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Monday, January 07, 2008

Reds Outfield Arms - Concerns about Griffey

John Walsh has released his annual report on outfielder arms. With the exception of the Fans' scouting report data, all of the fielding ratings that I've discussed on this blog of late look solely at the ability of outfielders to catch fly balls. That's typically the most important component of outfielding, but preventing baserunners from advancing via either "kills" or "holds" can also be an important factor in a fielder's performance, which is what makes Walsh's arm ratings so valuable.

Only three Reds actually made his cut-off and appeared in his article (I'm surprised Hamilton didn't, but...):
Dunn -4 runs
Freel +2 runs
Griffey -6.5 runs

Remember, part of these "arm" ratings is how fast an outfielder can get to a ball; someone can have a canon, but if they can't get to a ball fast enough, runners will take the extra base anyway. That's probably part of why Dunn and Griffey do so poorly.

How does this affect total value estimates of these players? Let's see:
PlayerOffense (RAR)
Fielding (RAA)
Throwing (RAA)
PosAdj (RAA)
Total
Dunn
51.3
-11.6
-4.0
-3.3
32.4
Freel
-0.2
1.0
2.0
1.5
4.3
Griffey
36.4
-7.1
-6.5
-3.2
19.6
Freel didn't play enough--or hit well enough--for his nice throwing rating to give him much of a bump. And Dunn's offense still carried his value, though his total fielding "performance," including position adjustment and throwing, cut his value by ~35%.

Griffey, on the other hand, got hit really hard, and is now rated as essentially equivalent in 2007 value to Alex Gonzalez according to my numbers (see other Reds in this post). This is consistent with a value estimate by MGL earlier this offseason. He projected Griffey, after factoring in offense, fielding, throwing, baserunning (advancement, not just steals), and aging, to be at or below replacement level. I'm not willing to go that far--both my fielding and Walsh's throwing numbers are a bit more generous to Griffey than MGL's. But I am very concerned about how much value Griffey really is adding to the team out in right field at this point.