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John Dewan's Stat of the Week


Top Defensive Players for 2014

August 20, 2014

Last year was an incredible year for defense. For the first time ever, a defender saved his team more than 40 runs according to Baseball Info Solutions’ Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. Incredibly, two different players set the record! Andrelton Simmons saved the Braves 41 runs at shortstop, which were 29 runs better than the closest shortstop to him. Gerardo Parra also saved 41 runs for the Diamondbacks, playing all three outfield positions.

We are down to the final six weeks of 2014, and it does not look like anyone will quite reach the lofty DRS levels of Simmons and Parra last year. However, there are a couple of players who could approach 40 Runs Saved with a standout remainder of August and September.

Most Defensive Runs Saved, 2014
Player Runs Saved
Jason Heyward 32
Juan Lagares 28
Alex Gordon 20
Lorenzo Cain 20
Zack Cozart 19
Note: through games of August 19


Simmons’ teammate, Jason Heyward, leads all players with 32 Runs Saved this season. Heyward’s tremendous range accounts for the bulk of these runs saved (based on his 29 Plus/Minus Runs Saved which measure range alone).

Juan Lagares was tremendous as a rookie in 2013, finishing second among all center fielders with 26 Runs Saved despite playing just 108 games. This season, he has 28 Runs Saved in only 87 games. Lagares has exceptional range, but it’s his arm that stands out the most. Since 2013, Lagares has 15 baserunner kills (throwing out baserunners without the use of a relay man), the most at the position.

The trio of Alex Gordon, Zack Cozart and Lorenzo Cain is well back of Heyward and Lagares, but they are each having tremendous defensive seasons. Gordon has been one of the most consistent defenders in the game, saving between 16 and 24 runs for four consecutive seasons in left field. Cozart has been a strong defender throughout his career, but he has raised his game this season predominantly going to his right on groundballs in the hole between the short and third. Cain has also been excellent in his career defensively, a hugely valuable and versatile defender for the Royals for several seasons now. He has split time between center and right field the last couple of seasons and been exemplary at both. His biggest obstacle to defensive stardom may be his own teammate Jarrod Dyson, who himself is an elite defender and demands outfield innings. They have combined for 27 Runs Saved in center field this season, which is only one run behind Lagares.

Search Archived Stats of the Week

Published Date:

 TitlePublished Date
Edit Top Defensive Players for 2014 Aug 20 2014
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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
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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
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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
Edit Teams that Best Controlled the Running Game Dec 30 2013
Edit Opponent OPS and the Cy Young Award Dec 20 2013
Edit The Flat Bat Award 2013 Dec 09 2013
Edit Tim Lincecum Breaks Our Defensive Rankings Nov 19 2013
Edit Who Was the Real AL MVP? Nov 15 2013
Edit Making a Great Defensive Play Then Leading Off the Next Inning Nov 05 2013
Edit The 2013 Fielding Bible Awards Oct 28 2013
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Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part II) Oct 07 2013
Edit Who are the Fielding Bible Award / Gold Glove Contenders? (Part I) Oct 04 2013
Edit Simmons Has Company Sep 23 2013
Edit Who are the Slowest Players in Baseball? Sep 12 2013
Edit Does Playing Shallow Work? Sep 06 2013
Edit Easy and Tough Saves Aug 30 2013
Edit Best Single-Season Runs Saved Totals Aug 19 2013
Edit Opponent OPS Aug 15 2013
Edit Who's Shifting and Who's Not Jul 25 2013
Edit Who Should Be Starting the 2013 All-Star Game? Jul 16 2013
Edit Edwin Encarnacion and Shifts Jul 11 2013
Edit The Pirates and Hot Streaks Jun 26 2013
Edit Scoring Runners from Third Base with Less Than Two Outs Jun 24 2013
Edit Rookie Total Runs and DRS Leaders Jun 19 2013
Edit Who Has The Most Total Runs in 2013? May 29 2013
Edit Who Are the Top Baserunners in Baseball? May 23 2013
Edit Who Are the Best and Worst Defensive Teams So Far? May 14 2013
Edit Timing Pitchers and Catchers To Prevent Stolen Bases Apr 24 2013
Edit Shifting Into High Gear Apr 18 2013
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