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EVALUATING FIELDERS

Sabermetrics' Last Frontier

Surprisingly, until the late 1990s little progress was made in determining how to evaluate the effectiveness of fielders and the relative importance of fielding (as compared to batting and hitting). Until recently the prevailing wisdom in baseball was that you had to have “strength up the middle” (good fielding at second base, shortstop, catcher, and center field) to have a good team. We will see that in most cases, the differences in player fielding abilities are not significant enough to be a major factor in team performance. As the saying goes, the exception proves the rule and we will see that the 2005 Yankees were a very poor fielding team, and we can estimate that their poor fielding ...

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