Wednesday, May 24, 2006
NESN, mostly, has been making a HUGE deal about the Sox leading the league in Fielding Percentage. One would certainly rather have their club at the top of the leader board than the bottom, but it is not the best statistic to measure team defense. FP has two critical flaws:
1) It is highly subjective. The Official Scorer determines an error (Wily Mo Pena has no errors in right or center this season!)
2) It fails to account for a player's range or the ability to get to the ball to even have an opportunity to make an error.
Fielding Percentage should not be the end all in determining a club's defensive performance.
Defensive Efficiency is a very simple statistic and a much better measure of team glove work. It is the percentage of balls put into play that turn into outs. The beauty of DE is that it accounts for fielding range and most errors (it does not account for ball park configuration and the extra base on an error that would have been a hit regardless, like Nomar's running sling shot throwing errors from the hole). DE has its flaws, but it is the best measurement of team defense that is regularly avialable.
As for the Sox, they rank tenth as of yesterday afternoon at 71.3%. Only once, in the 2004 Championship season, has a Theo and the trio club ended the year above the 70% mark, which is considered average. Theo wanted a better defensive club because the market is undervaluing that skill right now. He and the team seem to have accomplished that objective to date.
From Will Carroll's Under the Knife column,
Sources tell me that Wells’ knee is nowhere near 100%, but he’s going to try and push through it for a few weeks to see if it gets better and if he can contribute. He’s hoping to make a decision on how far he goes around the All-Star Game.