Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia not a fan of defensive metrics

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensive metrics aren’t going away. They may have their flaws, but these stats still serve a purpose, so long as we recognize that none of them can tell the full story. We reference advanced stats to help support our case, but they don’t always give us a definitive answer. Most advanced stats, especially the defensive metrics, can’t be evaluated in small sample sizes and need to be used in conjunction with other measurements.

Take Pedroia for example. He won a Gold Glove in 2014 while posting a +17 in the defensive runs saved category. A year later he dropped to -3 DRS. Is that a sign that he suddenly fell off a cliff defensively, or was it due to a nagging hamstring injury hindering his abilities, while limiting him to a smaller sample size of only 92 games?

"“Shoot, the year before I think it was one of the best defensive metrics for a second baseman. And the year after it was terrible? Come on,” says a skeptical Pedroia."

DRS is a useful tool that helps tell us a lot about how a player executes in the field, but only when put into the proper context. If Pedroia stays healthier this season, don’t be surprised if those defensive numbers jump back toward his previous levels.

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Pedroia has no use for these stats, preferring to rely on his knowledge of the game to translate what his eyes tell him. Many of these new wave analysts crunch numbers on their computers to spit out stats that may see it differently. When evaluating player performance these methods both have merit, but for a more accurate picture we need to consider both sides.