Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Curious Case of Julio Lugo

It seems hard to account for the Boston Red Sox and their love affair with Julio Lugo. Coming off the disabled list last night, he was immediately plugged back into the lineup and though he contributed with the bat, made an error in his first game back. That now gives the shortstop 17 errors in his last 82 games.

Granted, Nick Green's lifetime stats don't give much indication that he's a better player. But he was having a pretty good season and the Sox had a ten game winning streak with him in there. Why mess with that? It's also granted that Nick Green isn't a permanent solution. But Lugo is a worse solution at this point in his career.

Now 33 years old, Lugo has not had an impressive last three years in the field. His fielding percentage compared to league average looks like this the last three years: 2006 - .954/.971, 2007 - .968/.970, 2008 - .945/.972. But we all now know that fielding percentage does not tell the full story. Though Lugo's career Range Factor is above league average, he has not come close to the league average for the past two years. Here is a breakdown: 2007 - 4.21/4.27, 2007 - 3.70/4.39. That's an alarming decline.

In one more fielding statistic, there is a stat called Total Fielding Runs Above Average. In this measure, zero (0) is neutral. Lugo's measure for the last three years: -7.9, -0.4 and -7.0. By the way, all three of the fielding measures the Fan has indicated Lugo rated below Derek Jeter (who has become the supposed standard for the worst fielding shortstop in the majors) last year.

The Red Sox value defense and it is to be sure that their top line statistical analysts must be aware of these numbers. At this point, Green is performing better. But if anyone was available who could play the position better, the Red Sox should make a move.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I think they might go after J.J. Hardy. Then again, they might go after Hanley. After all, he started in their organization. Either way, I know a lot of Sox fans wish they had never dealt O-Cab.