A reminder: ballplayers do not have to either understand, acknowledge or even give a rip about sabermetrics or analytics. Their job is to play baseball. Ballplayers with a certain sensibility can likely improve by knowing some things about metrics, but I suspect most either would not be helped or could actually be hurt by overthinking such things. With the caveat that they should listen to their coaches and advance scouts who themselves may be analytically-informed, most ballplayers should just go do what they’ve always done and leave the analytics to the analysts.
All of that being said, ballplayers do see that stuff and sometimes they have opinions about it. Anthony Gose of the Detroit Tigers is one of them. he said this today about defensive metrics which do not say great things about his work in center field:
Fair enough. It’s especially understandable that Gose’s feathers are a bit ruffled by the defensive metrics not liking him because his reputation has always been as a good defender. Indeed, that was why the Tigers acquired him from Toronto before last season. He does rate well by more outmoded/traditional numbers like fielding percentage and is known for having an above-average arm, so being told that some more complicated or newer metrics like defensive runs saved and zone rating rate him below average is probably even harder to take for him than most people.
As for those metrics? No one around here is going to say that they’re golden. I don’t think anyone who is being honest can say that we have anything approaching the sort of good numbers for defense that we have for offense. And it’s certainly worth noting that the center field Gose covers in Comerica Park is a different beast than almost any other park. He is assigned to cover a huge amount of ground out there. Center field is 420 and the power alleys are really, really deep. That likely doesn’t do him any favors. For what it’s worth I watch a lot of Tigers games and he seems like he takes good routes and moves well out there. Maybe he’s not as fast as he looks. Maybe there’s other weird noise. I have no idea.