Bucs CF? Chris Duffy. And, Costly Player Errors
One of Bucco Blog’s readers asked me if I would break down the errors made last year. He was interested in knowing how many were made in games that were tied or when the Pirates were relatively close – up or down by four runs or less.
I emailed him back and told him 84% of all errors were committed when the game was tied or +/- 4 runs. He then asked about the home/away split on those errors.
That’s when it started to get interesting.
As you may remember me saying in my game threads here the last couple of years, the Pirates official scorekeeper has been extremely biased on giving errors to Pirates, in my opinion.
For instance in 2007, we recorded only 83 total errors – 4th lowest in MLB. But when you compare other statistics like defensive efficiency behind the pitchers (4th worst in the game), it’s clear the Pirates error total should have been 10% – 20% higher.
Look at it another way. On the road the Pirates were charged with one error every 1.7 games. At home just one in 2.3 games – a 28% difference when the league average spread was 9%. Part is explained by the younger players like Bautista and Paulino, but we only had five "charged" errors in center all year and our other positions had fairly experienced players.
Scorekeeper error charging bias at home is seemingly more evident in games when the Pirates were tied or ahead by two runs or less – just 6.5% vs 25% on the road under the same condition over the same 81 number of games.
Lastly, I thought it was interesting that only 15.8% of all errors occurred in the 32.8% blowout games we played. I don’t know if that is the result of pitcher’s pitching to contact faster, playing more loose, or something else, but it is a sign we can be doing a better job defending.
Here’s the breakdown for you to look at:
|Behind 1 or 2 Runs||13.2%||15.8%||14.5%||27.6%||43.4%|
|Ahead 1 or 2 Runs||3.9%||19.7%||11.8%||39.5%||59.2%|
|Behind 3 or 4 Runs||10.5%||30.3%||6.6%||46.1%||76.3%|
|Ahead 3 or 4 Runs||5.3%||35.5%||2.6%||48.7%||84.2%|
|Behind >= 5 Runs||2.6%||38.2%||5.3%||53.9%||92.1%|
|Ahead >= 5 Runs||3.9%||42.1%||3.9%||57.9%||100.0%|
One new name popping up more and more in baseball fan discussion forums has been Matt Morris. The Post-Gazette fueled part of that by suggesting the other day Morris could be had if someone was willing to take on most of his contract. Many fans surmise that isn’t likely to happen.
Don’t be too sure.
If Josh Fogg could help lead the Rox to the big series, Matt Morris can certainly do it as well. The PG mentioned the Yankees and Mets but I don’t see Morris fitting in with either team. The Mets need a #2 type like a Snell or Gorzelanny and the Yankees aren’t exactly hurting by any means when you think of Hughes and Kennedy being available.
Morris will see more play in July than he’ll get now if a team needs an experienced arm looking at playing in October. We’ll have to watch how he throws early on.
Ever since I penned this article on Chris Duffy and his Nike shoes, his game has sunk to new lows just about every month. If he isn’t hurt, he didn’t know if he wanted to play, and if he did, his head didn’t seem to be in the game. One minute he’d argue with his hitting instructor and the GM on his approach at the plate, the next minute he’d be running home to mom and dad.
Now he’s hearing he’ll open up in Indy mainly because the club suggests he’s not 100% yet, although we should hear more about that in the next couple of weeks. I’m guessing they want him to ride the bus circuit for awhile to prove he really wants to play.
The Pirates are telling us there is a battle brewing between Morgan and McLouth to start in center but Pirate fans with an eye to defense know there is no substitution for Chris Duffy. McLouth can powder the ball better when he makes contact and doesn’t strike out, and Morgan can certainly electrify the crowds with his late jumps and corkscrew dives for balls. But Duffy is the real deal and our go-to guy.
And for good reason.
In games Duffy had 5 or more plate appearances since 2005, the Pirates won 58% of them. With Morgan and McLouth that falls to 52%. When Duffy got 3 or more plate appearances, the Pirates won 44% – the same with Morgan and McLouth.
But when Duffy got at least one hit or one walk in a game – which was 73% of the games he had at least one plate appearance in – the Pirates won 47% of the time. Notice I said 47%, which is above the club’s median winning percentage the last two years.
With McLouth and Morgan – who reached at least once in just 59% of the games they played in – the winning percentage falls down near our average club winning perceantage at 43%.
Now you tell me – would you rather have Duffy reaching at least one time per game in 3 of 4 he plays, or McLouth or Morgan reaching just a tick over two in four? Then throw in Duffy’s superior defense over McLouth and Morgan and the answer is a no-brainer.
Chris Duffy is clearly the Pirates centerfielder. The other two are simply stand-ins.
Hurry back Duff.