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Who Are the Best Defensive Teams So Far?

May 02, 2012

Last week, we examined Miguel Cabrera’s move across the diamond to third base this year.  This week, we’ll expand our early-season defensive analysis to the team level.

Cabrera’s Tigers are the worst defensive team in the American League through the first month of the season.  Using Defensive Runs Saved, we estimate that poor fielding cost Detroit 19 runs through May 1.  The Tigers’ defense isn’t the worst in all of baseball, however.  That distinction belongs to the Colorado Rockies.  The Rockies porous defense has cost them 26 runs defensively through their first 23 games.  That’s nearly three games lost because of below-average defense!  Even three-time Fielding Bible Award winner Troy Tulowitzki (-5 Runs Saved) is struggling. 

Here are the five worst defenses in baseball so far:

Worst Defensive Teams - 2012

Team Runs Saved
Rockies -26
Tigers -19
Nationals -15
Mets -13
Brewers -12


On the other side of the spectrum, Team Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays, lead all of baseball with 31 Runs Saved as a team.  Toronto’s infield defense has been superb through the team’s 24 games and has saved the team an estimated 21 runs defensively. 

Here are the top five defenses so far:

Best Defensive Teams - 2012

Team Runs Saved
Blue Jays 31
Rays 23
Diamondbacks 14
Rangers 13
Twins 9

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