Tom Tango has released the annual Fans’ Scouting Report, which lets baseball fans rate players on defense.  The idea is to appeal to the “wisdom of the crowd,” and try to move beyond the weaknesses of both conventional wisdom and defensive statistics.  Turnout wasn’t especially high, but it’s interesting to look at, anyway.

Brandon Phillips was rated the Reds’ best defender, with an excellent overall score of 78 (average is 50, and one standard deviation is +20).  BP ranked third among all 2bs, behind Mark Ellis and one point behind Orlando Hudson.  And he’s basically the only Red who ranks in the upper tier at his position.  I don’t think we need anything else to tell us that we were watching a bad defensive club, once again.

Our buddy Adam Dunn ranks last on the team, with a score of 21, which seems low, even for Dunn.  He scored only 11 for both “instincts” and “first step,” which might be reasonable, but a 10 for “hands” is just wrong.  Dunn pretty much catches what he gets to – it’s just getting to it that’s the problem.

Griffey and Hopper both scored 55, which we know can’t be correct (many ballots may have been cast before Hopper got significant playing time).  Griffey’s being carried by excellent scores in “insticts” and for his throwing arm.  His “speed” score of 32 is worse than Dave Ross’.

Freel’s 54 is dragged down by below-average throwing figures (and he’s lucky “decision-making” and “threat to others” aren’t categories).

Josh Hamilton was second the club in defense, with absurdly high throwing scores, and very good scores on everything but instincts and hands.  I think that’s pretty accurate.

Alex Gonzalez did very well, but I really don’t know how.  It seemed like he was always out, and when he was around, he played poorly in the field.  I don’t think he’s nearly as bad as he showed, but there’s no evidence that showed he was good, either.

EE scored above average, at 54.  His glove-based and instinct scores were very good, as was arm strength.  But 28 on throwing “release” and 22 on “accuracy” bring him down.  Seems fair.



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9 Responses

  1. Y-City Jim

    Gonzo played decent D except for an unacceptable high number of boots on routine balls. Maybe a lot of those were due to the distractions in his life.

  2. doug

    Gonzo looked slightly above average this year, and most fielding metrics tend to agree with that. I don’t think his mind was there at all this season with what his child was going through, but most places agree that he was slightly above average at SS this past season.

  3. Chris

    My own observation of Gonzalez is that he was pretty much average (save the boots) in everything, except for turning double-plays. In that, he’s very, very good. That lines up almost exactly with what Dewan’s book said. I don’t think he’s exceptional at anything else, though.

  4. Alex

    I heard somewhere that Terry Francona called Alex Gonzalez the best shortstop he’s ever seen…I know that numbers tell a lot more, but it gives me hope for what could be the next 2+ years if the more important things in Gonzo’s life start going better.

  5. Chris

    I know Gonzalez went through some tough times this year, but I think we’re all being optimistic to the extent we’re attributing the increased number of errors to the situation with his kid, or even his injuries.

    Why do I say this?

    Because his other numbers were much better than in the past. If the off-the-field stuff was affecting Gonzalez on the field, how can we explain these numbers:

    .272 AVG (vs. .248 career)
    .325 OBP (vs. .295 career)
    .468 SLG (vs. .399 career)

    It’s not just GABP. His OPS+, which is park-adjusted, was 99 (vs. 80 career).

    And it’s not just hitting. Like I said, he turned a lot of double-plays, and looked really good doing it.

    I think that pattern disproves the theory that Y-City Jim first stated (but that many of us have been talking about since mid-summer). It seems logical enough on its face, but it falls apart under analysis.

    I hope Alex’s son gets better, and I hope his defense improves, but I don’t think one is going to have any effect on the other.

  6. jinaz

    I’ve been doing a fair bit of work with the Fans data this week as I’ve been putting together the fielding part of my player value series. I never really gave these data much consideration before now, but the work I’ve done this week has me pretty impressed with them. For example, I’m finding that they correlate to the various zone statistics (e.g. uzr, zr, pmr, etc) quite a bit better than BPro’s FRAA numbers do! 🙂

    The one thing I’ve been disappointed in with the ’07 Reds data is how few ballots we have for Reds players…only a few players got 20 evaluations, and most are based on ~10-15 ballots. That contrasts with previous years when we’ve gotten upwards of 30-40 ballots per player.

    I’m at fault as much as anyone, as I didn’t advertise the fan scouting report like you guys did at redlegnation. And I only am able to catch a few games via tv each season (plus I spend too much time looking at zone fielding numbers), so I can’t contribute my own ballots. But the data would be a lot more meaningful if we had a bit more participation, especially from season ticket holders. I’m going to work a lot more at getting out the vote next season.

  7. Bill

    This is a little off the point here, but jinaz, what percentage season ticket holders do you think are bloggers/internet participants?

  8. daedalus

    nobody ever gives credit to Dunn for his vast improvement on defense this year. yeah, he’s still below average, but he obviously worked his butt off to get better.