Monday, October 02, 2006

Fielding Awards

Dave Studeman over at The Hardball Times gave out his annual fielding awards based on statistics and observation. He works with John Dewan, author of the Fielding Bible which means he has access to probably the best fielding stats around. He can't reveal the stats but I'm sure he used them in selecting his award winners. To read more about the stats, you'll need to buy the Bill James Baseball Handbook 2007. I wouldn't consider Dave's list to be the final answer on fielding (we still don't have that) but I trust it a lot more than Gold Glove awards or zone rating/range factor.

There are a lot of Tigers on his list. He names Kenny Rogers, Ivan Rodriguez and Brandon Inge as the best fielders at their positions. Curtis Granderson gets an honorable mention. Here are his comments:
One of the Detroit Tigers' strengths this year was their infield defense. Although Carlos Guillen and Placido Polanco don't rate particularly highly on the Studes Scale, Brandon Inge certainly does. He built on his fine 2005 with the best plus/minus stats of any third baseman this year. He also handled bunts well and seemed to really steady that Tiger infield.

The American League choice is easier. Corey Patterson has had a terrific year in the Camden Yards outfield. He seemed to have adapted to the American League very quickly and displayed superior range all year long. Honorable mention goes to Curtis Granderson and Gary Matthews.

Thirty-four-year-old Ivan Rodriguez is still going strong. He threw out 46% of basestealers this year; in fact, opponents only attempted .36 stolen bases per game against him—the lowest figure of any major league catcher. Plus, he allowed only .3 wild pitches/passed balls per game and did a fine job managing that young Tiger pitching staff.

Greg Maddux in the NL and Kenny Rogers in the AL. "Nuff said.

On another note, those who participated in the fielding survey I posted here a while ago will get their votes counted in this year's Fielding Bible. Also, the survey results should be available pretty soon. It's not too late to vote though.


  1. If I'm not mistaken, Granderson only had one error all year, right? I think that warrants a little better than an honorable mention.

  2. Errors don't tell the whole story. How many balls a player gets to is what matters the most. Here is a simple example: If player A makes 1 error and has 200 putouts and player B makes 3 errors and has 220 putouts under the same conditions, then player B is helping his team more. Player B has 2 more errors but he got to 20 balls that player A did not get to. That's 20 hits that have been turned into outs.

    The Fielding Bible stats get more complicated because they consider speed, direction and type (fly out, line drive, etc) of ball hit. I'll save that discussion for another time.


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