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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Most valuable infielders - 2007 Reds minor leagues

In his most recent column, Dan Fox released a spreadsheet with 2007 minor league fielding stats for infielders (outfielders are still in revision--sorry, no Jay Bruce stats yet) using his Simple Fielding Runs (SFR) approach.

SFR may not be as precise as hit-location statistics like UZR or PMR, but because it can be calculated using play-by-play data, he can get data on players from leagues that are not "video scouted" by BIS or STATS Inc. Therefore, one of its most exciting uses lies in generating quality fielding statistics for minor league players! That's what I wanted to look at tonight.

Below is a table reporting total fielding value for each infielder (excluding pitchers and catchers) in the Reds' system last year. For each player, summed across all positions and teams. SFR is total +/- across all positions that a player played. PosAdj is a pro-rated (by playing time) position adjustment, which varies depending on position played (described here; shortstops get a boost while first basemen get a penalty because an average-fielding shortstop would be a very good defensive first baseman). FRAA is the total fielding value of the player, reported in as Fielding Runs Above Average. There was no adjustment for league, although there probably should be (I doubt the bar for fielding is as high in rookie-ball as it is in AA).

Name SFR PosAdj FRAA
Pedro Lopez 7.1 2.6 9.7
Justin Tordi 7.8 1.2 9.0
Jose Castro 3.4 3.8 7.3
Eric Eymann 3.4 3.5 6.9
Brandon Waring 5.5 0.5 6.0
Mark Bellhorn 4.4 0.8 5.2
Kevyn Feiner 4.8 0.2 5.0
Zachary Cozart 3.3 1.7 5.0
Neftali Soto 3.0 1.3 4.3
Jorge Cantu 4.4 -1.0 3.4
Todd Frazier 1.4 1.5 2.9
Angel Cabrera 1.7 0.8 2.5
Justin Turner 1.3 1.1 2.4
Jose Medina 2.1 0.1 2.2
Drew Anderson 1.3 0.7 2.0
Jose Gualdron 1.1 0.8 2.0
Dan Conway 0.1 1.8 1.9
Jeff Keppinger 1.3 0.0 1.4
Anderson Machado -0.9 2.0 1.1
Ryan Baker 0.9 0.2 1.1
Todd Waller 0.4 0.7 1.1
Jason Louwsma 3.1 -2.1 1.0
Earl Snyder 0.1 0.8 1.0
Chris Valaika -3.5 4.4 0.8
Jesse Gutierrez 3.1 -2.4 0.7
Paul Janish -4.4 4.9 0.5
Eli Rimes 0.3 -0.1 0.2
Petr Cech 0.0 0.2 0.2
Kyle Maunus 0.4 -0.3 0.1
Ryan Freel 0.1 0.0 0.1
Michael McKennon 3.9 -3.9 0.0
Luis Bolivar -1.1 0.9 -0.3
Mike Edwards -0.3 -0.1 -0.3
Gabriel Suarez -0.4 0.0 -0.4
Fulton Kendrick -0.6 0.2 -0.4
Juan Francisco -1.3 0.7 -0.6
Brett Bartles -0.7 0.0 -0.7
Jay Garthwaite -0.3 -0.6 -0.8
Radhames Moreta -1.6 0.6 -1.0
Paul Witt -1.3 0.2 -1.1
Jeremiah Piepkorn 1.3 -2.5 -1.2
Jeff Bannon -1.5 0.1 -1.3
Edwin Encarnacion -1.4 0.1 -1.4
Logan Parker 6.0 -7.5 -1.5
Billy Rojo -1.8 0.2 -1.6
David Scott -1.3 -0.8 -2.1
Raul Tablado -2.4 0.1 -2.2
Adam Rosales 4.4 -7.1 -2.7
Ramon Ramirez -2.0 -0.7 -2.7
Joey Votto 2.8 -5.9 -3.1
Aaron Herr -4.5 0.8 -3.7
Brodie Pullen -4.5 0.2 -4.3
Carlos Mendez -1.9 -3.5 -5.3
Michael Griffin -6.2 0.6 -5.7
Michael DeJesus -8.9 0.7 -8.1
Caonabo Cosme -8.1 -0.3 -8.4
Tonys Gutierrez -4.9 -5.5 -10.4
Enrique Cruz -16.4 1.8 -14.6

A few assorted comments:
  • The Reds' minor league infielders don't really seem to have any substantial defensive standouts, at least according to these numbers. Pedro Lopez, for example, ranked 121st among all minor league infielders. Granted, some of the higher-ranking players in this spreadsheet were playing in the Mexican league, which might have a rather weak level of competition. But there were guys in AAA posting 20+ FRAA. Kind of shocking how far from that any of the Reds were.
  • Pedro Lopez spent a substantial part of last season in the White Sox organization, and those numbers are included in the above totals. Therefore, Justin Tordi wins the award for most valuable Reds defensive infielder! Tordi, a 41st-round selection in '05, split time between second, third, and shortstop, for Billings, Dayton, and Sarasota last season. Unfortunately, he didn't hit much, posting a combined 0.215/0.282/0.294.
  • Brandon Waring accompanied his impressive offensive performance in Billings with a very good defensive performance at third base. I hadn't heard much about his fielding before, but these data indicate that he's pretty well-rounded. Also, keep in mind that his totals are essentially just a half-season's work. It'll be interesting to see how he does next year.
  • Paul Janish and Zachary Cozart have to been seen as having disappointing scores, as both of them are supposed to be defensive standouts. Janish, in particular, comes out really badly.
  • Nice to see Neftali Soto posting pretty respectable numbers. I haven't been keeping up--anyone hear if he's likely to play a full season in Dayton next year?
  • Nice to see Votto coming out as a tad above average at first base last year--though not enough to overcome the position penalty.
  • Chris Valaika and Todd Frazier, currently shortstops, are both expected to eventually move to another position. Frazier did ok last year, but Valaika's numbers indicate that he's already showing signs that a move would be appropriate.
  • Yikes about Enrique Cruz. 22 errors in 117 games doesn't help, but his range can't be good either.