Yesterday on MLB Network’s 'Hot Stove,' Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez discussed ultimate zone rating, Fangraphs.com’s defensive metric that’s recently stirred up controversy on Beerleaguer.
UZR measures the number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs and error runs combined. Historically, Ibanez has ranked among the game's worst left fielders the last three years, but in a shocking twist, was rated as one of the best this season, while several renowned glovemen, including Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, rated poorly. Raul told the network he isn't that big of a fan of the stat, saying the discrepancy speaks to moving from Safeco Field to Citizens Bank Park, allowing him to be in better position to get to some balls. Careful not to offend sabermatricians, Raul suggested that he didn't trust UZR because it is reliant on guys monitoring games on television. The merits of UZR have caused a cavernous divide among Beerleaguer in recent days. After learning about the interview, Beerleaguers sounded off.
“So, basically Raul has a full understanding of UZR then. Good for him. At least he's honest about his own defense (which was better than I expected to be honest). I assumed he'd be an older Pat Burrell.” – NEPP
“Raul is a stats wonk. Who knew? Totally right about UZR with defensive positioning being yet another outside factor the stat doesn't account for. I'm guessing Raul was weighing in on this issue on yesterday's thread. Wonder what his handle is?” – clout
“The positioning issue in UZR is without a doubt one of its primary limitations. I never had a chance to comment on this yesterday, but I wonder if the down UZR for Vic and Werth last year had something to do with different positioning than they used to have with Burrell out there. People often suggest that UZR loves Utley, which it does a lot, due to his great positioning; I wonder if some sort of opposite effect was impacting Vic and Werth while potentially helping Raul.” – Phillies Red