Friday, August 20, 2004

Starting Left Fielder (Part II)

Apparently outfielders are on the minds of Cardinal fans today. Josh at wrote an article this afternoon questioning the makeup of the Cardinals backup outfielders. Josh comes to the conclusion that Taguchi deserves to be on the roster over Cedeno based upon his defensive prowess, which I tend to agree with. However, his article made me think - does the defense that Taguchi brings to the table make him a more viable option than John Mabry?

To answer this question, I looked up some defensive statistics. Yes, I realize that it is hard to measure the effectiveness of an outfielder using stats, but it is all we have to work with.

Looking at left field stats, and left field only, the difference between Mabry and Taguchi is surprising.

Mabry 194.2 innings, 1 error, .974 fielding %, 1.76 Range Factor, .878 Zone Rating
Taguchi 167.7 innings, 2 errors, .943 fielding %, 1.77 Range Factor, .882 Zone Rating

I don't know about you, but I did not expect to see Mabry sporting similar range with a slightly better fielding percentage in left field this season over So Taguchi. Due to the similarity, I attempted to increase the sample size using Using statistics over their entire careers (in America, I might add), the results are once again quite interesting.

Mabry 111 games, .987 fielding %, 1.39 Range Factor
Taguchi 19 games, .900 fielding %, 0.47 Range Factor

Once again, Mabry appears to be a better defensive left fielder than So Taguchi.

Finally, I used to find the defensive win shares that each player has posted this season. Win shares stats had only been updated through August 12th, and do not differentiate between outfield positions, but the information should still give us some insight into who may be the better fielder.

Mabry - 0.8 win shares through 281 outfield innings
Taguchi - 0.9 win shares through 322 outfield innings

In other words - Mabry comes out on top again!

So not only do we have Mabry sporting a 910 OPS before today's game and a 1062 OPS after the AS Break, but a guy who appears to be better at manning left field defensively than So Taguchi. Add on top of that a pinch hit home run in the first game of today's double header which ended up being the difference in the game.

I like Taguchi on the bench, getting spot starts for Edmonds. I like Reggie Sanders playing for the Cardinals. But John Mabry is looking more and more like a guy that really might deserve to be starting in left field more often than anyone else on the roster.


At 4:43 AM, Blogger Dan said...

As a Ray Lankford fanboy I'm required by law to note that he also has similar defensive numbers.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger cbk said...

Dan beat me too it, but ditto.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Robb said...

I actually like Lankford as well. I would have no problem with him making the playoff roster over Marlon Anderson, with the only problem being that the Cards would only have Luna to backup Womack. But the way Anderson has been hitting - that's a minor problem.


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