The Cubs were showing off the defense last night, eh?
While defensive statistics are imperfect, they still hold plenty of analytical value. The more data you can collect and combine with your eyes, the more well-rounded and complete your perception of a team/individual’s defense will be. It’s good to see, then, that the Cubs fall into the top ten for defensive runs saved and top half for defensive runs saved via shifts, according to ESPN Stats Info writer, Mark Simon:
MLB teams ranked 1-30 in Defensive Runs Saved (with shift data) Top 3: Diamondbacks, Astros, Royals. Full list- pic.twitter.com/gs1eWyucZY
— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) October 6, 2015
The Cubs, it would appear, have saved a total of 28 runs throughout the year, based on defense alone. 10 of those runs, were a product of defensive shifting. While the total number of runs saved via the shift could stand to improve (Cubs are 13th overall, by my count), their overall positioning (9th) is quite favorable. Consider that if one win is said to be equal to ten runs, the Cubs were able to add three total wins to their season, thanks to their defense alone.
The Diamondbacks (73), Astros (57) and Royals (56) saved the most runs, via total defense, but the Orioles (29), Rays (23) and Astros (20) benefited the most from the shift. While the Phillies only lost -6 runs, because of their choices in defensive shifting, their defense (in sum) cost them 103 runs, overall – or about 10 full wins.
As for the Central, the Cubs (28) fall just behind the leading Pirates (30), and ahead of the Cardinals (12), Brewers (3) and Reds (-3). On a superficial level, then, it seems the Cardinals defensive positioning (which led to -1 runs) hurt them disproportionately; while the Brewers defensive position (12 runs saved) helped out an otherwise struggling defense. Take a second and look through this list, because there is an awful lot to be learned.