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New T.R. Sullivan Inbox

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T.R. Sullivan has a new inbox column up, with stuff on the Rangers and day games, contract negotiations, and the future of Joaquin Arias, among much else...

One thing I did want to highlight and respond to, though, has to do with this question on the outfield defense:

How do our outfielders -- Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Julio Borbon -- rank defensively, both as a core group and individually, among others in the Majors?
-- Mike R., Dallas, Texas

If you look up the defensive numbers, they rank in the middle of the pack as far as fielding percentage, range factor, zone ratings and things like that. Nobody really stands out. If you have watched the Rangers night after night for 22 years, you might come to the conclusion that this is the best defensive outfield the club has ever assembled. But that would be personal observation with little in the way of statistical reinforcement.


If you look at FanGraphs' defensive data for the Rangers outfielders, both UZR and Dewan's DRS show the Rangers regular outfielders as well above average.  UZR has every Ranger outfielder for which there is data* above average, with Josh Hamilton's 6.5 UZR/150 as being the lowest among the Rangers' seven outfielders.  DRS has Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Julio Borbon as a net 24 runs above average defensively this season, with only Vladimir Guerrero and Brandon Boggs below average (and they are both a -1 in limited innings).

*  The most recent UZR data doesn't include Brandon Boggs, whose time in the field has come since their last update.

If you look at the data by team, the Ranger outfield has the third highest UZR/150 in baseball, and the third highest DRS in baseball.

Nelson Cruz, in particular, for the second year in a row, is grading out very highly, despite a Ticket personality famously calling Cruz the worst defensive outfielder he's seen last year.

The advanced stats and the eyes agree...the Rangers' outfield defense has been very, very good this year.