The Boston defense: so good, so good, so good

This year’s Fielding Bible ratings are out, and the Red Sox infield rates among the best in the Major Leagues.

  • Kevin Youkilis finished in a tie with Todd Helton for 9th place at +6.
  • Dustin Pedroia finished 5th among second basemen with a +15 score.
  • Jed Lowrie was 10th with a +8 at shortstop, despite playing only a fraction of the 2008 season. I’m pleasantly surprised by Lowrie’s fielding prowess; I had thought he couldn’t stick at short for more than a few years, but he’s doing a great job thus far.
  • None of our outfielders cracked the top 10 at their positions, but none of them were among the bottom 6. Not terribly surprising, considering so many of them played partial seasons this year. Mark Kotsay was tied for 3rd worst in center with Vernon Wells this year, but that was in Atlanta. No wonder they played him at first base.

For those not familiar with John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system, a trained committee reviews every fielding chance a player has during the course of the season, then gives a +1 score for an above-average play or -1 for a poor play that should have been made. This kind of system is a far better judge of fielding ability than anything using arcane statistics such as putouts, assists and range factor. They don’t address catcher, because so much of what makes a catcher good is not measurable by these metrics.


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