Fangraphs has added UZR to all of its player pages. It's not a perfect stat, but it is one of the best estimators of total defensive value, and now it's nice and easy to find. For the explanation, here's the fangraphs article:
RngR (range runs): The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, determined by how the fielder is able to get to balls hit in his vicinity.
ErrR (error runs): The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, determined by the number of errors he makes as compared to an average fielder at that position given the same distribution of balls in play.
UZR/150 (ultimate zone rate per 150 games): The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, per 150 defensive games.
So here's a chart of the Brewers' starters last year. Finally we have an accessible metric that balances errors and range!
|Craig Counsell (3B)
|Gabe Kapler (OF)
- Fielder has been about that bad his entire career, between 7-10 runs below average, so we can figure on him being a win below average in the field going forward.
- Weeks was terrible in '05, better in '06, nearly average in '07 (-1 run), and slipped a bit last year. I'd expect him to be just slightly below average next year, I think he's better than most people think.
- Another metric that really likes Hardy. I think we undervalue him. It's like 3/4 metrics have him as a very good defender and 1 doesn't like him.
- I also think we underestimate Hall's D at third, and UZR reaffirms that. If Gamel is a Brewer 3B in '09, I wouldn't mind Hall playing a '07 Counsell role-- coming in after 6 innings when the Brewers lead. Note to Brewer managers: this assumes that Gamel is not hitting at a MVP-caliber level.
- UZR doesn't like Braun's range in left, because he had no errors this year. That's understandable, and I'd expect him to improve next year with more experience. Contrast it with his -37.3 (!) UZR/150 at 3B in '07. That's over a 3-upgrade just by moving Hall and Braun and signing Cameron last season.
- Another solid year for Cameron in center. Surprisingly, UZR had him at -7.2 with the Padres in '07. I wonder if the move from a big park like Petco to Miller Park helped him defensively and offensively.
- Corey Hart just had a terrible year. After being 5 and 10 runs above average/150 in '06 and '07, he was slightly below average this year. If he gets back to normal levels defensively, that could be a half-win upgrade just by itself.
- Counsell dropped off from his awesome '07, but still was a plus defender this year. I wonder if there is a deal on the table for him.
- UZR likes Kapler as well. I doubt he's back, but some team will get a good player when they pick him up.
This is really fantastic that we have a catch-all metric available on player pages. Here's a few more random things I found playing with this: