Publication believes age will hurt Rockies’ defense
The Rockies’ decision to go older this year was designed to increase the team’s savvy and improve situational hitting. But will it hurt the defense?
ACTA Sports, publishers of The Fielding Bible – Volume III, seems to think older is not necessarily better with the glove. The publication points to four moves hurting the defense, under its various formulas that rate players in a category called Defensive Runs Saved.
— The publication reported that right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook, who has signed a Minor League contract with the Red Sox, saved six runs last year and was the main reason the Rockies’ staff was rated best in baseball from a fielding standpoint.
— Mark Ellis, who signed with the Dodgers as a free agent, saved 17 runs last season, and bolstered the defense after arriving in a midseason trade. Marco Scutaro, who played last season for the Red Sox, replaces Ellis.
— The book ranks Michael Cuddyer, a free agent previously with the Twins, as a downgrade from Seth Smith, now with the Athletics, in right field.
— Also, catcher Chris Iannetta, who was traded to the Angels, saved eight runs in what the publication rated as a tremendous defensive year. This year’s publication predicts veteran Ramon Hernandez, who played for the Reds last season, will cost the Rockies four runs.
Overall, The Fielding Bible rated the Rockies fifth overall in the Majors defensively, and is predicting a drop to 14th.
Of course, the Rockies could beg to differ with the publication at two of the positions cited.
— When the Rockies signed Cuddyer, one of the attributes they mentioned was his throwing arm, which they felt was superior to Smith’s and the team has no doubt in Cuddyer’s ability to handle right. Right is roomy at Coors, but Dexter Fowler covers extreme ground in center, and left — where 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner Carlos Gonzalez plays — is considered more challenging than right because of the room that must be covered.
— The Rockies also have confidence in the range of Scutaro. Last season, Scutaro played in 109 games and started 103 at shortstop for the Red Sox. The Rockies want to rest shortstop Troy Tulowitzki more than in the past, and Scutaro’s range makes him a logical option to allow him to do so. The club would have to feel a second baseman with enough range to play short is not a defensive downgrade.