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The Impact of Good Plays and Misplays

March 13, 2012

There are 54 separate Defensive Misplays and 28 separate Good Fielding Plays that Baseball Info Solutions has "scouted" going back to 2004.  One of our biggest undertakings in the last three years has been to convert Good Fielding Plays and Defensive Misplays into Runs Saved.  Today we’re going to walk through an example that shows the magnitude of what we now refer to as Good Play/Misplay Runs Saved.

Take, for example, Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs.  He’s now 36 years old and a below-average outfielder, according to Good Plays and Misplays.  In fact, his 13 runs lost on Good Plays and Misplays in the last three years is the worst among all outfielders. He had 22 Good Plays, 73 Misplays and 25 Errors. That’s 76 more misplays and errors than good plays. The next worst left fielder is exactly half as bad. Logan Morrison had 38 more misplays and errors than good plays. The best left fielder in GPF/DME runs saved is Jason Bay. He had 73 good plays and only 47 misplays and errors in the three years, a net of 26. Compared to Soriano’s net of -76. Here is how they compare in runs saved:


Good Play/Misplay Run Impact Chart 2009-11
Good Play/Misplay Type Bay
Runs Saved
Runs Saved
Mishandling ball after safe hit 3 -4
Outfield assist after hit or error 2 -1
Holds to single 1 -2
Wasted throw after hit/error 1 0
Cutting off runner at home 0 1
Giving up on a play 0 -1
Hesitating before throwing 0 -1
Slow to recover 0 -1
Robs home run 0 -1
Missing the cutoff man 0 -1
Overrunning the play 0 -1
Slipping 0 -1
Total 7 -13


Soriano has cost his team 13 runs with his poor play in the field since 2009 on Good Plays and Misplays alone, while Bay has saved his team 7 runs in that time.  That’s a difference of 20 runs, or roughly two wins.  That’s huge.

What we can see from the chart is that Soriano struggles in a number of areas.  In fact, the only areas where he rates as average or better are "Wasted throw after hit/error" and "Cutting off runner at home."   In these types of plays, Soriano performs at least how we’d expect an average fielder to perform, in the same opportunities as Soriano.  In every other way, Soriano rates below-average.  The biggest problem Soriano has, according to Good Plays and Misplays, is "Mishandling the ball after a safe hit", where he cost his team four runs since 2009.

Jason Bay, on the other hand, excelled in that department, saving his ream three runs by having far fewer Misplays for "Mishandling the ball after a safe hit" than an average fielder would have in the same number of opportunities as Bay.  Bay is also slightly above-average in three other categories: "Outfield assist after hit or error", "Holds to single" and "Wasted throw after hit/error."  

For more on Good Play/Misplay Runs Saved, check out The Fielding Bible – Volume III, available now.


COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

I think the +- numbers are against the average. So -1 home runs robs means he never did it... and on average, left fielders save a run a year robbing home runs (presumably each rob is worth +2 runs or something).
4:14 PM Mar 20th
How can Soriano have a -1 in robs home run category? There was a home run he should have caught?
1:04 PM Mar 20th
How does Brett Gardner compare to Jason Bay in these several categories? I'm surprised he didn't come out on top. Curious what Bay does better than him. It's nice to get an explanation like you have here, not just a total value number :-)
4:02 PM Mar 14th
MF86: That percentage excludes errors.
2:59 PM Mar 14th
In your Fielding Bible lll you show the number of good plays and Misplays and errors for all players. You also calculate Goodplay/misplay pct. How do you arive at that pct.? I see Casper wells with 4 good playes and 4 misplays and errors and a goodplay/misplay pct. of.543 for example.
2:07 PM Mar 14th
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