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  • Best fielding First Baseman ever REVISED

    Thanks for the feedback regarding this topic. I have listened to you and deleted the original poll and now submitt this revision. I feel that fielding ratings are still somewhat subjective and love the feedback and polling results.

    Here are your choices. Because I increased the number, you may now vote for as many as 4 1B. Who is the Liberace of the Leather?

    Albert Pujols
    Bill Terry
    Bill White
    Dolf Camilli
    Don Mattingly
    Frank Chance
    George Scott
    George Sisler
    Gil Hodges
    Hal Chase
    Jake Daubert
    John Olerud
    JT Snow
    Keith Hernandez
    Mark Grace
    Mark Teixeira
    Todd Helton
    Vic Power
    Wes Parker
    Will Clark

    enjoy
    37
    Albert Pujols
    8.11%
    3
    Bill Terry
    5.41%
    2
    Bill White
    0.00%
    0
    Dolf Camilli
    2.70%
    1
    Don Mattingly
    5.41%
    2
    Frank Chance
    0.00%
    0
    George Scott
    0.00%
    0
    George Sisler
    8.11%
    3
    Gil Hodges
    5.41%
    2
    Hal Chase
    10.81%
    4
    Jake Daubert
    2.70%
    1
    John Olerud
    2.70%
    1
    JT Snow
    2.70%
    1
    Keith Hernandez
    24.32%
    9
    Mark Grace
    2.70%
    1
    Mark Teixeira
    2.70%
    1
    Todd Helton
    0.00%
    0
    Vic Power
    10.81%
    4
    Wes Parker
    5.41%
    2
    Will Clark
    0.00%
    0
    Last edited by JR Hart; 01-05-2013, 10:45 AM.
    This week's Giant

    #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

  • #2
    Keith Hernandez #1 and Todd Helton #2.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is Matt Souders' (SABRMatt's) PCA list.

      On to first base!

      1: Keith Hernandez - Not really exciting to see Hernandez at the top again...but here he is. I don't frankly think there's any argument that can change this pick. There's just no getting around it...Keith Hernandez was magnificent with the glove and held his peak for longer than anyone in history. Look at this line:


      2: Pete O'Brien - Now before you overreact to this not being a name you're familiar with - you should know that O'Brien lost his major league job because he stopped hitting, not because he failed in the field. A tragic example of a man playing a non-skill position outstandingly well and losing half his career to noodle-bat syndrome. Check out this career:



      3: Roger Connor - For a while there, he was second on my list, but with the invention of the GI method, I found a better balance between longevity and peak performance and Connor slipped below the short but sweet career of O'Brien. In any event, Connor is underappreciated here, and often overlooked by his contemporaries in favor of Hal Chase, the world famous thrower of games.

      4: Todd Helton - Through 2005, Helton was actually only 6th all time, but there's little evidence that he's slowed down much on defense since 2005 and that bumps him up ahead of Tony Perez for the 4 slot. Even now, Helotn is often credited for helping Troy Tulowitsky get his error rate down.

      5: Tony Perez - A major part of the Big Red Machine, Perez glued that infield of misfits together and, for example, cut Joe Morgan's error rate significantly in the first couple of years of his reign in Cincinnati before he started losing his skills.

      6: Harry Stovey - Stovey was in the AA what Connor was in the NL. The league's dominant defensive first baseman. Of course, Stovey was also very speedy and legged out a lot of triples and home runs. I've seen descriptions of him that call him one of the most flexible and speedy players of the 1880s. It's only logical that he should have been a great fielder.

      7: Joe Kuhel - Here's a guy who shouldn't have stuck aroud as long as he did if you're looking only at his bat...but who kept getting work because of his glove. That career OPS+ of 104 looks better than it was...he had huge swings up and down from year to year but never managed to be a significant run producer aside from a sprinkling of 4 seasons non-consecutively through his career.

      8: John Olerud - As a Mariner fan, I get a smile seeing Olerud this high on my list. "O-LE! O-LE O-LE O-LE! OOOOOOOH-LEEEEE! O-LE!" Those were the good years....*sigh* Dude was a magician with the glove and one of the toughest outs in baseball. He's got a shot at the hall of fame if the voters are fair.

      9: George Kelly - 109 OPS+ from a first baseman who made the hall of fame. What do YOU suppose happened?

      10: Mark Grace - Any Cubs fans in the house? You know he belongs here.

      11: Vic Power
      12: Fred Tenney
      13: Bill Terry - A concession based on the consensus view that his defense was all-time elite.
      14: Jimmie Foxx
      15: George Sisler - Another concession based on compensating for his injury. I can't place him anywhere near as high as Bill_Burgess does because before the injury he didn't rate as all that great a fielder...a very good one, but it would have taken him scoring 4+ wins a few times to crack my top 10. He never got that good.
      Last edited by brett; 01-05-2013, 12:22 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Still no Doug Mientkiewicz.
        Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by brett View Post
          Here is Matt Souders' (SABRMatt's) PCA list.

          On to first base!

          .
          Of course this list is years old. A lot of playing time for Pujols, Helton, etc. has occurred, and defensive metrics themselves have had big shifts.

          Also fwiw, Helton is ranked worse than Pujols according to UZR, Total Zone, Plus/minus (DRS), Michael Humphries Defensive Runs, and by the the fans on Tango's Fan Scouting Report. By quite a bit in several cases.

          Is there something all Coors Fieldy that all of the metrics and observers are missing?

          My vote was for Hernandez, by the way.
          Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 01-05-2013, 11:33 AM.
          1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

          1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

          1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


          The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
          The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
            Of course this list is years old. A lot of playing time for Pujols, Helton, etc. has occurred, and defensive metrics themselves have had big shifts.

            Also fwiw, Helton is ranked worse than Pujols according to UZR, Total Zone, Plus/minus (DRS), Michael Humphries Defensive Runs, and by the the fans on Tango's Fan Scouting Report. By quite a bit in several cases.

            Is there something all Coors Fieldy that all of the metrics and observers are missing?

            My vote was for Hernandez, by the way.
            Pujols is 108 in TZ and Helton 104 (with a third more playing time) so they are both in the 100 runs saved ballpark. That is a pretty small difference. Even the difference between a +50 and +100 fielder may not be that big, but it looks big because the baseline is set at an average player.

            Coors does have an effect though because of a significantly higher on-base percentage there. Coors has produced about a 60 point higher on base percentage than an average park. I'm estimating from years that I know about, but with a league OB% of about .330, Coors has produced something like .400. Even over half time, that means that a first baseman has to hold a runner on in about 1 out of 20 extra plate appearances than if he played at home in another park.

            Also, I have seen numbers on balls in the dirt picked up by Helton, and it is extremely high. He is known for it, but total putouts have a limited effect in most metrics.

            And lastly I have watched them both play. In '09, Helton made 3 errors, and ALL 3 were the result of him making an exceptional play and the second baseman being late to cover on a forceout (3 bunts as I recall, all three throws spot on).

            I guess I'll just say that Helton looks a little better to me, and I think statistically they are probably outside the limits of the metrics. Over 15 or 20K chances, 50 runs saved may be fewer than 1% of total plays. If I see 100 RS versus 50, then that's probably significant. I may have to look at what makes Pujols particularly good on defense. Range? Arm?

            Comment


            • #7
              Frank McCormick anyone?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by brett View Post
                Pujols is 108 in TZ and Helton 104 (with a third more playing time) so they are both in the 100 runs saved ballpark. That is a pretty small difference. Even the difference between a +50 and +100 fielder may not be that big, but it looks big because the baseline is set at an average player.

                Coors does have an effect though because of a significantly higher on-base percentage there. Coors has produced about a 60 point higher on base percentage than an average park. I'm estimating from years that I know about, but with a league OB% of about .330, Coors has produced something like .400. Even over half time, that means that a first baseman has to hold a runner on in about 1 out of 20 extra plate appearances than if he played at home in another park.

                Also, I have seen numbers on balls in the dirt picked up by Helton, and it is extremely high. He is known for it, but total putouts have a limited effect in most metrics.

                And lastly I have watched them both play. In '09, Helton made 3 errors, and ALL 3 were the result of him making an exceptional play and the second baseman being late to cover on a forceout (3 bunts as I recall, all three throws spot on).

                I guess I'll just say that Helton looks a little better to me, and I think statistically they are probably outside the limits of the metrics. Over 15 or 20K chances, 50 runs saved may be fewer than 1% of total plays. If I see 100 RS versus 50, then that's probably significant. I may have to look at what makes Pujols particularly good on defense. Range? Arm?
                UZR has Pujols ahead 79 to 27 since 2002. DRA has Pujols ahead 175 to 128. DRS has Pujols ahead 130 to 31. The Fans Scouting Report from Tango Tiger has ranked Pujols higher 7/8 seasons. Of course many of these shave several really good seasons off of Helton's totals, but I am not sure he catches Pujols in any of the metrics regardless.

                As far as what I have seen from Pujols - his range to his left was amazing. He was very good at scooping too. He was the single best I have ever seen at gunning down runners trying to advance bases. He pulled the type of thing he did vs. Utley in the 11 NLDS many times. Good, but not amazing to his right, which is what separates him from Hernandez. Very solid going back on popups.

                I don't know why the perception of Pujols as amazing fielder is so hard for some to accept. It has to be his size and the type of hitter he is. It takes a lot to shake off the perception of slow, bulky, slugger can't field image. In his prime (2005-2009) he was about as good as Hernandez.

                It should be noted that bbref has Pujols and Helton #2 and #3 all-time in defensive runs for 1B. The fact that Pujols isn't even on Matt's list should show how old it is.
                1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
                  I don't know why the perception of Pujols as amazing fielder is so hard for some to accept. It has to be his size and the type of hitter he is. It takes a lot to shake off the perception of slow, bulky, slugger can't field image. In his prime (2005-2009) he was about as good as Hernandez.
                  Maybe it's because I haven't seen as much of him as you have, but I've never been that impressed with his glove. Just watching him with the naked eye, I have never seen that "wow, just wow!" status like I've seen with Hernandez, Mattingly, Clark, Tex, and Mientkiewicz.
                  Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by White Knight View Post
                    Maybe it's because I haven't seen as much of him as you have, but I've never been that impressed with his glove. Just watching him with the naked eye, I have never seen that "wow, just wow!" status like I've seen with Hernandez, Mattingly, Clark, Tex, and Mientkiewicz.
                    My eyewitness bias is justified by all of the defensive metrics, the GGs he has won, and the Fans Scouting report. I am not sweating one person's opinion, who also happens passionately to not want anybody to think he is as good as McGwire or Gehrig.

                    He is just good now, but he was very "wow" from 2005-2009. Keep in mind, he played a very solid 3B for a season and was a good SS in college. I promise you, if he had a smaller frame, the few skeptics would think differently.
                    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 01-05-2013, 02:13 PM.
                    1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                    1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                    1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                    The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                    The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
                      My eyewitness bias is justified by all of the defensive metrics, the GGs he has won, and the Fans Scouting report. I am not sweating one person's opinion, who also happens passionately to not want anybody to think he is as good as McGwire or Gehrig.

                      He is just good now, but he was very "wow" from 2005-2009. Keep in mind, he played a very solid 3B for a season and was a good SS in college. I promise you, if he had a smaller frame, the few skeptics would think differently.
                      He's never be as good as Gehrig, but I do not believe Mac is better, nor did I ever say that. That's another story though, we're talking with the glove here. I also didn't say you were biased, but I do think many here rely too much on just stats. If you were just watching him with your own eye, would you be just as impressed? Or is he so good he doesn't have to have flash like Tex?
                      Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by White Knight View Post
                        He's never be as good as Gehrig, but I do not believe Mac is better, nor did I ever say that. That's another story though, we're talking with the glove here. I also didn't say you were biased, but I do think many here rely too much on just stats. If you were just watching him with your own eye, would you be just as impressed? Or is he so good he doesn't have to have flash like Tex?
                        I just told you what I have seen that makes me so impressed. And like I said, Pujols has finished 1st overall in the Fans Scouting Report since its inception (1st most seasons), which sole purpose is to rank a large sample size of fans' eyewitness testimonies.
                        1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                        1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                        1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                        The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                        The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brett View Post
                          Coors does have an effect though because of a significantly higher on-base percentage there. . . . Even over half time, that means that a first baseman has to hold a runner on in about 1 out of 20 extra plate appearances than if he played at home in another park.
                          Very shrewd observation. I know BBREF tabulates PA and GBIP%, so I presume that goes into the zone ratings too, and if OBA is high, obviously O/PA is low for everybody.
                          Also, I have seen numbers on balls in the dirt picked up by Helton, and it is extremely high. He is known for it, but total putouts have a limited effect in most metrics.
                          Again, for first basemen, BBREF separates unassisted 1B PO and tag plays from the routine ones, which they call force out PO. I don't know how much weight this gets, however.

                          I know that UZR is proprietary, but are the others?

                          Does anyone know where to find at least lists of components for the zone ratings?
                          Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's Hernandez easily. The most aggressive 1B defensively i've ever seen, throwing runners out on bunts on the 3rd base side of the mound. Just incredible.

                            The only other players I've seen who could come close would be Wes Parker and JT Snow. Wes was terrific, and JT was magical, and both of them are somewhat underrated. Don't know why though...
                            “Well, I like to say I’m completely focused, right? I mean, the game’s on the line. It’s not like I’m thinking about what does barbecue Pop Chips and Cholula taste like. Because I already know that answer — it tastes friggin’ awesome!"--Brian Wilson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hal Chase of course...

                              Sometimes a raw recruit in spring is not a pitching find;
                              He has not Walter Johnson's wing, nor Matty's wonderous mind.
                              He does not act like Harold Chase upon the fielding job,
                              But you may find in such a case, he hits like Tyrus Cobb.
                              Your Second Base Coach
                              Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

                              Comment

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