by John Dewan

One of the new features of The Fielding Bible – Volume III (arrived at the publisher today!) is a section on defensive projections.  The calculation is simple: prorate each player’s three-year Defensive Runs Saved over the number of innings we forecast them to play at each position in 2012.  In this week’s Stat of the Week, we’ll take a look at the projected leaders at each position and the top-projected defensive teams for 2012.

The projected 2012 Runs Saved leaders:

Position Player

Projected 2012
Runs Saved

P Mark Buehrle, Marlins

4

C Matt Wieters, Orioles

8

1B Albert Pujols, Angels

10

2B Ben Zobrist, Rays

16

3B Evan Longoria, Rays

15

SS Brendan Ryan, Mariners

16

LF Brett Gardner, Yankees

20

CF Austin Jackson, Tigers

15

RF Jason Heyward, Braves

11

Even though Mark Buerhle is taking his talents to South Beach, we fully expect him to continue his fielding dominance in the National League, as a member of the Marlins.  We also expect Buehrle’s fellow-reigning Fielding Bible Award winners Matt Wieters, Albert Pujols, Brett Gardner, and Austin Jackson to maintain their high level of play in 2012.  Two members of Florida’s other team, the Rays, are projected to be the top players at their positions.  The gloves of Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist were a big part of the reason why the Rays led baseball with 85 Defensive Runs Saved in 2011.  We expect the Rays to duplicate their fielding excellence in 2012 and they are the top-projected team.  Here are the top defensive teams for 2012.

Team

Projected 2012 Runs Saved

Rays

42

Mariners

32

Reds

29

Rangers

26

Angels

22

A full season of Franklin Gutierrez in center field should elevate the defense of the Mariners, who finished with just one Run Saved as a team in 2011.  In the National League, the Reds will be bolstered by their defense at shortstop.  Paul Janish and Zack Cozart, who we expect to split time at shortstop for the Reds in 2012, are projected to save nine runs for the Reds defensively.

You can find a complete overview of each team’s projected defense in The Fielding Bible – Volume III, available now.

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.”

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