Playing Well on Both Sides

Normally, you expect players that excel at defense to lack offense and vice versa. It is rare that a player can be excellent at both, that group makes up our small core of annual MVP candidates. That makes our (very) early season leaders in UZR so interesting. They are, by and large, an exquisite group of hitting talent. Let’s go through the positions, as outlined by R.J. Anderson a few days ago.

I lead off with the worst example, Chris Davis at first base. Davis has just a .313 wOBA on the year, though he is certainly projected to hit a lot better than that. Of note is that right behind him on the defensive side of things is Ryan Howard and his .381 wOBA. At second base, we stay in Texas and have Ian Kinsler leading the league and pairing his defense with a .415 wOBA.

At shortstop we have the breakout Marco Scutaro who has nearly eclipsed his 2008 totals in home runs and walks already, in just a third of the games he played last season. His .379 wOBA gives up one potent middle infield. At third, Ryan Zimmerman is certainly no slouch with the bat this season. Just off his 30 game hitting streak, Ryan’s wOBA still stands at a robust .434 figure.

Our outfield is perfectly aligned with Jay Bruce in right, Mike Cameron in center and Nyger Morgan in left. Bruce hasn’t been much in terms of batting average, hitting just .239, but his 12 home runs and 13 walks give him a .358 wOBA. Mike Cameron was almost given away this winter by the Brewers who are very content that they resisted. His .282/.392.550 line is good for a .408 wOBA. Finally, Nyger Morgan is no power threat, lacking even a single home run on the year, but his great speed (three triples) and eye (17 walks to 26 strikeouts) give him a .339 wOBA.

All combined, the seven hitters currently leading their respective positions in UZR possess a total figure of 12.6 WAR already this season. Over a full season were these rates to hold, as unlikely as that is, they would accumulate roughly 45 wins.

Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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13 years ago

Don’t forget your catcher: JOE MAUER