Monday, March 16, 2009

Yeeeeaaaaah, I'm Gonna Have To Go Ahead And Disagree With You On That One

Blez from Athletics Nation has an excellent interview with Jason Giambi containing some interesting tidbits (h/t Joe P. from RAB). One of them would have altered the course of Yankee history, and the other one is just plain hilarious.
Blez: How do you view yourself as a defensive first baseman? There have been a lot of people who have said that you've had better days as a defensive first baseman, yet your fielding percentage is pretty high. So how do you view yourself?

Giambi: I view myself as great. I get the job done and that's what I'm out there for. The one thing that I know that I'm good at and you can ask Chavy and the younger guys and even Jeet (Derek Jeter) is that I've helped win a lot of guys gold gloves because I'm really good at picking balls out of the dirt. I think it's because when I was younger and playing in the Coliseum I got tired of running for the ball around all that foul ground.
If by "great" you mean "marginal", "poor", "below average", "terrible", "clumsy", or "really shitty", I totally agree. Find me one other person who would describe Giambi's defense as great without immediatley breaking out laughing, please. I love Giambi, but that is just ridiculous.

I'm not huge on defensive statistics. They all seem to have some judgement calls and subjective components built in. Until someone invents an intricate system of lasers that measures every single thing happening on a baseball field at once, we aren't really going to be able to understand the little things that separate bad from decent from good from great.

However, since there is no such laser system, I took a look at Giambi's UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) over at FanGraphs and here's what I found.

DG = Defensive Games Played

RngR = Range Runs (The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, determined by how the fielder is able to get to balls hit in his vicinity.)

ErrR = Error Runs (The number of runs above or below average a fielder is, determined by the number of errors he makes as compared to an average fielder at that position given the same distribution of balls in play.)

UZR = Ultimate Zone Rating (The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs and error runs combined.)

The shading coincides with the number of games he played, so the darker the gray, the fewer games at 1B.

The only "seasons" he even masquraded as an average first baseman, he played 43 & 14 games. That's a lot of red for a "great" defensive first baseman.


  1. I read somewhere that that system is coming right after the US Dept. of Defense finishes up their "Sharks With Lasers on Their Freakin' Heads" project.

  2. Just out of curiosity, how do your buddy Youk's stats compare at first?