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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maybe He is but Maybin He Isn't?

Today in my column on Baseball Prospectus I take a look at minor league outfielders using the SFR system. As I've done previously I take a look at the leaders and trailers at all levels before aggregating across all positions and leagues to list the best and worst defenders in the outfield among minor leaguers in 2007.

In addition, I examine Baseball America's top outfield and infield defenders published in their Baseball America Prospect Handbook for 2008 and compare them to what SFR thinks. From an overall perspective the subjective and objective systems largely agree although Marlins top prospect Cameron Maybin is one of the few players on which the two approaches seem to disagree violently. Maybin fared poorly across all hit types in his 70 games in centerfield while at Lakeland and overall including his time in the Eastern League ended up at -15.4 runs on 421 balls fielded. It certainly is the case that the smaller sample sizes in the minor league seasons tend to make the results less reliable than for major leaguers but still, I was somewhat surprised given the glowing assessments by so many. If there are any fans out there who've watched him play in person I'd be interested in hearing what you think.

And as always a spreadsheet is now available with all 4000+ player, position, and league combinations.