Runs Above Average with Zone Rating Part One: The Infielders

Since I have not posted these yet all season, I figured I'd throw the rankings for all defensive players with at least 300 innings in the field, starting with the infield positions today. The stat used to measure defensive value is the same one I use in pNRAA. League average Zone Rating for each position is calculated, as well as chances and plays above average for each player. Using Chris Dial's run values for Zone Rating, we get a Runs Above Average, or ZRate as someone smarter and better looking than me called it a few times in the past. As I said, that is the defensive number that replaced Prospectus' Rate2 for the defensive portion of the pNRAA calculations.

First Base Defensive Rankings
Rank NAME INN ZR Chances Plays Above Average Runs Above Average
1 Albert Pujols 727.2 .870 186 106.79 11.92
2 Adam LaRoche 697.0 .861 180 101.73 10.92
3 Lyle Overbay 736.2 .854 189 105.49 9.98
4 Lance Berkman 504.1 .883 129 75.74 9.63
5 Chris Shelton 839.0 .944 182 117.96 9.57
6 Dan Johnson 612.2 .838 158 85.66 6.65
7 Todd Helton 737.2 .849 183 101.23 6.47
8 Ben Broussard 561.2 .817 151 78.7 6.23
9 Lance Niekro 398.1 .926 91 57.34 5.63
10 Justin Morneau 823.2 .845 201 110.38 5.11
11 Mark Sweeney 315.0 .863 81 45.94 4.91
12 Kendry Morales 422.2 .910 96 58.96 4.49
13 Conor Jackson 626.1 .844 152 83.32 3.38
14 Mike Lamb 380.2 .827 96 50.99 2.37
15 Travis Lee 615.1 .858 143 80.39 2.15
16 Richie Sexson 858.1 .813 211 109.12 0.59
17 Kevin Youkilis 724.0 .831 172 92.05 0.48
18 Doug Mientkiewicz 725.2 .889 155 91.94 0.27
19 Mark Teixeira 869.2 .826 207 109.74 -0.04
20 Nomar Garciaparra 690.2 .884 148 87.05 -0.11
21 Ryan Howard 827.0 .821 198 103.98 -0.38
22 Kevin Millar 473.1 .779 122 58.95 -0.65
23 Jeff Conine 375.2 .817 88 45.86 -1.22
24 Andy Phillips 449.0 .895 91 54.52 -1.75
25 Scott Hatteberg 677.0 .907 134 81.9 -2.89
26 Adrian Gonzalez 816.2 .861 175 98.9 -3.34
27 Craig Wilson 360.1 .830 76 40.6 -3.9
28 Sean Casey 443.1 .833 94 50.49 -4.37
29 Carlos Delgado 804.1 .860 170 95.91 -4.52
30 Nick Johnson 816.1 .839 179 97.23 -4.67
31 Paul Konerko 772.2 .773 192 91.61 -4.73
32 Todd Walker 312.2 .780 69 33.41 -4.81
33 Prince Fielder 838.1 .805 194 98.78 -5.65
34 Mike Jacobs 630.1 .821 129 67.75 -9.45
35 Jason Giambi 360.0 .689 78 30.67 -11.81

As if everyone else in the league didn't feel inferior enough already, Albert Pujols is ranked first among first basemen defensively, as well as with the bat. His pNRAA for the season is +86.58 per 150 games; he's already been almost 50 runs above average for his position in only 81 games. I feel like that's wrong, but he has a .364 EqA and is the best defensive first basemen this season, so it adds up.

Second Base Defensive Rankings
Rank NAME INN ZR Chances Plays Above Average Runs Above Average
1 Placido Polanco 733.0 .885 287 19.02 14.34
2 Aaron Hill 544.1 .884 213 13.90 10.48
3 Mark Grudzielanek 710.2 .867 288 13.90 10.48
4 Brian Roberts 673.2 .861 253 10.69 8.06
5 Craig Biggio 661.2 .854 263 9.27 6.99
6 Jose Valentin 384.1 .857 188 7.19 5.42
7 Jamey Carroll 548.0 .839 277 5.61 4.23
8 Mark Ellis 553.1 .844 213 5.38 4.06
9 Robinson Cano 602.0 .839 244 4.94 3.73
10 Brandon Phillips 748.1 .830 251 2.83 2.13
11 Aaron Miles 600.0 .827 265 2.19 1.65
12 Dan Uggla 755.2 .826 298 2.16 1.63
13 Tadahito Iguchi 732.1 .823 276 1.18 0.89
14 Todd Walker 299.1 .823 104 0.44 0.33
15 Ian Kinsler 498.2 .820 217 0.27 0.21
16 Jose Lopez 818.0 .815 308 -1.15 -0.87
17 Chase Utley 818.1 .813 330 -1.89 -1.43
18 Ray Durham 654.1 .809 256 -2.49 -1.88
19 Josh Barfield 811.1 .810 302 -2.64 -1.99
20 Adam Kennedy 759.2 .798 279 -5.79 -4.36
21 Orlando Hudson 828.0 .802 373 -6.24 -4.71
22 Mark Loretta 808.0 .799 323 -6.38 -4.81
23 Jose Vidro 717.2 .791 250 -6.94 -5.23
24 Luis Castillo 764.1 .795 301 -7.15 -5.39
25 Jeff Kent 549.0 .790 257 -7.39 -5.57
26 Marcus Giles 735.2 .789 290 -8.63 -6.50
27 Ronnie Belliard 748.1 .783 318 -11.37 -8.57
28 Rickie Weeks 794.0 .776 336 -14.36 -10.83
29 Jorge Cantu 481.0 .717 179 -18.21 -13.73
30 Jose Castillo 812.2 .757 309 -19.08 -14.38

Orlando Hudson doesn't look like he's been the defensive specialist that the Diamondbacks were looking for, as he's about -5 for the season. On the other hand, his replacement Aaron Hill is the second best in the league behind the sure-handed Polanco, and in 200 less innings than Detroit's second basemen.

Third Base Defensive Rankings
Rank NAME INN ZR Chances Plays Above Average Runs Above Average
1 Mike Lowell 799.0 .854 235 18.62 14.90
2 Brandon Inge 856.0 .827 284 14.83 11.87
3 Corey Koskie 603.1 .843 179 12.21 9.77
4 Pedro Feliz 888.1 .810 262 9.23 7.38
5 Scott Rolen 761.1 .808 267 8.87 7.10
6 Vinny Castilla 575.0 .819 137 6.06 4.85
7 Freddy Sanchez 529.2 .804 193 5.64 4.51
8 Morgan Ensberg 696.2 .802 204 5.55 4.44
9 Chad Tracy 823.0 .798 199 4.62 3.70
10 Aramis Ramirez 820.2 .798 195 4.53 3.62
11 Adrian Beltre 874.0 .791 260 4.22 3.38
12 Ryan Zimmerman 857.1 .793 204 3.72 2.98
13 Joe Crede 790.0 .778 274 0.88 0.71
14 David Bell 754.1 .775 235 0.05 0.04
15 Hank Blalock 813.2 .774 236 -0.18 -0.15
16 Chipper Jones 656.1 .769 170 -0.98 -0.78
17 Garrett Atkins 839.1 .766 210 -1.84 -1.47
18 Aubrey Huff 572.2 .760 170 -2.51 -2.01
19 Edwin Encarnacion 477.1 .746 135 -3.88 -3.11
20 Troy Glaus 705.2 .750 209 -5.18 -4.14
21 Eric Chavez 703.0 .751 218 -5.18 -4.15
22 Aaron Boone 760.0 .751 226 -5.37 -4.30
23 David Wright 875.1 .741 239 -8.07 -6.46
24 Melvin Mora 851.1 .741 255 -8.61 -6.89
25 Mark Teahen 561.2 .729 204 -9.34 -7.47
26 Tony Batista 434.0 .699 139 -10.53 -8.43
27 Miguel Cabrera 818.2 .730 236 -10.57 -8.45
28 Alex Rodriguez 827.2 .729 243 -11.12 -8.90

Brandon Inge seems to be having trouble keeping his batting average up, and his plate patience was never that spectacular to begin with, but he's hitting for power and playing stellar D at the corner for the Tigers, the top defensive club in the league. His pNRAA of +3.48 has him above the league average for his position, even with his offensive struggles. Freddy Sanchez continues to shine; +23.34 pNRAA on the season for the Pirates.

Shortstop Defensive Rankings
Rank NAME INN ZR Chances Plays Above Average Runs Above Average
1 Adam Everett 776.0 .912 328 25.37 19.10
2 Juan Uribe 716.0 .888 265 14.14 10.64
3 Alex Gonzalez 699.1 .875 232 9.36 7.05
4 David Eckstein 824.0 .863 321 9.10 6.85
5 Jose Reyes 832.1 .862 304 8.31 6.26
6 Clint Barmes 749.0 .859 305 7.43 5.59
7 Omar Vizquel 813.2 .858 308 7.19 5.41
8 Bobby Crosby 762.0 .858 284 6.63 4.99
9 Khalil Greene 870.1 .853 311 5.71 4.30
10 Craig Counsell 631.2 .852 305 5.29 3.98
11 Jason Bartlett 320.0 .878 113 4.90 3.69
12 Carlos Guillen 775.0 .842 322 2.36 1.78
13 Michael Young 863.0 .840 381 2.04 1.53
14 Jhonny Peralta 819.2 .840 361 1.93 1.45
15 Orlando Cabrera 829.2 .839 279 1.21 0.91
16 Julio Lugo 586.1 .836 236 0.32 0.24
17 Yuniesky Betancourt 864.1 .835 326 0.11 0.08
18 Ronny Cedeno 782.0 .833 299 -0.49 -0.37
19 Royce Clayton 793.2 .830 318 -1.48 -1.11
20 Jimmy Rollins 844.0 .829 347 -1.96 -1.48
21 Bill Hall 585.1 .821 203 -2.77 -2.09
22 Miguel Tejada 805.2 .825 324 -3.13 -2.36
23 Rafael Furcal 851.0 .825 356 -3.44 -2.59
24 Jack Wilson 750.0 .811 344 -8.14 -6.13
25 Edgar Renteria 768.0 .810 332 -8.19 -6.16
26 Juan Castro 471.2 .786 210 -10.22 -7.69
27 Hanley Ramirez 785.0 .801 318 -10.70 -8.06
28 Angel Berroa 756.0 .800 309 -10.71 -8.06
29 Derek Jeter 787.1 .798 296 -10.85 -8.17
30 Felipe Lopez 824.0 .786 319 -15.52 -11.69

Adam Everett is the most valuable defensive player in the league. His run value is roughly 4-5 runs higher than the next highest players at any position. Everett's pNRAA is only -2.21 due to his anemic bat -- a .217 EqA is well below the positional average and replacement levels at shortstop. If he was league average at his position with the stick (.254 EqA) his pNRAA would be +19.10, a massive difference. I guess not everyone can be Albert Pujols. Jason Bartlett is +4 in just over 300 innings in the field; I could get off on a rant about how they should have handed him the job to keep back in March, but it's a little late for that.

I'll have the outfield rankings at some point later in the week; feel free to discuss these in the comments section and let me know how you think and feel.

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