Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Range Factors
and Toronto Blue Jay Fielding

Probably the best readily available measure of fielding performance is "range factor", which attempts to measure the ability of players to get to balls in their areas of responsibility and turn them into outs. It is imperfect but somewhat illustrative of defensive abilities. Here are two good examples:

1. Orlando Hudson

I wasn't all that impressed with Hudson last year. But this year, the more I watched, the more impressed I became. I have begun to wonder if possibly Hudson is better than Alomar ever was. So yesterday afternoon I went to the MLB data base to look at the range factors for 2B players.
There, one can see that of all the 2B players with more than 25 games at that position, Orlando Hudson has the best range factor. He really is as good as he looks and as good as the Jays announcers say he is.
2. Alex Rios

Ms. Eclectic and I can't get over how mediocre he seems in the field. He looks as if he's dogging it or loafing or something. Add to that his apparent lack of concentration and planning, and we wondered if maybe we were missing something. The answer was probably not. He ranks well below the median among all outfielders in range factor. He is probably in the bottom third (of all OF, he ranks 167th out of 255, regardless of the number of games played in the outfield).

Meanwhile, Vernon Wells [center field for the Blue Jays] ranks 77th, probably in or near the top quartile; good, but not among the very best.
I know, I know. There are better measures of defensive performance, but those measures are not available at
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