When was the last time any baseball fan you know got excited about statistics tracking the number of putouts and assists generated by an individual player or team? Unless you are a minority of one, the answer is “Never.”
Fielding performance is highly subjective and hard to quantify. Even today, with SABRmetrics and highly advanced measuring tools, accurately measuring fielding skills remains arcane.
Nevertheless, there are a few fielding performances that are interesting to follow during a replay. Whether or not you choose to keep them, of course, is totally optional.
For each replay I have done, I have kept three basic fielding stats:
- Individual errors for each player, recorded by position
- Passed balls for catchers
- Outfield assists for outfielders
Errors compilation usually confirms the fielding grades assigned by APBA. Once in a while there are exceptions but, by and large, the best fielders make the fewest errors and the poor fielders make the most errors.
The greatest number of outfield assists is usually totaled by right fielders or players with low-rated arms. That’s because right fielders often have high-rated arms and the ability to throw runners out and because lower-rated fields usually have poor arms and runners take more chances trying to run on them. This often results in lower-rated outfielders generating more assists simply because they have more chances to throw runners out.
What does not show up in the stats is how many times a strong-armed outfielder (e.g. modern day Yasiel Puig or, from a couple of decades ago, Dave Parker, or old-timer Harry Hooper) put the brakes on a runner thinking about going from first to third or scoring from second base. The high-rated arms of players like these don’t show up in the stats, but their effectiveness cannot be denied.
Next: A fielding performance chart