Saturday, August 19, 2006

Manny Ramirez and the Big Green Wall

How bad is Manny Ramirez on defense? If you look at UZR, or either my or Chris Dial's zone rating based systems, you get at least -30 runs last year. From John Dewan's defensive bible, he's at -14 plays, and -31 enhanced. From David Pinto's PMR at Baseballmusings.com, he's worse than -20.

Are these numbers right? Or do these play by play methods not properly adjust for that big green wall behind him?

I recently received a database with complete ZR information for all players back to 1987. I decided to look at matched innings for players who have played left field for the Red Sox and for other teams. Jim Rice and Mike Greenwell are not in this sample, having never played anywhere else. Neither is Ramirez, who played only RF in Cleveland. If a guy played 1100 innings in left field elsewhere, and 75 in Fenway, he gets his ZR runs prorated to 75 innings for the sample.

When all is said and done, I had about 6400 matched innings. The players, per 162 games, were -25 in Fenway and -10 on the road.

This sample isn't huge but I think its a fair enough estimate. I would be a lot more confident if I had home /road defensive splits, but those are not available.

So for this year, Manny is at -23 so far. Add back in those 15 runs, prorate by his inning played total, and Manny's new rating is -14.

This adjustment is greater than I thought it would be, I figured -7 last year when I had much less data. Manny is a bad outfielder, but nowhere near as bad as some metrics make him out to be.

19 Comments:

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I looked at LF in Houston and its even a bigger penalty with the matched innings method, -21 per 162, but the sample is much smaller, only 2100 innings, so I don't trust that very much.

If Preston Wilson can play avg LF defense for the Cardinals here on out, after being around -20 for Houston, then I might start to think its accurate.

 
At 9:35 AM, Blogger The Chronicler said...

I don't know why it's so hard for STATS to just come up with different zones in Fenway. Is it a huge coding problem?

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous JoeArthur said...

For 2006, I have been assembling home/road ZR splits for fenway; results for LF through the all-star break have been tabulated and posted here.
It's part of a larger discussion about Manny Ramirez' defensive value.
The ZR penalty at Fenway has looked like about -.200 to that point this season; most of the lost outs probably become doubles. I will have to re-read your work on translating ZR into runs to determine how fully these splits agree with your results, but the very general conclusion is the same as yours: Using splits, Manny looks much closer to average.

I'm going to update the totals past the 3/4 mark of the season soon, which will increase the data in the sample by about 50%.

Two questions about your data. 1) historical ZR on foxsports website often differ slightly from those on other websites such as espn or cnnsi.com. Do you know why? Does your database match a particular source? 2) without having collected full seasons of data, just looking at some individual careers, it looks to me as though outfielder ZR in the early 90s and before are still figured with a different methodology, and were much higher before '95. Do you see significant discontinuities between league averages, say between '94 and '95? If this is the case, does it skew your matched innings sample or not?

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

The database was sent to me by the primate SG in ATL. I think he used the ESPN site to grab historical data. The different season averages won't affect my matched innings, since I'm looking at runs above average instead of absolute ZR.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger SG said...

Joe, all data was from ESPN, except for Bo Hart's 2004 season which I had to get from CNNSI. If you'd like a copy of the database let me know and i can send it to you.

 
At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Chone said...

SG, were you planning on making it available as a download for Baseballthinkfactory?

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger SG said...

Sure, I can probably do that at some point. I was going to wait until Chris was done with a few more of his pieces.

 
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