Simon: Ranking the top 10 defensive infields in baseball right now

From SABR member Mark Simon at The Athletic on June 11, 2019:

In this era of strikeouts and launch angles, infield defense might not be as important as it once was, but its importance should not be understated.

Look at the best teams each year and the best teams at turning groundballs into outs each year and you’ll find a lot of overlap (in 2016, the top two — the Cubs and Indians — meeting in the World Series is the best example). Teams with good infields tend to have players with good reflexes and good instincts who can react quickly.

The task here is to rank which teams have the best defensive infields now. In trying to rate the top 10, we looked for success at turning batted balls into outs at each position, along with success using shifts, turning double plays, thwarting bunts for hits and sacrifices, scooping throws at first base and even little things like keeping the ball in the infield to prevent an extra base from being taken.

In other words, we tried to look at everything we could.

In the end, one team stood well above the rest. But the other nine have reasons to watch them, too.

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Originally published: June 11, 2019. Last Updated: June 11, 2019.