Dewan: Up-the-middle defensive projections

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on February 23, 2017:

We are just getting started with Spring Training, but projection season is already in full swing, so let’s take a peek at our Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) projections for 2017.

Below are the teams with the best and worst projected up-the-middle fielders (i.e. catcher, second baseman, shortstop, and center fielder). This is often a good proxy for overall defensive quality because non-catcher up-the-middle fielders see over one-third more opportunities per season than the corner positions do, and catchers can provide value on every single pitch.

We project the Blue Jays to be the best up-the-middle defensive team in 2017 with a total of 27 Runs Saved, and in fact they are the only team whose worst position among that group is still projected to be above average. It should not be too surprising to see them at the top of the heap given the defensive reputation of some of the players involved.

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Originally published: February 23, 2017. Last Updated: February 23, 2017.