A recent thread once again brought up the greatness of Ryan Theriot. I have been meaning to do something like this for awhile, so I guess it is time.

Below is a look at where Ryan Theriot stands offensively and defensively in comparison to other every day shortstops in the National League. The numbers below will pretty clearly show that Ryan Theriot, is, in fact, below average both offensively and defensively.

Now… this does not mean that I dislike Ryan Theriot, or that he does not have place on this Cubs team. I believe that he does, and has played a good role for the Cubs. I just believe that many, many people extremely overrate what he brings to this team, and I show why.


Out of 11 qualifying NL SS’s, Theriot is:

  • 7th in Fielding %
  • 11th in Range Factor
  • 8th in Zone Rating
  • 10th in RZR (which has 12 qualifiers)
  • 12th in OOZ, which doesn’t have qualifiers

Baseball Prospectus gives Theriot a 98 in their Rate2 stat, where 100 is average.

Theriot has an OPS+ of 93. That, by definition, is below average. For those of you who do now know, OPS+ is “OPS normalized for both the park and the league the player played in,: with 100 being the average. Out of 9 qualifying NL SS’s, Theriot is:

  • 8th in OPS
  • 9th in total bases
  • 7th in runs created
  • 8th in Gross Production Average
  • 10th (of 11) in Equivalent Average
  • 8th (of 11) in EQR
  • 10th (0f 11) in RAR
  • 10th (0f 11) in RAP
  • 8th (of 11) in RARP
  • 9th in VORP

Theriot is 7th in total Win Shares (batting & fielding combined), and 7th in batting and 9th in fielding. Of course, a player on a winning team will have more win shares. Now, one commentator thought that it would be good to compare Derek Jeter and Ryan Theriot. I am not going to touch their defenses, because they are both at the bottom defensively, but lets look offensively at their numbers this year. Of course, it is important to remember that Derek Jeter is having his worst year since 1997.

(“winners” in bold)

  • OPS:Theriot – 737, Jeter – 773
  • OPS+: Theriot – 93, Jeter – 106
  • Runs Created: Theriot – 75, Jeter – 88
  • Gross Production Average: Theriot – .253, Jeter – .269
  • Win Shares: Theriot -13 , Jeter – 16
  • EQA: Theriot – .260, Jeter – .275
  • EQR: Theriot – 71.8, Jeter – 85.2
  • RAR: Theriot – 19.1, Jeter – 30.6
  • RAP: Theriot – 4, Jeter – 14.6
  • RARP: Theriot – 22.8, Jeter – 34.1
  • Theriot – 25.2, Jeter – 38.9

Theriot, in his best year, is nowhere close to Jeter, who is having his worst year of his career. Jeter is pretty significantly better in each category.

Let me be very clear. I do not dislike Ryan Theriot. I just do not think that he is a great baseball player, or an All-Star, or the Cubs MVP, or anything like that. He is a role player, and an average one at best. And he simply does not compare to Derek Jeter.

Oh … and more fun one. People around here hate Derrek Lee, mostly for reasons not known to me. But one reason is because Derrek Lee’s propensity for double plays this year. Would you believe it if I told you that Ryan Theriot grounds into double plays at a higher rate (18.1%) in double play situations than Derrek Lee does (17.0%).

But go ahead and keep bashing Derrek Lee and praising Ryan Theriot. Maybe my next post will be comparing those two.

NOTE: If you would like explanations/definitions of these stats, go to:

  • B-R (OPS+)
  • THT (Win Shares, Runs Created, Gross Production Average)
  • Baseball Prospectus (EQA, EQR, RAR, RAP, RARP)
  • ESPN (Fielding %, Range factor, Zone rating)
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