Ultimate Zone Rating – Middle Infielders

I found a chart online showing Ultimate Zone Ratings for the middle infield positions of all the Central League teams. (It was compiled by Norio Torigoe, who also wrote the book “Hanshin Tigers: Actually Strong” which used sabermetrics to prove its points.)

You should first know that Ultimate Zone Rating is a show of a player’s defensive skills, based on: (a) how many runs they prevented with their throws, (b) how many double plays they helped complete, (c) how many balls they were able to reach compared to the average player at their position, and (d) how many errors they commit.

First, here is a chart that puts the numbers in perspective:

UZR Meaning

So a zero score means you’re average in the field. How did our guys do? Here’s a look at the middle infielders’ official stats – this would include Takashi Toritani (shortstop) and the combination of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Yamato and Fumiya Hojoh (second base).

Central League Defensive Data 2016 (through May 15 games) Central League Middle Infielders UZR 2016
Team Ground Out % Grounders Outs Double Play % DP Chances DPs Gotten Infield Hit % Team 2B SS
Yomiuri 82.78% 540 447 11.45% 323 37 7.00% Yomiuri 0.2 -0.4
Chunichi 84.75% 531 450 7.35% 313 23 4.43% Chunichi 7.0 1.5
Hiroshima 81.32% 589 479 10.31% 320 33 7.37% Hiroshima 4.7 1.1
Hanshin 75.61% 488 369 4.68% 299 14 7.54% Hanshin -4.0 -12.9
Yakult 83.64% 538 450 8.97% 301 27 5.08% Yakult 1.1 0.2
DeNA 82.88% 520 431 10.37% 299 31 4.62% DeNA -1.6 -2.2

What do you see? I see that our shortstop is far and away the worst defensive player at his position in the Central. So the question remains: when will Kanemoto have the guts to bench him? The argument has always been “who can replace him, though? We have no one!” Oh yeah? Can it get *worse* than this?

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.