Monday, October 29, 2007

Defensive Projections

Here they are for 2008. I projected every outfielder with two ratings, one as a right/left fielder and one as a center fielder. Infielders get a projection for every position they actually played.

Projections are based on 4 years of data, age adjusted, and regressed to the mean. I've changed a few things about regression to the mean - outfielders are regressed to a mean that is a function of their speed score. A thanks to Mitchel Lichtman for opening my eyes to something that should have been obvious through this article.

For infielders, all first and second basemen are regressed to a mean of zero. Shortstops and third basemen are regressed to a lower mean, with the regression target rising depending on playing time. Once a player has the equivalent of a full season of playing time at a position, the mean he is regressed to rises to zero. A shortstop who played only 5 innings or so would have a projection around -7.

The reason I do this is this: Let's say Miguel Cabrera, a bad defender at third, was forced to play a few innings of shortstop and missed a play or two. His projection, had I done nothing, would be about -1. Orlando Cabrera's projection is -1, and it should be obvious that they are not equals. If you can play every day at short and be only -1 runs compared to the best fielders around, you are pretty valuable. So I came up with this trick to force a below average rating to people who really don't belong at a position.

For outfielders, both ratings are determined by outfield games played at all three positions. For infielders, ratings at each position are calculated independently - Maicer Izturis's shortstop rating is based only on his time there and has nothing to do with what he does at third base. Infield ratings are just based on a player's 4 year weighted record, playing time, and age.

The Ratings can be found here.

21 Comments:

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Tangotiger said...

You should regress Cabrera to what his talent indicates. For example, if Zimmerman or Rolen were to play SS for 1 game, you can't give them the same regression point as Cabrera.

You always regress players to the population from which they are drawn. The "1 game" population is one such parameter, but pure talent is another, as is actual performance at other positions.

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Great stuff, thanks for posting.

Do these take playing time into account? Is everyone assumed full-time play?

 
At 10:16 AM, Anonymous AROM said...

Yes, these are all projected to fulltime play.

Tango, I agree. That would be a bit more complicated. I could do something like use a player's sample at every position played to get a rating, and the results might like something like 3B +10, SS+2, 2B +7.

But I didn't want to go there, I kept each position's rating dependent only on how he did at that particular spot and playing time, because I think the different infield spots require very specific skillsets.

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger David said...

I have a really basic question but I am new to your blog and more advanced statistical baseball analysis in general. What does each number represent? The numbers of runs saved compared to an average (or replacement, is there a difference in this case) defensive player at that position over the course of the season?

Thanks

 
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