Posted Under: Stat of the Week
Back in February, we looked at the statistic Range Factor, which looks at the efficiency of a player at their position in the field by measuring how many putouts and assists they record over the amount of innings they are playing defense. When we looked at Range Factor, we focused on infielders and evaluated Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Barry Larking and Ozzie Smith to get a better feel of the story Range Factor tries to tell.
In the article I gave three instances of when a defensive player records a Put Out:
1. Catching a flyball, line drive or third strike.
2. Touching a base while holding the baseball to record a force out, appeal a play, or retire a batter at first base.
3. Tagging a runner with the ball while the runner is not safely touching a base.
This week we will look at Fly Outs as a defensive statistic, and then look at Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) next week, which is the preeminent fielding statistic today. The number of fly outs an outfielder catches, much like the number of grounders an infielder reaches, is dependent on the type of pitcher on the mound. Outfielders for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will record a lot more fly outs when Jered Weaver pitches, because he has a high flyball rate than the outfielders who played behind Brandon Webb or Derek Lowe, noted Ground Ball pitchers.
However, some outfielders make the most of the opportunities given to them, such as Willie Mays who holds the record for most putouts by an outfielder in MLB history with 7,095. Mays took advantage of playing center field in the Polo Grounds, which was extremely spacious, but also had a great amount of range which helped him track down so many flyballs, including “The Catch.”
On Thursday we will look at one of the best centerfielders of this past generation, Andruw Jones. Although he has fallen from grace after signing with the Dodgers in 2007 and now serving as a backup outfielder with the Yankees, Jones is one of only five center fielders to record 400 putouts in a season six times in his career. We will look at his impressive putout/flyout numbers and also look at the pitchers he played behind and the Park Factor of Turner Fielder during those years to properly evaluate his impressive statistics.