Fielding Bible forecasts Tigers 22nd in defense

Believe it or not, there’s a baseball publication that isn’t forecasting complete doom and gloom for the Tigers defense this year. Actually, according to the latest edition of The Fielding Bible by John Dewan and Ben Jedlovec, they’re not even close.

This year’s edition, just released, uses the advanced metric of Defensive Runs Saved to forecast how many runs defenses will cost or save their team over the course of the season. The Tigers’ number is negative, but at minus-11, it isn’t nearly as bad as what might have been expected.

Minus-11 ranks them 22nd out of 30 Major League teams, and 12th in the American League. By comparison, the Florida Marlins — who are converting Hanley Ramirez from shortstop to third — are projected dead last for the second straight year at minus-30. They finished at minus-75 in 2011. The Twins are next-to-last at minus-29 after finishing in that spot last year.

By comparison, the Tigers defense saved the team 14 runs, according to the metric. That ranked 10th best in baseball.

Here’s the full list, courtesy of ACTA Sports:


Like to see what the 2011 predictions were compared to how they ended up. Don’t see how the Yankees will be improved that much when they’re playing the same guys as last year.

Agree. The Yankees in the left side of the infield are worse than the Tigers. ARod had an experimental treatment and Jeter is around the 22th place in range

There is a massive difference in the defensive efficiency in the Tigers by moving Raburn from 2B, where he is by far the worst defensive 2B in the league, to LF where he is well above average, and where Delmon is one of the worst LF’ers. Last year, Raburn was a negative 20 runs according to UZR/ 150 at 2B, but a plus 9 in LF while Delmon is a big negative in LF.

The defensive alignment announced for the game vs Florida Southern is the worst possible defensive alignment that the Tigers could field, and I hope we never see it as long as we live when the game actually matters.

This assuming one buys into the usefulness of this type of statistic.

One of the authors is coming through Florida later this spring. I’m hoping to talk to him at some point to learn more about defensive metrics.

Stats don’t show you how a guy tracks a line drive (Raburn is brutal at times). I think he is far less likely to cost you a game with a big time defensive miscue at 2nd than in left.
It is about time for Ryan to put his game together if he wants to remain a Tiger. Defensively and offensively. I wish him well but I seriously doubt he will win a full time job at any one position.

Well, if he can see the ball, he usually catches it. Plus, he has a great arm.

While there may not be a statistic called “fly balls tracked,” the better defensive stats like UZR and Dewan’s runs saved begin to account for poor attempts on balls that should have been caught.

Austin Jackson saved 22 runs last season according to the Fielding Bible. Replace him with an “average” center fielder and the Tigers are projected the worst in the majors (roughly, I don’t know their projections for Jackson for this season.)

We actually a re pretty fortunate with the kinds of arms we have on our outfielders. They are generally pretty good and yes, Raburn does have a very strong arm.

It’s my opinion that advanced metrics are useful in creating discussion, but there’s no replacement for the human eyeball. I watched every Tigers game last season and Raburn wasn’t even the worst 2ndbaseman on the team. I hate to say it, but that non-distinction went to the aging Carlos Guillen, who had trouble getting to much of anything.
But I also think the movie “Moneyball” was, in the interests of drama, largely a work of fiction. The opening premise of the Oakland club being gutted was entirely false.

yeah, moneyball was not a documentary…”based on a true story” with much creative license.

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