rmande09 wrote:I completely agree that errors are an awful statistic. They really measure little defensively, especially when talking a guy like a middle-infielder... However, there's a difference when we are talking 25 errors and 45 errors (Actually, LaRoche's 10 in 62 extrapolated over 162 is 26, which is higher than every other 3Bman, but I only extrapolated Braun's over 150 I think, because 34 in 110 is 50 in 162 - flat out scary). Though I agree that the fields generally get better as you progress, the difference IS minimal - I would like to see an analysis as to HOW much difference it actually makes. I would bet it was less than a .005 difference in FPCT. In college, I played at spring training sites, some of the best college fields in the country, and a few short-season and A-ball fields, and there was literally no difference - and I have no idea how it can actually get BETTER, at least in terms of being a defender, than those fields. Obviously I believe that the infield at Fenway plays better than the infield at Lowell, but the difference is probably minimal - certainly not enough to change the fact that 50 errors is 50 errors.
You are very correct in saying ST sites are very nice. Parent clubs pump a lot of money into those facilities to make sure they are "up to snuff." The difference between a typical A or AA field and a good AAA (Omaha, Iowa etc) or a MLB field is in the quality and composition of the soil and grass. Any infiltration in the field will change the nature of it including how a ball moves against it. A very simple example of a similar affect can be observed by watching a game at Yankees Stadium when Chien Ming Wang is pitching. The ground in front of home plate is watered down such that the ball moves slower on that surface than it would at Camden Yard. The biggest reason for the disparity is budget. A typical AAA club groundscrew staff might look like this: 1-2 full time employees, 4+ interns working more than you'd ever want to in a week and several more game day staff. Many A facilities have a single full time groundskeeper and a 1-3 interns with little to no game day staff.
Do you have a link to show errors on throws and errors actually fielding the ball? I ask this in seriousness, not being a smarta**, because you stated that he made more throwing errors than fielding errors and unless you have seen him play more than 50% of his games, I'm not sure you can state that with much confidence unless there are actually splits. Regardless, even if they are throwing errors, that does not bode well for Braun. If they were fielding errors, you could make the argument that it has to do with the conditions of the fields, but throwing errors are throwing errors, and at the age of 22 with 17 years of baseball experience, I would think that he would have harnessed the control of his throws by now. From all reports I've read, Braun has poor movement at 3rd troubled even more by hands like feet. His arm is very much PLUS, but you'd be better off playing Russian Roulette than guessing where his ball is headed.
No I do not. That comes from Brevard County's manager talking about his defensive woes when he was promoted and from Game Day Notes released for a game in late August when he was in AA. From all the times I've seen him, most of his errors come from having trouble getting into position to field and throw in one motion. This is pretty typical of a lot of young players. But it will certainly be exaggerated by a poor playing surface.
And to go even farther with this, he made 15 errors at Brevard County (A+) in 508 innings at 3B, but 19 errors in 500 innings at AA Hunstville. Sample size is too small, certainly, but I was just putting it out there as a comparison since you showed me LaRoche's.
Sample size (and inherant problem with the metric) granted, it shows my point that the surfaces he played on (particularly in Huntsville) might have an impact on his totals.
In all what we are left with is comparing a crappy statistic that has even more subjectivity and lack of credibility in the minor leagues than in the major leagues.