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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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fielding Win Shares 

I am, as always, looking for new and exciting stats and information about fielding, that most mundane of baseball activities that excites and tantalizes sabremetricians as the holy grail of the numbers game. How do you quantify an activity that has so many unknowns, so many variables?

I typically look at stats like Zone Rating or Range Factor when evaluating a player's defensive skills, but today I am going to look at Fielding Win Shares or, more specifically, Fielding Win Shares per 1,000 innings.

Win Shares are, simply, an effort to quantify a player's contributions to his teams fortunes. Typically the bulk of a player's Win Shares come from either their prowess at the plate (for position players) or their abilities on the mound (pitchers). Fielding Win Shares dive a little deeper and give you an idea about how a player contributes to his team's defense. To put each player's contributions in perspective, I've average them all out by 1,000 innings (e.g. David Bell has 2.6 Fielding Win Shares to Chase Utley's 2.4, but Bell has played significantly more innings).

Here are the Phillies Fielding Win Shares per 1,000:

Jim Thome: 1.15
Chase Utley: 3.73
David Bell: 3.67
Jimmy Rollins: 2.89
Placido Polanco: 5.40

No real surprise here: Win Shares have always loved Placido Polanco. Another non-surprise is how badly Jimmy Rollins rates: I've been disappointed to see Rollins rated in the middle-to-bottom of the pack in things like ZR and RF all season. For playing a vital role in the Phillies fortunes with his glove, he doesn't seem like a particularly good fielder.

David Bell's high rating brings up another point I've been making: David Bell might be an awful hitter, but he's a darn good defensive third baseman. Keeping that in mind should make Phillies fans a little happier.

Pratt: 6.19
Lieberthal: 4.22

No surprise here: Mike Lieberthal has been having a rough season and Todd Pratt has a good glove. Still, it is worth noting that Lieberthal is the Phillies top rated defender amongst the regulars.

Bobby Abreu: 2.44
Pat Burrell: 2.09
Jason Michaels: 5.76
Kenny Lofton: 5.35

Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell don't play for the Phillies because of their gloves: they are defensive liabilites at the corner outfield positions. Jason Michaels and Kenny Lofton are both pretty darn good in center and make a very good platoon in centerfield. As long as Michaels can stay out of trouble, the Phillies defensive alignment will remain strong.

Fielding Win Shares. I'll revisit this subject soon.

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