Royals Outfield Defense and Frenchy

Ed Zurga

So who will be the 2014 whipping boy?

Today at The Hardball Times is an article I wrote on how wells do teams field flyballs. The article has existed in some capacity for over four months and in the latest version a bit was removed on the Royals. Today I am going use what got removed to look at how the Royals outfield defense change with Frenchy out of the picture.

First off, if you have the time to read the article, please do. It has some great information especially background data.

What I ended up finding is batted balls which are in the air 2.5 and 4 secs have a 50% chance of going for hit. This is the sweet spot for a team improving. Team outfield defense can be compared to see if a team is better or worse than the league average. Some park considerations do need to be taken into account, especially in spacious Colorado where only 40% of these sharp fly balls are caught for outs.

Because of these discrepancies, I include how a team did at home, on the road, and how the opposing team did at their park. Here are the Royals 2013 values (XBH% only includes doubles and triples):


AT HOME AWAY TEAM ON THE ROAD League Average

All Sharp Fly All Sharp Fly All Sharp Fly All Sharp Fly
Out% 63.40% 46.90% 62.50% 49.80% 64.00% 50.50% 62.00% 49.80%
XBH% 10.10% 19.70% 11.60% 18.70% 9.60% 17.40% 10.00% 17.90%

Generally, the Royals have near league average values, except at Kaufman where the number of extra base hits is higher because of the large outfield.

The Royals outfield defense did experience an improvement during the 2013 season. Their sharp fly ball [balls in the air between 2.5 secs and 4 secs] Out% in 2012 was 46.0%. Over the first two months of the 2013 season it was similar with a 47.4% value. Then strong-armed, but slow-footed Jeff Francoeur was release in the middle of June. From July on, the Royals sharp fly ball value jumped to 52.7%.

The surface is just being scratched on this topic with more questions to answer. I will find it interesting to see how the Be Royal outfield defense will perform without Frenchy leaving his mark in right field.

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