Outfield Defense | The Process Report

Outfield Defense

A few seasons ago, when Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Gabe Gross were making the majority of the starts in the outfield, life was good. By UZR/150 at Fangraphs, the Rays had the highest score in 2008 at 12.2. Fast forward to 2013; by the same metric, the team was 24th in baseball with a -4.4. Losing Carl Crawford’s skills in left field certainly put a dent into that number, but this is a problem that has been building for some time.

If we review the UZR/150 of the Rays’ outfield from 2010-2012, it was still the best in the league at 7.5, but the gap between first and second place was much slimmer.

A review of the defensive runs saved data from Baseball Info Solutions does not paint a rosier picture. Last season, only those who helped man the left field position had a positive runs saved total, and that group scored a +2.

Player Innings DRS
Kelly Johnson 408.1 -1
Matt Joyce 364.2 2
Sean Rodriguez 248 2
Sam Fuld 204.2 1
David DeJesus 176 -2

The other two positions fared much worse by the same measure. Centerfield lost 8 runs while rightfield lost 14 runs.

Player Innings DRS
Desmond Jennings 1188.2 -6
Sam Fuld 186.1 -1

 

Player Innings DRS
Wil Myers 604.2 -4
Matt Joyce 439 -7
Ben Zobrist 228 -4
Sam Fuld 121.1 1

BIS had Joyce as the sixth-worst right fielder in terms of runs saved, trailing Michael Cuddyer (-16), Michael Morse (-15), Delmon Young (-10), Torii Hunter (-10), and Josh Hamilton (-8).

In terms of the Plus/Minus system that also originates from BIS, no Rays outfielder that had been with the team a majority of the season made the leaders or the trailers list. Two players, Joyce and Myers, received votes in the Fielding Bible process.

Lastly, in terms of converting flyballs into outs, the Rays took a step back in 2013 compared to their three-year total from 2010-2012.

Team POUT InPlay 2010-2012 Out% 2013 Out% Diff
Cardinals 3317 4171 79.5% 80.7% 1.2%
Yankees 3642 4619 78.8% 80.0% 1.2%
Royals 3884 4913 79.1% 79.5% 0.4%
Cubs 3641 4569 79.7% 79.7% 0.0%
Indians 3608 4587 78.7% 78.4% -0.3%
Red Sox 3635 4643 78.3% 78.0% -0.3%
Marlins 3681 4577 80.4% 80.1% -0.3%
Rangers 3831 4745 80.7% 80.4% -0.3%
Mets 3659 4624 79.1% 78.7% -0.4%
A’s 3834 4653 82.4% 81.8% -0.6%
Nationals 3591 4545 79.0% 78.4% -0.6%
Angels 3859 4802 80.4% 79.7% -0.7%
Rockies 3308 4345 76.1% 75.4% -0.7%
Phillies 3417 4343 78.7% 77.8% -0.9%
Brewers 3552 4505 78.8% 77.9% -0.9%
Reds 3712 4620 80.3% 79.4% -0.9%
Tigers 3750 4653 80.6% 79.5% -1.1%
Pirates 3551 4466 79.5% 78.3% -1.2%
Blue Jays 3540 4520 78.3% 77.1% -1.2%
Padres 3456 4340 79.6% 78.2% -1.4%
Braves 3196 3938 81.2% 79.6% -1.6%
Twins 3910 4956 78.9% 77.2% -1.7%
Rays 3742 4640 80.6% 78.8% -1.8%
Diamondbacks 3752 4704 79.8% 77.8% -2.0%
Giants 3573 4382 81.5% 79.4% -2.1%
White Sox 3706 4594 80.7% 78.4% -2.3%
Astros 3544 4516 78.5% 76.0% -2.5%
Dodgers 3541 4343 81.5% 78.9% -2.6%
Orioles 3979 5088 78.2% 75.5% -2.7%
Mariners 3993 4824 82.8% 76.6% -6.2%

The Rays must replace roughly 1000 innings of outfield play that Sam Fuld, Kelly Johnson, Luke Scott, and Jason Bourgeois provided last season. Those innings will be replaced by a full season of Wil Myers, David DeJesus, Logan Forsythe, and potentially Brandon Guyer as well as Kevin Kiermaier. The best of the bunch, Kiermaier, is likely to see the least amount of playing time barring a serious injury to Desmond Jennings.

Hopefully, the continuity of playing together for a full season and, in the case of Myers, becoming more acclimated with the ballparks in the American League will help the team improve its defensive ratings in 2014.



2 Comments

  1. […] Rays Outfield Defense – A peek at how the defensive metrics and data viewed the Rays’ […]

  2. Baltar wrote:

    I somehow didn’t realize how far the Rays OF defense had fallen last year. When you look at the players, it makes sense.
    I would expect slight improvement this season with DeJesus in left.

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