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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Aramis and Defense

It was great to take in the Cubs first televised spring training game this afternoon. While drifting in and out of my nap I overhead Len Kaspar, WGN-TV announcer note that the Cubs would like Aramis Ramirez and his fielding to return to 2004 form rather than what he did in 2005.

I imagine that comment was based on the fact that in 2005 Ramirez made 16 errors and recorded a .947 fielding percentage while in 2004 he committed 10 errors with a .969 fielding percentage. That shows how traditional fielding statistics can be deceiving - well, not deceiving as much as simply incomplete.

According to John Dewan's newly published The Fielding Bible, Ramirez actually fielded one more ball than expected in 2005 and went better to his left (+3) than to his right (-3) while handling balls hit at him as expected. Comparing that to 2004 Ramirez was +2 to his right, -3 to his left, and -9 on balls hit straight at him for a -11. In 2004 he ranked 24th among thirdbaseman in this "Plus/Minus" system while in 2005 he ranked 16th. Baseball Prospectus had him at -15 runs in 2004 and -14 in 2005. On bunts however, Dewan rates him a D+ in 2005 and C+ in 2004. In 2005 he fielded 41.7% of the bunts in his direction good for 24th place and 49.6% in 2004 good for 19th.

In other Cubs news Michael Barrett is writing about his experiences in the WBC.

Incidentally, this season is the first I've subscribed to MLB.TV and have enjoyed it thoroughly thus far.

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