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Explanation of In-depth fielding statistics


Nny
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later tonight when I get home I'll be making a thread posting the actual statistics of our players. Posting this thread first so people actually know what they mean.

 

So I've been asked the questions a lot and have a feeling their will be more forthcoming into the offseason. So making a thread about it so I don't have to type the same thing multiple times and can simply link to this thread.

 

A lot of people completely pass over fielding stats because the old ones weren't good at all, for instance Range Factor (RF). The issue is that those are old fielding stats that were made with limited resources and were known to have their own issues, but were still move advanced at the time then anything else out there. But now there are more advanced things, so to completely pass over fielding stats would be like completely passing over hitting stats because of batting average.

 

Does that mean fielding ratings are without fault? No, there are still problems with them. But they are mostly minimal. And really, they are for the most part on line with what any good scout will tell you. The scouts knew Jeter really took a nose dive in defense and that Adam Everett was an elite fielder. It was the manager and writers and such praising and giving out awards.

 

Going back to the stats though, the two main ones are Plus/Minus (+/-), and Revised Zone Ratings and Out Of Zone plays (RZR and OOZ) (I'm sure there are those who have heard of Zone Rating, and [obviously] this is a revised version. The original ZR was made back in...I believe the 70's, and this takes upon that idea and expands on it. The original ZR is not very good at all, doing things like Ranking Andruw Jones as a poor CFer [And then you have guys like Jayson Stark who don't actually know how statistics work to see "ok this stat is stupid but this one is cool", but just look at the numbers and scream out HEY ANDRUW SUCKS AT DEFENSE])

 

I'm sure a lot of people don't want to read too much and just want the gist, so I'll try and get this as short as possible

 

Very very quick: Basically, these statistics look at every single ball hit and say wether a fielder should or should not have fielded that ball and rates them accordingly.

 

What RZR/OOZ does is, for RZR, it gives each player a "zone" on the field. If a ball is hit to that player's zone, then he should field the ball. RZR is calculated much like batting average, the number of balls fielded divided by total chances. So if 10 balls are hit into a player's zone, and he converts 8 of them into outs, he has an RZR of .800. They ONLY get credit if the ball turns into an out. So yes, errors do make a difference.

 

For OOZ, it counts how many times a player turns an ball into an out that was outside of his zone. Unlike RZR, it's a strait counting stat. So if a player has an OOZ of 5, that means he turned 5 balls into outs that were out of his zone. OOZ is a great way to see what a player's range really is like.

 

RZR and OOZ can be viewed for free at The Hard Ball Times.

 

For Plus/Minus, it does the same basic concept of RZR/OOZ. It looks at plays a fielder should make, and if a player doesn't make a play that he should make he gets -points. And if he makes a play he should have made he gets plus points. The thing is, it's a LOT more in depth then what RZR is. It looks at how hard the ball was hit, how the ball was hit (GB, FB, ect), is the fielder holding a player on base, if the IF is in DP posistion, ect ect etc. Do to it's depthness, it is the best fielding stat out there. You can also get a rough estimate of the runs a player is able to prevent with the statistic, which is very nice information to have.

 

The problem? It is not publically available. You can find some at http://fieldingbible.com/ (The top 10 from 2006, the top 10 and bottom 10 from 2007, and the top 10 and bottom 10 over three year periods from 2004-2006 and 2005-2007. There will likely be an update later in the off-season with 2008 additions), as well as read up more on the stat.

 

You can pay to view them at Bill James Online: Interactions with Bill James thru articles, conversations, and more, costs 3 dollars a month for a membership but you have to get at least a 3 month membership (so 9 dollars) which I think is incredibly gay considering they advertise it as 3 dollars a month but in reality it's 9 dollars for 3 months.

 

Now, going more in depth to what Plus/Minus actually is.

 

It's not a strait +1 if he makes a play, -1 if he doesn't make a play. What it does is look at where a ball was it, how hard the ball was hit, and how the ball was hit, and then looks at every single time that a ball was hit at that spot, that hard, and that kind of ball and looks to see how many times that ball was hit for an out. If a ball is turned to an out 70% of the time, and a player makes an out on that ball, he gets a +0.3. If he doesn't make an out, he gets -0.7. If a ball is turned to an out 20% of the time and a player makes an out on that ball, he gets +0.8. If he doesn't make an out, he gets -0.2.

 

So as you can see, it's not just black and white like RZR/OOZ is where it says "ok, either the ball is in the zone, or it's not in the zone", it takes into consideration just how difficult each individual play is.

 

Not only that but it also incorporates what other things you have to expect a fielder to do.

 

For instance, for first and third baseman, the ability to handle a bunt. For 2nd and SS, the ability to turn a DP. And probably the most important one, for OFers how many bases they give up or prevent.

 

I mean, if a ball is hit to a spot and almost every single time it's a double, but a fielder is able to keep the hitter to a single, that's huge. Likewise, if a player hits a ball that should only be a single, but the hitter takes advantage of a poor fielder/thrower and gets to second, that's huge as well.

 

I think the most important thing is that that also isn't just looking at "ok, the runner knows the fielder has a powerful arm, so he's not going to test him" but also about how a fielder approaches a ball, his route, his accuracy, so forth.

 

I mean, the amount of extra base hits an OFer gives up is just so extremely important. It's not just stretching singles into doubles. It's doubles into triples, singles into triples, doubles into hrs, singles into hrs, hell outs into hrs. If a ball is hit and a player should make the out on that ball, but instead the batter ends up in scoring position, that's putting your team in a horrible position. So it's just really nice to quantify just how exactly OFers rate at that.

 

So yeah, I want this thread to simply be about questions or comments regarding the fielding statistics. If you have any questions, just ask away and I'll do my best to answer them.

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later tonight when I get home I'll be making a thread posting the actual statistics of our players. Posting this thread first so people actually know what they mean.

 

So I've been asked the questions a lot and have a feeling their will be more forthcoming into the offseason. So making a thread about it so I don't have to type the same thing multiple times and can simply link to this thread.

 

A lot of people completely pass over fielding stats because the old ones weren't good at all, for instance Range Factor (RF). The issue is that those are old fielding stats that were made with limited resources and were known to have their own issues, but were still move advanced at the time then anything else out there. But now there are more advanced things, so to completely pass over fielding stats would be like completely passing over hitting stats because of batting average.

 

Does that mean fielding ratings are without fault? No, there are still problems with them. But they are mostly minimal. And really, they are for the most part on line with what any good scout will tell you. The scouts knew Jeter really took a nose dive in defense and that Adam Everett was an elite fielder. It was the manager and writers and such praising and giving out awards.

 

Going back to the stats though, the two main ones are Plus/Minus (+/-), and Revised Zone Ratings and Out Of Zone plays (RZR and OOZ) (I'm sure there are those who have heard of Zone Rating, and [obviously] this is a revised version. The original ZR was made back in...I believe the 70's, and this takes upon that idea and expands on it. The original ZR is not very good at all, doing things like Ranking Andruw Jones as a poor CFer [And then you have guys like Jayson Stark who don't actually know how statistics work to see "ok this stat is stupid but this one is cool", but just look at the numbers and scream out HEY ANDRUW SUCKS AT DEFENSE])

 

I'm sure a lot of people don't want to read too much and just want the gist, so I'll try and get this as short as possible

 

Very very quick: Basically, these statistics look at every single ball hit and say wether a fielder should or should not have fielded that ball and rates them accordingly.

 

What RZR/OOZ does is, for RZR, it gives each player a "zone" on the field. If a ball is hit to that player's zone, then he should field the ball. RZR is calculated much like batting average, the number of balls fielded divided by total chances. So if 10 balls are hit into a player's zone, and he converts 8 of them into outs, he has an RZR of .800. They ONLY get credit if the ball turns into an out. So yes, errors do make a difference.

 

For OOZ, it counts how many times a player turns an ball into an out that was outside of his zone. Unlike RZR, it's a strait counting stat. So if a player has an OOZ of 5, that means he turned 5 balls into outs that were out of his zone. OOZ is a great way to see what a player's range really is like.

 

RZR and OOZ can be viewed for free at The Hard Ball Times.

 

For Plus/Minus, it does the same basic concept of RZR/OOZ. It looks at plays a fielder should make, and if a player doesn't make a play that he should make he gets -points. And if he makes a play he should have made he gets plus points. The thing is, it's a LOT more in depth then what RZR is. It looks at how hard the ball was hit, how the ball was hit (GB, FB, ect), is the fielder holding a player on base, if the IF is in DP posistion, ect ect etc. Do to it's depthness, it is the best fielding stat out there. You can also get a rough estimate of the runs a player is able to prevent with the statistic, which is very nice information to have.

 

The problem? It is not publically available. You can find some at http://fieldingbible.com/ (The top 10 from 2006, the top 10 and bottom 10 from 2007, and the top 10 and bottom 10 over three year periods from 2004-2006 and 2005-2007. There will likely be an update later in the off-season with 2008 additions), as well as read up more on the stat.

 

You can pay to view them at Bill James Online: Interactions with Bill James thru articles, conversations, and more, costs 3 dollars a month for a membership but you have to get at least a 3 month membership (so 9 dollars) which I think is incredibly gay considering they advertise it as 3 dollars a month but in reality it's 9 dollars for 3 months.

 

Now, going more in depth to what Plus/Minus actually is.

 

It's not a strait +1 if he makes a play, -1 if he doesn't make a play. What it does is look at where a ball was it, how hard the ball was hit, and how the ball was hit, and then looks at every single time that a ball was hit at that spot, that hard, and that kind of ball and looks to see how many times that ball was hit for an out. If a ball is turned to an out 70% of the time, and a player makes an out on that ball, he gets a +0.3. If he doesn't make an out, he gets -0.7. If a ball is turned to an out 20% of the time and a player makes an out on that ball, he gets +0.8. If he doesn't make an out, he gets -0.2.

 

So as you can see, it's not just black and white like RZR/OOZ is where it says "ok, either the ball is in the zone, or it's not in the zone", it takes into consideration just how difficult each individual play is.

 

Not only that but it also incorporates what other things you have to expect a fielder to do.

 

For instance, for first and third baseman, the ability to handle a bunt. For 2nd and SS, the ability to turn a DP. And probably the most important one, for OFers how many bases they give up or prevent.

 

I mean, if a ball is hit to a spot and almost every single time it's a double, but a fielder is able to keep the hitter to a single, that's huge. Likewise, if a player hits a ball that should only be a single, but the hitter takes advantage of a poor fielder/thrower and gets to second, that's huge as well.

 

I think the most important thing is that that also isn't just looking at "ok, the runner knows the fielder has a powerful arm, so he's not going to test him" but also about how a fielder approaches a ball, his route, his accuracy, so forth.

 

I mean, the amount of extra base hits an OFer gives up is just so extremely important. It's not just stretching singles into doubles. It's doubles into triples, singles into triples, doubles into hrs, singles into hrs, hell outs into hrs. If a ball is hit and a player should make the out on that ball, but instead the batter ends up in scoring position, that's putting your team in a horrible position. So it's just really nice to quantify just how exactly OFers rate at that.

 

So yeah, I want this thread to simply be about questions or comments regarding the fielding statistics. If you have any questions, just ask away and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

 

Thanks. (I was the one who asked about +/- last night). :thumbup

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That's excellent. One important thing for people to realize is that RZR is basically a ratio while OOZ is an absolute number. OOZ is a very gross measure of range. I like plus/minus because it factors in a lot of variables as you mentioned. Its kind of like EqA or GPA for hitters.

 

One question: Is depthness a word? :shifty

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  • 6 months later...

UZR is a stat I've bashed on in the past.

 

But that's because I'm a completely dumbass.

 

I first heard about UZR from Baseball Think Factory. I then stumbled upon this article:

 

BBTF's Dialed In Discussion :: Dr. StrangeGlove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Zone Rating

 

Which starts off with:

 

"There is a ton of mistrust of defensive methodologies, and how well they describe defensive play. MGL?s UZR is recognized at many baseball sites as being good enough to cite with considerable confidence in its accuracy. MGL does a good deal of work on it to perfect it, and he?s no dummy, so it?s a fair position of others to want to quote his data.

 

I?m here to tell you, friends and neighbors, that you, yes, you, can be a defensive runs saved calculator without the need to pray MGL is able to let you in on how your favorite player performed. MGL always obliges, but he doesn't have to have the burden. "

 

The way this is worded made me believe that it was telling you how to calculate UZR. Really bad articulation on part of the author.

 

Anyway, the article then goes on to show how to turn ZR into runs. So, since I thought that was UZR, I hated the stat since I hate the old ZR method. I mean, it's old for a reason: it's old.

 

But that is not UZR. Infact, UZR is VERY similar to Plus/Minus. Here are two articles on how he calculates UZR (note: 6 years old, some things have changed)

 

BBTF's Primate Studies Discussion :: Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Part 1

BBTF's Primate Studies Discussion :: Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Part 2

 

There are some differences between the two, but all in all, they normally come to around the same conclusion.

 

For instances, one thing I definitely like about UZR is that it seperates range and errors, which then allows you to see what players have great range but make a lot of mistakes and what players have limited range but also limit mistakes.

 

But on the flip side, one thing I like more about plus/minus is that it gives more benefit to a player making a play he normally wouldn't. An example would be:

 

There's a zone that a ball is turned to an out 80% of the time, 20% by the 2b and 60% by the SS.

 

However, on one team, the 2b makes an out 30% of the time and a SS makes the out 50% of the time. Out of 100 plays, UZR would give the 2b +1.5 runs and the SS -1.5 runs (in other words, 0 runs for the zone)

 

However, +/- would give the SS -1.9 runs and +3.8 runs for the 2b. Which I think is a lot more fair. After all, if a 2b makes a play that a SS normally makes, he should be credited as such. So it doesn't try to equal 0 runs in every zone, but rather just 0 runs at the positions.

 

However, that's just range. One major difference I noticed: arm.

 

I'm not sure how arm is calculated in UZR (in the articles linked above, it wasn't calculated yet). But, for all RFers in 2008, adding up all the ARM ratings gives you a +0.2. The closer to zero, the better. Since 0 = average, and everything is based off the average at the position, that means if you add all them up, you want the final product to be average, or 0.

 

However, do the same for plus/minus system: +116. I mean, HUGE huge difference. So I'm not sure if UZR's arm system is "right", but there's definitely a glaring issue with Dewan's. I love Dewan's concept of looking at chances a player has to advance a base, and how often they actually do. But something is clearly wrong here in that being turned to runs.

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I want this thread to simply be about questions or comments regarding the fielding statistics. If you have any questions, just ask away and I'll do my best to answer them.

I was looking for this but couldn't find it but maybe you know.

 

Do you know why they do the plus / minus as a counting stat and not as a percentage or rate? As it is now a guy with a plus / minus of 20 in 1000 innings would rank ahead of a guy with a plus / minus of 15 in 400 innings and that's almost for sure not fair.

 

Also, do the numbers only take into account batted balls? So for example there's a runner on first and there's a double to LF and the SS bubbles the throw from the LF and the runenr scores. Does the SS get negative points in this type of play?

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I know you're talking about defense and stuff but I have a question... what the hell is OPS? I see you guys here talk about it all the time but I'm pretty clueless as to what it is.

 

its a players on base percentage combined with slugging percentage..atleast its my understanding... (On-base Plus Slugging)

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I want this thread to simply be about questions or comments regarding the fielding statistics. If you have any questions, just ask away and I'll do my best to answer them.

I was looking for this but couldn't find it but maybe you know.

 

Do you know why they do the plus / minus as a counting stat and not as a percentage or rate? As it is now a guy with a plus / minus of 20 in 1000 innings would rank ahead of a guy with a plus / minus of 15 in 400 innings and that's almost for sure not fair.

 

Also, do the numbers only take into account batted balls? So for example there's a runner on first and there's a double to LF and the SS bubbles the throw from the LF and the runenr scores. Does the SS get negative points in this type of play?

 

 

#1, it's just like runs created, to say who has the better total season.

 

Why they don't have a rate stat, something like UZR does (UZR has UZR/150, which is the rate of UZR in 150 games), I don't know. But then again it's like OOZ. Just gotta do it yourself.

 

#2, plus/minus doesn't. UZR might, but I don't think it does.

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