Thursday, February 25, 2010

Youk Zee Ahh

Via Pinto, it appears that Mr. Youkilis knows about the new frontier of defensive statistics:
Kevin Youkilis this morning when talking about the brave new world of defensive stats: "My UZR better be sick!"
"Ahh you fackin' kiddin me? It's wicked haahd to get a ball past the Youkstah!"

I think we might be dealing with a sort of Zack Grienke situation here, wherein a player knows about a stat and what it measures but doesn't really understand the metric. And for the most part, it really doesn't matter. Youk understanding the components Ultimate Zone Rating isn't going to make him a better defender. He already knows that he should try to get to every ball he possibly can. UZR isn't the type of metric that's going to lead to a strategic epiphany. It's just the best method we have for quantifying a very complex process in motion.

One small nitpick from Pinto's post. He says:
Kevin is in fact a very good fielder, much better at first than at third.
Actually, his UZR is slightly higher in his time at 3B. Granted he's logged more than twice as many innings at 1B, but he hasn't been "much better at first", despite the fact that conventional wisdom would suggest a player would perform more effectively at the "easier" defensive position.

1 comment:

  1. What he actually said was "I don't go off all those UZRs . . . is it UZR?" Youkilis said. "I don't even know what it is. I hope my UZR is sick, along with my OBSTR."

    As for understanding the metrics, UZR doesn't fully evaluate 1B because it only considers batted balls. UZR can't say anything about how well he scoops balls in the dirt or turns the 3-6-3. That's one reason Teix has a lower UZR than some Yankee fans would expect. We see all the bad throws he saves compared to other guys but that doesn't show up. Youk could similarly be a better 1B than his UZR indicates.