Friday, April 03, 2009

Great Article on Fielding Statistics

In one of the best articles the Fan has read on fielding statistics, the linked and long article does a great service on educating fans on how they came to be and how they work. Many writers make mention of these ratings but fail to educate readers on what they mean. It's okay to tell the fans that Derek Jeter had a UZR of -0.1 in 2008, but what does that mean exactly?

The article also points out that these statistics aren't quite perfect in their analysis yet. The creator of UZR admits that his system is only 90% there and they have 10% to go. The 10%, when it comes to statistical analysis is a big deal. The article also points to the future when routes to balls hit and other factors will be analyzed and added to the statistical analysis.

The latter part of the previous paragraph is why, in the Fan's opinion, the current fielding stats have some degree of skepticism built in. While they do help baseball figure out where fielders rank in ability and success rate, there are some variables missing such as positioning and other things that make up what a fielder does.

The article does a great job of pointing to fielding stats to show why the Bay Rays climbed successfully to the top of the food chain last year. And while they make a great case for the Rays, it doesn't totally explain how a poor fielding team like the Yankees finished in first place in 2007. There are some intangibles in the game that are yet to be accounted for.

Don't get the Fan wrong. These stats are extremely rewarding and very encouraging and the more the merrier.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

These stats still seem flawed. Carlos Gomez is NOT the best center fielder in all of baseball.