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The Fielding Bible Paperback – February 1, 2006
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The book does pass along some interesting thoughts (Derek Jeter is one of the worst fielding SS in baseball... and has won a Gold Glove!) and makes for good ammunition in an argument. The problem is that there's not much meat there. After the introductory section, it's all (now outdated) numbers.
the book points out. A player may have participated in 118 games and recorded 200 put outs. Well, it makes a big difference whether he played in 500 innings or 1,000. The Plus/Minus System basically is data that tells how many plays worse or better than the average player this particular player performed in various situations. The detail is
extraordinary. First Basemen and third basemen are rated for basic plays and how they play bunts. Second Basemen and shortstops for basic plays and double plays. Outfielders are rated for their basic play plus throwing. Data is shown for seasons 2003-5. Relative range factors are explained. There are charts for the 2005 season showing exactly where the hits and outs occurred against each team. This was done by a very sophisticated computer analysis comparing this information to league average. Finally, the book contains a position by position comparison of 30 players at each position based on the three year statistical information. Note that there are some major surprises. My only complaint is that this information should be updated annually and sold either on its own or combined with other relevant information. Catchers and pitchers are not included in this analysis.
Beyond that, though, the ratings line up pretty well with what you'd expect them to be. Ichiro is a very rangey RF with a plus arm (although not nearly as plus as Vlad Guerrero or Jose Guillen). Andruw Jones is made of aWesome. Richie Sexson is a really terrible fielder but Adrian Beltre is really good (sorry for all the Mariners; I live here). The order of the rankings isn't groundbreaking but the fact that the system is able to quantify the players so well definitely is.
But mostly, it shows that jeter sux lol