Friday, December 13, 2013

The Defense of Andy Dirks

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:
Next up are the left fielders.  Table 1 below contains the following information for 16 MLB left 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 defensive left fielders in the majors in 2013 according to these measures were Alex Gordon of the Royals (+19 RSAA) and Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs and Yankees (+10).  Gordon was by far the best in baseball at making plays outside the left field zone (+21 OOZAA).  The worst left fielder by the RSAA metric was Domonic Brown of the Phillies (-23). 

Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks was sixth in MLB with +6 RSAA in just over 800 innings. He was +5 plays above average inside the left field zone and +2 outside the zone.  Dirks also was rated above average on  on Baseball Prospectus' FRAA (8) and DRS (+6) and average on Total Zone.  So, the consensus is that he was a pretty good defender in 2013.

Dirks will platoon with recently acquired outfielder Rajai Davis in 2014.  Despite his great speed, Davis has been just +2 on RSAA over the last two seasons.  On the Fan Scouting Report, collected by Tom Tango, Davis received excellent scores from Blue Jays fans for his range, but rated poorly on instincts, hands and throwing arm.  It sounds as if he'll be entertaining in good and bad ways. 

Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski revealed this week that Dirks played most of last season with an injured knee which may have affected his offense (His OPS dropped from .857 in 2012 to 686 in 2013).  If that's the case, his fielding might get even better next year if healthy.  Of course, his offense will also need to improve if he is going to keep his job.

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

Player
Team
Inn
RZR
OOZ
PIZ AA
OOZ AA
PMAA
RSAA
Alex Gordon
KCR
1,364
.918
110
3
21
23
19
Alfonso Soriano
- -
1,163
.929
84
4
8
12
10
Yoenis Cespedes
OAK
801
.920
61
2
8
10
9
Carl Crawford
LAD
835
.946
60
4
5
10
8
Nate McLouth
BAL
1,138
.914
81
1
6
8
7
Andy Dirks
DET
868
.938
59
5
2
7
6
Carlos Gonzalez
COL
857
.893
63
-2
7
5
4
Starling Marte
PIT
1,038
.941
64
4
-4
0
0
Michael Brantley
CLE
1,293
.932
80
5
-5
0
0
Bryce Harper
WSN
800
.929
46
3
-6
-4
-3
David Murphy
TEX
980
.859
63
-7
-1
-8
-7
Justin Upton
ATL
839
.882
47
-3
-8
-12
-10
Raul Ibanez
SEA
824
.904
41
-0
-13
-13
-11
Matt Holliday
STL
1,150
.882
63
-4
-12
-17
-14
Dayan Viciedo
CHW
892
.897
34
-1
-24
-26
-21
Domonic Brown
PHI
1,123
.889
49
-3
-25
-27
-23
 Data Source: FanGraphs.com


6 comments:

  1. Well hopefully Wally Joyner can help a lot of Tigers with improving their offense. If we didn't even have a Hitting Coach, then I'm not sure things could get worse. For that reason I have to think that Wally can come up with something to help several guys out. (also noticed a typo in Andy's name fyi)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Since Davis will be platooning with Dirks, where does he situate in OF defense?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the biggest concern with Davis is how often he will batting against RHPs since his numbers verse Lefties is a night and day difference.

      .857 OPS vs .594

      I think it's unlikely that Davis will tremendously improve or weaken our defense in comparison to what we can gain or lose based on our % of time we can use him only against LP pitchers. That's where a huge margin for success or failure can be created.

      Delete
    2. Oops sorry, my comment was pretty sloppy, not only are there a couple grammar errors but I should have pointed out that those OPS numbers were for his last season and not his career which has a lot smaller gap.

      But the interesting thing to point out is that last season with that huge gap, he actually batted TWICE as much against RHP vs LHP. So how do you control for minimizing him facing the wrong pitchers? I'm not a big fan of platooning players in general, and Dirks/Davis just don't really justify a good reason to have a platoon setup like that. I think both of those OF spots need to be upgraded in the long-term, so just something to consider. Maybe each of these guys will have big years, but I just don't have a lot of confidence in either of them being a great value player. It will be nice to see some better base-running though, that's for sure. I'll savor every good base-running play we have next year!

      Delete
  3. Davis is about average defensively which I think is better than Tui. So, he should help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And therefore, a potential late inning replacement for Hunter when not flip-flopping with Dirks. It's nice to know that all the responsibility won't fall on Kelly.

      Delete

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