Arthur: Major-league teams don’t value defense like we do

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on January 24, 2020:

If you were to take a survey of baseball’s data gathering prowess in 2020, you’d be amazed at just how much information we harvest on nearly every play. From the moment the ball leaves the tips of a pitcher’s fingers to the path it takes through the air to the last moment of contact as the ball leaves the bat, we know in exquisite physical detail everything that’s happening.

And then there is a gap: from when the ball leaves the bat to the time it finds a fielder’s glove, there is nothing. The lack of data in that timeframe is the whole reason that defensive metrics lag behind the breadth and depth of knowledge on hitting and pitching. It’s also where teams have, at least in theory, the biggest leg up on the public. To get some insight into how teams look at defense, I used a method based on free agent contracts and the statistics that go into them.

(You can find some background on that method here and another example of its use with hitting and pitching data here.)

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 24, 2020. Last Updated: January 24, 2020.