It looks great.
Using a videotape library of every baseball game played in the last three years, data on every play made in baseball was entered into a computer – recording the direction, distance, speed, and type of batted ball. The computer then looks at every type of a certain play – for example, where a soft ground ball was hit in a particular vector of a player’s position purview – and ascertains how many times said ball on a such a play was turned into an out (in terms of a percentage). This then serves as a baseline to determine how many times an individual player is “plus” or “minus” on the same play (versus the average out-made percentage) when presented with the opportunity.
And, now, with “The Fielding Bible — Volume II,” they’ve taken it a step further. As they explain it:
Baseball is all about runs. Runs determine the score. Runs are all over the statistics. How many runs did he drive in? What’s his earned run average? In the first volume of The Fielding Bible we developed metrics that help us better understand defense in baseball. We speculated that we would try to translate the new defensive metrics into runs. That’s what we’ve done here in Volume II. We’ve taken all the metrics we had and converted them to runs.
Using a run expectancy chart, is the charm here. Again, as they explain it:
The key way that we use this chart is to look at it before and after a play. Let’s say there’s a man on first with one out. The expected runs at that point are .528. The next play is a groundball to the shortstop. He boots it for an error and we now have men on first and second with one out. The expected runs went from .528 to .919. That’s an increase of .391 (.919 minus .528) runs. The play itself, the error, cost the team .391 runs. We don’t have to follow it through and count the rest of the inning. We know what the value of the ending state is and can use it. The term that we are using in this book for this is Defensive Runs (or Defensive Runs Saved or simply Runs Saved). Since the error cost the team runs, it becomes a negative when stated as Defensive Runs. The value of the error is -.391 defensive runs.
Fun stuff, huh? Well, here’s something even more interesting for Yankees fans.
Last season, Mark Teixeira led all first baseman in baseball with 17 Runs Saved. And, Jason Giambi was next to last with -13 Runs Saved. And, since the Yankees have replaced “The Big G” with “Tex,” that’s a swing of +30 runs, no? Sweet…
And, thanks to “The Fielding Bible — Volume II,” we can learn things like this great news for the Yankees. Ah, the power of “D”!