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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


Are the Padres’ Outfielders Hitting Enough?

May 20, 2015

Less than two months into the season, the Padres are hovering around .500, and it’s unclear whether their blockbuster offseason roster makeover will pay off as the season unfolds. However, one result of all of the team’s moves has become very clear over six weeks; the Padres’ outfield defense is bad.

Worst Defensive Runs Saved, OF, 2015
Team Runs Saved
San Diego Padres -15
Seattle Mariners -15
Chicago White Sox -12
Philadelphia Phillies -10
Colorado Rockies -9
New York Yankees -9


It was apparent from the outset that the Padres were trading defense for offense, as we detailed in a Stat of the Week from December. The lack of defense part has come true. Their outfielders have cost the team 15 runs, which is tied for the worst total in baseball. The question then is whether the offensive upgrade has been enough to counterbalance it.

To compare the offense-first Padres from 2015 to the defense-first team from 2014, we can use Total Runs. Total Runs measures offensive, defensive, baserunning, and pitching success on a scale of runs so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison between players. Total Runs also has a positional adjustment to account for the relative difficulty of handling each position, but since we’re looking at outfielders vs. outfielders, those differences are negligible.

Padres Outfielders, 2015
Player G Runs Created Baserunning Runs Runs Saved Total Runs Total Runs/G
Justin Upton 39 28 0 -1 31 0.79
Wil Myers 32 22 1 -8 20 0.63
Matt Kemp 40 18 -2 -2 19 0.48
Total 111 68 -1 -11 70 0.63


Looking first at 2015, Justin Upton has been the most productive Padres’ outfielder both offensively and defensively. His 28 Runs Created are tied for the 13th most in baseball—with Mike Trout among others—and he has been only slightly below average defensively in left field. Wil Myers and Matt Kemp have been less productive offensively, and Myers, especially, has cost the team defensively—although it may not entirely be fair to blame Myers for performing poorly in center field since neither he nor Kemp is a great fit for the position.

Padres Outfielders, 2014
Player G Runs Created Baserunning Runs Runs Saved Total Runs Total Runs/G
Seth Smith 136 72 -1 3 88 0.65
Will Venable 146 36 2 10 64 0.44
Cameron Maybin 95 21 1 2 37 0.39
Chris Denorfia 121 28 4 2 44 0.36
Total 498 157 6 17 233 0.47


The primary Padres’ outfielders from 2014 combined to save the team 17 runs defensively, but Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, and Cameron Maybin all performed poorly with their bats. So far in 2015, Upton has already provided more Runs Created than Maybin did in 95 games last season, and he’s tied with Denorfia, who played in 121 games last season split between the Padres and the Mariners.

Powered by Upton, the 2015 Padres’ outfield has been doing enough offensively to make up for that defensive gap and then some. As a unit, they have produced 0.63 Total Runs per game played compared to just 0.47 from last year’s outfielders. Of course, the Padres transition from its 2014 outfielders to its 2015 ones isn’t that straight forward. Other players were given up in those deals, and they took on significant salary. Nevertheless, one wonders if the team might have been better off forgoing one of Kemp or Myers to maintain more of a balance between offense and defense in their outfield.

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit Are the Padres’ Outfielders Hitting Enough? May 20 2015
Edit Who are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2015
Edit Who's Hot and Who's Not...according to Bill James Apr 30 2015
Edit Shifts Continue to Rise Apr 23 2015
Edit Home Runs and Home Run Robberies Apr 15 2015
Edit What is the Upper Limit of Shifts? Mar 30 2015
Edit A Strike on Every Pitch? Mar 20 2015
Edit Could Jonathan Lucroy Be As Good As Yadier Molina? Mar 06 2015
Edit Who Will Be The 2015 Statistical Leaders? Feb 26 2015
Edit Shift or Get Off the Pot Feb 13 2015
Edit The Best Projected Defensive Infield and Outfield Feb 06 2015
Edit Let's Eliminate The Shift Jan 30 2015
Edit The Most Pitcher & Hitter Friendly Umpires Jan 16 2015
Edit The Best Baserunning Team in MLB Jan 09 2015
Edit Are Defensive Runs Saved Predictive? Dec 31 2014
Edit The Downside of the Recent Padres Acquisitions Dec 19 2014
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2014 Dec 04 2014
Edit Mark Buehrle – One of the Most Durable Pitchers of All Time Nov 25 2014
Edit Is Madison Bumgarner the World's #1 Starting Pitcher? Nov 14 2014
Edit Giants Defensive Positioning a Big Assist in Game 7 Victory Nov 05 2014
Edit The 2014 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 30 2014
Edit Who Gives a Shift? Oct 23 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 06 2014
Edit Who are the 2014 Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 01 2014
Edit Pitchers with the Best and Worst Run Support Sep 18 2014
Edit Which teams have come on in the second half? Sep 09 2014
Edit Instant Replay Sep 02 2014
Edit Top Defensive Players for 2014 Aug 20 2014
Edit Who Are The 2014 MVP Candidates? Aug 08 2014
Edit How Do Shifts Affect League-Wide Batting Averages? Jul 25 2014
Edit The Best and Worst Baserunners in 2014 Jul 18 2014
Edit The White Sox Blow Another Lead Jul 10 2014
Edit Shifts Against Right-Handed Hitters Jun 26 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2014 Jun 10 2014
Edit The Most Improved Defensive Teams Jun 06 2014
Edit How Many More No-Hitters This Year? May 29 2014
Edit Rookie of the Year – Tanaka or Abreu? May 16 2014
Edit Can the National League Reverse a 10-Year Trend? May 09 2014
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? Apr 25 2014
Edit Shifts Still on the Rise Apr 18 2014
Edit Can the First 10 Games Predict Playoff Chances? Apr 11 2014
Edit Who Will Be The 2014 Statistical Leaders? Mar 31 2014
Edit Can Spring Training Statistics Predict Breakout Power Seasons? Mar 25 2014
Edit Who Will Be The Best Defenders In 2014? Mar 11 2014
Edit Sochi Olympics - Dominant Countries Feb 25 2014
Edit United States on Track for Most Olympic Medals Feb 17 2014
Edit Sochi Predictions Feb 10 2014
Edit Super Bowl Predictor System Jan 30 2014
Edit Throwing Strikes Jan 20 2014
Edit Cannon Arms in 2013 Jan 10 2014
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