Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ultimate Zone Rating - 2007

This is the sixth part of my series on fielding in 2007. The table of contents for the entire series is listed below:

Basic fielding stats
Converting Zone Rating to something useful
Revised Zone Rating
Probabilistic Model of Range
Fielding Bible
Ultimate Zone Rating
Fan Fielding Survey versus range measures
Outfield arms
Ranking the second basemen
Ranking the shortstops
Ranking the third basemen
Ranking the first baseman
Ranking the center fielders
Ranking the right fielders
Ranking the left fielders
What about catchers?

Today, I'm going to talk about Mitchel Litchtman's Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). Developed in the 1990s, UZR revolutioned the evalution of fielding. It was the first system to use advanced play by play data such as location, speed and type of batted balls to determine how many outs each player was expected to make and how many he actually did make in comparison to the average player.

Lichtman says that his system is very similar to the Fielding Bible +/- system except that it uses STATS data rather than BIS data. It actually includes a few additional features that the +/- system does not use such as ground ball/fly ball tendencies of pitchers and runner/out combinations. The complete methodology is described in two articles written in 2003.

Many analysts still consider UZR to be the gold standard of range metrics. Unfortunately, Lichtman is now a consulting statistical analyst for the St. Louis Cardinals and does not publish the UZR as freely as he would otherwise. He did release data for the top three and bottom three at each position in each league for 2007 and these figures are included on the Tangotiger site.

Table 1 shows the UZR runs saved per 150 games for Tigers in 2007 (RSAA/150). Table 2 shows how all the different methods discussed so far compare on RSAA/150. It reveals that UZR agrees with the other methods that Curtis Granderson, and Brandon Inge save runs and that Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen give up runs. The methods continue to be all over the place on Sean Casey and Magglio Ordonez. UZR favors both of them.


Table 1: Run saved per 150 games according to UZR

Pos

Player

Inn

RSAA/150

1B

Casey

989

8

2B

Polanco

1,209

N/A

3B

Inge

1,310

12

3B

Cabrera

1,311

-28

SS

Guillen

1,074

-24

SS

Renteria

1,019

N/A

LF

Monroe

806

N/A

CF

Granderson

1,285

18

CF

Jones

645

N/A

RF

Ordonez

1,221

14


Table 2: Runs saved per 150 games: comparison among range metrics

PLAYER

RZR

ZR

PMR

+/-

UZR

Granderson

34

10

19

18

18

Jones

24

9

13

42

N/A

Inge

13

12

16

18

12

Polanco

12

4

9

8

N/A

Monroe

9

7

-12

N/A

N/A

Renteria

5

-9

-4

N/A

N/A

Ordonez

-5

10

-3

N/A

14

Casey

-8

8

-15

N/A

8

Cabrera

-13

-16

-26

-20

-28

Guillen

-18

-7

-18

N/A

-24

7 comments:

  1. It looks like Casey is one of those guys that the STATS camp and BIS camp are polarized about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How consistent are each of these methods year to year. Such numbers may be helpful for determining the reliability of the systems.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Adam, I just checked the last two years for PMR and ZR. ZR has a correlation of .75 which is higher than I thought it would be. That's very encouraging. PMR had a correlation of .55 which is also not bad in comparison to hitting and pitching stats that we use all the time:

    ZR .75
    SLG .67
    OBP .67
    PMR .55
    FIP .55
    BA .43
    ERA .33

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bill, that was a good observation regarding STATS vs BIS for Casey. When I do the positional rankings, we'll be able to look at that split for every player.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It does seem kind of intuitive that Casey would do better in the systems that value all batted balls in their zone equally.

    After all, he's viewed as a statue with a good glove, so maybe he's nails at the stabbing the balls hit either directly at him or a step to the left or right, but really struggles when he needs to range left or right.

    That's just a hypothesis, but my understanding of the systems shows that with the ones where you get credit for the tougher plays are the ones that knock him down below average.

    It'd be interesting to see a system factor in fielding throws from the other infielders.

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you look back to the revised zone rating chart where it breaks plays into in zone and out of zone, it seems Casey does not do well in either case (-5 in zone, -2 out of zone). On the other hand, your theory seems to hold for Ordonez: +8 in zone, -14 out of zone.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I guess that speaks to the quality of theories I come up with while I'm on hold at work.

    ReplyDelete

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