Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Colour Me Encouraged

There will be plenty of time for me to pull out Arman's copy of Swank, grab my container of expired Crisco, dim the lights and rosterbate the night away; something interesting caught me eye this week.

It seems freezer-shaped franchise hope Travis Snider may just have turned himself into something of a fielder! Some of the numbers at seasons end are pretty...not terrible!

Snider leaders the team with just around 6 runs saved by UZR, also adding a sweet +6 on the Dewan +/- scale as a left fielder - with two more in right! While his arm (unsurprisingly) rates below-average, his range runs are a team high +8.

One season of numbers aren't worth much, especially if you're prone to extrapolate using UZR/1501 or skeptical of advanced defensive numbers on the whole. If you use the "plus or minus 5 runs" rule when applying UZR, Snider still grades out as either average or slightly above. Much higher than many thought when he made his debut in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, in bizarre-routed style.

Looking at his young career, Snider is on the happy side of par for his career in left field after about 1000 innings. That isn't quite a full years worth but it is certainly a start.

Snider's athleticism is quite the divisive topic, often saying more about the speaker/writer than the athlete himself. Not only does improved outfield defense help else assign him higher esoteric number values (WARZZZZ!!1) and help his team win ballgames, it shows a very important side of Snider: the one willing to work.

No high school kid can or should be expected to develop into a big league outfielder in just two years. The difference of surroundings along must take thousands of hours and repetitions to become second nature. If Snider is willing to put the work in (assuming he has improved - defensive numbers y'all!) and make himself a better baseball player in all facets of the game, those of us hoping to pin the fate of the franchise on him can rest a little easier.

1 - Just a tip, a personal thing really. UZR/150 works when your scale backwards, dividing to get such a number. Use this number to project (extrapolate!) at your own peril.

Image courtesy of Your Toronto Star


  1. It sure is nice when all this prospect porn finally delivers a money shot like Travis. He's going to be scary good next year, and for a very long time after that.

  2. does anyone know how arm is rated in these systems? as in, does missing the cutoff man (possibly a correctable mistake) count against you, or do they just rate the strength of throws (perhaps a more natural, unteachable skill)?

  3. As I understand it, it isn't about the quality of the throws but the outcome. Preventing runners from taking extra bases and kills (assists) on the base paths.

  4. that's what i thought. hopefully it means that snider has room to improve if he cuts out such tactical mistakes, which should come with experience. though his arm is no bautista, it's no adam lind either, so becoming an all round above average outfielder may be within his range (so to speak)

  5. I love watching Travis play the field, because you get the sense that he gets as geeked up out there as he does at the plate. (Which is probably why he sometimes gets too wound up and tries to do too much...but I'll take that flaw.)

    And aside from the arm, there's a lot to dislike in the way that Bautista plays right field.


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