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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Filling in the Gaps


This week on Baseball Prospectus I make a few changes to the algorithm for Simple Fielding Runs in order to run it on the Retrosheet data set encompassing 1957 through 1983 (there are issues with 1984-1987, especially 1984 and 1985 where the identification of the fielder is more frequently absent). One of those changes involves the addition of pitcher handedness as a variable and the other, like the scientists at Jurassic Park who filled in the missing dinosaur genetic code with that of a frog, uses probabalities to estimate the missing pieces.

Overall, the SFR system is analagous to the work that Sean Smith has been doing on TotalZone and our results are fairly similar. For example in SFR Brooks Robinson (shown right) comes out at +293 runs during his career (easily the career leader) while TotalZone has him at +269. Likewise Mark Belanger SFR is +198 while TotalZone is +232 runs. There are certainly places where it differs, however, as SFR doesn't rate Frank White or Keith Hernandez nearly as highly as TotalZone seems to. In the column I also show detailed data for Lou Whitaker, Pete Rose, Mark Belanger, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, and Bill Mazeroski.

One of the iron gloves discussed a little in the piece is Dick Allen, who managed to show up in the bottom 10 in our rate statistic at both third and first base. His career line is shown below.


Dick Allen
Year Pos Balls Runners Diff SFR Rate
------------------------------------------------------
1964 Third 575 137 -23 -17.6 0.83
1965 Third 515 123 -34 -26.3 0.72
Short 1 1 0 -0.3 0.24
1966 Third 329 86 -23 -17.8 0.73
1967 Third 437 122 -35 -26.9 0.71
1968 Third 37 17 -9 -6.7 0.48
1969 First 234 52 -19 -16.6 0.64
1970 First 177 26 -2 -2.5 0.91
Third 121 38 -12 -8.9 0.70
1971 First 56 6 1 1.0 1.22
Third 230 64 -16 -12.7 0.74
1972 First 261 28 6 4.6 1.21
Third 7 3 -2 -1.3 0.47
1973 First 132 18 -2 -1.5 0.89
Second 6 1 0 0.1 1.11
1974 First 212 29 -4 -2.8 0.87
Second 1 1 -1 -0.5 0.27
1975 First 227 40 -13 -10.5 0.66
1976 First 158 25 -6 -4.4 0.78
1977 First 93 13 1 0.9 1.09

3809 830 -192 -151


Enjoy. And no, I don't yet have a spreadsheet with the full results but expect to do so in the near future.

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