Dewan: Who was August’s top defensive player?

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on September 4, 2018:

In a crowded group of highly-talented center fielders, it has been tough for Adam Engel to stand out from the rest. But in August he did. He’s our selection as the MLB Defensive Player of the Month.

Engel finished the month with eight Defensive Runs Saved, the most by any outfielder. Half of that total was accumulated from three amazing home run robberies in a seven-day span. Engel snagged one from Greg Bird on Aug. 6, Kyle Higashioka the next day and Yonder Alonso on Aug. 12. He’s the first player in the 15 seasons for which we’ve tracked home run robberies to have three in a week’s span. His three home run robberies are the most of anyone in the majors this season.

Engel has saved six runs this season after costing his team a run in center field in his rookie season, 2017. One change to his defensive game is that he’s playing deeper this year. Engel was usually the shallowest playing outfielder or close to it in the various AL ballparks last season, but he’s moved back eight to 12 feet in most parks. That may have given him a better chance at those would-be home runs.

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Originally published: September 7, 2018. Last Updated: September 7, 2018.