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How Much Better Will the D Be?

2010/03/26

There's a reason this man is still unemployed.

If you haven’t already heard, last season the White Sox were rather terrible on defense. UZR had them down for -36 runs. Total Zone had the Sox down for a whopping -42 runs.  With the additions of Pierre, Vizquel, Jones and Teahen, the Sox feel they’ll be improved on defense for 2010. Will they be?

Well, yeah. They can’t be much worse, can they? There are actually some interesting defensive projections out there these days. Jeff Zimmerman of Beyond the Boxscore has created an UZR projection complete with an age adjustment. Steve Sommer has a UZR projection that regresses to Tango’s Fan’s Scouting Report. And then CHONE projects Total Zone. So with three different sets of projections, we should get a pretty good idea on what to expect with the 2010 team’s defense.

Here’s the everyday team’s projection –

Jeff Steve Chone Avg.
Konerko 0 -1 0 0
Beckham -2 1 2 0
Teahen -6 -4 -7 -6
Ramirez 0 0 -2 -1
Pierre 3 4 14 7
Rios 4 -3 -10 -3
Quentin -10 -10 -3 -8
Totals -11 -13 -6 -11

When a certain player didn’t have a projection for his position, I added the run difference of their defensive adjustment. What we’re looking at, at least from the everyday players, is a defense that’s still below average, but not crippling bad like last season.

Quentin is -10, and yet is still a win better than Dye. Not having Quentin and Dye in the same outfield only will help. Despite the all the media sentiment, Teahen is not a major defensive upgrade at the hot corner over Fields, and the skills needed for 2B/3B aren’t so vast for me to think Beckham couldn’t handle the position, but no matter. Teahen is below average, but he’s not a lawn gnome, so that’s a feather in his cap.

Alexei settled in nicely at shortstop after bouncing around his rookie season, and should be average or thereabouts, and he has Omar Vizquel as his backup, so maybe some “gloviness” will rub off on him.

All told, the defense shouldn’t be butt your head against the wall and kick the dog bad, but still not very good.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. mechanicalTurk permalink
    2010/03/27 1:13 AM

    I’ll be curious to see how Jones actually plays once the season starts up. If his bat is good enough to be in the lineup on a regular basis, then based solely on the admittedly small segments of spring training games that I’ve seen I’d rather have him in right field than Quentin. He certainly still has the arm for it and has looked pretty mobile in center, certainly much better than Quentin. And keeping Carlos from running round the outfield and potentially injuring himself would be a plus as well.

    I don’t remember seeing him in right this spring, though he has played in center and left, with Rios then taking right. Things could get frustrating quickly if we end up having to watch Rios, our first legit CF in a while, play a corner position while Jones plays center.

    • 2010/03/27 4:13 PM

      Jeff and Steve don’t have defensive projections for Jones, but CHONE has him at +3. Jones played only 150 innings in the outfield last year, and the Fan’s were pretty harsh on him. He got total rating of 2.71, which when converted to runs per 150 games equals to be about as bad as Quentin is: -12. That said, Jones has dropped some weight and sure looks to be in a lot better shape, so maybe expecting slightly above average defense isn’t crazy.

      If it means keeping Quentin’s bat in the lineup, then I’d be all for Jones playing in RF. But yeah, let’s hope Ozzie keeps him out of center field. That would not be pretty.

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