2009 vs. 2010: The defense

Freddy Sanchez - Matt Bandi/PLC
Freddy Sanchez - Matt Bandi/PLC
When we compared the Pirates’ 2009 offense with the team’s 2010 projections, we found that the Bucs should expect to see a five-win improvement strictly through their performance at the plate. That is all well and good, but it is only one aspect of the team. Today we look at the defense, which does not look quite as optimistic.

 

The team that began the 2009 season in Pittsburgh was anchored by two elite defenders, with additional above average gloves all around the diamond. Nyjer Morgan and Jack Wilson were among the best at their respective positions, while Freddy Sanchez, Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss and Nate McLouth were solid. Of course, four of those six players were traded at mid-season.

 

2009

Player UZR
Nyjer Morgan 14.4
Jack Wilson 11.5
Brandon Moss 7.0
Lastings Milledge 5.8
Andy LaRoche 5.3
Freddy Sanchez 3.9
Nate McLouth 3.4
Eric Hinske 1.0
Luis Cruz 0.3
Jeff Salazar 0.3
Ryan Doumit -0.5
Craig Monroe -0.6
Andrew McCutchen -0.7
Brian Bixler -1.3
Neil Walker -1.3
Steve Pearce -1.5
Ramon Vazquez -1.7
Adam LaRoche -1.8
Garrett Jones -2.1
Ronny Cedeno -4.0
Delwyn Young -7.5
Total 29.9

 

I am using Steve Sommer’s UZR/150 projections for 2010, adjusted to raw UZR based on my expected plate appearances. These are regressed and they include an adjustment for Tom Tango’s Fans Scouting Report. Jeff Clement did not have a projection, so I estimated his UZR/150 to be -5 runs at first base. I also made estimates for a few other players who should receive significantly less playing time. Here are the results

 

2010

Player UZR
Lastings Milledge 3.5
Garrett Jones 2.7
Andy LaRoche 1.5
Andrew McCutchen 1.3
Akinori Iwamura 1.3
Ryan Church 1.2
Brandon Moss 0.3
John Raynor 0.1
Jose Tabata -0.3
Delwyn Young -1.3
Ronny Cedeno -2.0
Pedro Alvarez -3.3
Jeff Clement -3.3
Bobby Crosby -3.5
Total -2.0

 

Garrett Jones actually projects to be one of the better defenders, because I penciled him in to receive considerable playing time at first base. There are not many other surprises on the list, other than maybe Bobby Crosby’s poor rating.

Overall, the Pirates will likely lose about three wins on defense from 2009 to 2010. With the offense kicking the win total up to 67, that drops us back down to 64 expected wins in 2010. Awesome.

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