Questions for John Dewan

The place where GRB members interview baseball authorities.
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redbirdjazzz
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Post by redbirdjazzz »

How does Yadier Molina stack up against other catchers around the league defensively?

I've heard conflicting opinions of Juan Encarnacion's defensive capabilities. What do you think of him as an outfielder?
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fulldeck
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Post by fulldeck »

Thanks for taking our questions John.

Are there any players that still surprise you with their ability defensively?

Does guarding the lines really take away as many hits as TV announcers seem to think they do?
Fat Strat
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Post by Fat Strat »

John:

I, as a casual fan, am always looking for quick and easy stats to throw around when analyzing and comparing players. OPS or OPS+, for all their flaws, are pretty decent stats to quickly compare two players' offensive production.

Is there a similar quick and dirty defensive stat that is reasonably accurate and readily available to the casual fan?

I used to use RF and ZR, but those seem to have fallen out of favor.
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samsrents
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Post by samsrents »

Do you get a lot of pushback from media members who read that Jeter is so overrated as a fielder?

It seems that they were all in disbelief when fellow players placed him at the top of the overrated list. I personally have to believe it came from fellow infielders who realize that he had absolutely no business winning a Gold Glove.
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deputyfife
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Post by deputyfife »

First, thank you for taking your time here, and also for putting your resources into a major piece of work on defensive analysis.

A: How much of the game does defense make up? Or alternately, how much of a team's half-inning in the field does defense factor into? (maybe a percentage answer here, or whatever you feel is appropriate as an answer.)

B: Your work sounds like a dynamic scoring nightmare. How do you account for effects different teammates might have on one another? (For example, middle infielders.)

C: I have the opinion, purely based on watching games, that Scott Rolen has been (over the past 5 years or so) the best defensive player in baseball. (In other words, if they only gave out 1 Gold Glove every year, to the single best defender in MLB, I'd give it to Rolen.) Am I wrong? If so, what refutes that?

D: I'm of the opinion that so many of Edmonds' plays look overly-dramatic because he plays shallow--resulting in him having to make long runs to balls that other players could catch with a short trot, because of where those balls are hit to. I'm also of the opinion that this helps his defense quite a bit. Your thoughts on this, and outfielders (particularly CF's) playing shallow?

E: Playing the infield in for a play at the plate: in my opinion, the worst defensive play in baseball. Seems to turn too many outs in to hits, in exchange for the very few times it results in being able to throw a runner out at the plate on a grounder. Your findings? Only in the situation of having a runner on third with less than two outs in the 9th inning or later, in a tie game, would I use it.
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longhornbaseball
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Post by longhornbaseball »

Who is the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez? AP is hands down the better hitter but a lot of fans would say ARod because he plays a more demanding defensive position.
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Grammar_Police
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Post by Grammar_Police »

Hi, John.

How valuable, relative to the impact on the outcome of an average game or season, is an outfielder with a strong, accurate throwing arm vs an outfielder with average arm strength and accuracy?
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thrill
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Post by thrill »

John - In your opinion, what is the position that it is most beneficial to have a great defender play?
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Fan_In_NY
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Post by Fan_In_NY »

Hi John, Thanks for stopping by this smaller part of the Cardinals Nation.

On this board we have recently discussed the chances of Omar Vizquel getting in the hall of fame. How much of your work has looked back into historical number, or is the data just not there. From what you have studied, is Ozzie that much better than Omar? Can Vizquel make it, or is he going to be hurt from overlapping time periods with ARod, Jeter, and Tejada?
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JL21
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Post by JL21 »

Hi, John. I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't read the Fielding Bible, but I can't WAIT to read it. I've been excited to read it primarily because it says things that my eyes tell me, yet "advanced" metrics don't agree with (Jack Wilson and Adam Everett are spectacular shortstops, no matter what ZF and RF say). Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

1. Using your advanced metrics, how much of a dropoff did the Cardinals experience last year at 3B going from Rolen to Nunez? It'd be one thing to look at Rolen's 2005 performance, but I don't think that an injured Rolen is a fair barometer to use for defensive expectation. It seems to me that Nunez filled in admirably, performing above average even, but that there was still a healthy dropoff from a healthy Rolen to Nunez.

2. Is Albert Pujols really a better defensive 1B than Derrek Lee? :) (at least in 2005, anyway)
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