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Blog Entry

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

Posted on: September 22, 2011 9:10 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 1:46 pm
 
Wright

By Evan Brunell

Over the past week, Eye on Baseball has taken a look at the AL Gold Glove award winners, along with the deserving NL candidates. In addition, the AL's worst defenders were scoured, and now comes the senior circuit's recipients of tin gloves...

Catcher: John Buck, Marlins -- One of the most important things a catcher can do is to throw out baserunners. To be sure, it's a total package -- calling pitches, acting as the general on the field, blocking pitches, framing pitches... but that pesky baserunner problem is also an issue, and Buck scores very low here. Out of 95 would-be basestealers, Buck only caught 17 of them, or 17.9 percent. Of all catchers who qualify for the batting title in the game -- not just the NL -- Buck's posted the worst caught-stealing rate. His reputation in all other aspects of catching are muted at best.

First base: Prince Fielder, Brewers -- Fielder looks as if he should easily clear $150 million in a new contract this offseason and $200 million is not out of reach given the right motivated bidder. Whoever is acquiring him, though, will be doing so for his home-run bat as opposed his defense, which has been consistently awful. This is a player who would have been shoved into the DH spot in the AL had he come up with an American League team, but the Brewers have had to live with his glove at first. Fielder offers nothing at first beyond a human blob that can block the occasional grounder.

Second base: Dan Uggla, Braves -- Uggla battled Jeff Keppinger for this honor, but Uggla takes the cake here by leading all NL second basemen in errors with 15, flashing both awful range and stone hands. It's surprising the Marlins didn't move him to third a while ago, and the Braves will certainly try to shift Uggla to third base once Chipper Jones retires. Until then, Atlanta's going to have to hope that Freddie Freeman at first and their shortstop can cover enough ground for Uggla to make his mark with the bat.

Third base: David Wright, Mets -- If David Wright's .929 fielding percentage holds, it will be the lowest mark by a third baseman since  2007, excluding Mark Reynolds who has "bested" Wright's fielding percentage twice in 2011 and 2008. In 2007, Ryan Braun tallied a .895 fielding percentage and was moved to left, which was always inevitable. Before that, you have to go to Edwin Encarnacion in 2006. Errors aren't always an indication of how good a fielder is, but in Wright's case, he's making them in such copious amounts without the benefit of superlative range.

Shortstop: Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers -- Was there any doubt? The Brewers knew that they would have a horrendous left side of the infield, but the club could only hope that Betancourt and third baseman Casey McGehee's offensive production outstripped what they lost on defense. That hasn't been the case, and Betancourt remains the worst shortstop by a mile in the game. Really, there's no excuse for his still being considered a shortstop.

Left field: Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- There isn't much that left fielders are asked to do. Stand out there with a glove, catch the balls coming your way and smash lots of home runs. Well, Ibanez hasn't quite delivered on these fronts, especially defensively where he combines a noodle of an arm with a lack of speed or quickness, making him a statue. He's fortunate he doesn't play for the Cubs, otherwise the ivy on the outfield walls would already have overtaken him.

Canter field: Angel Pagan, Mets -- Pagan came out of nowhere to be a solid contributor to the Mets the last two seasons, but things have fallen apart this year. He leads all NL center fielders in erorrs and while he has good reaction time, his hands just aren't soft enough and his arm is a wash, too. Pagan may well have lost any shot at starting again after the year he's had.

Right field: Lance Berkman, Cardinals -- As I keep bringing up, a right fielder's arm is more valuable than a left fielder or center fielder. Thus, a player's defense in right should be judged with a bit more notice as to the player's arm. Well, one of the worst arms in the league belongs to Berkman, playing right consistently for the first time in his career. The verdict? The Cardinal has a lousy arm and lousy range. Maybe Berkman should stick to first base.

Pitcher: Matt Garza, Cubs -- A pitcher's job on defense basically comes down to this: field the grounders back to you and act as an irrelevant fly-ball pointer-outer. So when you make seven errors in just 191 innings for a fielding percentage of .774, you aren't doing too well. That's Garza, who has made five throwing errors while muffing two grounders. Garza's only made 10 putouts and 14 assists, so 22.5 percent of his involvement in fielding plays have resulted in an error. That's not good.

You'll notice no NL West players landed on the list. That's not surprising. With San Diego and Los Angeles playing in pitcher's parks and San Francisco's stadium rather spacious as well, defense is at a premium. Colorado also needs to emphasize defense as well to take away hits and patrol Coors Fields' cavernous gaps.

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:16 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 7:13 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

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Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 7:20 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

By the way, Evan Brunell, how many Brewer games have you actually seen this year?  I doubt too many, cuz if you'd watch them a little, you'd know more about Yuni and Fielder's play and personality.  You'd know both have taken great strides to improve thier defense from previous years, you'd know Fielder, or that fat slob you make him out to be, actually runs as hard or harder than anyone in baseball, and you'd know both these guys NEVER miss a game!!!  My guess is you've only seen highlights or maybe a couple games, and figured since thier past reputations are easy to pick on, why not...horrible journalism imo!!!



Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

i'm a brewer fan, and have seen close to 100 games this year, and can tell you the defense is definetely not spectacular, but Betancourt's shortcomings are being wayyyyyy overexagerated!  Personally, I think he's done just as well as Alcides Escobar did last year, and the number of errors by each are similar as well.  If I had to choose the 2 worst defenders on the Brewers, it would be Weeks and Mcgehee, not Betancourt or Fielder.  Fielder has made an enormous amount of great plays at first, including having to dig out all them bad throws that come his way, so like Betancourt, from his play in 2011 alone, he doesn't deserve the comments made by this writer.



Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:30 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

Curious to know how Ibanez was even considered for this. Is it jsut because he's old? I've seen him make some game saving plays in left this year. He's certainly been an asset which is why he's not taken out late in games. Also, the Phillies are the best defensive team in the game, and that doesn't happen if you have the worst defender in the league at any one position.



Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: September 23, 2011 8:32 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

HAHAHA...Uggla......Range.......HAH

AHA.....Oh, you guys are being serious




Since: Aug 28, 2009
Posted on: September 23, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

EVER HEAR OF JIMMY ROLLINS AS THE BEST DEFENSIVE SS IN THE NL? JUST ASKING...



Since: Nov 15, 2010
Posted on: September 23, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

As a Braves fan, I still can't bring myself to put Dan Uggla middle of the pack or better, but he is definitely not the worst fielding 2nd baseman in the NL.  Rickie Weeks has committed 14 errors in 459 total chances for a fielding percentage of .969.  Dan Uggla has committed 15 errors in 715 TC for a fielding percentage of .979.  Last time I checked, 98% is better than 97%.  I have been impressed with Uggla's range, as well, and, as another poster said, his arm.  Maybe Uggla does have stone hands, but I think his arm makes up for that since he can knock a ball down and still make a strong throw and get the out.



Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: September 23, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

I'll echo what other Braves' fans are saying -- Anyone who watches Uggla play day in, day out would probably rank him middle of the pack or better as a defensive second baseman. His range is actually very good, and he has probably the strongest arm in the league from 2d, which has enabled him to turn quite a few dps that others could not turn.

But the writer reveals his ignorance in a more glaring way when he suggests that Uggla will move to 3rd when Chipper retires. This has never been a part of the Braves' plans. Prado has been the heir apparent at 3rd all along.




Since: Sep 2, 2008
Posted on: September 23, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Who are the NL's worst defenders?

I'll echo what other Braves' fans are saying -- Anyone who watches Uggla play day in, day out would probably rank him middle of the pack or better as a defensive short stop. His range is actually very good, and he has probably the strongest arm in the league from 2d, which has enabled him to turn quite a few dps that others could not turn.

But the writer reveals his ignorance in a more glaring way when he suggests that Uggla will move to 3rd when Chipper retires. This has never been a part of the Braves' plans. Prado has been the heir apparent at 3rd all along.



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