Just five short years ago, the Rockies' fielding was the talk of Major League Baseball. Most notably, the 2007 club set a record for team fielding percentage (.98925). Lest we sneeze at that because it's fielding percentage, the Rockies were 5th in the National League in Defensive Runs Saved, 3rd in the NL for RZR, and 2nd in the NL for Defensive Efficiency. Given this stellar defensive play, the Rockies had the 15th best UZR in all of baseball in 2007.
Wait, 15th? Only league average in the catchall "Ultimate Zone Rating?" How could that be? Well, this article in the 2008 Hardball Times Baseball Annual helps to explain the conundrum. The 2007 Rockies weren't spectacular at making plays out of their zone. In fact, they were middle of the pack. But the 2007 Rockies overcame their lack of team speed and range by making the plays on balls hit to them, as evidenced by their record fielding percentage (.989), as well as their Defensive Efficiency (.701) and league-best ErrR (19.8). What the Rockies lost in range, they more than made up for in clean play.
How things have changed. The 2012 Rockies were dead last in Defensive Runs Saved (-88), much worse than the 2nd-worst Astros (-70), who in turn were much worse than 3rd-worst Cleveland (-51). The 2012 Rockies also were last 2nd to last in UZR (-41.6). As Andrew Martin noted back in October, the defense cost the Rockies nine wins in 2012.
Wednesday Rockpile: "D-FENCE!"
Purple Row | Jan 2