Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angels and Defense

So far the Angels are playing above average defense, with a +5.1 team UZR figure according to Fangraphs. I was a bit worried coming into the season, especially with the outfield being on the wrong side of 30.

Most defensive metrics have shown a decline in Torii Hunter's game in recent years. Torii is aware of this, and is doing his best to prove them wrong. He's been amazing so far this season. The numbers say only +0.7 runs, but at least it's positive. In addition, the American League has some outstanding defensive talent in center right now. There's nothing wrong with being average among an elite group. If you were compared to only Babe Ruth, Mike Schmidt, Lou Gehrig, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson, and Ken Griffey Jr., and among that group you were found to have average power, you'd still be a great homerun hitter.

Juan Rivera is +4.9 in left. That surprises me, as he's not the fastest. I don't remember him failing to make many plays, but this may not continue. Bobby Abreu has done a fine job despite coming over with the reputation of a butcher. Bobby is a total of +1 between right and left. There have been a few plays where he has shown his reluctance to go to the wall, but he's also shown excellent speed in running down balls in the gaps.

Gary Matthews Jr. has played all 3 spots, and poorly, with at least a -2 UZR at each, and a total of -6.9. I wouldn't have guessed that. He did have one ridiculously pathetic play, dropping an easy fly that would have ended a game, but that's just one play.

In the infield, Figgins has been a bit above average (+2.5) after really settling in at third in 2008. Aybar has been average (-0.1) and hasn't made as many flashy plays as last year, but has all the tools to really be a good one. Kendrick has the top UZR on the team (5.1) and has been especially good at turning the DP. Kowbell Morales started the season looking shaky but has been just fine recently. His UZR is about average at -0.2.

It's been a good enough defense to help a few marginal pitchers hold the fort while the Angels dealt with injuries.

52 Comments:

At 1:32 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

Anay possibility of running an MLE translation for Wood's AAA defense at short this season? I'm not interested in bashing Aybar, but it would be interesting to compare the two.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Chone Smith said...

I don't have any 2009 defensive data for minor leaguers. Wood's projection coming into the year was -10.

 
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