SABR Scoop on "Team" Defense
Not that Jay-Z seems particularly obsessed with it right now ...


TJM being an ex-SS himself, sez that Brad Miller is simply right.  He could play CF without much trouble.

He pointed out Tresh, Mantle, 'both Uptons' ... was B.J. Upton a SS too?  I know there's a buncha guys I'm forgetting.  

Thing is, there were lots of these back in the day, but relatively few MLB switches to CF from late starts any more.  I saw a chart on it.  In all fairness, a switch from SS in high school is a different kettle o' fish.  

Don't think a player has come up *as a major leaguer* in the infield, and switched to CF, since like Yount maybe.

But ... obviously the M's have absolutely no problem with bringing a kid into a 3-tier stadium and handing him a new mitt.  Zduriencik just said that he wants D.J. to keep his 3B glove in his locker and when he gets here, he can switch to first...

So in principle, SS to CF should be feasible to the Mariners.


Doesn't surprise that TJM was a SS.  His feel for the game.  Ask you two Q's here Terry...


(1)  I was a SS ... in softball LOL.  Then the CF view seemed "pre-installed" -- the ball off the bat was very comfortable to read -- but LF and RF looked wonky.   ?Same for you?

2B, CF, and of course 1B were a piece of cake, but 3B and LF were annoying to play.  

I sympathize with Dustin Ackley and Matt Kemp, that's for sure.  It was murder for me to read the swing launches in left field, and that's exactly where you have no time.  Kemp looks hilarious in LF sometimes, and I cruelly called Ackley "grotesque" before he adjusted and made me look like an idiot.  


(2)  ?You think the 2014 game has advanced so much that it becomes more unlikely for a position player to play a good CF?   Like maybe are all MLB CF's so great now that they need supernatural jumps on the ball.

Based on my own "vision" of the game, I would actually think it'd be much easier for Miller to play CF than a corner.  A SS's reflex reactions to swing launches are very similar.


The SABRMatt Scoop -- coming to a theater near you -- teaser trailer said, 


3) Big league clubs do studies about the impact of having one player on other players...and they find effects, though they are often limited to very specific situations.

The Vizquel/Jeter comparison, for example, I studied. I won't discuss my exact methods, but I determined that really bad fielders warp the defensive performance of the adjacent fielders by as many as 8 plays depending on which position you're talking about compared to really good fielders.

SS and CF warp by 8.5 and 7.0 plays respectively (on average) compared to bad ones...meaning if you have Brendan Ryan's glove at short, your third baseman AND your second basemen are likely to play as many as 8 plays into outs that they would not if you replaced him with Jeter. That sort of thing is why I reject simple zone defensive metrics.

- See more at:


I think it was Jonezie who pointed out that Mike Cameron was free to be aggressive going after balls because he knew Ichiro would clean up the garbage behind him.  That's just plain true, no studies needed.  

How it would work between a SS and 3B isn't quite as clear to me from the standpoint of the 3B's personal statistics.  But... sure.  

You know what I can easily visualize, is a SS (Taylor, Miller) playing more fluidly because he's next to Brooks Robinson to his right.  He's not fretting about the most difficult play in the world, the deeeeeep grounder in the hole.  Kyle Seager is getting good at those banged one-hop stops.

Also, the abilities of a particular Gold Glove (Seager, maybe Cano) should affect your ability to shift and align - like Richard Sherman affects Earl Thomas' ability to make plays.

Interesting light bulbs, gennlemen.



...I believe the reason that a great SS makes his 3B better is that he's "stealing" plays in the deep hole and actually converting them, whereas a bad SS misses those and then they go against the third baseman statistically because they're in his zones. It's not a confidence thing in that case...just an opportunity for the batter removed by someone else saving his (the third baseman's) bacon. :) As for there are interactions...a great SS allows the 2B to take his first step toward the 1B hole or to shade toward the hole.

tjm's picture

. . .was a shortstop in the minors.
I think playing the corner outfield spots for a great athlete - and any kid drafed as a shortstop is almost guaranteed to be a great athlete - is a piece of cake once they get the reps. The ball off the end of the bat moves a frightening amount toward the corners and you have to see hundreds of those to internalize it. 3B is a different question - different kind of reflexes necessary to keep from being killed.
Not sure contemporary CF are that much better, at least any better than the degree to which all players today are better conditioned, trained, nourished. The Dodgers won a division last year playing Kemp, Puig, Eithier and Van Slyke(!) in center. Yanks won tons of games with Bernie Williams in a wheelchair.


... and that's interesting about the Dodgers too.  Had no idea Van Slyke got reps in center.  Shades of Billy Beane putting Snelling and Jack Cust there...  M's sheepish about the Condor there...

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.