Cwik: A guide to fielding stats

From Christopher Cwik at Sports on Earth on December 6, 2013:

No area of player evaluation in baseball has seen a bigger rise in importance in recent years than fielding. While the early 2000s focused on power and patience, the spectrum has shifted. Defense is being stressed more than ever before, and meanwhile, we’ve seen the creation of various advanced defensive metrics. There’s no better example of that than Elvis Andrus’ eight-year, $120 million extension with the Texas Rangers. Though it seemed crazy to hand a shortstop with a career wRC+ of 86 at the time a huge deal, the move was actually celebrated by stat types. Andrus’ performance in nearly every one of these fielding metrics said the deal was more than fair.

Defensive metrics, however, do come with a bit of a stigma. Even those who have created their own metrics will warn against the reliability of these stats, because defense is incredibly difficult to actually measure, and these stats are relatively new. On top of that, the people who create the stats usually keep some of their calculations private, making it hard to know exactly what goes into these metrics. Further complicating the matter is the fact there’s no one defensive metric everyone supports. Instead, the most prominent sabermetric websites feature different metrics, all of which spit out slightly different figures.

These issues make it tough to know exactly how to use defensive stats. Though they may have their flaws, these metrics still play a significant role in player evaluation. And while the different stats seem complicated, they are more similar than they appear.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Click here to view the final results of the SABR Defensive Index for the 2013 season

Originally published: December 6, 2013. Last Updated: December 6, 2013.