Defense starts to silence the critics

June 06, 2010: Adrian Beltre in action during the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 extra inning walk off win versus the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.
After an off season that centered around pitching and defense we had the standard jokes this April, but since May those jokes have not been able to joke about defense. There has been some trouble finding solid options in left field and center field, but the defense has solidified to hold up its end. According to UZR/150 the defense has been worth 6.0 runs for every 150 defensive games played. Last year the team was worth only 0.5 runs for every 150 games. Depending on how many innings they total that could be an improvement of 30-40 defensive runs.
June 06, 2010: Adrian Beltre in action during the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 extra inning walk off win versus the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.

After an off season that centered around pitching and defense we had the standard jokes this April, but since May those jokes have not been about the defense. There has been some trouble finding solid options in left field and center field, but the defense has solidified to hold up its end.

According to UZR/150 the defense has been worth 6.0 runs for every 150 defensive games played.  Last year the team was worth only 0.5 runs for every 150 games.  Depending on how many innings they total that could be an improvement of 30-40 defensive runs.

The infield has had the boost Theo was looking for with Adrian Beltre posting a 6.0 UZR so far, which is best among all third basemen in baseball.  Next to Beltre we have seen Marco Scutaro post 3.5 defensive runs.  That is third best among short stops in the majors.

In the outfield, J.D. Drew has been forced to hold things together while Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron deal with a rash of injuries.  Not something the Red Sox would have wanted to count on, but his glove has continued to be one of the best.  While not flashy like Ellsbury’s diving catches, he gets to everything efficiently.

The big trouble spot has been center field as the team has largely counted on Darnell McDonald.  So far that has cost them five runs defensively with a UZR/150 of -30.9.  He has never played this many innings in center field, but in 314 defensive innings there, he has been a -6.3.

The return of Ellsbury will not only have a solid swing offensively from McDonald, but the defense should be a boost as well.  This should continue the Red Sox ranking in the top six defenses.

This swing in defense has benefited the pitching staff.  The team BABIP stands at .289 and helped them beat their xFIP by 0.23.  With the struggles seen so far from the pitching staff the team will continue to count on the defense holding together.

Categories: Adrian Beltre Boston Red Sox J.D. Drew Marco Scutaro

After taking an interest in sabermetrics and statistical analysis Troy began trying to use it to an advantage in fantasy baseball. He started the website RotoSavants.com and also spent time at HardballTimes.com and FantasyPros911.com. After a few years the interest in the Red Sox drew him to start a Red Sox-oriented site (Yawkey Way Academy) with fellow writer Lee Perrault. A short time later he joined Fire Brand. Writer from: December 14, 2009 – July 24, 2010, March 3, 2011 – May 10, 2012.

5 Responses to “Defense starts to silence the critics” Subscribe

  1. Joe Veno June 15, 2010 at 1:41 PM #

    Defensive Efficiency has them ranked sixth as well…

  2. went9 June 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM #

    You hit the nail on the head Troy. With some improvement in health, this defense could put up some solid numbers in the second half of the season. Even 2009 Mariners-like defensive numbers.

    Link to fangraph team fielding 2009: http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&s

  3. John Cate June 17, 2010 at 2:37 PM #

    Makes you wonder just how good the defense would look if Cameron and Ellsbury hadn't gotten hurt.

    I'm sure Buchholz, with his ground-ball tendencies, would tell you how much he loves playing in front of a Beltre-Scutaro-Pedroia-Youk infield, though. If Buch ends up winning the Cy Young, he should share it with those four.

  4. Jed Zeppelin June 18, 2010 at 1:36 AM #

    Beltre has crazy-mad stoopid defensive skilz even though he keeps killing our outfielders… he is like a human vacuum. The hitting is just the cherry on top. Everyone else is solid to great. If we had our starting outfield the defense would be insane. If we can get them back in the 2nd half and get the rest of our pitching to start producing this team could be really, really good.

  5. Jed Zeppelin June 18, 2010 at 1:39 AM #

    BTW, someone should write an article about Nava as 4th outfielder. He has hit everywhere he has been. If he keeps hitting in the majors he is way more valuable than Hermida who ,clutchiness aside, has sucked at the plate and in the field. Nava being a switch hitter can pinch hit from either side and can play corner outfield ok. Having a switch hitting backup outfielder who can actually hit would be nice.