So the Twins had the best second baseman, a very good shortstop and a good centerfielder and defense hurt them? Am I missing something?
Perhaps. Like this game. And this game. And this utter travesty. And ...
|A slimmer Delmon Young looked better|
on defense in 2010 to most fans,
but the defensive metrics say he was as
bad as before. So do you believe your
lying eyes or the newfangled stats?
I like the idea behind the stats, but just try to describe how Baseball Info Systems decided that Punto saved eight runs over an average third baseman in just 344 innings, or seven runs over the average shortstop in just 258 innings. You can't. I have the books, and they can't describe it well.
What's more, they don't fully trust those numbers either. That's why they supplement the 2010 leaders with a rolling three-year figure, and why they left Punto out of the leaders rankings.
Several years ago, when BIS rolled out plus-minus, I wrote a Monday print column on how we're being asked to take these fielding metrics on faith. Unlike the hitting stats, they can't be readily audited. If you doubt that Joe Mauer hit .327 last season, you can go through the box scores and check it yourself. If you question his 91 runs created, you can work though the formula. If you doubt that Orlando Hudson was +23 in plus-minus, you literally can't figure it yourself.
I'd rather know the plus-minus and runs saved stats than not. But I'll continue to doubt their validity as long as I'm watching players who look good in those numbers give away outs and runs and games.
Back to SoCalTwinsFan's comment:
So, the Twins are weak defensively in three of eight positions on the field and those three are the least important on the field, RF, LF and 1B.
Are they the least important? No; they are the least demanding, which is a different concept altogether. Let's ditch for the moment my reservations and work with runs saved. Over the past three years, Hudson has saved his teams 18 runs. Delmon Young, by the same measurement, has cost his team 27. If a run is a run, Young is costing his team more runs than Hudson saves.
It takes more ability to play second base at a major league level of skill than to play left field. That is undeniable. That doesn't mean the runs Hudson saves are more important than the runs Young allows.