Wednesday, June 22, 2016
(6/22/2016 06:18:00 PM) - Al
Counsell saying today he's very pleased with Scooter's defense, by far the best he's ever played it, per Craig. I have seen many fans critical of his defense this season, and I'm not sure what they're looking at; but I think much of it has to do with his height (or lack thereof) and the shifts they play...I suppose if he misses a ball by a small amount, a 6-1 guy would have had it, or, when he plays several feet from "normal" and then misses the ball, folks think he must lack range. Per the metrics, his range is his best attribute.
The strange thing is, if you look at his UZR, he's -0.7/150, which is likely a good indicator. DRS has him +3, which is probably because it gives credit for shifts. However, when you hit well above average and are are just average in the field, that's a fine combo. You hear criticism of his arm too, but few 2B have a plus arm...that's often how they end up at 2B. Heck, David Eckstein had a weak arm his whole career and while it wasn't pretty, he played a passable SS too. No one cares if you get the runner by a step or half a step.
The unsaid thing Counsell does not mention is likely the simple fact Scooter happily lines up wherever he is told to line up, be it in shallow RF, to the left of the 2B bag a few steps, or anywhere in between. Remember a few years ago, the Cardinals were among the slowest teams to start shifting, they pretty much played every hitter to hit straight away in the infield, except for perhaps a step from the magical spot. Every time they tried to introduce more intelligent shifting, their pitchers complained every time a ball made it through. So, for 2-3 years, they just ignored mountains of data, while other clubs used it. It probably cost them a couple wins a season, but eventually, they joined the crowd, because, you know, math.
EDIT: Scooter's 770 OPS (or career 745 OPS) versus league average of 711 is easily tolerable even if he did struggle at defense. His comps of Kolten Wong and Neil Walker, both paid far more and not all that much better (Wong isn't any better, but many love him because he plays for a good team and is still young...but no younger than Gennett) make him both underrated and a huge bargain.
6/22/2016 06:18:00 PM