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Jacob has a theory

I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's definitely thought-provoking:

ryan braun's defense is bad.

but he won't be moved, ever.

bold? yes. without reason? no.

here's the theory:

defense is hard to measure, the theory is that it takes somewhere around 2 seasons worth of data to get an observed data set that is large enough to give a reliable measure of defense.

people like to take his terribly horrible season of defense and project it over the full season. (ie. if he was -20 runs for the time he played he is a true -30 runs per season defensive player).

but that is the exact wrong way to do it. because you are basing it on what... let me look ... just 225 balls in zone. So, 1) you are forgetting to regress, and 2, you need to regress much more severely given your unreliable, small sample.

what does this mean going forward?

well, take his -20 runs per 113 games and project it out to 162 games, remember that our best statistical methods at this point are to heavily regress towards the mean and he's probably a -15 runs/162 games per season player.

still not good... right, but not historically horrible... and still below his true skill.

seriously, he has two things, in my opinion working against him. the small sample (luck), and the "breaking into the bigs" factor. My theory here is that transitions are difficult because you change your approach. He scoops a ball at third and rushes the throw. He sees the ball off the bat and overruns it. He bends down for the ball and hurries the glove to hand transition, all the things you do to try to raise your game, they only hurt you. Time heals this.

Also, he's an athlete, he has decent footwork, is very quick, and has a strong arm.

Just like rickie weeks he'll slow the game down, and improve quite a bit.

In fact, if we believe he is a better defender than what we've seen so far, and we almost have to given how historically bad those 113 games were, well then he has to improve quite a bit for the luck to be evened out and his true talent to show.

If he is truly an average defender he'll need to go 113 games as a +20 runs defender and another 98 as an average defender to get to 2 years worth of observed average defense.

Prediction: he finishes '08 in the top half of third basemen for the season defensively, and solidifies his station permanently.