Aggregate Defensive Ratings

These days it’s common place to look at multiple defensive metrics to try and get a good grasp of a player’s defensive value. On FanGraphs we even carry four different defensive metrics that include Mitchel Lichtman’s UZR, Sean Smith’s Total Zone (with Location), John Dewan’s DRS, and Tangotiger’s Fan’s Scouting Report.

All of them have different methodologies and the four rely on three different data sources.

To make comparing the four easier, there is now a new stats table on the player pages called “Aggregate Defensive Ratings” (ADR), where the UZR, DRS, TZL, and FSR are given a weighted average and there’s even a standard deviation and standard error given for the sample of four defensive metrics.

The general weighting is 1/3/3/3 for FSR/UZR/TZL/DRS. For years where FSR is not available, UZR, DRS, and TZL are weighted evenly. Only players with more than 50 innings played at a position are included in ADR.

ADR stats are available in all the player pages and will be making their way to the leaderboards soon.





David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

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AustinRHL
Member
AustinRHL

I love it! Thank you for making our lives easier, and hopefully giving writers a more neutral place to look when they cite defensive statistics. Any single statistic for a given player can be an outlier relative to the others, but averaging all of them is likely to tamp out that volatility and give a better picture of the player’s ability. I think there’s a decent argument to be made that ADR should be used instead of UZR for WAR calculations, but I doubt that’s in the near-term plans.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I agree that WAR needs work on the defense side. But in looking at a few of the aggregates I don’t thin this metric is it. I think Dave astutely decided to display all of them and not just add in the aggregate somewhere.

I believe it was here not long ago where a fans bias analysis appeared. It was excellent, and showed that fans rate good players better than they are, and bad players much, much worse. An example is who else but Yuni Betancourt. He actually improved a bit last year according to UZR and TZL, but fans rated him the same as before and DRS was the same or worse. His ADR improved, but it was worse than the much disputed UZR.

I like the FANS scouting report very much, but it it not a true “wisdom of crowds” metric. There will be strong biases exhibited toward some players in that system because those who participate, there are almost none who believe what’s in the paper (Yuni is good!) if they read it, and they have certainly paid close attention to other defensive metrics that show he is not good. Don’t mean this to be a critique of the FSR, just saying that if you want to improve a metric you should avoid metrics with inherent strong biases at the extreme ends.

Since they seem to at least track each other’s direction pretty well, hopefully someone here will check how an aggregate of just UZR and TZL holds up against the others.

dutchbrowncoat
Guest
dutchbrowncoat

i don’t think the biases will show that strongly in the fans scouting report. tango breaks down the components well enough to avoid just an overall run value guess. and i am pretty sure he even regresses them before publishing.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I just disagree. If you have a reporting bias problem that population will understand the components of the system well enough to produce their desired outcome. In the context of the fan projections analyzed here recently, it seems that’s exactly what happened. Yuni at -25 in FSR (the same as the previous year) versus -11 UZR and similar in TZL, both improved over the previous year, seems to bear that out.

Why would he need to regress FSR?

Paul
Guest
Paul

But I want to emphasize that critiquing FSR in this context is not a criticism in general. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Tango devised it so that it could be a component of an aggregate metric. It was and is an experiment, and I doubt that the extremes are surprising to him at all. I think using it in this context is probably fine with respect to 95% of the population. But it’s going to strongly exert itself on the overall metric at the ends. Regression will smooth it out some, but at the ends it will still show up.

The Real Neal
Guest

All you really need to do to confirm the bias theory of the FSR is look at Mike Cameron’s 2011 scores. Not only did his amdominal injury cause his arm strength and accuracy to decline, it also robbed him of his first step quickness, range, and amazingly it cost him a 19% hit in “Instincts”. If you ask a bunch of people walking out of Batman, The Dark Knight if they love comic book movies don’t be surprised to conclude that 95% of people comic book movies.

dutchbrowncoat
Guest
dutchbrowncoat

perhaps you have never participated in the report itself.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/fans-scouting-report-part-2/ and http://www.tangotiger.net/scout/ provide some info.

a few notes:
– tango limits it to teams that you regularly watch. for most of us, that would be our favorite team and perhaps an in division rival.
– he explicitly says to avoid looking at any other numbers before doing filling out the form. of course you might have an idea of the numbers already(eg yuni betancourt)
– the way the report is broken down makes it harder to keep that bias. a bias for your home team would likely have a larger effect than a knowledge of uzr, drs, etc. and even then that bias is likely to hold only for the extreme cases. he also lets you choose dont know for each player.
– i cant find the link offhand, but im pretty sure tango has said he will toss out any clear outliers (jetes with a perfect score, yuni with all 0’s) and that he throws in a set number of perfectly average samples for each player to help regress.
– most people filling out the report will be regulars of fangraphs or tango’s blog and they will only do it for their own team.

is there bias? i am sure there is some. but i think you are definitely overstating it.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I have in the past and I do understand it. I don’t dislike the metric, I just think the bias is going to be much greater than you assume, because we are not talking about asking people to count an occurrence based on a defined zone or range. I think it is reasonable to expect less bias in someone counting an occurrence that is clearly defined, and perhaps getting paid to do it and probably having their work checked for accuracy, than people expressing an opinion based on some rules that would require them to accept an ethical approach to rating a player they are most familiar with, who may have jorked their season by booting numerous routine ground balls. The narrowing of the responders along with the assumption that they will follow the rules is actually an argument against it in my opinion.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11

I thought the FSR was analyzed with the conclusion that fans over-rate the players on their team and under-rate players on other teams.

dutchbrowncoat
Guest
dutchbrowncoat

yeah circle i couldn’t find the thread(s?) where tango discussed it offhand, sorry. i might be off with some of what i said.

llogan
Guest
llogan

Did Betancourt improve or did he get favorable chances? My understanding of defensive metrics is that they are going to fluctuate from year to year even if a defender doesn’t improve or regress.