The Elements of Cubs Fielding, Part 2

Today I want to look at several interesting elements of the Cubs fielding. This is a continuation of a discussion Will and I had a week or so earlier.

Will noted: Kosuke [Fukudome]. I was actually suprised at the vast discrepancy between his RF/CF UZR. RF is stellar, CF, absolutely horrendous. I actually looked at Jermaine Dye's UZR as well, just to get a better understanding of where Kosuke is, and Dye is horrific!

--I think Kosuke's sample size is too small for both positions. He's really only got one season in each position, and as far as UZR goes, that's just not long enough. I genuinely think he's: 1) a great RF and 2) a potentially serviceable CF (i.e. I don't think he's god-awful like the numbers suggest). But still, I'd like to see him shift to right, where it's a safer bet.


Will: Derrek Lee. Everyone talks about how great DLee is on defense, but personally the UZR says he's slightly better than average. I was surprised about this one.
--Historically, Lee suffers from the same thing Jeter does: beautiful skills, little range. However, 1B is really a position that's hard to gauge range, in my opinion, and I think that's reflected in the recent fluctuation in his range. However, he'll never hurt you on defense -- which is gravy considering he can carry you on offense!
Will: Aramis Ramirez. Defensively, slightly below average but he doesn't have a "Holy crap! what happened that year?!" performance (or lack thereof). Can't go too hard on him.
--Ramirez is in there for his bat. He could never field another ball, for all I care. He's just got to keep swinging away. He walks, he crushes it. And boy can he do both. That's all I ask for.
Will: Chone Figgins. I debated between a couple 3B's in the league (ok, him and ARod) and Chone's UZR JUMPED off the chart (at least for last season). See for yourself.
--What's important to remember about Chone (2008-2009 UZR at 3B = ~16 runs above average) is that he's a converted outfielder who could throw, but couldn't run. The slowest outfielder in the world (cough, Jake Fox*, cough-cough) can look like a bolt of lightning at 3B. Third basemen are just required to move faster over less ground; reflexes, not necessarily leg strength. If you want to see some serious fielding, check out Evan Longoria of the Rays. He's saved 33 runs in just two years of MLB service. His, as they say, Evan LonGlorious.
*Don't misunderstand. I loves me some Jake Fox. He don't need to be fast to do the homerun trot.

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