Please click here for the full introduction/primer to this series.

The Semien Report is an experimental effort to provide advanced fielding splits.  Every week, I’m going to pull UZR, DRS, and DEF from Fangraphs for each fielder with at least 10 IP at each position on the season.  From there, I’ll compare those statistics to the previous week, and in time their numbers from four weeks prior, in an effort to find out who seems to be changing their course, defensively.  There are, of course, some caveats:

  • I’m not going to bother with pitcher and catcher.  Pitcher because it’s already a small sample size I don’t want to parse anymore, and catcher just isn’t evaluated very well by these statistics.
  • Advanced fielding metrics take a long time to start to mean anything, so take this with a whole salt lick.  It’s very likely that any changes seen for the first few months are just noise, but it’s possible there’s something meaningful there.
  • Because I’m breaking down by position, I’ll miss out on utility guys or multi-position wonders.  I’m not sure if there’s a great way around this.

With this being week 2, we now have some meaningful results! If you’d like to view the data for yourself, please click here. I apologize if it’s messy; if there is serious interest, I may make it a little more reader-friendly. This data was pulled from Fangraphs between Noon and 1 PM PDT on Monday, 4/18.  Note that UZR is still not yet available.

Shortstop:

The Outliers:

Brandon Crawford is the only shortstop so far with +4 DRS, while Alexei Ramirez is shortly behind him at +3. Nobody else is above +2. On the other end, Erick Aybar is off to a miserable start at -4, while Ketel Marte and Danny Espinosa are chugging down at -3. On the DEF end, we have 6 different guys at the top with 0.6, including the aforementioned Ramirez as well as defensive wizards Andrelton Simmons and Troy Tulowitzki. Amazingly, this report’s namesake Marcus Semien also shares this lofty achievement. There aren’t any shortstops below 0.1 DEF, since it includes a positional adjustment, and there are too many in the 0.1 range to list out.

Best Week Ever:

Unsurprisingly, Ramirez and Crawford both put up +2 weeks in DRS. Joining them at the top is rookie sensation Trevor Story and Marlins Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Story in particular is notable as he’s the only one of the four who had a bad week one (-2) by DRS; the rest improved from a base of zero or better. There were 13 guys who put up a 0.3 improvement in DEF, all of whom started from a strong 0.2/0.3 baseline, so I won’t note them here.

Worst Week Ever:

Aybar and Espinosa are, unsurprisingly, this week’s losers in DRS each costing their team 3 defensive runs. Young shortstop Carlos Correa also had a rough week at -2 DRS. Nobody managed to drop their DEF since week 1.

Center field:

The Outliers:

Billy Hamilton paces the field so far as the only man with +4 DRS from center field, Right on his heels, though, are Mike Trout, Kevin Pillar, and Brandon Barnes, surprisingly. The first three are capable of keeping this up, but Barnes seems like a candidate for regression. Austin Jackson has looked lost out there, as the only -4 DRS centerfielder, though Jon Jay and Marcell Ozuna could pass him any time with a bad week at -3. There aren’t any outliers by DEF; everyone is between 0 and 0.2

Best Week Ever:

Hamilton blows everyone away in this department with a +4 week after beginning the week at a zero DRS score. Trout, Pillar, Randal Grichuk, and Jackie Bradley Jr. also had notably good weeks at +2. Again, the DEF results are all between 0 and 0.1, so there isn’t much to discuss there.

Worst Week Ever:

Pulling up the rear in this category are Jay, Delino DeShields, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Taylor, and Chris Owings. Jay is notable as he started from -1 already only to drop down to -3. Owings blew whatever good will he had built up from a +2 week to drop to net zero and fall squarely into the middle of the pack. The rest all seem like good candidates to bounce back next week.

Second Base:

The Outliers:

Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano lead the pack with +3 DRS, with Cesar Hernandez and Cory Spangenberg as the only +2 DRS keystoners. On the other hand, as a symbol of the Twins’ early-season futility, Brian Dozier is the only second baseman rocking a -3 DRS. Like center field, the DEF field is mostly jumbled at this point still.

Best Week Ever:

Ian Kinsler definitely had the best week, as he improved from a -1 last week by 4 points to pace the field. I’m going to chalk that up to his massive brainpower. The earlier two +2 guys improved from zero this week, as they also had very good weeks.

Worst Week Ever:

Poor, poor Brian Dozier. Poor Twins fans. Twinkie fans had to watch the hometown favorite plod his way to a -3 DRS on the season. That was the only -3 week from the position. Sophomore heartthrob Rougned Odor also performed poorly at -2, while Gordon Beckham and Chase Utley provides misery some company with -2 weeks.

Third Base:

The Outliers:

Adrian Beltre and Nolan Arenado, two of the more recognizable names at the hot corner, both are sitting pretty at +4 DRS on the season. Mike Moustakas and Travis Shaw are also looking quite good so far at +3. Meanwhile, third base features two of the worst performers at any position with Nick Castellanos at -5 and the Braves’ Adonis Garcia at an appalling -6. That mark earns Garcia the “Worst Fielder in the League So Far” award from this feature. That’s bad news for my “2015 Debut Players Draft”, for anyone out there keeping score. Again, no standouts from the DEF field.

Best Week Ever:

Surprisingly, there aren’t any real positive oddities on the week from third base. Beltre and Arenado were the best at +2 on the week, right next to Matt Carpenter and Todd Frazier. It’s an open race at this point.

Worst Week Ever:

Castellanos and Garcia…please see me in my office after class. Both of them put up all of their negative scores in just this one week. That is atrocious.

Right Field:

The Outliers:

Adam Eaton is not only the best right fielder, but he’s having the best year at any position, as the only member of the +6 club. The White Sox right fielder is proving exceptionally adept, and making everyone wonder why he isn’t playing center field over the aforementioned Austin Jackson, who is the worst centerfielder in the league so far. If that wasn’t enough of a story, Stephen Piscotty is the second-best fielder at any position with +5 DRS, which is good news for Cardinal Fans. Yasiel Puig and Gregory Polanco are also playing well at +3 DRS. Right field also possesses some seemingly hopeless clunkers in Mark Trumbo, Domingo Santana, and Jay Bruce, all of whom owe the bank 4 DRS. Due to the nature of DRS, though, none of these guys are even at 0 DEF, even Eaton and Piscotty who rate at -0.4 and -0.5 respectively. There are 5 other right fielders at -0.6, though, but I’ll spare you their names for brevity’s sake.

Best Week Ever:

Eaton and Piscotty are obviously the kings here at +4 apiece in DRS. Josh Reddick‘s +3 in the outfield is also worth noting, especially after some concerns with his arm in 2015.

Worst Week Ever:

For everything good about Piscotty, his NL Central counterpart Jay Bruce is the opposite, with -4 DRS on the week. Twins fans sad about Dozier are having their fears validated as Miguel Sano put up a -3 week of his own, lockstep with Trumbo and Santana. DEF actually does provide one plodder at the position, with George Springer of the Astros losing -0.4 points of DEF after a rough week 2. He started at -0.2 the first week only to drop into the bottom tier this week.

Left Field:

The Outliers:

Speaking of Astros, Springer’s counterpart Colby Rasmus is having a stellar year in left, as the sole +4 DRS on the year. Four different fielders are right behind at +3, including Ryan Braun. Matt Holliday is the nadir here, with -4 DRS. Age, unfortunately, may be catching up to him. Gerardo Parra and Joey Rickard also have some work to do at -3. Like right field, there aren’t any notable stars in DEF here, though the metric thinks particularly poorly of Angel Pagan and Starling Marte, each of which are at -0.6

Best Week Ever:

Six different guys put up +2 weeks, including Rasmus and…both Pagan and Marte. That’s fascinating and confusing. Let’s move on.

Worst Week Ever:

Rickard is the nut low here, but he’s joined at -3 by newly minted Tiger Justin Upton. The recently optioned Cedric Hunter is close at -2 as is Michael Conforto.

First Base:

The Outliers:

First Base is hard to excel at, and this year is no exception as Paul Goldschmidt is our only man with even a +2 DRS on the year. His NL West counterpart Brandon Belt, is having a rough go of it with -3. Darin Ruf, Ben Paulsen, and Freddie Freeman are also performing a bit poorly at -2 on the young season.

Best Week Ever:

Despite playing just one game at the position, Mark Canha put up a +2 DRS week, and he was the only man to do so. This probably has more to do with the way DRS is calculated more than anything, as his lack of playing time may just be counteracting a -2 from the week before and putting him at 0, or, league average.

Worst Week Ever:

The previously noted Ruf and Belt need to check their glove laces, as they both lost 2 DRS on the week. Not their best performance.

Conclusion:

It’s week 2; there’s a lot of noise here. Many of the gains and losses you may see here could very well just be DRS and DEF adjusting their baselines after some fresh activity. Still, these numbers do provide us some storylines. How long will the White Sox wait before moving Eaton to center field? Will Matt Holliday last very long, or is he due for a permanent gig at first base? How long is the Adonis Garcia experiement for this world? Tune in next week to find out!

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5 Responses to “The Semien Report: Week 2, Adonis and Adams Edition”

    • Andrew Patrick

      Oooh, thanks for the heads up. I’ll start including it in the report next week.

      Reply
      • Barry Gilpin

        You might want to hold off on doing these on Monday, because IIRC, UZR updates every 7 days, so if they went up on Tuesday this week, they’ll probably get updated next Tuesday, and that would make your DEF category off as well, since DEF is basically UZR+ the positional adjustment,

        Reply
        • Andrew Patrick

          Do you know if Tuesday is the update day every week? I might start doing my writing on Tuesday lunch/evening then if that’s the case.

          Reply
          • Barry Gilpin

            Yeah, looks like it updated again this morning, so looks like Tuesday is the day.

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