2017 APBA Baseball by the Numbers: Fielding

Nolan_Arenado_on_August_31,_2016Hey APBA Fans!

The 2017 APBA Baseball card set is out and I thought I’d take my annual trip into “By the Numbers” by breaking the set down into the nitty-gritty.  Putting into perspective by ranking the defense, pitching and hitting.  Who has the best (like maybe the 3B fielding rating of Nolan Arenado), worst, highest, lowest, juiciest and the stinkiest?

For the first post, I’m going to begin with defense.  For each position, I’ll post the highest rated players aas well as the general distribution throughout the whole set (note: this includes anyone who was rated at every position not just starters).

Let’s begin with the backstops.

Sal Perez and Russ Martin make a return appearance with a C-9 and are joined by Barnhart, Hedges, and Maldonaldo.


Player Team C rating
Tucker Barnhart CIN 9
Austin Hedges SD 9
Martin Maldonado LAA 9
Russell Martin TOR 9
Salvador Perez KC 9

Only two catchers rated C-5 in the 2017 set.  If you’re wondering, they’re Eduardo Escobar and Andrew Romine (we’ll talk about him later).

In my opinion, it’s a strong year for defensive catchers with more C-8 than C-7.


Defensive Rating Catchers
C-5 2
C-6 9
C-7 29
C-8 30
C-9 5

While we’re on the topic, it’s not a bad year for good glove firstbaseman either.  There a total of eight 1B-5.  On second look though, that’s down from twelve in 2016.  All are worthy in my opinion even the two on my league teams :)


Player Team 1B rating
Brandon Belt SF 5
Paul Goldschmidt ARI 5
Adrian Gonzalez LAD 5
Eric Hosmer KC 5
Mitch Moreland BOS 5
Anthony Rizzo CHC 5
Justin Smoak TOR 5
Joey Votto CIN 5

While most positions have a simple bell curve when it comes to distribution, first base is one of the exceptions.  Most DHs are assigned a 1B-2 when they haven’t played another position.


Defensive Rating Firstbasemen
1B-2 64
1B-3 57
1B-4 17
1B-5 8

I remember years when we would think, “Who would get the 2B-9?”.  Well, a total of five got the rating in 2017.  In fact, four of the same five from 2016 were rated 2B-9.  Danny Espinosa replaces Joe Panik this year.


Player Team 2B rating
Brian Dozier MIN 9
Josh Harrison PIT 9
Ian Kinsler DET 9
D.J. Lemahieu COL 9
Danny Espinosa TB 9

Almost a perfect bell curve in the secondbasemen distribution.


Defensive Rating Secondbasemen
2B-5 4
2B-6 30
2B-7 46
2B-8 27
2B-9 5

This is where the hyperbolic celebration stops.  No player in the 2017 set received the coveted SS-10 rating.  It’s been a couple year since we had a shortstop with a perfect rating (JJ Hardy?).

A total of fifteen were rated SS-9 though.


Player Team SS rating
15 with 9

That’s an awful lot of SS-7s in my opinion.  Three of the four SS-6 players were rated as outfielder as their primary position.


Defensive Rating SS
SS-6 4
SS-7 42
SS-8 34
SS-9 15
SS-10 0

Colorado’s Nolan Arenado becomes the first 3B-6 since Manny Machado.


Player Team 3B rating
Nolan Arenado COL 6
9 tied 5

I’ve said before but… thirdbase is a strange position when it comes to APBA ratings.  Consistently, there are always more 3B-3 players than the rest combined.  Sometime, I am going to calculate just starters and see if that holds up.  My theory is that a lot of those are backup positions.


Defensive Rating 3B
3B-3 79
3B-4 42
3B-5 9
3B-6 1

If you’re wondering, the Outfield distribution is pretty much on par with last year.


Defensive Rating Outfielders
OF-1 84
OF-2 97
OF-3 48

Here is the distribution of J-ratings for both non-pitchers and pitchers.  It should be too surprising that there are more J-4s among the hurlers.


Non-pitchers  J-rating Pitchers J-rating
23 J-0 32 J-0
84 J-1 50 J-1
108 J-2 106 J-2
150 J-3 156 J-3
72 J-4 119 J-4

Who had the best outfield arm?

Ok, I left Descalso in the list, sue me.  He did play a little outfield in 2017.  You won’t find any 40 arms like Clemente but Yasiel Puig and Aaron Hicks do their best with 38.


Outfielder Team Arm
Yasiel Puig LAD 38
Aaron Hicks NYY 38
Daniel Descalso ARI 37
Brett Phillips MIL 37
Yoenis Cespedes NYM 37
Gregory Polanco PIT 37
Kevin Kiermaier TB 37
Carlos Gomez TEX 37

I’m a little surprised to see Yan Gomes on this list.  Roberto Perez is the only returning on this list.


Player Team TH rating 
Welington Castillo BAL +6
Tucker Barnhart CIN +6
Christian Vazquez BOS +5
Roberto Perez CLE +5
Yan Gomes CLE +5
Tony Wolters COL +5

Remember Andrew Romine from earlier in the article?  He is the only player to play every non-pitcher position.  He even managed to achieve Fielding 2 at 2B, 3B, SS and OF.

Fifteen other players played every other position except catcher.


Player Team C 1B 2B 3B SS OF
Andrew Romine DET 5 3 7 4 8 2
Javier Baez CHC 3 8 5 9 1
Marwin Gonzalez HOU 3 7 3 8 2
Logan Forsythe LAD 2 8 4 7 1
Matt Reynolds NYM 3 7 4 7 1
Enrique Hernandez LAD 2 6 4 7 2
Taylor Motter SEA 2 7 3 7 2
Hernan Perez MIL 2 7 3 7 2
Daniel Descalso ARI 3 7 3 7 1
Sean Rodriguez PIT 3 7 3 7 2
Adam Rosales ARI 3 7 3 7 1
Ehire Adrianza MIN 3 6 3 7 2
Jurickson Profar TEX 3 6 3 7 1
Pat Valaika COL 3 6 3 7 1
Jace Peterson ATL 3 6 3 6 2

That’s all for tonight!  Stay tuned for Pitching by the numbers soon!

Thomas Nelshoppen

I am an IT consultant by day and an APBA media mogul by night. My passions are baseball (specifically Illini baseball), photography and of course, APBA. I have been fortunate to be part of the basic game Illowa APBA League since 1980 as well as the BBW Boys of Summer APBA League since 2014. I am slogging through a 1966 NL replay and hope to finish before I die.


  1. Hi Tom,

    The last SS-10 I saw was Andrelton Simmons in 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *