Saturday, December 07, 2013

Austin Jackson Lost his Range in 2013

In previous posts, I looked at the Revised Zone Rating (RZR) and Out-of-Zone Plays (OOZ) metrics listed at FanGraphs.  Links to these posts are provided below:
Now, I'll move to the outfield starting in center field.  Table 1 below contains the following information for 21 MLB center fielders with 800 or more innings in 2013:
  • Inn = Innings
  • RZR = Revised Zone Rating
  • OOZ = Out-of-Zone Plays
  • PIZAA =  Plays in Zone Above Average
  • OOZAA = Out-of-Zone Plays Above Average
  • PMAA = Total Plays Above Average
  • RSAA = Runs Saved Above Average
The top center fielders defensively in the majors in 2013 according to these measures were Brewers speedster Carlos Gomez (+26 RSAA) and Mets rookie Juan Lagares (+22).  Both were ordinary on plays in the center field zone (+5 for Gomez, -5 for Lagares), but outstanding outside the zone (+26 and +31).  The worst defender was Adam Jones of the Orioles (-25). 

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson was seventh in MLB with +4 RSAA, down from +17 in 2012.  This is probably not surprising to those who watched regularly as he seemed to not be making as many plays this year.  Jackson was equally unremarkable on plays inside (+2) and outside the zone (+3) in 2013.  He was much better outside the zone in 2012 when he was +17 plays above average.

Players often peak early defensively, but we can't assume that Jackson's loss of range is permanent.  He missed about a month with a strained hamstring from mid-May to mid-June, so one has to wonder whether it might have affected him throughout the season.  If that's the case, we might see an improved Jackson defensively in 2013 if he stays healthy.  

Table 1: Runs Saved by MLB Center Fielders According to RZR, OOZ, 2013

Player
Team
Inn
RZR
OOZ
PIZ AA
OOZ AA
PMAA
RSAA
Carlos Gomez
MIL
1,242
.942
113
5
26
31
26
Juan Lagares
NYM
819
.900
88
-5
31
26
22
Colby Rasmus
TOR
1,002
.958
81
8
11
19
16
Coco Crisp
OAK
919
.960
67
9
3
12
10
Leonys Martin
TEX
974
.917
76
-2
8
6
5
Alejandro De Aza
CHW
888
.914
69
-3
7
5
4
Austin Jackson
DET
1,145
.936
82
2
        3            5
4
Brandon Barnes
HOU
913
.912
71
-3
7
4
3
Jon Jay
STL
1,285
.927
93
0
3
4
3
Brett Gardner
NYY
1,166
.924
84
-0
3
2
2
A.J. Pollock
ARI
915
.920
66
-1
2
1
1
Jacoby Ellsbury
BOS
1,188
.923
84
-1
1
0
0
Mike Trout
LAA
952
.960
59
8
-7
0
0
Denard Span
WSN
1,300
.911
94
-5
3
-1
-1
Michael Bourn
CLE
1,098
.940
70
3
-7
-4
-3
Dexter Fowler
COL
921
.924
50
-0
-14
-15
-12
B.J. Upton
ATL
975
.917
54
-2
-14
-16
-13
Desmond Jennings
TBR
1,188
.942
58
5
-25
-20
-17
Shin-Soo Choo
CIN
1,333
.911
72
-4
-21
-25
-21
Andrew McCutchen
PIT
1,378
.952
62
7
-34
-27
-22
Adam Jones
BAL
1,394
.899
76
-8
-21
-29
-25
Data source: FanGraphs.com

7 comments:

  1. Well first off, the fact that he is last is great news. That means that he can only improve, and the law of statistical probability is on our side and a virtual 100% mathematical lock! See how easy it is to win if you have the right perceptive lens? :)

    I have STRONGLY felt instinctive that DD will trade AJ. I just think it's a play he would make and see it fitting in with any positional move, but obviously that would only leave RP and OF as major positions to shake up. Nobody in the world likes Iglesias's Defense more than DD, so nothing could possibly happen to stop him from starting at SS in my mind. And since they kind of have a desperate need to hope Castellanos can work at 3B, well that just leaves the OF if you are doing major moves.

    But with how things have shaken out lately, I think DD is less apt to make any "creative" moves at this point. So now I'm second-guessing my own prediction, but I'm still not going to be shocked if he comes up with an AJ trade.

    And of course I think part of the bad stats has to do with the Tigers not doing well with Defensive positional coaching, so all we can do is hope Ausmus is on top of things. But we should know soon what kind of Manager he is.

    And nice shoutout to you Lee for a comment I saw on MTS about player development. I couldn't agree more and think we miss not only a lot of good baseball reasons to build from the farm out, but lots of big money value options and huge utilization-values that can be developed on the field. That's awesome stuff you wrote there and really great to hear!!

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  2. Damn, he was actually seventh! Fixed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. He may get better...and he may not. Hunter's range at this point does not strike me as particularly good (no doubt you will cover this very soon), and apparently Choo and Beltran are not exactly gazelles in the outfield either. Maybe that is one factor in why DD has been slow to bite on a relatively slow sluggers as free-agent solutions in LF. A range-challenged outfield is a serious liability with a fly-ball pitching staff in Comerica.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah I despised the Torii Hunter signing more than any person in the world. And now he's even older, and still way overpaid. I can't wait until next year when Torii is gone and we don't have to pay him anything and hopefully we can get somebody new who has a future, and who could possibly be a great player. Torii had no chance to be a great player (value, and value is what counts for me, not who the Tigers just say is great).

      Delete
  4. I agree that Jackson may not get better as he's at the age where range begins to decline. I still think he's a decent center fielder though. Hunter is a bigger problem as his range was horrible - that post is coming soon. Dirks was one of the Tigers best defenders last year, so I can see why DD might be reluctant to replace him with a poor defender with the Tigers trying to improve defensively.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think Dirks offers enough with the bat. I wish they would have traded him a long time ago and been paid for his past usage plus whatever he has left now. It just would be more material in the bank to work towards getting a really strategic long-term acquisition. Every dollar counts and I don't think he offers enough as a complete package to help us do anything significantly special. Although there aren't a lot of Tigers positional players that I think are strategic holds. I place higher value on players that I think are undervalued or that have intriguing future exit strategies. Just not enough performance or options of interest with Dirks for me.

      Delete

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