Why should I read this article?
I thought my draft had gone well. I drafted my man crush Ben Zobrist to be my starting shortstop and even added Jed Lowrie as insurance. Everything seemed right. Then, a month into the season I lost both of them to the disabled list. These things happen and when they happen you start looking for someone (anyone) that can take their place.
This happens to all of us at some point and when it happens we need people that can provide every day at bats, but are off the radar. At most you are looking at a dozen guys and you have to decide which one to go with. Looking at fielding numbers can help you determine which guys will play regularly. Even if they are somewhat lacking with the bat, they will at least get into the lineup because of their fielding ability. While it might not be ideal, when you have a rash of injuries you likely never will get the ideal.
How does this fielding thing work?
I’ve been utilizing John Dewan’s The Fielding Bible as seen daily through billjamesonline.com. The beauty of the Fielding Bible system is that it is expressed in runs. The metric is called defensive runs saved (or DRS) and is calculated using video and computers to categorize all balls in play into different zones and then they further categorize the balls in play by how difficult they would be to make.
The experts that view the plays then determine an average number of plays a player at a position would make. Each player is then given a number of plays they should make depending on the various levels of difficulty of the plays they have a chance to make. If they make more plays than that then they have a positive rating and a DRS over zero. If they make fewer plays then they have a negative rating and a DRS under zero.