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So Much To Learn From The Fielding Bible–Volume V

March 31, 2020
We’re very excited about the release of The Fielding Bible – Volume V, which is available from ACTA Sports and wherever you buy your books. This edition of the book is a defensive analytics encyclopedia with something for everyone.

The book features essays on your favorite teams and players as well as statistical studies on defense-related subjects. Here are a few of our favorite tidbits:

* Paul DeJong tied Javier Baez for the MLB lead in Defensive Runs Saved by a shortstop with 26 in 2019. DeJong didn’t do this with flash. He ranked last among shortstops in Good Fielding Plays per 1,000 innings (in other words, he didn’t have a lot of Web Gems).

But DeJong rated very well on balls hit to his left (in other words, usually up the middle), showing good anticipatory instincts and a quick first step. He made 22 plays more than expected on balls hit to that area. DeJong greatly benefited from the introduction of the PART system, our new methodology for calculating how well an infielder turns batted balls into outs. Under our previous calculation system, he totaled 14 Runs Saved.

* Adalberto Mondesi’s numbers took a nice step forward from 2018 to 2019. Mondesi went from costing the Royals two runs to saving them eight by playing a smoother shortstop. He totaled 16 Misplays & Errrors in 2019, six fewer than he had the year before (and he played 334 more innings in 2019). He was considerably better on balls hit to his left, turning 68% of them into outs, compared to 56% in 2018.

* Teams work to position their fielders so they can be in position for as many easy plays as possible. SIS divides the field into 90 degrees from foul line to foul line, allowing us to find the angle difference between where the ball was hit and where the fielders were standing.

The expected out rate for fielders within three degrees of the ball’s path is over 85%. Teams had a fielder within three degrees of a groundball 39% of the time.

The Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, Angels and Padres defended the highest percentage of groundballs within three degrees of the ball’s path, with each at around 42%.

* The Astros led the American League with 96 Defensive Runs Saved in 2019. Houston’s defensive excellence was the product of a collective effort rather than one player. Twenty-eight players on other teams had more Runs Saved than the Astros leaders, George Springer and Alex Bregman, who had 12. But Springer was part of an outfield that saved 51 runs with its defense, tied with the Dodgers for the highest total in MLB, 21 runs more than the next-best AL team (Yankees had 30).

* Jarrod Dyson doesn’t do much to impress offensively, but he may be one of the most underrated defensive players since SIS started tracking Defensive Runs Saved in 2003.

Dyson has saved 62 runs with his defense the last five seasons. He’s saved the fifth-most runs and played the 60 th-most innings among outfielders in that time. Dyson is averaging 17 Defensive Runs Saved per 1,000 innings over the last five seasons. That’s the third-highest total for any outfielder, trailing only Kevin Kiermaier and Cody Bellinger. His 18 Outfield Arm Runs Saved rank third in MLB since 2015.

Check out The Fielding Bible–Volume V for many more of these tidbits and anecdotes. We look forward to studying the 2020 season as it plays out.


COMMENTS (1 Comment)

Great book. A rudimentary question: Is a fielder's proper positioning (or lack thereof) something that he is given "credit" for in measuring effectiveness? That is prior to the ball being contacted. I'm not really talking shifts but just in an overall sense.

It seems like Cal Ripken, for example, made many plays due to his experience, knowing the hitters, and the type of pitch being thrown and was positioned properly to get outs. He wasn't fleet of foot and maybe didn't have a great first step but a play made is a play made.

My Best-Carey
12:35 PM Mar 31st
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