Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press did a terrific job incorporating advanced defensive metrics into a recent article about Delmon Young.
She spoke to sabermetricians Bill James and John Dewan while noting that the 30 pounds Young lost last offseason didn’t actually lead to major improvement in his fielding numbers and then used her access to get comments from manager Ron Gardenhire and outfield coach Jerry White.
For all the silliness trying to pit new-school versus old-school, I’m hoping to see more mainstream writers blend the two like Smith did.
My favorite excerpt is this Gardenhire quote:
We thought he was running faster, but that just meant he was chasing the balls he missed faster.
It’d be even funnier if it weren’t so true, as Ultimate Zone Rating pegged Young as being 10 runs below average defensively last year. On the other hand White said Young “is actually a good outfielder” and “knows how to play guys.” I find it almost impossible to believe White thinks Young “is actually a good outfielder,” but the guy in charge of coaching outfield defense doesn’t have much to gain by saying otherwise.