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Who will be the best defensive teams in 2011?

March 03, 2011

With the 2011 season rapidly approaching, it's time to bust out our new defensive projections. In The Fielding Bible— Volume II, we laid out our calculations to estimate the number of runs a player saves or costs his team with his defensive play. For example, our calculations estimate that Brendan Ryan saved the Cardinals 27 runs last year at shortstop, the highest total in all of baseball.

Ryan's new team, the Seattle Mariners, projects as the top defensive team with a projected 78 Runs Saved. This comes as no surprise, as the Mariners led the league in 2009 with 110 Runs Saved, the highest team total in our database (dating back through 2003). Four other American League teams round out the top five:

Top Projected Defensive Teams for 2011
Projected
Team Runs Saved
Seattle Mariners 78
Texas Rangers 40
Oakland Athletics 33
Toronto Blue Jays 32
Tampa Bay Rays 25

The Mariners have five players projected for double-digit Runs Saved, including Ryan (projected for 15 Runs Saved at second base), Jack Wilson (18 Runs Saved at shortstop), Franklin Gutierrez (15 Runs Saved in centerfield), Ichiro Suzuki (12 Runs Saved in right field), and Chone Figgins (10 Runs Saved in his move back to third base).

Top Projected Defensive Players for 2011
Projected
Team Position Runs Saved
Jack Wilson SS 18
Ryan Zimmerman 3B 16
Adrian Beltre 3B 16
Chase Utley 2B 16
Brendan Ryan 2B 15
Franklin Gutierrez CF 15
Carl Crawford LF 15
Austin Jackson CF 14
Michael Bourn CF 14
Ichiro Suzuki RF 12
Mike Stanton RF 12
 

And for a related announcement:

The Fielding Bible— Volume III Research Contest

John Dewan and the folks at Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) have a long history of collecting innovative data and providing cutting-edge defensive metrics to team clients and the general public. Since the publication of The Fielding Bible and The Fielding Bible— Volume II, dozens of independent analysts have joined the effort to shed additional light on what is still the least-understood aspect of the game.

Here's your chance to leave a lasting mark on the industry. Send us your best research on any fielding or defense-related topic. Do you have an idea for a new defensive metric? A new way to measure a previously untapped area of analysis? An idea to improve upon research that someone else has published? Some data of your own that you'd like to share? Whatever you've got in mind, we want to hear about it.

The top submission will be featured in The Fielding Bible— Volume III and will receive a $150 cash prize. Runners-up will receive a complimentary copy of the book next spring.

Aspiring sabermetricians- this is your chance to have your research featured in one of the industry's leading publications. Established analysts- this is an opportunity to help us build the best defensive evaluations to date.

Click here for more information about the contest and submission guidlines.

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