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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Further Thoughts on PMR.... 

Yesterday I referenced the work done by Dave Punto regarding Probalistic Model of Range (PMR), which I think is an interesting if somewhat flawed look at Defense Efficiency Ratio (DER)*. Dave’s analysis (click here for his team-by-team numbers) compares actual DER with a team’s projected DER and ranks them according to whether they exceeded their DER (which is a sign of a strong fielding team) or fell behind it (not good).

* Defense Efficiency Ratio: (Batters Faced – (Hits + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) / (Batters Faced – (Home Runs, Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) How often fielders convert balls put into play into outs.

As I said, I like PMR and I think its interesting by something about it bothers me: the third-best PMR team last year, according to Dave, were the Boston Red Sox. The idea of the Red Sox, a team that finished dead last in Zone Rating and generally in the bottom ten of every major defensive statistic in baseball, as the third-best fielding team in baseball struck me as a fairly in fly in the ointment. That said, I’m willing to say that I think Dave’s work is interesting and he might be correct. I’ve always pledged to keep an open-mind about these things. Dave’s conclusion that the Cardinals were the top fielding team in the MLB in 2004 doesn’t strike me as being wrong, so I think there is definate merit to his work.

Dave built on his work recently by ranking players in different positions by their contribution to team defense. Here how some of the Phillies players shaped up:

Bobby Abreu ranked as one of the worst rightfielders in the MLB, seventh from the bottom in a class of about fifty. (Click here for RF.) Abreu had 311 putouts in 2004, but should have had 329.7 according to Dave, which means his .073 contribution to the team DER should have been .078 (-.0044).

Amongst third basemen David Bell was pretty middle of the pack: 377 putouts out of a projected 355.7, so Bell exceeded his projected DER contribution by .0056 (.099 DER actual, projected: .093).

Leftfielders: Pat Burrell ranked as one of the worst defensive outfielders in 2004 ...

Actual Putouts / Projected: 216 / 231.2
Actual DER / Projected DER: .066 / .071 (-.0047)

Centerfielders: Kenny Lofton and Marlon Byrd, the Phillies new and former centerfielders ranked in the middle:

Actual Putouts / Projected
Lofton: 162 / 168.3
Byrd: 196 / 205

Actual DER / Projected / Difference
Lofton: .098 / .102 / -.0038
Byrd: .086 / .090 / -.0040

For those who wanted the Phillies to pursue the Dodgers Steve Finley: he ranked lower than Byrd or Lofton, -.0044 …

Surprisingly, Jim Thome was rated as average for first basemen, finishing in the middle of the pack :

Actual Putouts / Projected: 239 / 230.9
Actual DER / Projected DER: .067 / .065 (.0023)

Second basemen: now things really get interesting … Dave ranks Chase Utley number one amongst second basemen in 2004. Placido Polanco is just a few places behind in seventh:

Actual Putouts / Projected
Polanco: 345 / 344.4
Utley: 150 / 141.3

Actual DER / Projected / Difference
Polanco: .118 / .118 / (.0002)
Utley: .127 / .120 / (.0074)

I'll discuss this in conjunction with MLB shortstops: Jimmy Rollins ranked eighth in a rather large group:

Putouts / Projected: 473 / 476.6
DER / Projected: .113 / .114 / (-.0009)

That's better than Jack Wilson (-.0057), Derek Jeter (-.0068) or Edgar Renteria (-.0065).

Hard to argue that the Phillies don't have one of the best middle infields in baseball. I'm surprised to see Utley so highly rated, though I'd note that Zone Rating actually gives him the edge over Polanco at 2B in 2004 as well. I suspect Utley's rating is so high because he saw about half as many innings of work as did Polanco, but it suggests that he'll be one of the top defensive second basemen in 2005, which means that the Phillies will truly have a tremendous infield for the coming season, a good sign for Phillies pitchers (as Tom G. at Balls, Sticks 'n Stuff noted).

I admit my skepticism is waning on PMR: a lot of his data seems very believable and it closely tracks things I've seen elsewhere. For example, I'd dismiss his data on Utley if it weren't for the fact that ZR also ranks him well. I think Dave's work is good and definately worth continuing to follow.

Stay tuned: I'm sure we'll see more from Dave over the coming days.

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