SCORE THAT AN ERROR: Paulino was listed on the waiver wire but should not have been; he landed himself on the PED suspension list, so he’s simply unavailable to all…Dennis Madsen noted that my attempt to say that we had a “full week” was actually typed as a “feel week,” and he was kind enough not to point out that it was no doubt a Freudian way of describing my bullpen…
I KNOW I’M A LITTLE DEFENSIVE ABOUT THIS, BUT: Look, defense matters. A lot. And of all the areas of baseball stats, it’s measured the worst. Errors are NOT the most important thing, are poorly defined anyway (what’s “ordinary effort”?), and while they don’t really measure range (or they might, in a reverse way — more errors might actually mean better range), more range is not, by itself, really a measure of good defense either. How much range do you need from your catcher? Or pitcher? Or first baseman? Or even third baseman? And we just covered 4 of 9 spots on the field. Thus, I will share with you my observations on defense, based on data from the first half of this season.
Observation #1: You know what doesn’t really matter? Errors. They explain 0.2% (that’s 1/5th of 1 percent) of runs, and 0 (that’s zero) percent of wins. Fielding percentage, which derives from errors, explains all of 0.4% of each.
Observation #2: You know what does matter? Batting average on balls in play. That explains 13.2% of runs and a more modest 0.8% of wins, but both numbers are way better than errors.
Observation #3: Catchers matter. Passed balls and wild pitches explain 1-2% of runs, but caught stealing percent explains 4.4%. Add all that up and it’s about 10% of the runs your team allows that can be attributed to the catcher. And that doesn’t really include calling the game, framing the pitches, handling the pitcher freak outs, directing infield traffic, fielding bunts, blocking the plate, etc. That 10% figure is no doubt lower than the collective pitching effort, but unlike pitchers the catcher is out there every day. Your best pitcher takes runs off the board every 5th day; a good catcher does it every single night. Only MLB team ever to win a World Series with a rookie catcher? The Giants, and that rookie was Buster Posey.
What does this have to do with the ASFBL? Very little. I’m mostly ranting. But I do put some time into figuring out the defensive side of things…although as with all things quantitative, there’s more guesswork than anyone would like with low sample sizes.
SO ABOUT THIS WEEK: Rockies ran the table with the only perfect record in the NL…Braves had the best record in the East…Cubs had only wining record in the central…Yankees went 6-1 to move back into first, but both the Bosox and Orioles also had winning records… Detroit picked up a half game to move into a dead tie with Cleveland, and the Royals also gained ground…Oakland went 4-2 for the best record in the AL West, and they also have the only positive WOR in the division….Philly and Cincinnati are dueling it out atop the WOR standings…where you will also find the DBacks, , who lead their division by 7…Houston has the biggest divisional lead, although the Nationals could claim that title soon…Nats also have the best record in the league, with the DBacks breathing down their necks…
FEATS AND FAILURES:
Addison Russell of CHC hit 3 home runs against ATL on 7/17/2017
Addison Russell of CHC had 6 RBI against ATL on 7/17/2017
Gerardo Parra of COL had 5 hits against SDP on 7/17/2017
Mark Reynolds of COL had 6 RBI against SDP on 7/17/2017
Mark Reynolds of COL had 5 hits against SDP on 7/17/2017
Matt Adams of SFG had 6 RBI against CLE on 7/17/2017
Matthew Joyce of OAK had 6 RBI against TBR on 7/18/2017
Clayton Kershaw of LAD had 10 strikeouts against CWS on 7/18/2017
Max Scherzer of WAS had 10 strikeouts against LAA on 7/19/2017
Mallex Smith of TBR struck out 4 times against OAK on 7/19/2017
Nate Karns of KCR had 10 strikeouts against DET on 7/19/2017
PHI and MIA played 14.5 innings on 7/19/2017
Corey Kluber of COL had 13 strikeouts against SDP on 7/19/2017
Robbie Ray of ARI had 10 strikeouts against CIN on 7/20/2017
Brandon Drury of ARI struck out 4 times against CIN on 7/20/2017
Mike Moustakas of KCR hit 3 home runs against DET on 7/20/2017
Matt Holliday of NYY struck out 4 times against SEA on 7/21/2017
Pat Valaika of COL had 7 RBI against PIT on 7/21/2017
Melky Cabrera of CWS had 5 hits against KCR on 7/22/2017
Drew Pomeranz of BOS had 11 strikeouts against LAA on 7/22/2017