Monday, June 23, 2008

Who should start the All Star Game at Second Base

Chase Utley has a commanding lead in the All Star balloting, and no doubt he will end up starting the game in Yankee Stadium. Dan Uggla is well over a million votes behind, in 4th place. 

Let's take a look at the numbers:

Utley:   BA--.291; OBP--.379; SLG--.599; HR--22; RBI--63; OPS--.997
Uggla: BA--.294; OBP--.379; SLG--.643; HR--23; RBI--57;  OPS--1.022

Maybe Utley has some advantage if you look at the more modern, sabermetric stats

Utley--Runs Created--60; Outs--213; BA/RISP--.262; win shares (which includes defense)--15
Uggla--Runs Created--61; Outs--200; BA/RISP--.291; win shares--15

Well, maybe its defense, then. . .

Utley--4 throwing errors, 3 fielding errors; fielding percentage--.982
Uggla--3 throwing errors, 3 fielding errors; fielding percentage--.983

Uggla has started 22 double plays, and turned 28, while Utley has started 19 and turned 29. (This stat courtesy of the Hardball Times; ESPN's stats differ from THT, and baseball-reference differs from both. I don't know why.)

Utley does have more range than Uggla, so his overall defensive rating is higher than Dan's. According to baseball-reference, Uggla's range factor is 4.87, while Utley's is 5.05 (at second base--he's also played some first). The league average is 4.08.

As of today, Uggla is leading the NL in two statistical categories: extra base hits, and at bats per home run. Utley is leading in one--HBP. 

It is quite common to read or hear that Utley is having a phenomenal year, and it really is too bad about Uggla, but look at the year Utley is having. . . And its true Chase Utley is having an absolutely wonderful year. It's just not quite as good as Dan Uggla's.



John Dorschner said...

So the Twin U's ... power-hitting second basemen ... why is it that there's so much power at second in this post(?)-juice days.

John Dorschner said...

Actually, it's kind of weird/disturbing that those stat sites have different numbers.

rdfrench said...

Its frustrating to try to look at stats sometimes. As another example, each of the real heavy duty sabermetric sites (no discussion of RBI allowed) has a slightly different formula for runs created.

What hath Bill James wrought!