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Zimmerman's Gold Glove Chances

I'll post with greater detail this afternoon about the Nats' September call-ups -- the full list is available here, via Nats Farm Authority -- but for the morning, I wanted to give some thoughts on another end-of-the-season rite. Awards. In particular, the Gold Glove award. Evidently, the San Diego Padres are going "high tech" in their efforts to promote third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff for the NL Gold Glove award. (Random interruption: Are we still at the point, developmentally, where DVDs are high tech? Isn't every high school football player in America producing self-made DVD highlight packages of his pancake blocks?) Anyway, the Padres have pulled a similar trick, creating highlight DVDs which have since been distributed to every manager in the league. So by now, Jim Riggleman should have a disc in his office containing 75 seconds of Kouzmanoff highlights.

For sure, Kouzmanoff stands out because of the stunningly low errors total. He's committed just three this year. Several Nationals have been known to make two errors in an inning.

But I think Ryan Zimmerman has a pretty clear case, too. I explain most of the numbers in the dead tree article. Additional perspectives on the Zim-Kouz debate, from a variety of sources, are available here, here and here. And for whatever it's worth, I've pasted a batch of statistical comparisons below.

---

Ultimate Zone Rating
1. Zimmerman (WAS) -- 15.9
2. Feliz (PHI) -- 6.7
3. Blake (LAD) -- 6.5
4. Kouzmanoff (SD) -- 5.7
5. LaRoche (PIT) -- 2.7

Errors
1. Jones (ATL) -- 18
2. Reynolds (ARZ) -- 17
3. Zimmerman (WAS) -- 15
4. Bonifacio (FLA) -- 14
5t. three (Feliz, LaRoche and Wright) -- 13
(Notable) 28t. Kouzmanoff -- 3

Fielding Percentage
1. Kouzmanoff (SD) -- .990
2. Blake (LAD) -- .973
3. Stewart (COL) -- .970
4. LaRoche (PIT) -- .965
5. Feliz (PHI) -- .964
(Notable) 6. Zimmerman (WAS) -- .963

Total Chances
1. Zimmerman (WAS) -- 404
2. LaRoche (PIT) -- 367
3. Feliz (PHI) -- 364
4. Blake (LAD) -- 333
5. Wright (NYM) -- 307
(Notable) 6. Kouzmanoff (SD) -- 298

Double Plays
1. Feliz (PHI) -- 32
2t. Blake (LAD) -- 28
2t. LaRoche (PIT) -- 28
4. Jones (ATL) -- 25
5. Zimmerman (WAS) -- 24

Range Factor/9 Innings
1. Zimmerman (WAS) -- 3.06
2. LaRoche (PIT) -- 2.99
3. Feliz (PHI) -- 2.81
4. Blake (LAD) -- 2.74
5. Reynolds (ARZ) -- 2.65
(Notable) 8. Kouzmanoff (SD) -- 2.33

By Chico Harlan  |  September 8, 2009; 8:48 AM ET
 
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Next: September Call-Ups Post, Pt. I

Comments

Just a bit of context--total chances is largely a function of range. If Zim gets to a ball that another 3B wouldn't even touch and gets scored a hit, it doesn't go as a "chance."

Posted by: sbiel2 | September 8, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I love Zim as much as anybody. But 15 errors for a GG third baseman? One more than Lil Fish Bonifacio? No. No way. If the voters could forget about his dozen throwing errors, I'd say yes. But that's like voting for Sarah Palin, and dismissing her 54 IQ. Sorry, GOPers, I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 8, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

If Zim doesn't win, it's a travesty. The number that matters is 404. That's 37 more chances than any other NL 3B - that's 35-36 more outs than any other NL 3B. For further context, Zim has the second-best UZR in ALL of MLB. Better than everybody except the CF in Seattle, Gutierrez. He has the fourth-best UZR/150 in MLB. I really don't see this as any kind of debate - either he wins, or the writers aren't qualified to vote.

The best defensive players are the ones who turn the most balls into outs. Total chances, or normalized for 150 games, Zimmerman makes more guys out than anybody else, even if he does give back a few too many.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, until Wright's hand falls off early in the season or his batting average drops below .300, the Gold Glove is his.

Posted by: goldbergjeffrey | September 8, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, by the way, one other stat that Chico didn't list, since people will harp on Zim's throwing. Assists - Zim has more assists (that is, plays where he threw somebody out at a base, particularly 1b), than any other 3B in baseball. And that's counting the irrelevant 12 throwing errors. Every error he made brought him back towards the pack, and he's STILL better than any other 3b in throwing guys out, because he gets to that many more balls.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

They call it the Gold Glove, not the Golden Arm. So if 12 of Zimmerman's 15 errors are throwing errors, his seemingly high error count should be discounted a good bit.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Kouzmanov has the exact same problem Zimmerman does. The number after his team's name in the W column. Congratulations David Wright, you at least play in New York.

Posted by: Section506 | September 8, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the writers vote on this one, 295. I believe that it's managers and coaches.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Some background on the award's origins:

http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_8722497

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

That's right, 1a. I forgot that - ok, then it's the managers and coaches who will prove their right to vote. =)

In that, though, it helps that Zimm's having a good offensive year, too - it should help keep him in mind. All-Star, 30-ish HR, 100-ish RBI, etc.

Ooh, actually, Chico, if I can ask for a post, it would be interesting to know which specific numbers people are thinking about too. Clearly having Zim reach 30/100 would be an achievement. Dunn's getting to 40 (again) seems like an obvious one, as might be Willingham getting to 26 (his career high). I imagine Lannan wants to get to 10 wins, maybe get his ERA under 4. But those are the obvious ones - anybody going for 1,000 career hits or something?

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

SD PR dept. fires first salvo. Opens door for Nats PR dept:
-wake up MASN and get a similar clip together, i.e., collect best of Zim
-take Kouzmanoff' plays off that DVD, and sequence a Kouzmanoff play then a Zim play (you want to have Zim compare favorably)
-create a stat slide
-produce and server upload; immediately distribute link to voters and press and blogs, post to youtube, Tweet away
-send DVD via Fedex to voters

GET MOVING KNUCKLEHEADS!

Posted by: joemktg1 | September 8, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

No worries, 295. We'll make mental note to question writers' judgment on other awards down the road. (What?? They voted *him* in for MVP??)

Also, seeing as how we're making post requests, I would be interested to read Svrluga's thoughts on Zimmerman and the Gold Glove award as well, given his musings about it in the past.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Strange Fact Department:

The Lerners assumed ownership in May, 2006, after 2006 payrolls were set. Did you know that every year under the new ownership, the payroll of the Nats has been lower than it was at the start of 2006, when MLB owned the Nats? The franchise was treated better by all the other MLB owners than it has been (so far) by its own owner! Only three MLB teams have lower payrolls than our Nats. Maybe the Nats can do a little better in 2010.

Opening Day payrolls for 25-man roster
(salaries plus pro-rated signing bonuses):
2009: $ 60,328,000
2008: $ 54,961,000
2007: $ 37,347,500
2006: $ 63,143,000

Yeah, I know, I know, money doesn't matter, etc., but if that's the case, why charge MLB ticket prices?

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

pardon me, but what exactly is the "ultimate zone rating" (uzr), how is it calculated, and how is it to be interpreted by a layman like myself? same goes for "range factor". thanks in advance for any reader (or reporter) enlightenment...

Posted by: HerbyN3 | September 8, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Wait, so what you're saying is, you think the Lerners are cheap? I've never heard that before.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

UZR:
http://tinyurl.com/cawep
UZR rate is expressed as a fraction of 1, the same as a simple ZR (ZR). A UZR rate means essentially the same thing as a simple ZR, namely the number of balls fielded (turned into at least one out) divided by the number of chances; however, UZR rate is a weighted average of a player's ZR in each of several zones.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), Part 2
http://tinyurl.com/bx747

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

sec3mysofa says: "Wait, so what you're saying is, you think the Lerners are cheap? I've never heard that before."

No, that's not it. This board is composed of true Nats fans. We all know the Nats have turned a corner and are moving toward respectability, or something fairly close to it. I'm just trying to toss out some facts for consideration.

Better topics might be: can Jorge Padilla make it in the majors, at his age and skill level? Can Mike Morse learn to play solid defense?

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have said it before, and I will say it agian: The Golden Glove is the biggest joke in all of sports.

It comes down to what brand name glove a player uses: Rallings. It has nothing to do with skill level.

Posted by: Batboy05 | September 8, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"pardon me, but what exactly is the "ultimate zone rating" (uzr)"

Is there a penultimate zone rating and/or other zone ratings before that? Because if there's not, then it's just the zone rating, right?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

But a question for the sabrmetricians: in the various defensive metrics, do they use the number of errors, or total bases given up on errors? For instance, if a third baseman throws a ball into the dirt, and the batter reaches first, that's one error, but so is throwing a ball (with 2 outs, let's say) into the stands with the bases loaded-clearly not the same damage.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

> It comes down to what brand name glove a player uses: Rallings

Only the Natinals use Rallings gloves.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

what would a "next-to-last" zone rating be?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@seanmg,

Your comment about Danny Ainge was interesting. Maybe his fielding was why he changed careers to basketball. I think Ainge played more SS than 2B. Height tends to get in the way when turning a double play from second.

Ian Desmond is a very good fielder, he just has a tendency to check out and not make the routine play. Thats why his error rate is fairly high.

Posted by: WashOut | September 8, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Better topics might be: can Jorge Padilla make it in the majors, at his age and skill level? Can Mike Morse learn to play solid defense?"

Then why don't you ever discuss those topics, instead of continually harping on payroll standings which are meaningless?

Did you know the Redskins win the Offseason Super Bowl every single year? Is that what you want for the Nats?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

still thinking ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I think one or two use Nicke gloves. Maybe a Willsen hear or their.

> It comes down to what brand name glove a player uses: Rallings

Only the Natinals use Rallings gloves.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: joemktg1 | September 8, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Rats. Now I'm stuck trying to figure out what a Preantepenultimate Zone Rating would be.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

PAPUZER - when a stat IS its acronym.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 8, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

From the Eclipse says: "Better topics might be: can Jorge Padilla make it in the majors, at his age and skill level? Can Mike Morse learn to play solid defense?" Then why don't you ever discuss those topics, instead of continually harping on payroll standings which are meaningless? Did you know the Redskins win the Offseason Super Bowl every single year? Is that what you want for the Nats?"

I was just kidding about Padilla and Morse. All season long, Nats fans have been consumed by topics like those involving a long list of marginal big leaguers. This is what we as fans have been handed, but longer term issues count most for me.

I don't mind worst-in-MLB seasons, as long as the Nats have a commitment to building for the future. I have lived with cheap ownership in DC in the past (we have never had anything but that in our entire history of baseball here), and urge something better for the Nats.

I am not in agreement with you that the level of financial commitment is meaningless. Would the Angels, Dodgers, Tigers, Yankees, Phils, and Red Sox have winning records if their budgets were like the Nats' budgets? No, it doesn't mean signing old, fat guys. It means more Dunn and Willingham-type moves, probably mostly through trades. And not just bargain-basement trades, either.

As to the so-called Redskins, I have lost interest. They only care about patching year-to-year, and seem to lack long-term vision. Spending isn't everything. You need wisdom too. Kasten/Rizzo give us that.

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Here's the Fangraphs definition of UZR: "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."

For more in-depth UZR explanations, check out the following websites:

Part 1: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/lichtman_2003-03-14_0/

Part 2: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/primate_studies/discussion/lichtman_2003-03-21_0/

If you delve into this mysterious, super-statistal jungle, please note that Chico is using UZR Runs in the post above. This says that Ryan Zimmerman prevented 16 runs defensively this year compared to the average MLB 3B by himself. The proportion mentioned by previous commentors, called UZR Rates, uses a similar methodology.

And, just to keep the record clear, the UZR stat does account for errors. Even with Zimmerman's 12 throwing errors and 15 total errors, he still 16 runs from scoring more than an average MLB 3B would have. Kouzmanoff prevented less than 6 runs above average, even though he commited so few errors.

Does anybody know where to find the SportsCenter top-ten appearances or Baseball Tonight web-gems total numbers? I think that should be a stat to throw out there. I bet you could bake a 2 minute video just of Zimmerman's web gems as chosen by ESPN (a neutral 3rd party) to counter Kouzmanoff's cherry-picked 75 seconds put together by a PR department from his own team!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | September 8, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Still doesn't explain why it's the Ultimate Zone Rating and not just the Zone Rating. Where are the other zone ratings that preceded it?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | September 8, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What not to do when celebrating a win:
http://tinyurl.com/lcl6cv

Fernando Rodney got suspended 3 games and fined for that.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 8, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the Gold Gloves are becoming like the Academy Awards. Will Billy Crystal host the four hour long awards show?

I'm torn about Zim and the GG. On the one hand, I'd rather have him at 3rd than anyone in the majors, and the geeky stats confirm that he is an absolutely incredible fielder. On the other hand, his throwing errors early in the season were maddening and I kind of feel like the GG should be given to the Ozzie Smith/Roberto Clemente kind of fielder who is reliable as well as spectacular. I don't think there's any question that throwing the runner out is part of the equation for the GG.

Does anyone know whether Zim dominated the UZR stat in previous years, or is this another part of what clearly is a break out year for him?

Posted by: Section222 | September 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It'd be nice to see Zim win a Gold Glove, but aside from Comeback Player of the Year, Washington baseball players don't win awards -- and won't until this franchise contends. Washington teams and players have to overcome 70 years of negative (or no positive) perceptions by outsiders.

Posted by: VPaterno | September 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's all about the marketing hype, EclipseJoint.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Food for thought from the Unscientific Methods Division, Small Sample Department:

Google searches performed with "videos" selected. "Web gems" combined with "Ryan Zimmerman" yields 9 hits. "Web gems" combined with "Kouzmanoff" yields 2 hits.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

222, IIRC, last year, what with the injuries, Zimmerman's numbers were off, but the year before that, his zone-related stats were in the same neighborhood as this year. So it's not just one good year. Not that you need anyone to tell you, if you've been watching since 2006.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

also... would also love a "laymans" definition of the 'range factor' and how it should be interpreted to judge the relative effectiveness of a given fielder...

Posted by: HerbyN3 | September 8, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

That might make a good handle here someday, if I get 86'd from the blog, too.
***********
PAPUZER - when a stat IS its acronym.
Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 8, 2009 11:41 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Wright had 21 errors in 2007 (and won the Gold Glove). If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go, Herbie!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_factor

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Herby, Sec3's given you the basic UZR definition. It's a pretty complicated (and flawed in its way) metric.

Basically, the way it works is this: The system uses 64 zones all over the field, and tracks every ball hit to every one of those zones for every team in every game. There's a lot going on under the hood, but basically using a zone-by-zone comparison between the individual player (Zim, in this case) and every other ball hit to every other zone in which any 3B made a play it arrives at a calculation of how many balls Zim got to and made a play on as compared to a perfectly "average" 3B (outs in that zone divided by chances in that zone). Then, by using run expectancy calculations (which measure how likely any given hit is to actually turn into a run), it arrives at a calculation of how many runs Zim saved as compared to a that "average" 3B by making a play in that zone. Then it adds up every zone in which Zim made a play and comes to a total runs saved number.

That's why some guys (like Wright this year, or Dunn most years) have negative UZR scores - it means they turned fewer balls into outs than the "average," thus saving less runs. In Zim's case, this year, he's turned more balls into outs than any other 3B, leading to a UZR of 15+ - meaning his defense alone has saved 15+ runs.

Sec3 - I'm out of my depth in trying to explain how it accounts for errors, but I know it does. As I understand it, it compiles fielding errors in two separate categories: errors that resulted in a man reaching base (ROE) and those that didn't. I don't think it accounts for the leverage of a particular error - it just uses the run expectancy of the error committed.

That said, UZR is far from a perfect defensive metric. For one thing it doesn't account for pre-pitch defensive positioning at all - for instance, if Zim makes a play WAY over up the middle because they were playing a shift against Delgado, he gets credit for an out-of-zone play, even though for where he was playing at that moment, it wasn't an out of zone play. It also doesn't account for the possibility of good fielders "fighting" each other for balls. Say Zim had a good defensive SS playing next to him - like Jack Wilson, who's routinely high on UZR. They'd both have a pretty good shot at a ball hit between them. One of them would get it and get credit for the play. The other would lose credit for not getting to that ball. So, in a case where you've got two really superb fielders next to each other, they may undermine their own UZRs a little bit.

That's one of the reasons to look at more than one defensive metric. It's just not as simple and clean as OBP, SLG, etc.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of getting 86'd, I was watching a Costas interview with several umps on MLB Network over the weekend. Very interesting. One of the topics was what phraseology would get a skipper/player tossed. One ump said that you can use profanities in a general sense ("What the fish was that all about?"), but that putting a "you" behind or in front of a profanity would mean an early trip to the showers.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

and a little more techie, but still in English:
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/what-is-zone-rating/

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

295, thanks. So if I understand that, Guzman's UZR suffers for balls that never got to him, because Zim cut them off, yes?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman is clearly the better fielder, but it would help if he could have a designated thrower. (this from a big Z-Fan). Kouz fields his 6 feet as well as anyone could, then throws on a dime to 1b.

I have resisted the Lerners are Cheap argument, but they clearly either overestimated the talent level of the young pitchers or underestimated the amount of time it takes to develop the young staff. They have to spend now. Try to do it without giving up top draft picks, but you have to field a team of 25 major league players.

Delighted to see Desmond called up. Hope he gets to play.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 8, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Just for the heck of it, here's Barry's 2007 blog posting about Zimmerman, Wright, and the Gold Glove:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2007/11/zimmerman_wright_and_the_gold.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

1a, you will no doubt recall the "How romantic!" scene from Bull Durham.
Traditionally, a player can say "That was a greatly misguided call; I'm certain you were in error" (or words to that effect), but "I believe you are unqualified to make that assessment" is getting too personal.
And playing "Three Blind Mice" will get the organist tossed every time.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do recall that, sec3. The ump was making a similar point about getting personal, and I was amused by how he illustrated the distinction. The organist anecdote is a classic, definitely.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sec3, I think that might be - as I've been reading over my lunch, UZR doesn't account for plays made in a zone by the other fielder, while John Dewan's +/- does. So, like I say, depends on which fielding metric floats your boat. I think Guz's UZR may take a teensy bit of a hit because Zim gets to so much. Still, though that's a little bit of a philosophical/academic argument, because Guz's overall UZR is so bad that it raises a question as to how likely it was that he would actually get to those few balls if Zim didn't.

Also, I was mistaken earlier- UZR does account for pre-pitch positioning inherently, both positively and negatively - if you get to the ball because of good pre-pitch positioning, you get credit, if you don't, you don't.

1a - that reminds me of my favorite Lenny Dykstra quote ever. "You can say that was a [horsefish] call, but you can't call 'em [horsefish]."

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that reminder of the hopes of 2006, 1a. I particularly liked his quote from Bill James: "'A Ken Boyer, Scott Rolen-type third baseman. You'll know if the Washington press corps ever starts going to baseball games, because if they do, Zimmerman will be more famous than Britney Spears.' Ouch. As someone who has attended, oh, let's say a handful of games over the past few years, I'm doing my part to get the word out. Maybe he means Tim Russert and the like.)"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Chico - Loved the research. Pulling for the Zimster!

Let's get that Gold Glove!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | September 8, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Zim did appear to make a lot of throwing errors this year. They appeared to peak during the most hapless months of this long season. Since Riggleman instituted more fielding practice that appears to have diminished quite a bit ...

It did cost the team runs.

Posted by: periculum | September 8, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Please God. No more Logan Kensing.

Posted by: raymitten | September 8, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Peri - I agree, Zim's throwing was a nagging problem that seems to be a bit better since he's concentrated on his footwork. No doubt, those errors led to unearned runs.

The question taht I hope GG voters think about is - how many more runs did Zim save by his ability to get to balls that other 3B can't, and did those 12-15 errors cost more runs than he saved by making great plays. Not that they're really comparable, but 15 errors and 13 webgems - how many runs did those webgems alone save?

And thanks for the cut and paste 1a, Sec3 -Rolen has long been my favorite "comp" for Zim. I watched Rolen play when he first started out in Philly and I always thought they didn't give him a fair shake, because the Philly fans wanted him to be Mike Schmidt. Despite being really good for a really long time, he always seemed a little underrated to me and I think Zim's a little bit that way.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | September 8, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC

"Then why don't you ever discuss those topics, instead of continually harping on payroll standings which are meaningless?

Did you know the Redskins win the Offseason Super Bowl every single year? Is that what you want for the Nats?"

And in fact the Nats ownership appears to be following the same dictum that Snyder claims "to have learned this year":

ONLY SIGN YOUNG GUYS 28 or under TO LONG TERM (multi-year) HIGH BONUS HIGH SALARY contracts? This is something most of baseball now does.

So, the Nats signed Zimmerman to a long term contract. The didn't sign Dunn to a long term but that was probably because of his obvious flaws (fielding). Still 2 years? The almost signed Texiera to a long-term, mult-year deal. They signed Strasburg.

Find someone on the FA list that fits this criteria?

So, the Nats prefer to sign guys similar to Hanley Ramirez, a Lincecum, etc. to long-term high salary deals? Or develop their own. So far, and as far as I can tell they aren't like the Pirated, they aren't going to just let guys go and start over every other year.

Let's see if Rizzo can make some deals this year that will bring quality younger players into the fold.

Posted by: periculum | September 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

periculum,

I am happy that you think the Nats are making the financial commitment to bring an MLB team to DC. That gives me hope.

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

One thing to remember is that Zim's errors are not a tradeoff for his incredible range. Most of his throwing errors came on what should have been pretty easy plays.

Chris Needham had a post at the end of the year in 2007 that included links to over 20 Zimmerman gems. I bookmarked the link to enjoy again and again during the offseason. Looks like the actual videos have gone the way of Chris's blog, but he has some very interesting analysis of the statistics that year. (Does everyone know that Zim had 23 errors that year, Wright 21?).
http://dcbb.blogspot.com/2007/09/for-your-consideration.html

As I checked to see whether the videos were still available, I came across this relic from 2007 -- "Kearns goes 3 for 4."

Posted by: Section222 | September 8, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, 222, I'd argue that the errors *are* a tradeoff for his range. Just as Dunn's strikeouts looking are a tradeoff for his home runs and walks.

I think I get what you're trying to say: he doesn't get to a hard ball and boot it, where he really shouldn't have had any chance, such that that particular play is a wash. But to me, the bottom line is, the whole package that is Zimmerman is an excellent third baseperson, warts and all.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 8, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"periculum,

I am happy that you think the Nats are making the financial commitment to bring an MLB team to DC. That gives me hope.

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009"

__________________________________________________

I wouldn't go that far ... I would just say that the jury is still out. I think judgment has to be reserved until they finish rebuilding the farms, and actually have trade-able talent to use to make deals for quality players / talent?

Who do they have to offer for a really good starting pitcher? Dukes, Ian Desmond, Lannan?

Their very ***best*** trade-able guy is Zimmerman right now.

Do you think they should trade him (them) to "pad their salary figure" for over thirty guys who might be good for a year ... maybe more? Or sign the typical FA 32-38 year old guy to 4 year contracts?

How would you approach this? And we don't yet how Rizzo is going to approach this ...

Posted by: periculum | September 8, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I thought Hanley Ramirez is a pipe dream, are you saying that it's merely an improbable dream? Don't get my hopes up too much.

Posted by: swang30 | September 8, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Lyrics to Hanley Ramirez - The Improbable Dream

To dream the improbable dream
To fight the beatable foe
To bear with unbearable losses
To run where the Atlanta Braves dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong [Umpires]
To hit home runs so far
To try when your arms and legs are too weary
To reach the unreachable All Star [Hanley]

This is my quest
To follow that All Star [Hanley]
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
By trading with the Marlins
To be willing to march to the top of the NL East
For a tough Playoff Charge

And I know, if I'll only be true
For this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I hold the World Series Trophy

And Washington will be better for this
That one team, scorned and covered with grass and dirt,
Still strove with its last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable All Star [whose name is Hanley Ramirez!]
To dream, the improbable dream

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | September 8, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@GGG: I wouldn't quit my day job if I were you, but you get points for effort.

Posted by: TimDz | September 8, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

TimDZ - I am a successful jingles guy so I don't plan on quitting that. Please play it to the music of The Impossible Dream and sing along. I think you can find Peter O'Toole on the internet.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | September 8, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@scooter -- You're right. I would trade a few throwing errors for the myriad web gems he makes any day of the week. What I meant was that he's not throwing the ball away after making an amazing diving stop. Bottom line for me is that I think he deserves the GG because he's the best fielding 3B in the game today. But I can understand why some of the voters (managers) won't feel that way, and I don't think they should be deemed to be crazy or incompetent if they prefer to make the award to someone with a better fielding percentage.

Posted by: Section222 | September 8, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Laughing here. I don't need O'Toole or Howard Keel for that matter. It doesn't scan.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Or Robert Goulet. Or Sammy Davis Jr. Or Monte Rock III.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I think I have the Antepenultimate Zone Rating: Count all the balls a fielder gets to that result in outs, outside the league average "scatter" for that zone (="*")--the individual plays. Now take all the plays on which he made an error, and count all the unearned runs that scored in that inning. Divide */urs.
Probably useless, but intriguing to novices and a great time-waster.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@GGG: Meant no offense...besides, I couldn't carry a tune if it had handles, so I'm probably not well suited to critique another's work (be it hobby or actual career).

I prefer classic rock anyway...try doing one to a Led Zepplin tune...

Posted by: TimDz | September 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

But...but...but...gu-u-ys...the impossible dream reference goes back to our quixotic fantasy musings over the weekend. It's a comments throwback, if you will. I thought it was funny, GGG. sec3, you get points for the Monte Rock III reference. Talk about a throwback! :-D

Oh, and there's a new post. Just the facts, ma'am.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Better topics might be: can Jorge Padilla make it in the majors, at his age and skill level? Can Mike Morse learn to play solid defense?
Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 11:04 AM
-------------------------
EdDC: The progression of minor-leaguers to the "Big Club" is a great topic for conversation, just as long as it isn't prefaced in a cost-analysis.
Those of us here in NJ understand you think the Lerners' have under-spent since 2006; We got it a long time ago, and some of us actually agree with you.
Just try not to be such a one-note player in the future.

Posted by: BinM | September 8, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

BinM says: "EdDC: The progression of minor-leaguers to the "Big Club" is a great topic for conversation, just as long as it isn't prefaced in a cost-analysis. Those of us here in NJ understand you think the Lerners' have under-spent since 2006; We got it a long time ago, and some of us actually agree with you.
Just try not to be such a one-note player in the future."

Thanks for your advice. I'll leave y'all alone, and you will be glad of that, I am sure!

My new piece of info today was that MLB as owners of the Nats (pre-Lerners) actually gave the Nats a higher payroll than in any year under the new owners--in actual dollars, not even allowing for baseball inflation. I'm curious, did you know that? I didn't. I tried to provide something new each time, even though they were factual variations on the same theme. Anyway, good luck to you!

Posted by: EdDC | September 8, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Come on back any time, EdDC. Seriously.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 8, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Just turned the game on and grabbed my laptop.

Laughing my a$$ off w/ the Improbable Dream. Go HANLEY.

Message to Mike Rizzo----GO GET 'EM!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 8, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

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