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The Fielding Bible Paperback – February 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

John Dewan’s Plus/Minus System is the best statistical system I’ve ever seen for evaluating the defensive abilities of MLB players. -- Hal Richman, Strat-O-Matic Game Company

About the Author

John Dewan has consistently broken new ground in the area of sports statistical analysis, first as one of the founders and former CEO of STATS, Inc. and now as the owner of Baseball Info Solutions.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Acta Pubns (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879462973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879462970
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,743,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Russell A. Carleton on February 20, 2007
Hardcore sabermetricians have long attempted to find fielding statistics that actually make sense and more adequately represent a player's true fielding ability than the very flawed fielding percentage. Dewan's method, which takes into account whether the player actually gets to the ball and adjusts for how hard the ball is hit and where the ball is hit is just the ticket. The problem with the book is that it gives a short introduction to the logic of the method (which is really rather simple) and then spends the next few hundred pages giving the data from the years 2003-2005. Dewan's method requires a database of great magnitude, one that he has been able to create and maintain, and one that he understandably does not want to share freely.

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 After the introductory section, it's all (now outdated) numbers.
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The author, along with Bill James and many other contributors,in various capacities, have put together this very worthwhile book. Baseball fielding statistics have long been in the neglected dark ages. Games played, putouts,assists, errors and fielding percentage have been the staples. As
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.
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very good introduction to rating the fielders. cost only about the cost for shipping plus a few pennies...well worth it if you are looking for a place to start
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Perfect throughout the process
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I endorse any book that demonstrates how bad a fielder Derek Jeter is. You have actual writers in NYC opining that he's one of the best fielding shortstops of all time when any and every fielding metric indicates that, in fact, he is one of the worst. Phil Rizzuto is rolling in his grave and he isn't even dead yet. One of the best things this book does is that it demonstrates in exhausting detail how bad Jeter is (in 2005, so bad that once you take defense into account Adam Everett and his moribund bat were nearly as good as Jeter and his holey glove).

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
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