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  • Manny Ramirez's Defense

    I was looking at The Hardball Times, and they have him as the worst defensive player in baseball. I am not a Red Sox fan, and don't follow the team, but I wondered if some of you could either confirm or refute this. Has Manny really been particularly bad in the field this year, or are the metrics giving him a much worse rap than he deserves?
    Last edited by AstrosFan; 08-18-2007, 01:28 PM.
    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

    - Alvin Dark

  • #2
    Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
    I was looking at The Hardball Times, and they have him as the worst defensive player in baseball. I am not a Red Sox fan, and don't follow the team, but I wondered if some of you could either confirm or refute this. Has Manny really been particularly bad in the field this year, or are the metrics giving him a much worse rap than he deserves?
    Well, he was a butcher in Cleveland and has that reputation still in Boston, so...
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    • #3
      I am aware he has a reputation as a bad fielder, but has he been worse than usual this year?
      "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

      - Alvin Dark

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      • #4
        I've noticed most metrics generally just have him god-awful for the last few years, and I am in strong disagreement with that. I think he's improved pretty dramatically since he's come to the Red Sox, and I think his effort is much, much better than when he first came. When he first came I didn't like him all that much to be honest. He was kind of a slacker, often didn't look like he tried his hardest, he didn't run out ground balls and he brought similar effort to the field. I think he's improved tremendously in the last few years, to the point where he is a hard working player, even in the field. He has come to play balls off the wall very well-that's how he led the league in assists or came close a few years ago, by throwing out runners at 2nd who hit the ball off the wall and figured "easy double", I saw him gun quite a few of those down. He isn't a great fielder-but I really think he's far better than he used to be and that he's improved a ton. I know the metrics generally don't agree, but that's what I think from what I've seen.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 538280 View Post
          I've noticed most metrics generally just have him god-awful for the last few years, and I am in strong disagreement with that. I think he's improved pretty dramatically since he's come to the Red Sox, and I think his effort is much, much better than when he first came. When he first came I didn't like him all that much to be honest. He was kind of a slacker, often didn't look like he tried his hardest, he didn't run out ground balls and he brought similar effort to the field. I think he's improved tremendously in the last few years, to the point where he is a hard working player, even in the field. He has come to play balls off the wall very well-that's how he led the league in assists or came close a few years ago, by throwing out runners at 2nd who hit the ball off the wall and figured "easy double", I saw him gun quite a few of those down. He isn't a great fielder-but I really think he's far better than he used to be and that he's improved a ton. I know the metrics generally don't agree, but that's what I think from what I've seen.
          This isn't completely true IMO. A lot of his assists came from runners at third trying to score on him on flies into shallow left because he wasn't known for having a good arm, not just gunning people out at 2nd.

          He has improved at playing defense at FENWAY, but that's probably about it. He would probably be absolutely terrible anywhere else, and would have to be DHed because of it. He's adequate, but thats probably as far as I'd go... He'd look my worse if Coco wasn't getting to those balls in left-center the way he has been.

          I don't think he's as bad as the metrics say, because he couldn't possibly be THAT bad. He doesn't get enough chances on balls that might/might not fall. I dont know how these metrics work, but could a reason for his bad showing be that there are so many wall-ball singles that Manny has no chance at? All these just go down as regular singles, not ones that Manny had no chance at. Any possibility of this, Chris?

          Also, the other big reason for all the D stats saying he's bad is probably because he plays 81 games a year away from Fenway.. He's awful away from home IMO.

          So, although I don't think he's the absolute worst (partly because of his time spent at Fenway and partly because he definately has improved since his arrival), I would peg him as an above average defender either.
          Originally posted by Domenic
          The Yankees should see if Yogi Berra can still get behind the plate - he has ten World Series rings... he must be worth forty or fifty million a season.

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          • #6
            manny

            as a nyy fan i can say that i was pissed when they took brien taylor over manny in the draft. manny is a sure shot hall of famer but his defense is a liability because he does not concentrate on the game when he is in the field. he has a good to very good arm and can play the field perfectly well if he is not off in dreamland. i think the issue is his bat is so good (and he knows it) that he nonchallants the field unless it is a big game. he is much better in the field in the big games.

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            • #7
              As Westlake says, about Manny being terrible away from Fenway, I'd have to agree. I watch him play, in person at Arlington, and its pretty rough. He doesnt get good jumps, takes bad lines, and his quick-release isnt a factor away from Fenway.

              But I do think Manny has improved, enough that he isnt as bad as people think. Part of it is that he looks clueless out there, moreso in person.

              Saying he is the worst in baseball seems harsh and I have my doubts about defensive metrics in general. Of course I'd be hard pressed to list dozens of people far worse.
              2008

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sharrock View Post
                As Westlake says, about Manny being terrible away from Fenway, I'd have to agree. I watch him play, in person at Arlington, and its pretty rough. He doesnt get good jumps, takes bad lines, and his quick-release isnt a factor away from Fenway.
                I don't know about away so much, but to his credit, he does play the Monster well at Fenway and makes quick and good throws into the infield.

                Still, I have a strong feeling that if not for the emergence of Ortiz, Manny would have been the fulltime DH the past few years. He was already well on his way to that fate before Ortiz came over as Manny played more than 50% of his games at DH during his first two years with the Sox (137 games at DH out of 262 total games played).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DoubleX View Post
                  I don't know about away so much, but to his credit, he does play the Monster well at Fenway and makes quick and good throws into the infield.
                  Agreed. His quick-release actually prevents many runners from advancing at Fenway. And the short LF doesnt emphasize his lack of range as much as other parks. Its clear he has worked to improve his defense.

                  Still, I have a strong feeling that if not for the emergence of Ortiz, Manny would have been the fulltime DH the past few years. He was already well on his way to that fate before Ortiz came over as Manny played more than 50% of his games at DH during his first two years with the Sox (137 games at DH out of 262 total games played).
                  Yes, without papi Manny would be DHing often, probably only playing in LF to give others a rest. But I've always wondered how his personality would be with all the time on his hands as a DH. George Grett has talked a lot about how the transition was difficult for him.
                  2008

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Westlake View Post
                    This isn't completely true IMO. A lot of his assists came from runners at third trying to score on him on flies into shallow left because he wasn't known for having a good arm, not just gunning people out at 2nd.
                    Quite a few were, but many were on runners from 2nd too. You're right.

                    He has improved at playing defense at FENWAY, but that's probably about it. He would probably be absolutely terrible anywhere else, and would have to be DHed because of it. He's adequate, but thats probably as far as I'd go... He'd look my worse if Coco wasn't getting to those balls in left-center the way he has been.
                    I have to agree here. In Fenway he has a smaller ground to cover and he can skillfully play the wall. In other parks his lack of range probably hurts the team far more. Still, I think he's improved. When he first came to the Red Sox it seemed like he didn't even care in the field to me. Now it looks like he takes it seriously and gives a lot of effort. He's never been good defensively with the Red Sox-but I think he's improved a ton since he first came, especially at home, though I think he might be a little better on the road too (though he's always been definitely below average on the road.)

                    I don't think he's as bad as the metrics say, because he couldn't possibly be THAT bad. He doesn't get enough chances on balls that might/might not fall. I dont know how these metrics work, but could a reason for his bad showing be that there are so many wall-ball singles that Manny has no chance at? All these just go down as regular singles, not ones that Manny had no chance at. Any possibility of this, Chris?
                    Well, I really don't know how BP's fielding metrics work, and I'm not really familar with what THT has for fielding metrics either, but I do think that his main strength in fielding balls off the wall and making quick throws may go undocumented, if the runner doesn't go for the double and he's gunned down. I'd say he saves some bases on turning potential doubles into singles-that probably goes undocumented. I think absolutely too the fact that the ground to cover in LF is so small may hurt him because balls just go off the wall for hits that he might have otherwise caught-but I do think that if it wasn't for the small LF to begin with he'd be much more of a liability.

                    So, although I don't think he's the absolute worst (partly because of his time spent at Fenway and partly because he definately has improved since his arrival), I would peg him as an above average defender either.
                    I assume you mean you wouldn't peg him as an above average fielder. I wouldn't either. I'd peg him as a little below average-but not nearly as bad as most metrics have him. Most metrics don't even have him as improving much since he came to the Red Sox, I just don't agree with that at all.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 538280 View Post
                      I've noticed most metrics generally just have him god-awful for the last few years, and I am in strong disagreement with that. I think he's improved pretty dramatically since he's come to the Red Sox, and I think his effort is much, much better than when he first came. When he first came I didn't like him all that much to be honest. He was kind of a slacker, often didn't look like he tried his hardest, he didn't run out ground balls and he brought similar effort to the field. I think he's improved tremendously in the last few years, to the point where he is a hard working player, even in the field. He has come to play balls off the wall very well-that's how he led the league in assists or came close a few years ago, by throwing out runners at 2nd who hit the ball off the wall and figured "easy double", I saw him gun quite a few of those down. He isn't a great fielder-but I really think he's far better than he used to be and that he's improved a ton. I know the metrics generally don't agree, but that's what I think from what I've seen.
                      Manny has always had a reputation as a hardworker off the field, and in the batting cages and what not, but I see your point.

                      As for his defense, I don't think hes the worst in baseball, I'd say hes slightly below average, not terrible though. I don't trust defensive metrics or any defensive stats at all because they're are too many variable when it comes to defense in baseball.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by natsnsoxfan View Post
                        Manny has always had a reputation as a hardworker off the field, and in the batting cages and what not, but I see your point.
                        Absolutely. There's absolutely no doubt that Manny is one of the hardest workers there is on his hitting. I don't know why he seems to have gotten a rep among some as the exact opposite. Nothing could be more untrue. He's one of the hardest workers in the game IMO.

                        As for his defense, I don't think hes the worst in baseball, I'd say hes slightly below average, not terrible though. I don't trust defensive metrics or any defensive stats at all because they're are too many variable when it comes to defense in baseball.
                        I agree. I think some weight should be given to the metrics, because generally I think they're accurate, but in cases like this where they directly contradict what I've seen, I don't think I can go with them.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by baseball fan a9b1 View Post
                          as a nyy fan i can say that i was pissed when they took brien taylor over manny in the draft. manny is a sure shot hall of famer but his defense is a liability because he does not concentrate on the game when he is in the field. he has a good to very good arm and can play the field perfectly well if he is not off in dreamland. i think the issue is his bat is so good (and he knows it) that he nonchallants the field unless it is a big game. he is much better in the field in the big games.
                          Well, I'm sure that Manny concentrates better in the big games, but I can point to a certain WS Game 1 that was a little bit rough. I thought that Keith Foulke was going to head out to LF and box Manny's ears.
                          Luckily, a certain slugging 2Bman took the heat off Manny by clanging one off the RF foul pole the next half inning....

                          Manny is legendary for working like nobody else on his hitting. I don't think that ethic extends to his glovework, but he is definitely better than he used to be.
                          Last edited by hellborn; 08-21-2007, 02:12 PM.
                          "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                            I was looking at The Hardball Times, and they have him as the worst defensive player in baseball. I am not a Red Sox fan, and don't follow the team, but I wondered if some of you could either confirm or refute this. Has Manny really been particularly bad in the field this year, or are the metrics giving him a much worse rap than he deserves?
                            every defensive metric i've ever seen (and i know there are several that don't do this, but i am yet to actually work with them personally) inherently penalizes boston left fielders not just a little but a lot. that's because of the green monster. that metric probably sees what a small percentage of balls that are hit to left are getting caught, and counts it against manny. but that's largely because if you hit the ball anywhere from like 328-345 feet towards straight away left field, that is a literally uncatchable ball because of where it hits on the wall. and i happen to know that the hardball times is NOT one of the metrics that accounts for that.

                            i'll try and find the article for you, but i know that on thehardballtimes.com, one the people who designed that metric even said something like "manny is certainly no vaccum out there in left, but it is impossible to watch him for much time at all and not reach the conclusion that this metric is harsh on him."

                            in my opinion, for a fenway left fielder, he is far above average. he plays that wall and positions himself nothing short of outstandingly, gets rid of the ball faster than any outfielder i've ever seen, and has a right-field-quality arm. thing is, at any park aside from fenway, his lack of range far outdoes any good provided by those attributes. at fenway, though, it s such a small left field that it really doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot.

                            so he is almost custom made for fenway, and for getting underrated by those metrics. cus he gets inherently and drastically underrated for his play at fenway, and then he can't really go and make up for it on the road, because he is ONLY good at fenway
                            Gelatin Fernandalism

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                            • #15
                              i think thats a crock that he'd be listed as the worst defensive outfielder... sure, he's had his times over the years in Boston and he's still not the GREATEST, but he's DEFINETLY worked on being a better outfielder the past few years and i really think it has shown... i've read, seen and have heard so many good comments about him and his work ethic towards FIELDING the past couple years and you see it when you see him play.. he hustles for every ball, he gets the ball back to the infield really quick and he plays left field in Fenway Park as good as you can play it....



                              one outfielder that comes to mind that I believe Manny is better defensively is Barry Bonds... where was he on that list?
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