As far as fielding statistics go I feel there is no better system than the Dewan plus/minus. These are the same people who produced The Fielding Bible back in 2005, which is about as good a SABR book as you will find. If you haven't looked into their method, I encourage you to take the time to do so.
Sadly, most information produced by Dewan and his assistants is not made available on the internet. This is just wrong and bad and horrible. However, the Fielding Bible Website has made available a small amount of basic information regarding the 2007 season. The plus/minus rating of the top 10 and bottom five players at each position are posted. Sadly only raw final totals are given without a detailed breakdown.
How did our beloved Royals do?
1B - Ross Gload (+5) - This ranks him as the seventh best defensive first baseman last year. This really isn't too surprising. We all knew Gload handled the position well. According to this score if Gload were to have started 150 games at first base his defense probably would have netted the Royals about a quarter of one additional win. The best firstbaseman? Pujois at +37, an outstanding score. His defense added about two wins to the Cardinals total.
2B - Mark Grudzielanek scored a +7. Another solid year at second. Mark slipped a bit from his gold glove 2006 year (+10) but was still an above average defender. He is ranked ninth in baseball.
3B - Gordon is not listed, thus he must have fallen somewhere after the top ten, but ahead of the bottom five.
SS - Tony Pena Jr. A very good score of +18. This is just an enormous improvement over the horror that was Berroa. I only have Berroa's 2003 - 2005 totals, but my lord are they ugly. During those three years he had a composite score of -59. His 2005 score alone was -26. What this means is that Pena's defense netted the Royals about two more wins than they would have accumulated had they instead stuck with Berroa. Most fielding metrics do not credit Pena as being an above average defender, but my eyeballs told me time and again last year that he was doing a good job out there. Dewin's score gives him a huge pat on the back. Pena is ranked as the fourth best shortstop in baseball. The best? Troy Tulowitzki at +35. This is a surprise. If accurate, there will be happy people in Denver for quite a few years. Berroa finally lost his place as the worst shortstop in baseball. The new Berroa is Hanley Ramirez at -37. That seems right to me.
LF - Emil Brown comes in actually above average! He scored a +9. One of his possible replacements, Geoff Jenkins, earned a +19. We all know Manny bottomed out this list. He came in at -38. It's a good thing he can hit. For what it is worth, Matt Diaz gets a lot of glove love. He has come in as one of the top-10 LFers each of the last two years. A shame he didn't announce himself until after the Royals DFAed him.
CF - DeJesus is not listed, so he must have fallen somewhere in the middle. Again, no surprise there. The worst CFer? Gary Matthews Jr., who signed one of the most insane free agent contracts of last year.
RF - I was really expecting to see Teahen in the top 10, but he did not make the list. He sure looked solid out there when I saw him play. The worst RFer? Jermaine Dye at -37. Is he really this bad? Because if he is, he sure can't hit like Manny.
I know most readers do not put a lot of weight on defensive statistics, but I encourage them to take Dewan's work seriously. While his final numbers appear deceptively simple they are only arrived at after a tremendous amount of work. I have looked over his system and I trust his results, as do many baseball teams. As I understand it several MLB teams pay Dewan for his detailed breakdowns throughout the season.
This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.