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Who are the Runs Saved Leaders? (Part II)

June 29, 2011

Last week, we reviewed the Runs Saved leaders for infielders and catchers. Today we’ll look at outfielders and pitchers. A fielder’s Defensive Runs Saved (Runs Saved, for short) is an estimate of how many runs a player saved or cost his team defensively in the field compared to others at his position.

Over the last few years, it’s been common for Tampa Bay’s left fielder to appear on the Runs Saved leaderboard and it’s no different through the first three months of 2011. The only change this year is that the left fielder is Sam Fuld and not Carl Crawford. Crawford has saved the Red Sox a pedestrian one run defensively. Fuld has saved the Rays eight runs. Gerardo Parra and 2010 Fielding Bible Award winner Brett Gardner lead left fielders.

Runs Saved 2011 - Left Field
Player
Runs Saved
Brett Gardner, NYY
16
Gerardo Parra, Ari
16
Fred Lewis, Cin
10
Sam Fuld, TB
8
Jason Bay, NYM
7

The center field list is dominated by speedy young players with an average age of 25. Peter Bourjos leads the way with 16 Runs Saved defensively. In his brief career (129 games), Bourjos has played a phenomenal center field, saving the Angels an estimated total of 31 runs in the field. Franklin Gutierrez, limited by injuries early in the season, is the elder statesman of the group at 28. He is a two-time Fielding Bible Award winner and this year he has saved nine runs in only 35 games.

Runs Saved 2011 - Center Field
Player
Runs Saved
Peter Bourjos, LAA
16
Carlos Gomez, Mil
15
Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos
11
Ben Revere, Min 9
Austin Jackson, Det
9
Franklin Gutierrez, Sea
9

Another Angel is atop the leaderboard in right field. Torii Hunter is experiencing a defensive re-birth in his second season as a right fielder. After a mediocre 2010 defensive campaign, Hunter has saved his team 12 runs defensively to lead all right fielders. A move to right field has also benefitted Carlos Beltran, who has saved the Mets seven runs. Nick Swisher has saved eight runs for that other New York team.

Runs Saved 2011 - Right Field
Player
Runs Saved
Torii Hunter, LAA
12
Nelson Cruz, Tex
8
Nick Swisher, NYY
8
Mike Stanton, Fla
8
Jeff Francoeur, KC
8
Carlos Beltran, NYM
7

At age 23, Jhoulys Chacin has really blossomed as a pitcher in 2011 (8-5, 3.10 ERA). His defensive work in the field has kept pace. He is among the leaders at pitcher with four runs saved for the Rockies while fielding his position on the mound. Mark Buehrle, with four runs saved, is part of the seven-way tie as he seeks his third consecutive Fielding Bible Award.

Runs Saved 2011 - Pitcher
Player
Runs Saved
Jhoulys Chacin, Col
4
Kevin Correia, Pit
4
Mark Buehrle, CWS
4
Jake Westbrook, Stl
4
Ricky Romero, Tor
4
Nick Blackburn, Min
4
Clayton Richard, SD
4

For more information on Runs Saved, including an FAQ, visit FieldingBible.com. For updated Runs Saved toals, visit BillJamesOnline.com, Baseball-Reference.com, or FanGraphs.com.

There is still time to enter the Fielding Bible-Volume III Defensive Analysis Contest! Entries are due July 12.

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