All That Glitters
Excuse me, waiter? Garçon? Could you please fetch my friend Corey here a Gold Glove?
image from MLB.com
Prior got hit hard in the first inning, but thanks to the spectacular defensive efforts of young outfielders Dubois and Patterson he got out of it unscathed. Patterson made two fine catches at the wall, the second being a Torii Hunter-style bounce off the padding in right-center. I’m certain that if Corey played center field in a stadium with a short outfield fence, he’d have a fistful of over-the-wall Web Gems on Baseball Tonight.
Corey had a fantastic season in the field last year and left many wondering, “Hey, where’s the golden leather?”
Defense is such a hard thing to measure, particularly because there’s so few meaningful statistics out there to use. Putouts? Assists? Errors? The two big stats that come out of these are Fielding Percentage and Range Factor. Fielding percentage doesn’t tell you anything about a player’s range, and despite its name, neither does Range Factor.
I’m partial to Defensive Win Shares for measuring defense because I absolutely believe in the methodology behind it. It looks at team defense first, and then divides the credit up among the individual fielders. That, and I’m a Bill James nut.
Last year’s Gold Gloves went to Andruw Jones (duh), Jim Edmonds (duh), and … Steve Finley (what?). Last year’s defensive win shares for NL outfielders went like this:
1. Andrew Jones (7.4)
2. Jim Edmonds (6.5)
3. Corey Patterson (6.3)
The stats would give Corey the Gold Glove, but the tall brick wall at Wrigley limits those eye-popping, highlight-reel catches. Maybe he should slow down on those hits into the gap and just DIVE instead of cruising underneath them. Anyhow, I’m glad he’s patrolling the outfield for the Cubs.
As I watched the game tonight I decided to write down thoughts as the game progressed. Normally, I just sit and watch or keep score and then post comments as I remember them. As I jotted down some notes I was excited about this new method of watching the game. Here are my bulleted thoughts on what took place tonight.
- Would it be too much to ask for Nomar to take a pitch once in a while? I’m not asking for every AB, because I know he’s a first pitch hitter, but does that mean you swing at EVERY 1st pitch? Tonight with the bases loaded, you would think he would see if he could work the count a little in his favor to give himself something good to drive.
- More harping on Nomar, but did he seem out of it tonight? The whole game, he seemed to be out of the game mentally. He had a bad throw to first when he had plenty of time to make a good throw and put up a solid 0 for 5 with a bigtime bad 5 individual men left on base. What happened to the guy on fire in spring training?
- Jason Dubois got the start today and did nothing to impress me. If he didn’t impress me, he sure as heck didn’t impress Dusty “Anti Kids” Baker. The one thing that irked me about Jason tonight was a ball he fielded off the wall with his bare hand. It was an easy standup double off the leftfield wall that had no chance of going for a triple. Instead of just playing the ball into his glove, which is the safe thing to do, Dubois barehanded it off the wall and made the throw into the cutoff man. No harm came of it, but you wonder what could have happened had he dropped the ball. There is no need to play fancy when it’s uncalled for. There are times to barehand and times when it’s simply being careless. Tonight was an instance of the latter that could have hurt us.
- The TV feed on the Extra Innings package tonight was a Red feed. It was interesting to hear them call the game. I thought they did ok. One thing they said that made me laugh was how this team was more of a Dusty Baker kind of team than the year before. They noted that this team gives Dusty more opportunities to “make managerial decisions.” I don’t know your thoughts, but is that really a good thing? Personally, I’d rather Dusty have to make LESS decisions. This picture from Die-Hard Cubs Fun says it all.