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Perhaps the most brilliant mind in contemporary baseball analysis — at least among those creating products available to the public — is Daren Willman, the proprietor of Baseball Savant, a website he created on his own before joining forces with MLB.com.
The site is a treasure trove of everything you could ever hope to imagine to learn about the game. You truly are limited only by your own imagination. I wrote an article before the 2017 season chronicling Byungho Park’s struggles with velocity from the year before with data completely pulled from the site.
Somehow, the site continues to get better. One of the most recent additions to the site is rating outfielders by “directional outs above average.”
Here’s how the site explains it:
Directional Outs Above Average takes Outs Above Average, the Statcast range-based metric of fielding skill, and splits it into six different segments to express a fielder’s performance directionally.
The middle of the circle is the fielder’s starting point, and the 360-degree range around them is broken up into six 60-degree segments, where “in” is always “towards the plate.” The direction a player must go to get to the ball’s projected landing point from his starting spot dictates to which directional slice his play will be credited (or debited).
(Due to rounding, a player’s full-season OAA may not align perfectly with the total values of the six directional segments.)
For further clarity, it uses this image to show the zones:
(image credit: Baseball Savant)
All of the vantage points are from a home-plate view, by the way.
Each direction can be sorted for a high- or low-water mark, as can moving in or out (left, right and straight in that direction).
They’ve put together three years of data — sorted by number of opportunities — so let’s take a look at how some Twins show up on these leaderboards. For ease of sorting, I used a minimum of five fielding opportunities.
- Max Kepler: +9 on 327 attempts
- Byron Buxton: +2 on 74 attempts
- Jake Cave: +1 on 150 attempts
- Johnny Field: 0 on 136 attempts
- Eddie Rosario: 0 on 253 attempts
- Taylor Motter: 0 on nine attempts
- Robbie Grossman: -1 on 127 attempts