As he does every year, Tom Tango is compiling the Fans’ Scouting Report. He is seeking help from baseball fans to rate the defensive abilities of the players they have watched this season.
Baseball’s fans are very perceptive. Take a large group of them, and they can pick out the final standings with the best of them. They can forecast the performance of players as well as those guys with rather sophisticated forecasting engines. Bill James, in one of his later Abstracts, had the fans vote in for the ranking of the best to worst players by position. And they did a darn good job.
There is an enormous amount of untapped knowledge here. There are 70 million fans at MLB parks every year, and a whole lot more watching the games on television. When I was a teenager, I had no problem picking out Tim Wallach as a great fielding 3B, a few years before MLB coaches did so. And, judging by the quantity of non-stop standing ovations Wallach received, I wasn’t the only one in Montreal whose eyes did not deceive him. Rondel White, Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Ellis Valentine. We don’t need stats to tell us which of these does not belong.
What I would like to do now is tap that pool of talent. I want you to tell me what your eyes see. I want you to tell me how good or bad a fielder is. Go down, and start selecting the team(s) that you watch all the time. For any player that you’ve seen play in at least 10 games in 2009, I want you to judge his performance in 7 specific fielding categories.
If you’ve watched a lot of baseball in 2009, or at least enough to meet the guidelines, please participate in compiling this valuable resource.