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John Dewan's Stat of the Week

Cannon Arms in 2017

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Cannon Arms in 2017

November 17, 2017

Which outfielders had the best arms during the 2017 season? To try and find out one must consider both the runners an outfielder has thrown out, as well as how frequently the outfielder prevented additional bases from being taken. To answer both of these questions we will use Outfield Arm Runs Saved (OF 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 successfully takes an extra base on that given fielder (XBT%).

Most Outfield Arm Runs Saved, 2017
Player OF Arm Runs Saved
Juan Lagares 8
Jarrod Dyson 7
Adam Duvall 7
Billy Hamilton 6
Brett Gardner 5
Tommy Pham 5
Michael A. Taylor 5
Nori Aoki 5

Adam Eaton, Starling Marte, and Colby Rasmus were the top three in Outfield Arm Runs Saved in 2016, and since all three of these players missed significant time in 2017, the leaderboard has changed considerably. Mets center fielder Juan Lagares finished ahead of the pack in 2017 with eight runs saved due to his arm, followed by Jarrod Dyson and Adam Duvall. Duvall, Billy Hamilton, and an assortment of other Reds outfielders combined to save 17 runs for their team with their throwing arms, the most by any individual outfield.

Let's now examine the leaders in both Outfield Kills and in preventing runner advancements.

Most Outfield Kills, 2017
Player OF Kills
Adam Duvall 13
Brett Gardner 10
Melky Cabrera 10
Avisail Garcia 9
Tommy Pham 8
Billy Hamilton 8
Jarrod Dyson 8
Andrew Benintendi 8
Jose Bautista 8
Justin Upton 8

Adam Duvall led baseball in Outfield Kills with 13. Since arriving in Cincinnati prior to the 2016 season, Duvall has 17 Outfield Kills, tied for second among all left fielders behind only Starling Marte (18 Outfield Kills) during this time period.

Lowest Rate of Extra Bases Taken (XBT), 2017 by Outfield Position, Min 500 Innings
Pos Player XBT Throw Opps XBT% Positional Average
LF Yoenis Cespedes 20 70 28.6% 35.7%
CF Juan Lagares 26 60 43.3% 55.3%
RF Yasiel Puig 30 79 38.0% 48.1%

It is important to look at the players with the lowest XBT% for each outfield position because a runner is less likely to take an extra base when a left fielder, who is closer to third base, fields the ball. The left field positional average for extra bases taken is only 36 percent, as opposed to 55 and 48 percent for center field and right field, respectively. Juan Lagares led all center fielders with the lowest rate of extra bases taken, while two Cuban born corner outfielders — Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig — stymied the most baserunners from their respective positions.

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