Making sense of defensive metrics: 2013 season player card ratings review


If you have been following this blog you have read some of the previous posts on
how the defensive range ratings are determined for DYNASTY League
Baseball and it’s predecessor Pursue the Pennant
. Defensive range,
Throwing arms and Catchers handling of pitchers are some of the player ratings that
are done manually and require an interpretation of the defensive metrics to assign the
rating. So let’s look at a few examples from the 2013 season player cards:

Adam Jones on the DYNASTY League Baseball historical scales for both Range Factor/9
innings and John Dewan Fielding Bible plus/minus scales out at D/D and his UZR/150
also was below average. There is a strong correlation among the defensive metrics to
assign Jones a D range rating if you took a strict Sabermetric camp approach.
NOTE: the DYNASTY League Baseball historical scale for plus/minus is based on data
since 2000.

What about the eye test from scouting reports? Gold Glove voters decided Jones was
good enough all around defensively to be awarded a Gold Glove. Keep in mind that
Defensive Range is not the only component of a Gold Glove vote, there is also Fielding
Percentage and Throwing Arm. DYNASTY League Baseball uses scouting reports from
a number of sources including charting MLB Networks 100 best defensive plays of
2013. One of the better sources of scouting reports is the Tango Tiger poll which
grades tools on a scale from 0-100. Jones scored a “45” for his reactions and
instincts, “65” Acceleration first few steps, “72” Velocity sprint speed, and “52” Hands
catching. This was one of the tougher ratings of the 2013 season to assign, but in
keeping with the balanced approach I take between Sabermetrics and Scouting
evaluations where each group of data and observations should be taken into
consideration I bumped Jones rating to a C+ given the above average ratings from the
Tango Tiger poll. The MLB Managers and Coaches that vote on the Gold Glove take
quite a bit of criticism for some of their selections, but I think it might be too extreme
to totally discount their observations.

In the end, I felt the Sabermetric defensive metrics and Gold Glove voters were at
opposites ends of a very polarized view of Adam Jones range rating and that Adam
Jones “real” range lies closer to the mid ground that the Tango Tiger poll ratings
reflect. Jones throwing arm rating was much easier to assign with a very good Hold %
and Kill% (6 kills total) metrics and Tango Tiger poll ratings for strength “77” and
accuracy “58”. Adam Jones 2013: C+ Range/90 Error/-1 Throwing.
NOTE: If you are new to DYNASTY League Baseball Throwing ratings are based on a
scale of -4 to +4 with a -4 rating representing a “Clemente” type arm. The Official
DYNASTY League Baseball rulebook details the rating scales on page 3 and can be
found once you log in at http://www.dynastylea
guebaseball.com/UserMain.aspx

NolanArenado2013Emerging on the defensive spectrum of stars in 2013 were three young players of
note: Andrelton Simmons age 24 (A+/85/-5), Nolan Arenado age 23 (A+/90) and
Manny Machado age 21 (A+/90). It is rare air for three young players to receive “A+”
range ratings which are reserved for historically great performances, but in all three
cases they were well deserved. Arenado (+27), Machado (+36) and Simmons (+37)
turned in historically great performances on the DYNASTY League Baseball Fielding
Bible +/- scale. Not only that, but with their great range they also have terrific
fielding percentages and had 85, 90 and 90 Error ratings. Frequently you see young
players with excellent range, but many times it comes with a lower fielding percentage
– not the case with these three defensive stars.Z

Then there is the flip side. Who were some of the players with the poorest range?
How about Jed Lowrie (ss: D/50)? Lowrie had a +/- of (-17), UZR/150 (-9.2) and RF/9
(3.56). A stunningly poor performance with all three defensive metrics in strong
agreement. What about the scouting reports? Tango Tiger had Lowrie with ratings of
35/27/38. This is the kind of agreement between the defensive metrics and scouting
reports that you love to see.

Then there is Shin Soo Choo (cf: D/80/0). Choo finished last among regular CF with a
(-16) plus/minus AND UZR/150 (-17.0) to go along with a 2.41 RF/9 that just barely
made it into the “C” DYNASTY League Baseball historical range factor scale. The
scouting reports from Tango Tiger were in agreement with the defensive metrics
(33/40/54).

The Molina brothers, Yadier and Jose, were once again among the best “pitch framing”
catchers scoring RAA (Runs Above Average) of 19.8 and 19.3 respectively. Those
scores were two of the top pitch framing scores in all of MLB earning both Yadier and
Jose “A” ratings for catcher handling of pitchers.

Here are the average Range and Fielding ratings by position for the 2013 season:

Since range is text, the following numbers were assigned:
A+ 1
A 2
B+ 3
B 4
C+ 5
C 6
D 7
F 8

Range  Error
1B 5.45  72.29
2B 5.12  71.90
SS 5.04  71.27
3B 4.98  70.64
LF 5.20  70.25
CF 4.26  76.34
RF 4.70  68.38

DYNASTY League Baseball Online allows you to play in Private Draft leagues as
well as play solitaire “Series”.

The DYNASTY League Baseball original Board Game version and new 2013 season
player cards are available at the Ticket Window.

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