February 15, 2007


Best Outfield Arms of 2006 (John Walsh, February 15, 2007, Hardball Times)

Last year I developed a method for evaluating outfield arms, which you can read about here and here. The first article has all the gory details of the methodology, here is the short, painless version: using play-by-play data, I consider five different situations when an outfielder's throwing ability comes into play:

1. Single with runner on first base (second base unoccupied).
2. Double with runner on first base.
3. Single with runner on second base.
4. Fly out with runner on third base, fewer than two outs.
5. Fly out with runner on second base, fewer than two outs (third base unoccupied).

For those plays, I add up how often the runner is thrown out or how often the runner is "held," i.e. prevented from taking the extra base. A comparison with league average allows me to rate the outfielder's arm.

By the way, I used this same method to rank the arms of outfielders from the full Retrosheet era, which roughly covers the years from Roberto Clemente through Juan Pierre. Actually, the rankings pretty much go from Clemente to Pierre, as well. Anyway, if you enjoy this kind of thing, the article appears in The Hardball Times Annual 2007, so be sure to check it out.

That historical analysis may be trhe best thing in what is a very fine Annual generally.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 15, 2007 1:57 PM
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