Today, Statcast unveiled its Outs Above Average metric for evaluating infield defense, and the very best infielder in all of baseball in 2019? It was Javy Baez:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 8, 2020
So hey: At long last, infielders have been added to Outs Above Average.
You can see the leaderboard here: https://t.co/8wfbJ17qvQ
And I wrote a big intro article about it here: https://t.co/k8xUWYvG1P
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) January 8, 2020
As described by Mike Petriello, the metric is describing a player’s defensive effectiveness against the backdrop of four elements of infield defense: (1) How far the fielder has to go to reach the ball, (2) How much time he has to get there, (3) How far he then is from the base the runner is heading to, and (4) On force plays, how fast the batter is, on average.
It’s no surprise that Baez rates well, because we know his quickness, arm strength, and overall range are incredible. Other metrics also have him among the very best few infielders in baseball, so yeah, this is just further confirmation that he’s a stud through and through.
If you’re curious about other Cubs infielders, the samples are pretty tiny for all but the regulars, but you can see the full crew here (minimum 25 attempts). Kris Bryant – contrary to other talking points – rates middle of the pack for third basemen (tied with Anthony Rendon and ahead of Manny Machado, just sayin’). David Bote rated slightly above average at both third base and second base. Nico Hoerner rated average at shortstop. Anthony Rizzo, surprisingly, rated as one of the worst defensive first basemen, so that’s interesting.
Back to Baez for one more thing: EXTEND HIM.