Worst Fielders of 2009

That is, relative to position, and with the warning that these are imprecise ratings, not the final word, and that multi-year data, if available, must be used to determine who really is a good or bad fielder, preferably supplemented with scouting information. These ratings measure range and reliability only, and do not include an outfielder’s throwing or an infielder’s proficiency at the double play.

Anyway, warnings aside, here are the ten players with the worst 2009 Totalzone ratings:

1. Michael Cuddyer, RF, -26
2. Bobby Abreu, RF, -25
3. Vernon Wells, CF, -19
4. Gary Matthews Jr., CF, -17
5. Alberto Callaspo, 2B, -16
6. Orlando Cabrera, SS, -16
7. Lastings Milledge, LF, -16
8. David Wright, 3B, -15
9. Carlos Lee, LF, -14
10. Miguel Tejada, SS, -14

Cuddyer and Abreu aren’t quite this bad on UZR, but close at -17 and -14. Wells is equally bad in both measures. Matthews hits and fields like a guy who might not last through spring training 2010, contract be damned. The only one that surprises here is Milledge, slightly above average for Pittsburgh in LF, according to UZR. I’ll have to investigate what my park factor is doing here: -15 of that is his defense at home.

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  1. Sean Smith said...

    Maybe he’s just showing his age.

    I noticed a problem, I had not applied the park factors to the right fielders (I did for other positions).  The corrected numbers are a bit less extreme.  The guys from the top list:

    N Cruz, Ichiro, Carroll: All +12
    Justin Upton is now at +14.

    Among the worst fielders here are the corrected ratings:

    Cuddyer: -7
    Abreu: -9

    For Bobby, that’s the difference between “Definitely should be a DH” and “Indifferent to whether he plays the OF or is the DH”.

    Jermaine Dye and Brad Hawpe rate at -11, and surprisingly, Alex Rios for Toronto has a -12 rating.

  2. Sean Smith said...

    I will check on Yuni.  I’ve got multiple entries for players on two teams, so I just need to add up his Royal and Mariner totals.  Not sure if he makes the bottom 10 but I think he was well below average.

  3. Sean Smith said...

    I need to add up Dunn’s TZ for right, left, and 1st base.  I think he missed it because he split his time at different positions, but could well be the worst fielder of the season.  I’ll update that some time tonight.

  4. EnglishMariner said...

    I am very surprised that Yuni has not featured on this list.  Actually, I am disappointed.  I hate Yuni.

  5. Sean Smith said...

    Betencourt was -9 total.  Dunn was -11 in left, -4 in right, and -6 at first.  The spread between best and worst has typically been smaller in TZ than UZR, so I consider the results from the two systems to be in agreement on Dunn:  He should be a DH.

  6. Sean Smith said...

    TZ doesn’t have any zone bins, it has 3 outfield zones, left, center, and right, and those are determined not by any knowledge of where the ball was hit, but who fielded it.

    What this suggests is that if Milledge is positioned strangely, the Pirates are allowing more hits to fall in the area he vacates than he catches by moving over towards center.  As you say, the positioning is more extreme at home, and that’s where Milledge’s negative rating comes from.

  7. Thunder said...

    The discrepancy on Milledge likely has to do with the Pirates non-standard positioning of their LF…most noticeable in home games. This occurred even when Nyjer Morgan was playing left before the trade. The Pirates tend to play their LF toward left center instead of the standard LF’ers position…due to the dimensions of PNC Park. Pirates fans call it the “no triples” defense. Of course…you end up giving up a lot of doubles down the line that a “normal” left fielder would get to…unless you have Morgan’s speed…which Milledge does not.

    My understanding (possibly incorrect) of UZR is that the zone bins are based on normal positioning. With the Pirates positioning…the LF will easily get to balls in left center that most LF won’t get to…thus the inflated UZR. The Pirates are willing to trade the doubles down the LF line for the doubles/triples they feel they are saving in left center.

  8. Bob Conners said...

    Sean Smith you sure you are not a Philly fan you are as smart as those fools Right has made more excellent plays in his career then most 3rd baseman also I regard Chipper Jones opion much higher then a talking head any time… he stated that right is the best all around third baseman so go back to your pc and pretend you know baseball

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