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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chone Smith releases his defensive projections

Get them here.

They are projections. What that means is that they are good indications of a player's true talent, and therefore what players will do in the future. While the stats that I release with the total value stuff tend to be a good indication of what players have done in the past year, they are not necessarily good indications of what players will do in future seasons.

Chone's defensive ratings, on the other hand, are a combination of multi-year ratings for TotalZone, ZR, and RZR. And on top of that, Chone regresses these ratings to the Fans' Scouting Report ratings. So if someone plays a lot, their ratings are largely based on the fielding stats. But if someone hasn't played much (e.g. Paul Janish), their ratings are largely based on the Fan Scouting Report numbers. I'm a big fan of that methodology.

So, as far as I'm concerned, these are the best publicly-available defensive ratings you will find. I'd trust them more than UZR, more than PMR, and more than Dewan's +/-, at least when looking at those statistics in isolation. Ideally, we'd use PMR or +/- instead of RZR, and use UZR instead of ZR. But there are usually minimal differences between those choices, at least compared to the differences between the statistics from Baseball Info Solutions (RZR, PMR, and +/-) and Stats Inc (ZR and UZR).

So with that in mind, here's how the Reds rate. Numbers are runs saved per full season of play. Unless I indicate otherwise, they're for the player's typical position.

Infield
Cabrera -3 (2b), -5 (3b), -5 (ss)
Encarnacion -14
Freel -1 (2b), -1 (3b)
Hairston +2 (2b), -8 (ss)
Janish +1
Keppinger -5 (2b), -3 (3b), -13 (ss)
Phillips +7
Valentin -5 (1b)
Votto +3

(no data on Alex Gonzalez, as he didn't play in 2008...but his projection for 2008 was +4 runs at shortstop...given his leg problems, I'd take at least 5 runs off that projection for 2009)

Outfielders
(all listed by their rating as a corner outfielder 1st, center fielder second)

Bruce +2 (corner), -7 (cf)
Cabrera -4, -15
Dickerson +3, -6
Freel -2, +6
Hairston +4, -4
Hopper +9, +2
Patterson +13, +7

Some former Reds of interest:
Adam Dunn -13 (corner), -27 (cf)
Ken Griffey -15 (corner), -29 (cf)
Chris Denorfia +3 (corner), -5 (cf)
Austin Kearns +7 (corner), +0 (cf)

Jorge Cantu +0 (1b), -14 (3b)
Brendan Harris -8 (2b), -5 (3b), -8 (ss)
Felipe Lopez -7 (2b), -7 (3b), -16 (ss)


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So, the two primary defensive problems the Reds have remaining, after dumping Dunn & Griffey, are Encarnacion at 3B and Keppinger at SS. If the Reds can exchange those performances for average performances, they stand to gain almost 30 runs (3 wins) next season on defense alone. If the Reds are going to have any kind of chance next year, I think this absolutely has to be done, one way or another.

The problem, of course, is doing it in a manner that won't hurt the already rather weak offense by 30 or more runs. I'm glad it's not my job to figure out how to do that.