More thoughts about Ryan Zimmerman winning the Gold Glove over Kevin Kouzmanoff

I know that Ryan Zimmerman had 17 errors, while Kevin Kouzmanoff had just 3. Yes, 14 errors is a big difference. But there’s more to defensive excellence than just errors and fielding percentage. Basing a fielder’s overall performance on only those two measures is like judging a starting pitcher’s performance on just his W/L record, without looking at his ERA, WHIP, run support, etc.

Below are the basic statistics that are used to compare defensive performance of players — Zimmerman’s and Kouzmanoff’s stats are shown.

Player      TEAM POS  G  GS  INN    TC  PO   A  E  DP   RF   FPCT
Zimmerman   WSH  3B  154 153 1337.2 459 117 325 17 28  2.97 .963
Kouzmanoff  SD   3B  139 134 1186.2 311 94  214  3 24  2.34 .990

As you can clearly see, Zimmerman had more total chances, more put-outs, more assists, more double plays, and a better range factor. Kozmanoff has the edge in errors and fielding percentage. Note: Zimmerman lead the majors with his 459 total chances and 325 assists.

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Photo by me

Another stat that has been mentioned when comparing Zimmerman and Kouzmanoff is UZR — Ultimate Zone Rating. Zimmerman lead NL third baseman with his 18.1 UZR. According to THIS ARTICLE, Zimmerman also lead NL third baseman in range factor and range factor per game.

rz051509_8.jpg

Photo by me

I am not a stats geek, in any way, shape or form. I attempted to learn more about UZR by going to FanGraphs.com and reading their UZR Primer (parts 1 and 2), and I came away from it all with a headache. You know how cartoon characters have stars and birds circling their heads when they get hurt? That’s exactly how I felt after trying to figure out UZR.

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Some fans really get into analyzing stats like that, while others just focus on the basics. Managers and coaches, however, should be looking at all defensive statistics for players when deciding for whom they should cast their Gold Glove votes. RawlingsGoldGlove.com states that the award is supposed to be “the benchmark by which all defense is measured” in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. However, in the case of this year’s Gold Glove award for NL third basemen, the correct and only logical choice was made. Ryan Zimmerman was, without question, the best third baseman in the National League in 2009. Period.

2 Comments

Have to agree…Zimmerman is a nightmare to play against…like a human vacuum cleaner. Glad he got the nod :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Human vacuum cleaner? Good description, Jenn!

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