Alexei Ramirez, featured above in the one of my favorite highlights of the week, is shown making an incredible grab to rob Omar Vizquel of a decent blooper. What's not shown, though, is that this kind of defense is what makes manager's hearts swoon, old-school baseball writers bust out cliches like "climbed the ladder to grab that one!", and us saber guys want to gently remind all of the above that while the play should be appreciated, it actually can be measured and compared and evaluated with the rest of his other talents.
Ramirez, 30, is hitting just .213/.232/.271 on the 2012 season, down from a career .273/.315/.408. With a third of the season gone, Ramirez is in the negatives for Wins Above Replacement, costing the team an entire win and projecting to cost the White Sox three entire wins for the season (b-ref).
Granted, he's been a bit unlucky this season, seeing a .251 BABIP, down from a career .286 BABIP, and he is making up for it slightly in the field at +0.2, which might as well be zero if you recognize that measuring WAR to the tenths is somewhat questionable. He'll probably regress back up to his mean if he continues to get playing time.
Anyway, I like the clip because it shows that Alexei still has some moves, and for everything it accidentally implies. If you're like me, your split baseball personalities (love of the game, love of stats, recognition of some immeasurables /hustle/heart plays) can sometimes be at war, or at odds if you don't want a word that sounds like a stat.
And sometimes I find myself arguing in my head (more on that internal dialogue in another post at a much later date): "great play!"
"Not great enough to overcome his bat, though!"