Mets Had Worst Middle Infield Defense In Majors In 2011

I picked this up on ESPN New York this morning.

By one measure, baseball statistician Bill James has determined the Mets had the worst middle-infield combination in baseball last season, at least when Jose Reyes was paired with Justin Turner. Here’s what James and colleagues wrote …

In The Bill James Handbook 2012, Bill James and Baseball Info Solutions track Defensive Runs Saved to see who the best-fielding shortstops and second basemen were in 2011. In short, Defensive Runs Saved is an estimate of the number of runs each fielder saves with his defense, combining John Dewan’s Plus/Minus System with analyses of bunts, double plays, and more to form a complete evaluation of a fielder.

Among all 30 double-play combinations in the majors last season, here are the top five and bottom five ranked by Defensive Runs Saved.

Top 5

Shortstop          Second Baseman    Team        DRS 
Elvis Andrus       Ian Kinsler       Rangers     29
Brendan Ryan       Dustin Ackley     Mariners    28
Reid Brignac       Ben Zobrist       Rays        25
Troy Tulowitzki    Mark Ellis        Rockies     16
Erick Aybar        Howie Kendrick    Angels      15

Worst 5

Shortstop          Second Baseman    Team        DRS
Derek Jeter        Robinson Cano     Yankees    -12
Jason Bartlett     Orlando Hudson    Padres     -17
Ryan Theriot       Skip Schumaker    Cardinals  -18
Starlin Castro     Darwin Barney     Cubs       -20
Jose Reyes         Justin Turner     Mets       -22

Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) captures a player’s total defensive value and is comparable to UZR. Due to methodology differences (and the fact that defensive measures are still not 100% accurate), DRS and UZR will disagree on how to rate certain players, but they agree more often than they disagree. In instances of disagreement, it’s best to take an average of the two values and to seek out scouting reports.

In 2010, the advanced metric “Defensive Runs Saved”, indicated that Ike Davis was best first baseman in the NL and second-best in baseball, having saved 14 runs.