Loading... Please wait...

John Dewan's Stat of the Week

The Decline of an Elite Defender

Posted by

In 2010, Alexei Ramirez saved 20 runs as a defender playing shortstop for the White Sox. He ranked 3rd in Major League Baseball behind only Alex Gonzalez (26) and Brendan Ryan (24). This past season, however, he was the worst shortstop defensively in all Major League Baseball costing his teams (Padres and Rays) 20 runs. In fact, counting all defensive positions, he only finished ahead of three players overall, Andrew McCutchen in center field (-28 Defensive Runs Saved), J.D. Martinez in right field (-22), and Robbie Grossman in left field (-21).

Here are Alexei Ramirez’s DRS numbers and rankings among shortstops for every season since 2010:

Season DRS Rank
2010 20 3
2011 10 5
2012 14 6
2013 1 15
2014 -4 23
2015 -6 27
2016 -20 35

It is easy to see the downward spiral of Ramirez’s defense. He went from +20 runs in 2010 to -20 runs in 2016. He has declined in rank every one of these seasons and the only time he increased his DRS was from 2011 to 2012.

Looking at specific DRS components, his biggest decline has been in his Range and Positioning Runs Saved. From 2010 to 2014, he performed well on balls to his right, saving an average of 15.2 plays per season. However, in 2015 and 2016 he saved only one play to his right and cost his team two, respectively. Also, despite fielding 20 plays above average to his right in 2014, he was below average by 21 plays straight on and 11 to his left.

His defensive decline coupled with batting a career-worst line of .241/.277/.333 in 2016 makes it no surprise that the second-place finisher in AL Rookie of the Year voting (behind Evan Longoria) in 2008 and one-time All Star (2014) is currently still a free agent after his brief stint with the Rays following his release from the Padres.

Cannon Arms in 2016

Which outfielders had the best arms throughout the 2016 season? To answer this question, we use Outfield Arm Runs Saved. This metric evaluates fielders’ arms by considering both their ability to throw out baserunners without the use of a relay man—Outfield Kills—and the percentage of the time a baserunner attempts to take an extra base [...]

Read More »

Yoan Moncada’s 12 K’s in 19 ABs

Yoan Moncada’s perceived value as a prospect took a bit of a hit last year when he struck out 12 times in 19 at-bats during his September call-up with the Red Sox. Obviously, if he hit .350 with 2-3 homers in those 19 at-bats, people would be more excited. But is it rare [...]

Read More »

The Flat Bat Award 2016

The Flat Bat Award is given annually to the best bunter of the year. To determine the winner, we look at run value—run expectancy gained or lost—for both successful and unsuccessful sacrifice and bunt-for-hit attempts for each player. Last season’s co-champions Delino DeShields and Dee Gordon both had limited playing time in 2016, which opened [...]

Read More »

Braves "New" Pitchers

In the last week, the Atlanta Braves signed former Cy Young Award winners Bartolo Colon from the New York Mets and R.A. Dickey from the Toronto Blue Jays. This gives the Braves the two oldest pitchers in Major League Baseball at 43 and 42 years old, respectively. Colon and Dickey will as of now be [...]

Read More »

2017 Bill James Handbook Projections

Published in the Bill James Handbook on November 1st of every year, Bill James and Baseball Info Solutions create player projections for the following Major League Baseball season. Let’s look at the projected 2017 leaderboards for home runs and batting average. For 2017, the projected leaders in home runs are as follows: Player Projected [...]

Read More »

Kris Bryant Baserunning

Kris Bryant’s baserunning yesterday was one of the keys to the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory. His baserunning was also excellent during the season. He had a Baserunning Gain of +29, meaning he gained about 29 bases on the basepaths more than an average runner (not counting basestealing). From the Bill James Handbook, which was [...]

Read More »

The 2016 Fielding Bible Awards

THE 2016 FIELDING BIBLE AWARDS have been officially announced. Of the ten winners this season, four players are first-time Fielding Bible Award winners, while the other six have been honored for their defensive prowess before. Dustin Pedroia and Andrelton Simmons both won their fourth Fielding Bible Awards. Pedroia reclaimed his title from Ian Kinsler [...]

Read More »

Who are the 2016 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II)

Last week, we looked at the favorites and contenders for the 2016 Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Glove Awards for catcher and infielders. This week, we will do the same for outfielders, pitchers, and the Multi-Position Fielding Bible Award. As in Part I, the numbers in the parentheses next to each player’s name in [...]

Read More »

Who are the 2016 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I)

For the next two weeks we will be writing a two-part series examining who the likely 2016 Fielding Bible Award contenders are. We will also be giving our predictions for the Gold Glove winners at every position in each league. This week, for Part I, we will be looking at catchers and infielders. Next week, [...]

Read More »

Sign up to our newsletter

Recent Updates