The M’s in Pinto’s defensive model
“I’d like to patronize your store, and by that I mean I’d like to buy something.”
“I know what it means! Don’t patronize me.”
— Sam & Max: Culture Shock
We’ve talked a lot about defense here at USSM lately, particularly with regards to Sexson the Albatross, and it always generates a lot of discussion about how we can, or can’t, measure defense. It’s true that defensive tools aren’t nearly as fine as offensive tools are perceived to be, but as we’ve learned in the last few years, those aren’t quite as good as we thought. And, in general, I agree with what Dave’s been trying to say: that while none of the defensive systems people are working on is as good as we’d like, you can look at the good ones and immediately get a reasonable idea of a player’s contributions, and by looking at several, you can get more confident. And when there are contradictions, it’s worth thinking about how those can arise, and what they reveal about the systems and the players.
But if you look at some player and various defensive systems rate him at +5 runs, +10 runs, +12 runs, and +8 runs, you can be reasonably assured he’s good with the glove.
All of which is a long introduction to this: David Pinto’s been working on “Probabilistic Model of Range” and he’s published some cool stuff at Baseball Musings.
Here’s his team breakdown by air/ground stats.
The M’s are the fourth-best on ground balls. Woo-hoo! Go Betancourt/Beltre!
They’re in the middle of the pack in fly balls. Boo Ibanez! Yay Ichiro and Snelling!
(Okay, so I’m clearly introducing unsupported allegations there)
Overall, the team came out sixth overall in total rankings.
I wouldn’t put too much stock in this yet – from early comments it appears that the numbers Dewan’s going to put in the Hardball Times annual will be a lot different, and moreover, the whole baseball community is only really starting to figure out how to use the better data, particularly play-by-play data with hit location and speed. Pinto’s model is based on 2002-2006. The systems will get better.