Updating the FanGraphs positional rankings

Christian Petersen

They made a boo-boo, so here's another look.

I watched a Reds/Giants game with a couple of FanGraphs authors two weeks ago. Well, I tried to watch the game with them, at least. When they found out that I was a Giants fan, though, one of them hissed something unintelligible out between gritted teeth before he changed seats. The other one literally grabbed his crotch and spit on me. This is because FanGraphs hates the Giants and, more specifically, Giants fans.

So, you. They hate you.

Jokes! They're all very pleasant people, and they don't hate the Giants or you. So stop leaving inflammatory comments over there, Giants fans. You're developing a reputation.

I wrote this post about FanGraphs' positional rankings last week, but it turns out there was a snafu with the park effects during the calculation of the initial projections. In short, they didn't account for AT&T Park with the Giants' hitters, just as they didn't account for Coors Field with the Rockies' hitters, et cetera. That's how they ended up with Michael Cuddyer over Hunter Pence in the right-fielder rankings, for example, which seemed like a stretch based on age and past performance.

Now that they've fixed the glitch, though, it's probably a good idea to update the post from earlier. Everything looks better now! Except the pitching, which we'll get to later this week. At least the offense isn't looking quite so feckless with the updated projections.

C - 1st in baseball, 1st in the NL West (Previous: 1/1)
Posey had the Giants atop this category even when the numbers weren't adjusted for AT&T. This is because he's better than other catchers.

1B - 6th in baseball, 2nd in the NL West (Previous: 8/3)
Again, this includes Posey's time at first, but I'm still pretty sure the Giants wouldn't have ranked this highly in a preseason projection since Will Clark went to the Rangers.

2B - 19th in baseball, 4th in the NL West (Previous: 23/4)
Better. And while it's not like the park effects turned Marco Scutaro into Joe Morgan, the updated projections made him a bit more palatable than before.

SS - 22nd in baseball, 4th in the NL West (Previous: 24/4)
There are a bunch of defense-first guys grouped around this spot, with Brendan Ryan's and Cliff Pennington's respective teams following shortly after the Giants and Brandon Crawford. After that, though, there's a serious cliff, with Ronny Cedeno and Pedro Florimon actually starting for their respective teams, even though the computer signed them because both of their GMs forgot to toggle one of the settings. Crawford isn't with them anymore.

3B - 6th in baseball, 2nd in the NL West (Previous: 8/2)
Sandoval moves up two spots, though his elbow should still freak us all out.

LF - 23rd in baseball, 5th in the NL West (Previous: 27/4)
Still the weak spot on the team, and somehow the park-effects adjustment allowed the remaining NL West team to shoot past them. This is the spot to upgrade when the Giants trade Kyle Crick this summer.

CF - 14th in baseball, 4th in the NL West (Previous: 19/4)
You know what's changing in these updated rankings? The Giants' overall rank around the league. You know what's not changing? The rank relative to the rest of the division, probably because the Padres and Dodgers also got a significant boost when the park effects were added.

RF - 14th in baseball, 2nd in the NL West (Previous 20/4)
Ahhh. There we go. This is even more bullish on Hunter Pence than I am, which is a welcome change from the bottom-of-the-barrel ranking they previously had for Giants right fielders.

To recap, this translates to:

Three above-average positions
Two average positions
Three below-average positions

Which all adds up to a mess o' average that's gussied up with Buster Posey. Considering the relative youth of the hitters up there, I'll take the over, even if just barely. Projection systems are notoriously conservative. Fanboys are not.

Anywho, just felt like the old post needed to be updated. FanGraphs still hates the Giants and you and everything we all stand for, but now they hate them a little bit less. Because of math.

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