The 2017 Fans’ Scouting Report

For the last 15 years, Tom Tango — now senior database architect on MLB’s Statcast team — has hosted the Fans’ Scouting Report on his site, tapping into the wisdom of the crowd to create another data point to help in the evaluation of a player’s defensive performance each season. While we’ve hosted the results of the voting on FanGraphs the last few years, we’re excited to announce that we’ll now be hosting the voting for the project on the site, as well.

Using the link to the scouting report here, you will be able to provide your evaluation of the defenders on a specific team; this should be for the team you watch most frequently. Instead of providing an overall valuation of a player’s defensive contribution this year, you’ll be grading players on a series of individual skills, which will be tallied into a final overall rating. These ratings should be drawn from your own observation, and as best as you can manage, not be influenced by other defensive metrics you’ve seen for any particular player.

Here are the instructions Tango has given on his site to help you fill out your ballot.

Try to judge ‘average’ not as an average player at that position, but an average player at any position. If you think that Kris Bryant has an average arm, then mark him as average, regardless if you’ve seen him play 1B, 3B, LF or RF.


If you don’t have an opinion on a particular characteristic of that player, then go on to the next characteristic for that player. This applies especially for you TV watchers, and you can’t tell how well Peter Bourjos can read the ball off the bat.

And, most importantly, do not, absolutely do not, look at any numbers. Don’t look at his fielding percentage, range factor, zone rating, UZR, or anything else that someone else is telling you. I just want you to rely on your eyes. You are the scout. I need you to rely completely on your own observations.

We know the fans know what they are talking about. We know they know how to observe good and bad fielding. Now, I just want to know what the fans know. And, hopefully, so do you.

By moving the project to FanGraphs, the hope is that we’ll be able to attract a larger crowd to draw from; last year, for instance, only 11 ballots were submitted for the Oakland A’s. The larger the number of informed participants, the more likely the wisdom-of-the-crowd effect will help strip out the biases of the few, leaving us with more signal and less noise. At the same time, however, this is a project designed to collect observational data, so please don’t fill out a ballot for a team that you haven’t watched regularly this season.

And keep in mind that you are only judging what you saw this year. This isn’t a true-talent estimation. If a normally great defender had a down year, mark down what you believe you saw from him during this season, not what you think his overall level has been in prior years. This is an attempt to measure how well a player did in 2017.

The ballots will be open for the next few weeks, and once the voting is complete, we will compile the ratings and release the results of the 2017 Fans’ Scouting Report. Thank you for helping to make this project a reality, and to provide the public with more information about a piece of the game that has certainly not yet been solved.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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6 years ago

Dave Cameron does not know baseball.

6 years ago
Reply to  Michael

That’s cool, neither do I, and they’re letting me submit scouting reports

6 years ago
Reply to  Michael

Bo Knows Baseball

6 years ago
Reply to  Michael

“George Bush doesn’t care about Black people”