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Peter Gammons on "The Fielding Bible":

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  • Peter Gammons on "The Fielding Bible":

    According to Gammons at this ESPN link... (

    ...this is an interesting read that made me order the book.

    Peter Gammons: "...Which brings me to one of the most interesting books of the spring. John Dewan, the CEO of STATS, Inc. who moved on to found Baseball Info Solutions, has written "The Fielding Bible," with contributions from Bill James. We have all struggled with quantitative analysis on defense, but this isn't some statshead thing created in a cellar at MIT. James explains that Dewan's aides "watched video from every major league game and had recorded every ball off the bat by the direction in which it was hit [the vector], the type of hit [ground ball, fly ball, line drive, popup, mob hit, etc.] and how hard the ball was hit &"

    So, in a game where we have long been able to measure offense and pitching, Dewan has made a strong presentation for rational and real defensive analysis.

    According to Baseball Info Solutions, Rowand was the best defensive center fielder in the game in 2005.

    Just go buy the book. There are charts that show where hits fell against every team. There are breakdowns by three years (2003-05). James' introductory explanation compares the game's best shortstop, Adam Everett, to Derek Jeter. Did I realize Alex Rodriguez is the worst third baseman fielding bunts? No. But I'm not surprised Nomar Garciaparra was the worst shortstop turning double plays with his arm action for the last three years. I'm not shocked the Yankees have been the worst defensive team in the game the last three years.

    In some ways, "The Fielding Bible" is like getting James or the Hirdt Brothers books in the '80s. What I'm using doesn't kill the book, it enhances. Just go get it and think.

    First base: Dewan struggles with this position (he does not rate catchers), but listening to Orel Hershiser it is no surprise that Mark Teixeira rated as the best in 2005. What's interesting is that Derrick Lee comes out in the middle of the pack, right below Daryle Ward. Three-year bests: Teixeira, Doug Mientkiewicz, Albert Pujols, John Olerud, Darin Erstad. Worst? Richie Sexson, Carlos Delgado, Adam LaRoche. Delgado was far and away the worst in 2005.

    Second base: Craig Counsell was the best in 2005 and Robinson Cano the worst. Orlando Hudson, Marcus Giles, Adam Kennedy, Mark Ellis and Brian Roberts were the best for three years, Counsell, Chase Utley and Mark Grudzielanek the best in 2005. Worst? Bret Boone, Alfonso Soriano and Luis Rivas for three years, Cano, Boone and Soriano in 2005. Best at turning the DP in 2005? No surprise, Grudzielanek.

    Third base: Mike Lowell wins a gold glove and ranked 21st last year because of his range to his left and balls hit to him. Three-year bests are Adrian Beltre, David Bell, Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez and Morgan Ensberg. Bell was the best last year, Mark Teahan the worst. I agree with Dewan, Rolen is really the best.

    Shortstop: Everett is in a class by himself for three years. The top six shortstops for three years are all National Leaguers, which makes Orlando Cabrera the best in the AL. Everett, Jack Wilson, Jimmy Rollins and Rafael Furcal are the three-year leaders with Michael Young, Jeter and Angel Berroa at the bottom.

    Left field: Coco Crisp, whose center-field rating is a little better than Johnny Damon's, was the best in left last season; second to Carl Crawford over three years. Three worst for three years: Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Hideki Matsui.

    Center field: Last year? Rowand, Jeremy Reed, Joey Gathright. Three year: Torii Hunter, Rowand, Andruw Jones. Worst for last year and three years: Bernie Williams, Junior Griffey, Preston Wilson. Jim Edmonds may have slipped, but his arm remains the best.

    Right field: Trot Nixon and Casey Blake came out the best in 2005, Ichiro Suzuki, Nixon and J.D. Drew for three years. Worst? Gary Sheffield last year, Sheff, Michael Tucker and Juan Encarnacion for three years.

    Teams for 2005: Phillies, Indians, Angels, White Sox and Astros the best; Yankees, Royals, Marlins and Reds the worst.

    There is so much to this book. Just go buy it and have Dewan explain what you read here means."

  • #2
    I thought mob hits happened outside the ballpark? It does sound interesting and I imagine they explain what the videotapes showed them.
    "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
    "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."


    • #3
      This generally seems to agree with UZR, which i think is the best fielding metric out there. Nice to see a mainstream writer like Gammons actually look into sabermetrics instead of just knocking it. I think we're getting much closer to the point where defensive metrics are going to be 95% reliable. With the pbp data being recorded now, i feel like its just a matter of finding the right system.


      • #4
        Trot Nixon, wow. I haven't seen enough Boston games I guess... I thought he was ok but didn't expect him to finish so high in RF.

        Mostly though the winners are who we think they should be, which means for the most part our eyes are not deceiving us (neither is the word from the people who know--coaches and teammates).

        Do you think libraries would pick this book up MDS or would I have to order it?


        • #5
          Originally posted by J W
          Do you think libraries would pick this book up MDS or would I have to order it?
          I doubt a library would carry it but I don't really know for sure. I haven't actually seen the book. I ordered mine from for $13.57 but it hasn't arrived yet.


          • #6
            Man, this sounds like a very interesting book. I was surprised at Rowand being the best CF. Where did Juan Pierre rate? Mike Cameron? (before his collision)Randy Winn?
            "He can get 10 hits in five at-bats." -Joe Torre, exasperated after seeing Ichiro hit a routine ground ball to shortstop and cross first with an infield single.


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