David Gassko of the Hardball Times introduced a new defensive measure of range earlier this season. While the initial article didn’t do a lot to sell me on the system, he has calculated the 2005 rankings.
Ivan Rodriguez, Nook Logan, and Brandon Inge were the top defenders in the American League at their positions (Inge was actually tops among all third sackers). The fact that Logan beat out all AL centerfielders was surprising. Not that I don’t think Logan isn’t good, but just from a playing time aspect. Because the measure used is a counting stat (essentially runs saved), I didn’t think Logan would have enough time in center to finish at the top.
On the other end of the spectrum, Carlos Pena and Magglio Ordonez finished near the bottom at their positions. Again, I’m a little surprised merely from a playing time perspective.
But the most surprising finding is that Rob Fick was among the best first basemen.
Now whether or not you buy into this system – and I haven’t yet – it is reassuring that a couple of those critical “up-the-middle” positions were rated very highly for the Tigers. But then again, of the 3 Tigers who finished at the top it doesn’t appear clear cut that they will be manning those positions next season.