Cardinals Defense – Girsch's comments

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by bicyclemike bicyclemike 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #58298
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    PadsFS
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    I can’t tell you how off-putting it was to hear Girsch’s comment about defense and how disappointed he is in it after this line:

    Girsch answered quickly, “Yes,” when asked if he was disappointed in a Cardinals defense that ranked last in the league in fielding percentage at .978 and first by a wide margin in errors at 63.

    “I don’t look at our team and think, ‘Wow, we have a bad defensive team.’ I look at how we’ve played and say we’ve struggled defensively.”

    https://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wacha-out-until-after-all-star-break/article_fe5baecf-adf7-503c-93b1-25a712015a56.html

    Man, does the Cardinals’ front office really look at FP and errors still? Is there any value there?

    I say this because the Cardinals, as a team, rank 11th in all of baseball in DRS and 16th in UZR/150. Last year we were 5th in DRS and 10th in UZR/150.

    This isn’t and hasn’t been a bad defensive team.

    #58299
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    gscottar
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    I just posted about this in the trades thread but if it were up to me I would double down on defense and pitching. We have intentionally played people out of position in order to scrape a few more hits together but is it really worth it? I would vote no.

    When you have JMart starting at 1B, Carp at 3B, Fowler in RF, and Gyroko playing some time at 2B, then obviously your defense is going to suffer. I don’t see how Girsch could expect any different. If we wanted better defense then Carp would be at 1B, Wong at 2B, DeJong at SS, and Gyroko at 3B. The OF would be Ozuna in LF, Bader in CF, and maybe Pham in RF.

    Speaking of Ozuna what is up with his throwing arm? No one ever talks about it but he literally can’t make an overhand throw. He has to toss it in “Kent Tekulve” style to get it back into the infield. What is up with that? How did he ever win a gold glove like that?

    #58300
    stlcard25
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    I think there is definitely some value in error totals, as they’re “should have been” outs that force the pitcher and defense to face another batter that they wouldn’t have before. Considering that official scorers are often hesitant, perhaps even loath, to give errors at times, the number of errors the Cards have committed is a concern.

    That said, I do think the team is decent in the field…at least far better than the error totals say. I would also say that some guys have been disappointing…Ozuna and Pham in particular have not been up to what we hoped for pre season, Martinez has been worse than even the low bar we hoped he would clear, and Fowler has further regressed.

    I also think Marp has been passable, even good at 3B at times, Dejong is turning into a young Peralta (not flashy but makes all the plays), and Wong and Bader have elite, potentially Gold Glove type gloves at 2B and OF.

    Throw in Yadi and mostly good fielding pitchers and I agree that they’re not bad. The potential is solidly above average if guys play up to what we expected though.

    #58302
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    gscottar
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    The guys might play more up to their potential if they are playing in the positions that most benefit their skill set.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #58306
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    Both UZR and DRS account for errors and subsequently fielding percentage in their formulas so it’s striking to see our FO saying that these things matter specifically or absolutely without elaborating on the full spectrum of defensive ability.

    For instance, shouldn’t our GM note that while we are last in errors, our team is, per UZR, 7th in all of baseball in range. Or that we are 4th best in turning DPs. To me, it’s frustrating to hear our GM of all people give in to the BS of defining our defense based on a 1980s model of metrics (which our 1980s Cardinals didn’t even subscribe to)

    #58307
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    Man, does the Cardinals’ front office really look at FP and errors still? Is there any value there?

    Yes, there is absolutely value there, because as unsophisticated as they are, they tell us what our eyes tell us and what common sense tells us – this is a bad defensive team.

    I say this because the Cardinals, as a team, rank 11th in all of baseball in DRS and 16th in UZR/150. Last year we were 5th in DRS and 10th in UZR/150.

    I assume you’ve taken at least a 300 level statistics course in your life. Now, how big is the error term for DRS and UZR? How much multicollinearity is there in each of those measurements? Can you definitively say a team that ranks 10th is better than a team ranked 15th? Why can the two measures produce vastly different rankings?

    This isn’t and hasn’t been a bad defensive team.

    So, you ignore JMart at 1B, Carp at 3B and Fowler in RF? How about Ozuna in LF? Munoz at SS?

    Defensive statistics still have a lot of improvement to go before they can be taken as the gospel.

    Statcast data will be helpful in refining the models, but that only became publicly available last year. Even so, I would rather look at the individual components of the metrics than some combined number with an error term of some unknown size, but which is widely acknowledged to be quite big.

    #58308
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    gscottar
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    Again does anyone know what is up with Ozuna’s throwing style and capabilities/limitations? I have been curious about it since around February 23 but nobody seems to talk about it. He acts like he his throwing with a broken arm.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #58317
    Brian Walton
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    No offense to you, stlcard25, but I found your comments confusing. In the next sentence after you defended the team for being “decent” in the field, you immediately called out half of the starting position players as being disappointing this year on defense.

    FWIW, I concur with your player assessments, but how can a team be “decent” on defense with half of the starters agreeably playing below expectations?

    P.S. The first SABR Defensive Index results for 2018 should be out in the next two weeks. It includes Defensive Runs Saved, UZR, Runs Effectively Defended, Defensive Regression Analysis and Total Zone Rating.

    The fact that baseball’s best minds came up with an index incorporating multiple defensive stats tells me that one should not depend on any of them individually – at least for one season. Of course, an index has its own inherent limitations, but it may smooth out some of the rough edges.

    We’ll soon see how the individual players stack up in SDI.

    #58330
    stlcard25
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    FWIW, I concur with your player assessments, but how can a team be “decent” on defense with half of the starters agreeably playing below expectations?

    “Decent” in the sense that I expected Ozuna and Pham to be plus defenders in the outfield, especially with Ozuna coming off the Gold Glove. They’ve both been more average for their positions, in my view. Bader playing a lot for Fowler also bumps the OF defense up a notch, IMO.

    So I suppose by “decent” I meant by overall compared to other teams, while still acknowledging that my own expectations were top third of the league defense. They’re more middle third and thus that’s a step down from what I’d hoped. Individually there have been good and bad, though.

    Hope that’s a little more clear…?

    #58348
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    858booyah
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    Yeah I agree! This teams defense may by the advanced metrics appear to be ok but it doesn’t pass the eye test. For every guy like Bader, Wong, Dejong, Gyorko you’ve got Martinez, Pham, Fowler, Ozuna, and Munoz(when he plays SS).

    #58375
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    14NyquisT
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    Expectations are heightened by the over-hyping of some player’s actual abilities in the FO’s and media’s spring evaluations. The FO is out there trying to overestimate what they have acquired and to get fans churned up so they buy into it and spend $$ for tickets… sometimes it turns out to be a con job.

    Don’t expect too much from the present FO. AND… this is still a very boring team to watch.

    #58382
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    14NyquisT
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    The GM’s criticism of the team’s defense is special. The FO said it was going to address this situation in this past off-season. What we have is one of the worst defensive teams for the Cards this century. The OF flat out stinks and the infield is a mish mosh of players playing out of position. This is their answer to improvement? Seriously?

    Girsch should be spending some time to actually improve this team. The Cards have no ace and no face, no All-stars and no league leaders in anything. And they’re trying to promote this team as a play-off contender? What are the chances of this team making it to the WS? The odds are too long for Vegas to even consider.

    #58383
    Brian Walton
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    Don’t mean to interrupt the rant, but just in case you wanted the actual answers, the Cards are currently 10/1 to win the division, 12/1 to win the NL (your specific question) and 28/1 to win the World Series. No wild card odds are listed.

    http://www.vegasinsider.com/mlb/odds/futures/

    #58474
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    14NyquisT
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    You can’t argue with Vegas odds. Thank you for clearing up the nature of my ranting. BTW, my last sentence was a metaphor.

    Since you didn’t address the “ace” and “face” comment, I’d like to hear your thoughts and also the lack of exciting baseball provided from this team that has been put together by Girsch.

    #58492
    Brian Walton
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    I agree that the baseball has been unexciting, but do not give Girsch primary responsibility as the architect of the roster. (Of course, none of us are there, but that is my educated guess.)

    #58495
    bicyclemike
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    I have no issue with Girsch’s disappointment of the team’s defense based on errors. A club that leads the league in errors is having issues with their defense.

    Now if we want to delve in deeper and look in to other metrics to get a greater insight into the defensive performance of the team, then fine. Next step is to see some measure on whether or not many of those errors are a result of defenders getting to more balls in play.

    But still, you can start with fielding percentage and if it is bad relative to the league, it is a clue that something is probably not good on the defensive side of the game.

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