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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

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I remember watching Buddy Bell play third for the Rangers and Astros, and I love watching David Bell work there for the Phils. His best move is going to the line and making a strong offbalance throw to first. Chase sort of reminds me of a David Wright playing second. He pulls off some pretty sick plays every once in a while. Rollins... bleh. His glove and arm seem pretty good, but his head isn't in it all the time. Just like at the plate.

I think I'm soured on Bell a bit because I was at that game earlier this year when he committed three errors, one of which was incorrectly attributed to Howard by the "schmuck in the booth." But you're right; he's certainly not Scott Rolen in either half of the inning, but he's a good defender in a position that needs it.

I agree that David Bell is underrated defensively by the majority of fans I speak with who would rate him as poor to below average. I also think he is overrated by the stat heads, who will bring out subjective stats like Zone Factor. Bell commits way too many errors (24 last season, 15 this season), and has merely an average arm. He makes up for this with a quick release and good accuracy. Bell is also not good at barehanders. He is a good but not great fielder.

Jason (or anyone else for that matter), what do you think of fielding win shares?

Win Shares are a great for comparing players. It's a bit of a different approach than fielding percentage because it assigns more value to positions like shortstop and catcher. Don't get me wrong, F.PCT has merit, too, as do errors. For some reason, I rely on my power of observation more when evaluating defense.

Hey, Jason, did you go fill out Tangotiger's "do NOT look at the numbers, just tell us what you see" fan scouting report? If not, you should. This is pretty much the exact sort of data he's looking for.

http://www.tangotiger.net/scouting/index.html

I end up taking my eyes and the numbers into consideration...There is a website that you can go to and input your observations on a player and he averages them out. Sort of an interesting excersise.
http://www.tangotiger.net/

I guess Deanna types (or thinks) just a tad quicker than me.

David Bell: I got it, I got it. Um, No I don't.

That was pathetic.

Bell shoulda let Rollins handle that one. Dont forget Lofton's hands are pretty suspect in the field. He's been bobbling some balls lately and letting a few slip by.

I think the Phillies’ defense is a case of the total defense being greater than the sum of it’s parts. In that sense, it truly is a team defense. Unfortunately in my opinion what makes the Phillies team defense so good does not show up in the stats. For example:
Smart positioning. This includes pitchers putting the ball where they are supposed to as well as good scouting. Because of this, the Phillies seldom need to make ‘spectacular’ fielding plays.
Hitting the cutoff man, which Phillies outfielders do extremely well. And the cutoff man is almost always in the proper position.
Throwing to the right base. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Burrell threw to 3B the other night vs Ariz on a long fly ball when he had little chance to get the tagging runner. This allowed the runner at first to go to 2B and took away a GIDP situation. This type of mistake is fortunately infrequent.
Holding trailing runners from taking extra bases. This is directly related to hitting the cutoff man and throwing to the right base.
Almost always getting an out when they should. This includes sacrifice bunts, where the team usually gets an out. They do not try to get the lead runner when there is little chance, leading to a fielder’s choice and nobody out. They seldom screw up the front end of a DP.
Communicating on popups and fly balls. There are few collisions and the person in the best position to throw usually catches it. There are not many “Who’s got it?” bloop hits.
Not throwing the ball around too much. This is a big one with me and is never something that is recorded. This includes catchers trying to pick off baserunners and outfielders throwing to home plate on shallow fly balls when the runner is not going anywhere. Tonight’s game with NY gave a perfect example of a poor percentage throw that shouldn’t have been made.
Utley on 1st and Burrell lines out to Beltran in medium CF. Beltran decides to try to double up Utley by throwing to 1B. The throw is a one-hopper that is at least 10 ft up the RF line and goes past the stretching first baseman. (The comment by the announcer was classic: “You can see Beltran has a strong arm” Huh??) Anyway, should that errant throw go into the dugout or stands, Utley’s now at 2B. The chances of getting him at 1B were not good, even though Utley was a little lackadaisical getting back.
I have seen this ‘vanity’ throw many times and every once in a while it will get by the backup man and end up giving the other team free bases. That happens much more often than does nailing a runner.

All of these things are basic fundamental baseball. Do them competently and your defense will be very good. And you usually won’t win Gold Gloves doing it.

Bell might be the one fielder who seems to be out of position much of the time. He stands too far from the line, sometimes comes in too close. I don’t know if he is being told where to position himself or if he does it on his own.
He also has a lot of trouble coming in on a ball hit in front of him. Of all the Phillies, he has been the greatest beneficiary of offical scorers awarding hits on balls he’s butchered, usually when trying to get the ball from his glove to his throwing hand, or when bare-handing a ball. (Lofton is a close second on generous scoring).

George:

Tell us again why the smartest mind in Phillies baseball is in Vietnam?

Your points on team defense are brilliant, and I stand corrected.

Excellent notes George S, as usual. Its always a good day when you post. Far better analysis than any of the paid writers in town here. And I completely agree with your points on Bell.

Hopefully this thread has not been forgotten...After reading George S, I have a hypothesis: Does anyont think that Bell plays in to far or too far from the line because in his younger days, he used to be able to get away with that, but now that he is older and less mobile, he can't and has yet to adjust?

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