You Are the Scorer You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries by Joe Gray November 20, 2009 written by Joe Gray November 20, 2009 The weekly You Are the Scorer post will be used as a thread for scoring queries for the rest of the year, so please leave a reply below if you have a question or comment. To hunt through the first 50 You Are the Scorer questions, click here. Keeping score 6 comments 0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail Joe Gray Joe is the founder of Project COBB. previous post Book Review: The Long Season by Jim Brosnan next post Rounding the Bases: More awards and potential postseason changes You may also like You Are the Scorer: Another query with a... October 12, 2010 You Are the Scorer: Reader query (with a... April 6, 2010 You Are the Scorer: A forum for baseball... January 1, 2010 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries December 25, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries December 18, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries December 11, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries December 4, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries November 27, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries November 13, 2009 You Are the Scorer: Thread for queries November 6, 2009 6 comments Matt Smith November 24, 2009 - 6:23 pm Hi Joe. This scenario came up in an MLB game I was watching back over the weekend. It was the typical double play set-up at second. The second baseman fielded the grounder and chucked it to the shortstop, who got the force but then dropped the ball on the transfer. The runner was called out at second and the batter-runner was safe at first, with no attempt being made to put him out. Now, I’m fine with the 4-6 put-out, but the commentators never raised the possibility of an error. It looked to me that the shortstop had time to field the ball and complete the double play and he didn’t because he dropped the ball. Can that be called an error or is it a case where you can’t assume the double play would have been completed? Reply Adam Brown November 25, 2009 - 10:16 pm Fielding Stats: Alright, I have a question about fielding stats – which I feel are severely underdeveloped – and wanted to know your thoughts. Here’s the scenario. I will give you a series of plays by an imaginary left fielder in a busy 9 inning game, and I would be interested to know what stats (fielding percentage, range factor etc) you could draw from it. 1st inning: routine fly ball caught 2nd inning: routine fly ball drops out of glove 3rd inning: cuts off routine single and throws the ball safely to 2nd 4th inning: fantastic diving catch – throws to 2nd to catch the runner for leaving early on appeal play 5th inning: diving stop brilliantly holds a sure triple to single and saves a run. Throw in to the infield is too long and runner advances to 2nd. 6th inning: misplays a routine grounder: runner advances to 3rd base 7th inning: loses a fly ball in the lights and fields it on the hop – runner is given a single 8th inning: runs underneath a linedrive and gets nowhere near it. Other outfielders are of the opinion that it was easily catchable. 9th inning: cuts off a ball in the gap, makes a great throw to 3rd. The runner is forced to turn and head back to 2nd. Reply Joe Gray November 26, 2009 - 12:20 pm Matt, Thanks for another great question. While there’s no way of changing the established staple baseball phrases now, the statement “you can’t assume a double-play” would be more helpful – although admittedly a lot more clunky – if it was instead something like “you can’t assume a double-play unless a good throw for the second put-out is dropped by the fielder at the bag.” So in your case, the fielder who makes the misplay is deemed to have done enough on the play to be exempt from an error. The only time we would award an error on the attempt to make the second out on this play is if the throw was good and in time, but the first baseman dropped it. Cheers, Joe Reply Joe Gray November 26, 2009 - 1:13 pm Hi Adam, Thanks for the question. I agree with your sentiments about fielding stats, although progress is certainly being made in the Major League with stats like UZR (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/uzr-on-fangraphs/). The range factor I’ve introduced to British stats is cruder than Jethro, but it is still better than just having fielding average. It is simply worked out as put-outs plus assists all times 9 and then all divided by the number of innings played. So it bascially gives chances converted per game. In contrast, fielding average is put-outs plus assists divided by put-outs plus assists plus errors. So that can be seen as proportion of chances converted out of all chances. So let’s now run through your excellent example. 1st inning: 1 put-out 2nd inning: 1 error 3rd inning: no stats recorded 4th inning: 1 put-out and 1 assist (as long as the appeal is not initiated by the pitcher) 5th inning: 1 error (a harsh statistical reflection on a positive outcome overall 6th inning: 1 error 7th inning: no stats recorded 8th inning: 1 error (unless the scorer was feeling kind) 9th inning: no stats recorded Let’s first total the stats up over 9 innings: 2 put-outs, 1 assist, and 4 errors. This gives a range factor of 9 * (2 + 1) / 9, which equals 3.00. The fielding average is (2 + 1) / (2 + 1 + 4) = 0.429. The fielder’s strengths are not really picked up in either stat, so the weaknesses (which are clearly pretty major) show through prominently. I would suggest that this fielder needs to consider playing in a league with a DL spot. Joe Reply Adam Brown November 26, 2009 - 1:45 pm Thanks Joe One thing we used last season was to work out an “alternate” fielding percentage, which calculated errors as a percentage of the total “chances to make an error” – ie in my opinion, misfielding 50% of balls to the outfield should result in a .500 fielding percentage (but of course it doesn’t) because unless an out is made it doesn’t count towards “total chances”. We felt that this gave a better indicator of fielding ability than the orthodox fielding percentage. you can also calculate separate groundball handling, flyball catching, and throwing percentages. This demonstrates what you need to work on with the fielders in question. Other ideas we used were a +/- system with a + being awarded for every outstanding play, and a – being awarded for a mistake (even if it wasn’t necessarily an error). Obviously this is rather subjective. It works especially well for base running stats – going from 1st to 3rd on a single may get you a +, failing to tag and go home on a deep flyball may well earn a -. Position adjusted range factors are reasonable indicators – we also like zone ratings, which analyses the percentage of hit balls which go through a fielders predefined “area” that he makes a play on successfully, semi-successfully, or unsuccessfully. All this is quite complicated: I had to design an entirely different scoring book to make sure everything was recorded accurately! Reply Joe Gray November 26, 2009 - 1:58 pm Hi Adam, I’m fascinated by your approach – and your amended scoresheets. I must admit that I’ve considered such a system but in the end have decided that the samples we deal with in each season of baseball in Britain are so small that noise will almost inevitably drown out any real information. Therefore, the fielding awards we assign in the National Baseball League are based in part on subjective ratings of range/arm, rather than any advanced statistics. I feel that this is the safest option. That’s not saying that there it is not still interesting to play around with advanced fielding stats in our leagues. Thanks for your thoughts, Joe Reply Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.