Baseball Prospectus wrote a little snippet about the Mets' success today, and nestled in the article was a chart relating to outfield defense around the NL. A quick and dirty way to gauge an outfield's range, in Joe Sheehan's opinion, is to measure how many doubles and triples are allowed by an outfield for each flyball hit to them. Sounds reasonable enough. He drops a park effects caveat when it's all said and done, but the results were interesting.
First by this measure: the Mets. Okay. Beltran, Floyd, Milledge, Endy Chavez...I can see that.
Second: the Padres. Well, of course, as they have Mike Cameron and Dave Roberts flying around out there, and Brian Giles is competent.
Third: the Giants. Sure, I, uh, could have told you that. It's kind of obvious once you think of it. You know. An old and gimpy Alou. Bonds running like he's trying to hold a batting donut between his cheeks. The oft-maligned, at least as far as defensive stats are concerned, Randy Winn. The sprightly legs of yet another 40-year-old in Steve Finley. Yep, that's a recipe for defensive outstanditude.
I made me think, though, about how the outfield defense really has gone unnoticed. That's unquestionably a positive thing, as the beginning of the season brought prediction of defensive doom. Every time a ball is hit in Bonds' direction, there is still a collective gasp. But rare is the time when he completely screws up the play. That mix of fear and competence goes for Alou as well. Winn and Finley have been nothing less than solid.
The park can do funny things to a defense. Judging by the defensive metrics, Reggie Sanders was one of the better outfielders in the game in 2002. Jose Cruz, Jr. followed that right up with even better numbers in 2003, and even won a Gold Glove in some unexplainable Kim Basinger-fashion. The boost seemed to end with Michael Tucker, but so did a lot of things.
Comment starter: So, park effects? Unexpected acceptability? I'd throw "faulty stat" into the hypotheticals, but the numbers match my amateur perception of how the outfield defense has looked this year.
Double comment starter: Eliezer Alfonzo has as many home runs as Edgardo did in all of 2005. My take is that if Edgardo had a 'z' in his first name - say, Edgarzo, Edzorro, or Ezargo - he'd be cooler. Cooler people have more confidence. More confidence equals more home runs. I guess that's not really a comment starter but, man, I'm starting to think that Edgardo contract wasn't a good move.
Triple bonus comment starter: The worst headline ever can be found here. They don't even try to make the "chung" baseball related, or some sort of pun. I almost get the feeling it's an inside joke, or the sense of humor of some editorial intern. In that case, it's brilliant.
Quadruple word score comment starter: Obviously, I'm trying to avoid talking about last night's game. What a sickening and boring offensive display, and a waste of a good turn by Jamey Wright.