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    Default Bucs defense not so bad...

    Don't count Ronny Cedeno out yet... He has elite range and an above average arm... if only he could consistently make the routine play....

    "Saturday, April 30, 2011
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    DENVER -- The statistics most commonly cited to measure defense are errors and fielding percentage, and the Pirates have been awful in both: Their 22 errors are third most in Major League Baseball, and the .978 fielding percentage is fourth lowest.

    But how much do they mean?

    Using a variation on the Ultimate Zone Rating statistic, which tracks a wide array of information that emphasizes range and takes into account exemplary plays as well as errors, the Pirates' 6.5 rating is seventh best in the majors. The UZR/150, as this variety is called, is the primary metric used by the Pirates' management and other teams.

    To that end, the Pirates had a meeting late last week in Pittsburgh in which Dan Fox, the team's statistical guru, shared this type of information with manager Clint Hurdle in an attempt to paint the clearest picture.

    The consensus: While the Pirates have flubbed more than their share of routine plays, they also are making enough that are above and beyond.

    "That's the read I get, too," Hurdle said. "You're not always going to go entirely by the numbers, but I think you can see that, as well. We're making our share of above-average plays in the field."

    Perhaps the most striking example is Ronny Cedeno, whose 18.5 rating ranks second among regular shortstops in the majors.

    Given Cedeno's team-high five errors and numerous other lapses, the naked eye would appear to tell a different story. But Cedeno also has above-average range, especially to his right, as well as a tendency to make difficult plays look easy. That happened twice Friday night on plays to either side, and they looked effortless enough that neither is likely to show up on ESPN.

    Cedeno expressed some surprise at his high UZR/150 rating, but then pointed out that, this past winter in Venezuela, a team there used cameras specifically to track players' ranges in the field. And he was told he had the second-best range in the majors, based on that and other information.

    "I feel confident I can make the hardest plays," Cedeno said, "and that made me feel good."

    The Pirates' best rating is that of left fielder Jose Tabata at 22.9, ranking No. 5 in the majors at his position. The lowest is the minus-15.1 of usually reliable first baseman Lyle Overbay.

    "The capability is there for our team to be really good defensively, and that's the most important thing," Overbay said. "I don't think I realized until the season started how many of our guys can make plays."


    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11120...#ixzz1L1EcsPwh

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Great. Now if Cedeno and the rest of the Pirates could just hit the ball we might be alright.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    This is quite interesting. Just think if our Bucs made all the routine plays!
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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    UZR/150 is not the primary metric the front office uses. Huntington has mentioned that they have their own fielding metrics that differ from UZR many times on the radio. Using the 3 week UZR numbers is completely worthless, by the way.

    The part about Cedeno's Venezuelan League team using a camera system to measure range is interesting. I didn't realize they had advanced to that point yet. Field FX is pretty much brand new in the major leagues, and I believe teams are still working on ways to use the data.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    UZR/150 is not the primary metric the front office uses. Huntington has mentioned that they have their own fielding metrics that differ from UZR many times on the radio. Using the 3 week UZR numbers is completely worthless, by the way.
    I suppose Dejan could be misinformed or lying. However, what I think he means by "primary metric" is that the FO uses some internal, specialized version of the UZR, i.e, a metric that is based on the UZR.

    The oft repeated mantra/knee jerk response to any use of the UZR metric is that 'X' is to small a sample size and is "worthless." However, it must be corroborating other things that they have measured and observed in this case. Apparently, when it corroborates other measurements and observations it can be useful with smaller sample sizes. Obviously, Dan Fox felt he had something meaningful to report to Hurdle.

    Also, until his disastrous September last season, Cedeno was among the league leaders for SS UZR. Combining that with the values so far this season has some merit, IMO.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    i really hate sabremetrics

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by jleisele58 View Post
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    i really hate sabremetrics
    I do too. Alot of that is just over thinking geek stuff.
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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    UZR/150 is not the primary metric the front office uses. Huntington has mentioned that they have their own fielding metrics that differ from UZR many times on the radio. Using the 3 week UZR numbers is completely worthless, by the way.

    The part about Cedeno's Venezuelan League team using a camera system to measure range is interesting. I didn't realize they had advanced to that point yet. Field FX is pretty much brand new in the major leagues, and I believe teams are still working on ways to use the data.
    I remember Huntington answering the same question a couple of times and stating that they don't use UZR. I've actually seen a few GM's mention that they use their own Defensive Metrics. It's a good metric to simple get a feel for and gauge a player but I would never use as an ultimate statistic to make final decisions or anything like that. I like that it tries to help fiogure out the most important part of the Defensive game rather than the ancient and useless IMO dependency on Fielding Percentage which can be scammed pretty easily, just ask Nate McLouth who won a gold glove by never trying to or going out of his way for a ball that there was a s1% chance he might not get.

    I'd like to know ore about the VZ League using the camera's myself. There's no way they are using more advanced technology than MLB unless it's being used in those leagues and such experimentally and to work out all of the issues before applying them to MLB stadiums in full?

    Quote Originally Posted by tocchet92 View Post
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    I suppose Dejan could be misinformed or lying. However, what I think he means by "primary metric" is that the FO uses some internal, specialized version of the UZR, i.e, a metric that is based on the UZR.

    The oft repeated mantra/knee jerk response to any use of the UZR metric is that 'X' is to small a sample size and is "worthless." However, it must be corroborating other things that they have measured and observed in this case. Apparently, when it corroborates other measurements and observations it can be useful with smaller sample sizes. Obviously, Dan Fox felt he had something meaningful to report to Hurdle.

    Also, until his disastrous September last season, Cedeno was among the league leaders for SS UZR. Combining that with the values so far this season has some merit, IMO.
    I don't know if Dejan is straight up lying but it wouldn't be the first, 2nd or 5th time he's ignored the truth that he knows exists to push an opinion. He should know that Huntington has never stated that they use UZR-150/UZR.

    That said, we all agree that Cedeno has the defensive ability, he's shown it. That play last night he got the ball on the backhand and made that accurate, strong throw ... not many players make, Cedeno can make it. He covers a lot of ground too. It's rare that you see something get past the 2B, #B area range unless Cedeno is shifted to cover for a particular base. guy is just inconsistent. He can make great plays, cover a lot of ground and then fail to make the routine plays, turn 2 and everything else and that's to go along with a bat that is equally inconsistent. I'd be 120% fine if Cedeno was a complete crap hitter with Defense that was impossible to penetrate.

    The best part of the Article is actually the fact that despite everyone being hard on Cedeno and even Pedro who is a plus in UZR if we're going to use that stat, despite Walker and Overbat being something like -14/15 ... the defense is preventing what has been the 25th ranked team in K/9 and the absolute worse in allowing walks from a 2010 like implosion. Some of it is luck, sure, but some of it has been good range, really good range in defense of a ton of contact allowed by the pitchers. Pirates probably have one of the more worked Defenses in the league with how few K's they get
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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by jleisele58 View Post
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    i really hate sabremetrics
    They aren't bad. Problem is that stuff like UZR isn't rooted in any definite concrete facts, so when someone uses the number as an "ultimate" that's where the issue lies. It can't be sued as an ultimate. Teams don't use the stat itself and it is one that really leaves out a lot of variables since it depends heavily on averages. For instance... if a player like Walker for istance is shifted to closer to 2B and a shot is hit to his normal spot and he can't get to it it that effects his UZR negatively since it doesn't take into account shifts, just the position itself. So there's luck that can be played into stuff as well. If you get 90% of the balls hit directly to you, another 5% that require minimal movement and another 5% that are about a 50/50 shot of getting to... chances are you're going to have a good UZR number since UZR judges everything based on balls hit to specific "zones". A guy that has to move far more than the previous example of 90% is more likely to have to do more and possibly have a lower UZR. There's also factors like field size for the OF and other things.

    It's a nice statistic, it's just not IMO one that can be or should be used to cement any opinion. Use it "with" an opinion and other variables sure but I wouldn't go much further to be honest.

    the problem with the various other stats is that there's always that one or 2 stats per year that some will hang on to and use pretty much always to judge a player. the one i've noticed recently (this year and some of last) is FIP/xFIP, which is basically for pitchers. It uses the following formula :HR X 13+ (BB+HBP-IBB) X 3 - K X 2) / IP. It's basically everything exceptany sort of HIT that's not a Homer Run, applying some general numbers for fun to multiply and getting a number. xFIP 150 just replaces the HR number witha league average number of something in the 10's.

    It's a nice stat to look at when you want try and see quickly a pitchers performance without Defense but it's not an ultimate and using averages like this again, league averages and home run rates and stuff means that you have to dig even further for more accuracy. So, once again, great to use WITH an opinion but never an ultimate.
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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    They aren't bad. Problem is that stuff like UZR isn't rooted in any definite concrete facts, so when someone uses the number as an "ultimate" that's where the issue lies. It can't be sued as an ultimate. Teams don't use the stat itself and it is one that really leaves out a lot of variables since it depends heavily on averages. For instance... if a player like Walker for istance is shifted to closer to 2B and a shot is hit to his normal spot and he can't get to it it that effects his UZR negatively since it doesn't take into account shifts, just the position itself. So there's luck that can be played into stuff as well. If you get 90% of the balls hit directly to you, another 5% that require minimal movement and another 5% that are about a 50/50 shot of getting to... chances are you're going to have a good UZR number since UZR judges everything based on balls hit to specific "zones". A guy that has to move far more than the previous example of 90% is more likely to have to do more and possibly have a lower UZR. There's also factors like field size for the OF and other things.

    It's a nice statistic, it's just not IMO one that can be or should be used to cement any opinion. Use it "with" an opinion and other variables sure but I wouldn't go much further to be honest.

    the problem with the various other stats is that there's always that one or 2 stats per year that some will hang on to and use pretty much always to judge a player. the one i've noticed recently (this year and some of last) is FIP/xFIP, which is basically for pitchers. It uses the following formula :HR X 13+ (BB+HBP-IBB) X 3 - K X 2) / IP. It's basically everything exceptany sort of HIT that's not a Homer Run, applying some general numbers for fun to multiply and getting a number. xFIP 150 just replaces the HR number witha league average number of something in the 10's.

    It's a nice stat to look at when you want try and see quickly a pitchers performance without Defense but it's not an ultimate and using averages like this again, league averages and home run rates and stuff means that you have to dig even further for more accuracy. So, once again, great to use WITH an opinion but never an ultimate.
    That's fine for people that want to beat their head against a wall to figure out these things. But for me, I prefer to watch the games and decide for myself if I like what they do on defense. And this year I will be watching a lot of games since I have the extra innings package. So much of defense is reaction time and reflexes. Like everyone has said on Cedeno, he has great range, but his attention to detail (mental lapses) is awful which leads to his **** poor decisions and careless play on routine plays. Up to this point, Overbay's defense has been disappointing. He digs the ball just fine (most lifelong first basemen do). Hopefully it's just a comfort thing working with a new infield, specifically Walker. Twenty five games really isn't a lot to go on, but I'm stoked to get to watch as many games as I will this year. Living in Indiana, I've always had to wait until they played the Cubs or the Reds and until recently the Braves.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Here is a pretty good article written by Tim Williams last September defending the proper use of UZR. He has a lot to say about Cedeno in the article.

    "Go to any Pittsburgh Pirates forum and you'll see some variation of the following conversation:

    Fan #1: Ronny Cedeno is a horrible shortstop.

    Fan #2: According to his UZR/150, Cedeno is the ninth best defensive shortstop in the league this year.

    Fan #1: That just shows how wrong UZR is. I've seen Cedeno, and he's nowhere near the best defensive shortstops in the game.

    If you're unfamiliar with UZR, it stands for Ultimate Zone Rating, and in my opinion it is the top statistical method of evaluating defense. For a great breakdown of how the stat works, check out the FanGraphs UZR primer. Plenty of people share my opinion, but don't let that confuse you in to thinking that UZR is the consensus guide to evaluating defense. There are plenty of people on the other side of the debate who think UZR is totally worthless......"

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2010...nt-of-uzr.html
    Last edited by tocchet92; Apr-30-2011 at 09:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by tocchet92 View Post
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    Here is a pretty good article written by Tim Williams last September defending the proper use of UZR. He has a lot to say about Cedeno in the article.

    "Go to any Pittsburgh Pirates forum and you'll see some variation of the following conversation:

    Fan #1: Ronny Cedeno is a horrible shortstop.

    Fan #2: According to his UZR/150, Cedeno is the ninth best defensive shortstop in the league this year.

    Fan #1: That just shows how wrong UZR is. I've seen Cedeno, and he's nowhere near the best defensive shortstops in the game.

    If you're unfamiliar with UZR, it stands for Ultimate Zone Rating, and in my opinion it is the top statistical method of evaluating defense. For a great breakdown of how the stat works, check out the FanGraphs UZR primer. Plenty of people share my opinion, but don't let that confuse you in to thinking that UZR is the consensus guide to evaluating defense. There are plenty of people on the other side of the debate who think UZR is totally worthless......"

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2010...nt-of-uzr.html
    I agree with Tim. When you watch Cedeno long enough, you'll see him make several spectacular plays and botch just as many routine plays. It's just like when he didn't run out the ground ball, he's guilty of lackadaisical play at the most inopportune times. You see the potential there and for whatever reason he just hasn't been able to overcome it. If he were to show more with the bat, I'd be more patient with him. I think an upgrade is needed and I think it's a pretty high priority.

    With Alvarez, there are some things he does on defense that makes you say wow. Tremendous arm, good on charging the ball and making the bare hand play. He seems to me, to have slow hands. He can't quite make the quick plays. His body reacts to them, but his hands are slow to get where they need to be. We've discussed his offense ad nauseum, so we'll leave that alone.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    That's fine for people that want to beat their head against a wall to figure out these things. But for me, I prefer to watch the games and decide for myself if I like what they do on defense. And this year I will be watching a lot of games since I have the extra innings package. So much of defense is reaction time and reflexes. Like everyone has said on Cedeno, he has great range, but his attention to detail (mental lapses) is awful which leads to his **** poor decisions and careless play on routine plays. Up to this point, Overbay's defense has been disappointing. He digs the ball just fine (most lifelong first basemen do). Hopefully it's just a comfort thing working with a new infield, specifically Walker. Twenty five games really isn't a lot to go on, but I'm stoked to get to watch as many games as I will this year. Living in Indiana, I've always had to wait until they played the Cubs or the Reds and until recently the Braves.
    I completely agree, the only and best judges of defense is really watching the games and that is what the video cameras foir defense are supposed to actually eventually help display - all of those things that you mention. Reaction time, jumps, release times from the arm, arm accuracy and actual real accurate ranges that have shifts and depths that are applied by the coaches taken into strong consideration. Like i said, it's not fair that someone's UZR could get affected because of poor defensive shifts by the coaching staff. I always felt like McCutchen got victimized by this last year with the way the bizarre outfield shifts were applied and failed most times.

    Walker to me actually has been the most disappointing infielder this eyar. I've seen him botch a lot of routine plays, quite a few that should've been labeled as Errors and weren';t. There was one last night. Hard hit ball RIGHT TO HIM and it bounces off him to the outfield. Labeled a Hit. How? Any ball that is hit right to a play should always be considered an out. He also seems very slow reading balls off the bat which I will give him a pass on since he's learning how to read that stuff from the 2B position after years of reading from the 3B side but it's the bobbling of routine plays with Walker that's really had me . I expect it with cedeno and even with Pedro but I always sort of prop Walker above as a better defensive player.

    In the long run though, Cedeno is my biggest concern because he's shown Zero consistency in 2 years with the Pirates. He covers a lot of range and zones but screws up enough routine plays that are equally harmful. Defensive screw ups to me seem to hurt a pitcher more psychologically than if they just allowed a single. I remember pitching and I always would get ****ing ****ed when a fielder screwed up an easy play. I could erase a single or a double but that botched defensive play sticks with you longer and can affect your pitchers in the next AB.
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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    Before the game today Greg Brown brought this up for a pretty long discussion on the Neal Huntington Show. Huntington again said that UZR isn't the stat they use and that they have their own internal metrics that he believes factor in some important things that UZR misses. He went into quite a bit of detail. He mentioned that on a play like the one Cedeno made the other day against Herrera it would be considered a good play because he went out of his zone, but it doesn't really reflect exactly how good it was as it doesn't factor in how hard the ball was hit, how fast the runner was, how difficult the throw was, etc. He gave another example from a recent game against the Giants where Freddy Sanchez picked up a base hit on a ball that was hit right at the SS position, but Cedeno had broken to cover the bag on a steal attempt. That would be considered a ball right in his zone where he didn't make the play, but the other factors are ignored.

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    Default Re: Bucs defense not so bad...

    The Buccos are looking better... they need to string together a few more wins, and this season may be more than just bobble heads and fireworks.
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