Thursday, August 12, 2004

Defense Is Not Everything 

I just saw the BP Mailbag in which a certain "M.H." asks about the D-Backs' defensive woes and says that they're a "major" contributor to the D-Backs' collapse this year. Scarily enough, Jonah Keri agrees.

Look, at the risk of offending of my few readers (and, hey, if you are, please comment and let me know if and how I'm wrong), I'm not saying the D-Backs aren't bad defensively -- BP's defensive efficiency stat sheet has them at 4th-worst in the majors. But let's say the D-Backs were at the major league median -- .6921 -- instead of at .6813. That difference -- .0108 means that over the roughly 5,000 balls in play over an entire season the D-Backs would give up 54 more base runners than the average team. What do you think that translates into in terms of runs? 40 runs? (There's probably a good answer somewhere...) That, to me, is a not insignificant amount.

But not "major," not when the D-Backs' ground-ball inducing pitching staff gives up dingers like they were candy at a July 4th parade in Flagstaff.

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