Royally Defensive Thoughts

Kyle Rivas - Getty Images

Mike Moustakas' Defense Is Up, Escobar's Defense Is Down or Is It. Fangraphs tracks a defensive measure called UZR. It takes the balls that are normally fielded by all players and then apply those values to each player individually. It tries to measure the number of plays and therefor runs the defender saves compared to the league average

Mike Moustakas' Defense Is Up, Escobar's Defense Is Down or Is It.

Fangraphs tracks a defensive measure called UZR. It takes the balls that are normally fielded by all players and then apply those values to each player individually. It tries to measure the number of plays and therefore runs a defender saves compared to the league average

Slick fielding short stop Alcides Escobar has gone from a +10 UZR in 2011 to a -11 UZR in 2012. On the other hand, Mike Moustakas has gone from a 0 UZR to +17 UZR. It is like Moustakas is stealing some balls from Escobar, which may actually be be happening.

UZR assumes the defenders are positioned evenly. This season the Royals have been implementing more and more of an infield shift and Moustakas is moving into parts of the field that Escobar normally defends.

Here is an example of such a play from Wednesday night.

Moustakas_medium

Moose is positioned about half way between 2B and 3B and makes a play on ball that Escobar would normally field.

The following is the 2011 and 2012 defensive numbers for all the SS and 3B on the Royals

(BIZ = Ball in defender's zone that are normally fielded)

2011

Name Pos BIZ Plays % UZR
Mike Moustakas 3B 185 137 74% 0.4
Mike Aviles 3B 51 39 76% -0.3
Yamaico Navarro 3B 14 7 50% -0.3
Wilson Betemit 3B 117 83 71% -0.9
Total 3B 367 266 72% -1.1






Alcides Escobar SS 391 326 83% 10.2
Chris Getz SS 5 4 80% 0.4
Mike Aviles SS 8 6 75% -1.2
Total SS 404 336 83% 9.4






All
771 602 78% 7.2

2012

Name Pos BIZ Plays % UZR
Mike Moustakas 3B 337 261 77% 16.6
Irving Falu 3B 8 8 100% 0.6
Yuniesky Betancourt 3B 9 8 89% 0.5
Tony Abreu 3B 11 8 73% 0.2
Total 3B 365 285 78% 17.9






Irving Falu SS 3 3 100% 0.8
Yuniesky Betancourt SS 5 2 40% -0.4
Tony Abreu SS 4 2 50% -0.7
Alcides Escobar SS 359 267 74% -11.1
Total SS 371 274 74% -11.4






All
736 559 76% 6.5

As a group, the 2011 defenders were a bit better, but generally, the Royals are just getting to and making just as many outs on the left side of the infield. UZR's totals are within a point. Fielding % for balls in zone are within a couple of points.

Escobar's defense has not fallen off the planet this season. The planet has shifted a bit and he is not looking as good statically.

With all that defense talk of Escobar, I don't think he will ever be an elite defender until his glove work improves.

Escobar_glove

Hosmer Has Problems With Grounders

For the second year in a row, Hosmer is ranking near the last in the league in defense. After watching him more and more, grounders just tearing him up. Take this play from Wednesday night.

Hosmer

It was a ball almost hit right at him and he could not make the play (once he finally reacts). These types of plays are just too common with him.

Keep the Tag On the Runner

Too many times this season the Royals may have gotten a runner out if they would have kept their glove on the runner as they slid through the base. It happened Wendesday night. The runner eventually came around as the winning score.

Tag_medium

This lack of detail used to drive Frank White crazy.

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