Questions for John Dewan

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Questions for John Dewan

Post by Michael »


John Dewan has graciously agreed to answer questions from GRB posters!

John is the author of the revolutionary book The Fielding Bible. Previously available exclusively to Major League Baseball teams, John Dewan and Baseball Info Solutions reveal their revolutionary approach to fielding analysis. In the process, they will completely change the entire perception of fielding statistics in Major League Baseball.

- Why is Adam Everett the best defensive shortstop in baseball?
- Should Derek Jeter have won two Gold Gloves?
- Do the Phillies know what they have in Aaron Rowand?
- Who are the most intimidating outfielders to run on?

The Fielding Bible includes:

In-Depth Analysis by Position – How do MLB players really stack up against each other defensively? An innovative new Plus/Minus System analyzes players position-by-position and provides top-to-bottom rankings.

Where Hits Landed – This allows a team to compare their defense point-by-point against other MLB teams.

Other Special Features – Uniquely designed analysis to determine the best corner infield defenders against the bunt, the best middle infielders on the double play and the best outfield throwing arms. Plus Bill James’s brand new Relative Range Factors and John Dewan’s newly designed Zone Ratings!

John has consistently broken new ground in the area of sports statistical analysis, first as one of the founders and former CEO of STATS, Inc. and now as the owner of Baseball Info Solutions. He is also currently the co-publisher of ACTA Publications. As a noted sports expert, he is heard weekly at for WSCR 670 AM "The Score" an all-sports radio station in Chicago.

This session will be coordinated in accordance with our Q & A Guidelines. All questions must be submited by May-29-06.

Thank you to John for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us on such an up close and personal level. I would also like to thank all of you for making GR such a great place to discuss Cardinal baseball!

Last edited by Michael on May 31 06, 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Transmogrified Tiger »

Thanks for taking questions John!

1) How do you handle the specific differences in the catcher and first base positions relative to the other positions? In other words, since you keep the same ranking system for all positions, how do you weigh and convert the factors from those positions since they are so different from other spots on the diamond?

2) Often times we as baseball fans attribute fielding as a static ability(like "Scott Rolen is a great defensive third baseman"), but are more critical with fluctuations in hitting(but at the same time are willing to overlook "down" years). Do you think players are just as prone to fluctuations defensively as they are offensively? Do you think there is a progression(maybe "prime" is a better word) for most players' careers defensively like is widely accepted for hitting?

3) What do you make of positioning when doing your rankings? How do you differentiate instinct versus coaching adjustments? How much of an impact do those factors beyond the player have overall?
Last edited by Transmogrified Tiger on May 23 06, 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Popeye_Card »

You may cover this topic in the book, but exactly how many extra balls must a position player (say, a shortstop) get to over league average to make up a potential drop in offensive production?

For example, Ozzie Smith was once one of the highest paid players in the league, based primarily on his fielding. His defense was of course outstanding, but was it worth being paid like a superstar?

Thanks for dropping by.


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Post by jim »

Thanks for taking our questions. I just listened to you on WSCR at lunch today, and try to check in when I remember you are on.

I have two questions regarding catchers.

1. What has more of an impact, a catchers ability to throw out basestealers or a catchers ability to prevent PB and WP? My hunch (a former catcher here) is that throwing out baserunners is more of a difference maker - turning a single/walk into an out seems to have more of an impact than the occasional PB or WP not prevented. It also seems to me that the difference in number of WP + PB isn't that great between the best and the worst catcher, but the ability to throw out runners can be.

2. I'll make this general and let you run with it. True/False - Catchers defense is over-rated and should not be an excuse to allow a weak hitting, good defensive catcher play over a better hitter, but weaker defensive catcher.

Thanks so much, and I do enjoy your segment on WSCR.

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Post by stewie13 »

Here is a relatively simple question:

Do you go into any level of detail on your methods anywhere on the internet or is only described in the book?

And a slightly more complicated question:
How does your system compare to Pinto's PMR? Also, how much of a concern is the quality of data from BIS and more specifically the individual people gathering it? I understand that there were some fairly significant discrepencies in line drive rates over the past couple years that really can only be chalked up to human error/different definitions of a line drive?

On a final note, I haven't read the book (yet) but with endorsements from the people at THR and MGL, your methods must be very sound.

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Post by onlyfacts »

let me ask the pointed cards-oriented question:

What does your approach say about comparing eckstein and renteria as defenders? What are their strengths and weaknesses relative to each other?

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Post by Popeye_Card »

I'll add another.

SS's are often thought of as far more valuable than 2B. In your opinion, is this really the case, or are they fairly close?

Also 2B/SS related: Have any of your studies highlighted the importance of a strong arm at 2B being nearly as valuable as a strong arm at SS?


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Post by TimeForGuinness »

Do you think Ozzie Smith was the last "defensive" candidate to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Also, I've noticed infielders sidestepping grounders to avoid the error (if they don't come up with it). Have you noticed this and do you feel that they should be charged an error anyway?

Last, do you drink Guinness?

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Post by planet planet »

Hi John! Thrilled to have you here!

1. You mentioned Jeter and Renteria as two "overrated" defensive players in terms of conventioned wisdom (and happily Pujols as underrated!). Were there any other players that defied conventional wisdom in your research, both in the overrated and underrated categories?

2. How has the growing acceptance of more advanced defensive statistics affected what you're able to do research wise as compared to Project Scoresheet days in the 80s?

3. With regards to our own Edmonds, how does he fare? Is there truth to viewpoint some hold that he exaggerates the difficulty of certain plays and/or contributes to the difficulty by playing so shallow?

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Post by vance »


I have to be honest, I haven't had a chance to read your book but it is at the top of my "must-read" list.

1. What findings in your rankings were most shocking to you? Which would be most shocking to readers?

2. How can the average fan differientiate between players defensively? While offensive stats seem to be readily availble and while crude, they provide some easy comparisons for the fans that don't use the more complex formulae. Is there an easy to compute stat that can provide a cursory defensive comparison?