When UZR and DRS Disagree

The Cleveland Indians will be getting some extra attention from me the next two days, as they'll be the next team I cover in the "A Look to the Future: 2013" series, which will be posted tomorrow. But I just wanted to touch on their wacky defensive metric marks from the first-half of the season.

Here's a look at the UZR/DRS marks for every regular with 200+ innings of playing time so far this year:

C Lou Marson: UZR N/A, DRS 0, 378 innings

1B Russell Branyan: +1.8 UZR, +8.0 DRS, 383 innings

1B Matt LaPorta: +0.2 UZR, +1.0 DRS, 234 innings

2B Luis Valbuena: -0.9 UZR, +5.0 DRS, 350 innings

2B Mark Grudzielanek: -2.5 UZR, +1.0 DRS, 228 innings

3B Jhonny Peralta: -4.6 UZR, +4.0 DRS, 652 innings

SS Asdrubal Cabrera: -4.3 UZR, -3.0 DRS, 282 innings

SS Jason Donald: -6.3 UZR, -5.0 DRS, 280 innings

OF Austin Kearns: -2.1 UZR, +2.0 DRS, 516 innings

OF Shin-Soo Choo: +2.1 UZR, +7.0 DRS, 682 innings

OF Trevor Crowe: -8.5 UZR, -1.0 DRS, 381 innings

OF Grady Sizemore: -0.4 UZR, -2.0 DRS, 269 innings 

Total UZR: -25.5

Total DRS: +17

I don't know about you guys, but this would seem to be one of the reasons that defensive metrics lack credibility. Two metrics looking at the same defense over the same period of time found two VERY different grades for that period, and to the untrained eye it would be pretty easy to just dismiss all of these numbers altogether. 

I do know that UZR has a higher correlation with next-year UZR than DRS does with near-year DRS, and I also know that defensive metrics tend to have trouble predicting next-year marks for players that are changing teams and home ballparks.

So yeah, the Indians are probably a better defense that UZR would lead you to believe, and yeah, they're probably a worse defense than DRS would imply. I just wish I didn't have to put them side-by-side to figure that out.

Oh yeah, and...  Happy Fourth of July, too!!!

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