The Mockingbird

2008 Blue Jays Defensive (+/-) Wrapup

with 5 comments

I haven’t seen this floating around yet, so here are the numbers for the Jays starters based on the plus minus (+/-) system. Don’t blame me, read this for more info on where it all comes from. I’ve included the innings at each positions as well so you know how seriously to take some of these results (one full season at a position is probably a small sample size).

Toronto Blue Jays 2008 Plus-Minus

Name

+/-

Rank

Innings

Alex Rios RF: +15, CF: +11 4th, 6th 820, 522
Scott Rolen +13 3rd 1006 2/3
Lyle Overbay +12 7th 1354
Marco Scutaro SS: +12, 2B: +2, 3B: + 15 N/A 472, 354, 332
Joe Inglett +7 8th 541
Brad Wilkerson +7 N/A 485
John McDonald -1 N/A 478
Aaron Hill -2 N/A 479
David Eckstein -12 29th 484 1/3
Adam Lind -12 21st 590
Vernon Wells -16 32nd 889

     

  • Alex Rios’ gazelle strides trump his wacky routes and he should win another fielding bible award, ranking among the leaders despite splitting time between two positions. Did I mention his arm?
  • A battle looms between 2/3 of a season of Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre (who at +32 apparently should win it this season) for the GG. Do the writers go for  the incumbent or one of the best of all time down on his luck?
  • Hey, I didn’t even read about the Silk Glove for Overbay until just now. Cool. I always wonder about ‘advanced defensive metrics’ for 1B since picking balls out of the dirt is so important and completely ignored.
  • It’s hard to really know about Scutaro because he moved around so much- but he clearly had a banner defensive season (must have been all those clever glove flips), unlike in 2006 when at -26 he was the worst SS in the league for the A’s. MVP!
  • Didn’t it seem like John Macdonald wasn’t on the highlight reel quite as often this season? His numbers were poor to the statistically prehistoric (his fielding percentage of .960 was lower than any qualifying SS), bronze-age (his Range Factor of 4.03 was worse than all but two as well) as well as the postmodern (see above). Was 2007 a career defensive year for Mac?
  • Hill was +25 and +22 in the last two seasons, both the best in the majors – so it’s not like plus minus has it in for him. I would plead sample size but Hill did look a little shaky in the field over the first few weeks. Maybe he heard the footsteps.
  • Your eyes were not deceiving you. Despite not having made a single error in the major leagues over 1259 1/3 innings standing around out there (!), Adam Lind is a bit of a clown in left field. He was at +11 last season, but I think this is more like it. If he and Snider are swapping between DH and LF next season, Cito should lean towards Snider in the field (he has a better arm, too).
  • There’s more on Wells’ struggles here.

Overall, THT says that the Jays had the best defense in the majors at +72, especially impressive considering only 4 other AL teams were above 0 and the Rays were next with +24.

Written by halejon

October 4, 2008 at 4:25 am

Posted in Seriousness

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5 Responses

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  1. great look at defensive numbers. thanks, dude.

    eyebleaf

    October 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  2. I’m a little surprised that Wells’ numbers stayed down. Mine eyes told me he was better in the second half, but mine eyes are notoriously blind to such shortcomings.

    lloyd the ghostrunner

    October 4, 2008 at 3:34 pm

  3. Given that this is essentially a counting stat (right?), I guess it’s all the more remarkable that the Jays led in it given that their pitchers also led in strikeouts. Last year I wondered whether the big range numbers the Jays had at SS and 2B were maybe a function of ground balls being thrown by their pitchers, but this year they were making more outs than anybody else every place you can make them!

    A little interesting that the top two teams play on the Field Turf, though, eh?

    As much as it still feels wrong to suggest it (though the numbers back up my impression this year), I wonder if the Jays will let Johnny Mac quietly slip under the waves before opening day. Then Wilner will have that to put up with all year.

    Aside on Overbay and the difficulties of measuring defense at 1B, and also Why I Love Alan Ashby: several times toward the end of the season Ashby pointed out that Overbay was out of position to cut the ball off from the outfield.

    Cincinnatus C.

    October 5, 2008 at 11:53 am

  4. Pedantic: Jays actually got caught by Boston for K’s.

    Yeah, I thought that myself last season because the Jays had way more groundballs than anyone else. This season despite all the K’s they were still above average in GO’s, but yeah- nice to see that it wasn’t just the # of opportunities. Which when you think about it are going to be pretty small- only a range of about 200 ground balls TOTAL from the average per team in either direction.

    Release J-mac for 2 mil of salary? Ouch…There were a few sniffs from other teams at the deadline, they could dump some salary at least. I think it all depends on what they do with the SS/2B situation. Might come down to another Mac/Hill/Scutaro with Inglett as the 4th OF.

    halejon

    October 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  5. So with Vernon only going -4 from your ‘Brown Glove’ article to the end of the season, which I think was about half his games played, can we fairly attribute his absolute awfulness to his hamstring injury problems, and assume that he should be around average going into next season should he remain healthy (and preferably drop some weight)?

    HandKnit

    October 11, 2008 at 3:45 pm


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