2001 Team Defense
David Appelman revamped the team pages over at FanGraphs, so I’ve been playing around with all kinds of fun new data over the last couple of days. Because we can now sort through all kinds of team totals, by year (or by month, or week, or whatever) going way back, and we can look at the comparisons between teams easily, I can produce a graph like this:
That’s the opponents batting average on balls in play, for each team, in 2001. This is a rough measure of defense – it’s not perfect, but in general, a low BABIP for your opponents means you’re playing some good defense.
Look at the Mariners in relation to the rest of baseball in 2001. The team had a 4.11 FIP, good for 10th in baseball, but still managed to allow the fewest runs in the league because of the remarkably outstanding defense.
As always, the moral of the story – defense matters. A lot.