Youkilis, a guy many people first heard about by virtue of him being prominently mentioned in “Moneyball” — and a guy who plays for arguably the most stat-savvy team in baseball — don’t need no stinkin’ sabermetrics:
“I don’t go off all those UZRs . . . is it UZR?” Youkilis said. “I
don’t even know what it is. I hope my UZR is sick, along with my OBSTR.
“I don’t know how they do it. How do you measure defense? You make
an error, you make an error. You get to a ball, you don’t get to a
ball. What if you have a bad hamstring and you can’t get to a ball up
the line? I don’t know what they evaluate, but a good ballplayer is a
And if I’m the Red Sox I’m perfectly happy with this answer. I want the players playing good defense — which Youkilis manifestly does — and not thinking too hard about how it rates. There are plenty of underpaid analysts on staff to worry about whether Youkilis’ UZR is sick.
It’s always a bit deceiving to see offseason workout photos of players who are said to be getting into great shape because guys in those pics are wearing compression shirts and crap and we’re used to seeing them in baseball uniforms. I remember pics of Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz in the offseason looking svelte, only to see them in uniform come spring as their familiar beefy selves. Uniforms are often loose and billowy and the players wear a couple of layers when they’re suited up, so at least visually speaking it’s better to compare apples to apples.