jarrod Dyson CF Royals 10.1 0.4 -9.7
2013 Manny Machado 3B Orioles 30.3 20.1 -10.2
2013 Juan Uribe 3B Dodgers 25.3 14.8 -10.5
2013 Andrelton Simmons SS Braves 22.8 11.7 -11.1
2013 Colby Rasmus CF Blue Jays 14.1 2.9 -11.1
2013 Shane Victorino RF Red Sox 23.3 12.0 -11.3
2013 A.J. Pollock CF Diamondbacks 16.2 3.8 -12.5

2014

2014 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2014 Torii Hunter RF Tigers -18.7 -8.4 10.4
2014 Nick Castellanos 3B Tigers -16.9 -9.3 7.6
2014 Michael Brantley LF Indians -8.5 -1.0 7.5
2014 Rajai Davis LF Tigers -6.9 0.5 7.4
2014 Matt Kemp LF Dodgers -10.1 -3.6 6.5
2014 Adam Eaton CF White Sox -2.1 4.2 6.3
2014 Dexter Fowler CF Astros -16.0 -9.9 6.2
2014 Colby Rasmus CF Blue Jays -7.8 -1.7 6.0
2014 Matt Dominguez 3B Astros -9.0 -3.1 5.9
2014 Gerardo Parra RF Diamondbacks -3.6 1.9 5.5
2014 Elvis Andrus SS Rangers -5.2 0.3 5.5
2014 Andrew McCutchen CF Pirates -4.6 0.5 5.1
2014 Yunel Escobar SS Rays -15.4 -10.3 5.1
2014 Martin Prado 3B Diamondbacks 2.3 -3.1 -5.4
2014 Ian Kinsler 2B Tigers 14.0 8.4 -5.5
2014 David Lough LF Orioles 7.7 2.3 -5.5
2014 Christian Yelich LF Marlins 14.7 9.1 -5.6
2014 Jarrod Dyson CF Royals 15.3 9.7 -5.6
2014 Jon Jay CF Cardinals 5.8 0.1 -5.7
2014 Jhonny Peralta SS Cardinals 9.5 3.6 -5.9
2014 Jose Ramirez SS Indians 7.2 0.8 -6.5
2014 Dustin Ackley LF Mariners 7.4 0.5 -7.0
2014 Adam Jones CF Orioles 1.7 -5.4 -7.1
2014 Ender Inciarte CF Diamondbacks 11.8 4.1 -7.7
2014 Josh Donaldson 3B Athletics 14.4 6.2 -8.2
2014 Alex Gordon LF Royals 18.1 9.8 -8.3
2014 Chase Utley 2B Phillies 11.5 3.2 -8.4
2014 Billy Hamilton CF Reds 14.7 5.9 -8.8
2014 Kevin Kiermaier RF Rays 15.6 6.5 -9.1
2014 Juan Lagares CF Mets 15.2 5.2 -10.0

2015

2015 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2015 Juan Uribe 3B Dodgers -1.3 6.7 8.0
2015 Jose Bautista RF Blue Jays -7.4 -0.3 7.1
2015 Robinson Cano 2B Mariners -8.9 -2.6 6.3
2015 Pablo Sandoval 3B Red Sox -16.5 -10.3 6.1
2015 Angel Pagan CF Giants -8.9 -2.9 6.0
2015 Marlon Byrd LF Reds -4.8 1.1 5.9
2015 Gerardo Parra CF Brewers -8.5 -2.6 5.9
2015 Avisail Garcia RF White Sox -11.4 -5.7 5.8
2015 Byron Buxton CF Twins -4.0 1.8 5.8
2015 Michael Bourn CF Indians -5.3 0.4 5.7
2015 Matt Kemp RF Padres -13.2 -7.6 5.6
2015 Ben Zobrist 2B Athletics -4.9 0.4 5.3
2015 Johnny Giavotella 2B Angels -6.6 -1.4 5.2
2015 Juan Uribe 3B Braves 2.0 -3.7 -5.7
2015 Nick Ahmed SS Diamondbacks 10.6 4.5 -6.0
2015 Yoenis Cespedes LF Tigers 8.2 1.6 -6.6
2015 Michael Taylor CF Nationals 6.3 -0.3 -6.7
2015 Kevin Pillar CF Blue Jays 15.3 8.1 -7.2
2015 Billy Hamilton CF Reds 12.3 5.1 -7.2
2015 Kevin Kiermaier CF Rays 23.2 11.8 -11.4

2016

2016 UZR Changes
Season Name Position Team Old Range New Range Change
2016 Yoenis Cespedes CF Mets -12.1 -4.0 8.2
2016 Alexei Ramirez SS Padres -15.5 -8.8 6.7
2016 Charlie Blackmon CF Rockies -4.7 1.8 6.5
2016 Rougned Odor 2B Rangers -15.6 -9.4 6.2
2016 Carlos Gonzalez RF Rockies -3.3 2.7 6.1
2016 Justin Upton LF Tigers 0.6 6.0 5.4
2016 Asdrubal Cabrera SS Mets -4.7 0.6 5.3
2016 Nick Ahmed SS Diamondbacks 7.6 2.4 -5.2
2016 Justin Turner 3B Dodgers 15.1 9.8 -5.3
2016 Carlos Gomez CF Astros -2.4 -7.7 -5.4
2016 Addison Russell SS Cubs 16.4 10.8 -5.7
2016 Travis Jankowski CF Padres 12.7 6.2 -6.5
2016 Francisco Lindor SS Indians 21.5 14.3 -7.2
2016 Alex Gordon LF Royals 9.2 1.8 -7.4
2016 Stephen Piscotty RF Cardinals 10.5 3.1 -7.4
2016 Angel Pagan LF Giants 5.5 -2.0 -7.5
2016 Kevin Pillar CF Blue Jays 21.5 12.3 -9.2

2017

None.

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tehzachatak
Member
tehzachatak

This is pretty fascinating. The overall picture on two of the players we would have previously considered as candidates for the best defensive players in the game (Hamilton & Kiermaier) changes substantially.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett

Yeah, these seems like some significant differences for some guys. KK had his 2016 UZR essentially cut in half.

Can someone smarter (or at least who has not been up since 4am) explain if this is a big deal or not?

tehzachatak
Member
tehzachatak

What do you mean by a big deal?

sadtrombone
Member
sadtrombone

So here’s my take: I’ve been noticing for a while that we hadn’t been getting as many “extreme” UZR values in 2017. Some people had interpreted that as a decline in athleticism for a bunch of players, and I had assumed it was because positioning was making elite defenders less valuable. Both may be true (and I think the extreme defense values actually dipped in 2016 too), but what it looks like is that the dip was at least partially related to changing methodology.

In short, if we have an image of someone as providing exceptionally good value with the glove in our head, we should probably temper that a bit until we can check their FG page to see updated results. We shouldn’t think that “glove-first” players like Pillar and Heyward were quite as valuable as their old FG pages made them look. Similarly, guys who were famously disasters in the outfield (like Matt Kemp) are really just regular old disasters (although we should check on the FG to verify).

Also interesting: Adam Eaton’s and Charlie Blackmon’s work in center field looks better under this new measurement.

Resolution
Member

At the surface level this represents a change from more to less crude understanding of the challenge presented to the fielder. Rather than using hit type buckets like flyball, liner, grounder, fliner (or whatever exactly was used), the system is now using hang time data which gives a better sense of what the fielder had to deal with.

Off the top of my head, this probably seems to help remove the effects of fielder positioning a bit (remember back in the day when Brett Lawrie was posting insane fielding numbers but it was due to him playing where the 2b was? Those extreme shift data were removed a while back but smaller shift or positioning effects were never really accounted for). This doesn’t totally remove those effects (UZR doesn’t know exactly where a fielder was positioned) but it provides better date for the model’s understanding of the challenge presented to the fielder.

The new range estimates for fielders *should* be improved – for players who appeared to ‘get worse’ like KK – he’s still elite….just normal elite and not video game numbers elite.

abado
Member
abado

That explains why there is general differences between the new and old UZR (as does this article). But the question remains: why are guys like Billy Hamilton and Kiermaier seeing consistently reduced UZR numbers?

Resolution
Member

It’s a good question – the added granularity of these data may just help reduce the extremes – elite defenders are seeing reduced numbers while poor defenders are seeing improved numbers. It also may be helping with understanding defense in COL’s OF as those players tend to post uniformly negative numbers despite playing a solid defense when playing for other teams.

dbminn
Member
Member
dbminn

Hard to say without some QA on the old method. Could be that there was some bias towards those who have incredible range (and vice versa on the low end). This could’ve been true if the same person was analyzing all home games for a particular team.

I wish they had performed and published duplicates and replicates to determine the amount of accuracy/bias that existed in the dataset.

Skin Blues
Member
Member
Skin Blues

It seems to have ironed out the magnitude of the extremes, but the ordering has stayed roughly the same. Kiermaier is still the best overall CF in 2015 and 2016. However, instead of being 0.64 WAR better than Pagan in 2015, he is now considered to have only been 0.29 WAR better than him.

Cole Sheeks
Member
Cole Sheeks

yeah, there are a lot of big name defenders on the negative end of these changes … Hamilton and Kiermaier. also Heyward, Machado, and Simmons.