Dewan: Who are the best and worst defensive teams so far?

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on May 14, 2015:

With a bit more than a month of the season behind us, the best and worst defensive teams have started to take shape. On the positive side of the ledger, there is a mixture of familiar faces and a few teams who look like they have made big improvements since last season.


The Royals saved an estimated 123 runs with their defense between 2013 and 2014, which was the highest total in baseball. As such, it’s little surprise to see them on top of the 2015 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) leaderboard with the same core of players including Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson, and Salvador Perez. Their division rival Tigers are much more of a surprise. Last season, their defense cost the team 61 runs, which was the second-worst total in baseball. The offseason additions of Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Gose as well as the healthy return of shortstop Jose Iglesias have fueled their defensive turnaround. In addition, third baseman Nick Castellanos has improved from the worst defensive player in baseball (-30 DRS in 2014) to a positive contributor (3 DRS) so far this season.

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Originally published: May 15, 2015. Last Updated: May 15, 2015.