Rosenthal: Dispute on Orioles’ analytics rages on in light of Machado’s improved defense in L.A.

From Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic on October 11, 2018:

Defensive​ metrics, unreliable​ in small samples and subject to​ numerous​ variables, do not​ offer a complete​ portrait of a player’s​ fielding​ ability.​​ Still, when two different ratings systems indicate Manny Machado became a much better defensive shortstop after the Dodgers acquired him from the Orioles on July 18, it says something about Machado, and it says something about the Orioles.

Machado’s improvements in defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating during the regular season bode well for his case to remain at short rather than return to third base for teams interested in him as a free agent; some executives now believe Machado, 26, will be viable at short for at least a portion of any long-term contract.

The difference in his numbers — from -18 DRS and -7.2 UZR with the 115-loss Orioles to +6 and +0.8 with the 92-win Dodgers — also reveal one of the fissures between two top officials recently fired by Baltimore, executive vice-president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.

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Originally published: October 11, 2018. Last Updated: October 11, 2018.