Zimmerman: Which defenders make the plays they are supposed to?

From SABR member Jeff Zimmerman at FanGraphs on January 16, 2015:

Defensive statistics have been open to debate since they were first created. This back and forth probably will continue on for years to come, even with some new technologies offering the promise of better data.  One limitation with giving individual players values for their defensive metrics is positioning. The player’s coaches may have them completely out of position for a seemingly routine play and zone based metrics are going to downgrade the player because they didn’t make the play. While it may be impossible to know the correct player position before each play, the chances of a defender making a play knowing their initial position can be estimated with Inside Edge’s fielding data. By using their Plays Made information, I will add another stat to the defensive mix: Plays Made Ratio.

The concept is fairly simple. Inside Edge provides FanGraphs with the number of plays a defender should make given a range of possible chances. Inside Edge watches each play multiple times and grades the difficulty of the play. Here is their explanation for how they collect the data.

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/which-defenders-make-the-plays-they-are-supposed-to/

Originally published: January 16, 2015. Last Updated: January 16, 2015.