Matt asked this question about fielding on The APBA Blog’s Facebook wall. I thought I’d tackle it here in a post:
"I’m sure this is already answered someplace, but I’m not sure where or how to look. How are fielding grades determined? I’m just trying to get a feel for what positions I’ll need to fill for next season (15-49 with the team that I took over midseason, so I’m anxious and getting a head start on planning for the future). Is there a set number of games that need to be played this season for a player to be given a grade at a position?
It’s a good question, Matt (sorry to hear about the 15-49 record). A lot of APBA fans are still figuring out how APBA determines fielding sometimes. That said, maybe we can help. I say “we” I’d like anyone else to comment if they have helpful advice/info.
Here are some factors that determine a player’s fielding grade:
Tradition: a player will generally not stray more than one point from their previous year’s grade. Also, it would take a lot for a player who has been rated highly for years to begin to decline in his rating.
Playing time: The amount of time in the field does make a difference. The most impact is when a player has such little time at one position that APBA is forced to downgrade his fielding rating.
Team performance: it doesn’t hurt if the team the player’s MLB was a playoff team. I wouldn’t always count on this but if he’s on the fence, it might give him the extra push he needs.
I’ve heard that APBA will use the pitchers’ fielder ratings to balance the total fielding for teams that might need it (or perhaps vice versa).
Player’s role: if the player’s role was a defensive replacement, APBA might give him the better rating over his replacement (assuming he is that much better in the field).
and of course…
Fielding ability: I really don’t know where APBA gets their scouting info from. No doubt, we all have our opinions when the cards come out. All in all, they do a pretty good though. Those who pay more attention than I can tell you which if any fielding stats are consistent with APBA’s fielding ratings. I can tell you it’s more than just errors or fielding percentage.
Either APBA is being super scientific about it or they are throwing everything out the window and judging players subjectively. Again, comments are welcome on this one.
Matt, I hope this helps at least as a starting point. Good luck nest year!