John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

Losing the Golden Touch

A lot has been made recently about Torii Hunter – a nine-time Gold Glove centerfielder – moving to a corner spot to make room for the speedy rookie Peter Bourjos. A look at our data supports this move. Hunter was the best center fielder in baseball in 2003 and 2004, the earliest years for which we have Defensive Runs Saved data. However, since then he has been average, having saved his team a meager total of two runs defensively from 2006 to 2009. This year he has cost his team one run defensively.

Our Good Plays/Misplays data (see definitions below) also confirms that Hunter has lost his golden touch. So far in 2010, Torii Hunter has committed only one error, but he also has 24 Misplays to go along with that. We credit him with 14 Good Plays. This means that he has made 11 more misplays and errors than good plays. This is one of the worst totals in all of baseball among center fielders. This is surprising considering that both Hunter and Adam Jones (worst in baseball with 16 more errors and misplays than good plays) won Gold Gloves last year. Neither seems to be making a strong case to repeat as a Gold Glove winner. Here are the Net Good Plays/Misplays leaders and trailers in centerfield:

CF Leaders in Net Good Plays/Misplays*
Player Team Net
Marlon Byrd Cubs 19
Michael Bourn Astros 16
Tony Gwynn Jr. Padres 13
Dexter Fowler Rockies 11
Two tied   7

 

CF Leaders in Net Good Plays/Misplays*
Player Team Net
Adam Jones Orioles -16
Nyjer Morgan Nationals -12
BJ Upton Rays -12
Torii Hunter Angels -11
Two tied   -10

 

*Net Good Plays/Misplays is the number of Misplays and Errors subtracted from the number of Good Fielding Plays

Through only a week of play, Bourjos has managed to make three Good Fielding Plays while avoiding a single Misplay or Error. In only eight games, Bourjos has saved five runs with his defense in center field. Obviously this is a small sample to take into account, but think of it like a rookie who hits .400 with three home runs in his first week in the majors. He’s unlikely to maintain that pace, but it’s a good sign for the future of the Angels’ outfield.

Definitions:

A Defensive Misplay (DM) is recorded when a fielder does something identifiably wrong, such as losing a fly ball in the sun or missing the cutoff man, and an opposing batter reaches base or a runner takes an extra base as a result. There are currently 54 types of defensive misplays we record. We often group Defensive Misplays and Errors (DME) together because they’re both detrimental fielding plays.

We award a Good Fielding Play (GFP) when a fielder makes a play that we wouldn’t ordinarily expect him to make, and the action has the positive consequence of recording an unexpected out or preventing baserunner advancement. GFPs are not necessarily plays on which the player looks good making the play—diving or spinning. Scooped throws out of the dirt and robbed home runs are two of the 27 different types of Good Fielding Plays. Combined, GFPs and DMEs give us another perspective on a player’s defensive performance.

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Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, http://www.statoftheweek.com/.

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    August 13, 2010  Tags: , ,   Posted in: awards, fielding, John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats

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