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Mets Stat of the Day: Making a difficult play in the field

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Fielding evaluation is getting much more quantitative. Yet, there is still room for qualitative evaluation put into numbers. Based on Infield Edge scouts, which Mets were able to make the most difficult plays?

Maddie Meyer

A week after MLB Advanced Media announced that cameras will be installed in baseball stadiums everywhere to help measure never before captured details, such as the efficiency of an outfielder's route to catch the ball, there are new old school fielding stats available on Fangraphs.

Inside Edge is a sports company that charts every pitch of every MLB game, with scouts watching each ball in play to grade the difficulty that a fielder has in successfully fielding it.

Fangraphs has made Inside Edge data available on their website. The following scale is used to evaluate the difficulty of fielding each particular play.

  • Impossible (0%)
  • Remote (1-10%)
  • Unlikely (10-40%)
  • About Even (40-60%)
  • Likely (60-90%)
  • Almost Certain / Certain (90-100%)

No player has successfully fielded an impossible ball (makes sense). In looking for the players who made the most difficult plays, it is interesting to look at how many remote plays that they made, given the number of chances.

The table below highlights Mets who successfully fielded a remote play (given 100 innings in the field) in 2013. As the data clearly shows, sorting by percentage is probably not fair to players like Daniel Murphy, who have a lot more opportunities to fail on a difficult to field ball. Murphy saw the third most remote hits in 2013 among second basemen in baseball. For comparison, Darwin Barney and Jose Altuve fielded 14.3% of their 14 opportunities, while Ian Kinsler only got to 5.6% of his 18 remote opportunities, and Aaron Hill and Neil Walker only 7.7% of their 13 chances.

Missing from the list is David Wright. He had 12 remote opportunities last season, but according to Inside Edge, was unsuccessful in fielding any of them.

Rank Name Pos Inn # 0% # 1-10% 1-10%
1 Dillon Gee P 199 0 5 40.0 %
2 Eric Young LF 749.1 60 5 40.0 %
3 Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF 151.2 7 3 33.3 %
4 Travis d'Arnaud C 258.1 0 5 20.0 %
5 Ruben Tejada SS 499 4 5 20.0 %
6 John Buck C 869 2 6 16.7 %
7 Juan Lagares CF 819.2 52 8 12.5 %
8 Daniel Murphy 2B 1334.1 5 14 7.1 %

Source: Fangraphs