Statcast’s best basketball players in 2022
We already know who won the 2022 Golden Glove awards. But what if we just used Statcast’s fielder tracking data to decide the best defenders in baseball?
Statcast’s All-Defense Team Picks for 2022
Here are the best players in the American League and National League at every position according to Statcast’s defensive metrics. For outfielders and outfielders, that is Above average outputs, which uses a plus/minus system for each row player based on the probability of going all out. For receivers, we will use field framing races — the number of runs a catcher saves his team by getting extra strikes in the outfield.
Does Statcast agree on Gold Glove winners? Are there any surprises?
Here are Statcast’s 2022 total defense teams for each league, position by position.
The 2022 AL Platinum Glove winner was by far the best fielder in the majors this season, saving the Yankees 17 runs from extra-base hits. The next closest catcher was the Rangers’ Jonah Heim with +12 frame runs. Trevino received strike on a Major League: Best 54% of boundary pitches.
First base: Owen Millerguardians
+6 outs above average
AL first basemen weren’t the strongest group defensively in 2022, but Miller was the best fielder who spent the most time at first, with +6 outs above average. Gold Glove Award winner Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had minus-4 OAA.
Schoop was Statcast’s Defensive Player of the Year. His +27 OAA was No. 1 in the Majors at any position and more than double the AL’s next best second baseman, Andrés Giménez at +13 OAA.
The third baseman for the World Series champions was solid at the hot corner all year and compiled a personal-best +8 OAA. He was especially good on plays that went to his left, with half of his OAA coming from them.
You will find Nicky Lopez in the utilities section. But for everyday shortstops, Mateo was first in the AL. Starting 142 games at shortstop for the O’s, he was especially good on punts or returns (+8 combined OAA).
Left field: Steven Kwanguardians
+9 starts above average
Kwan was not only an elite contact hitter, he was an excellent left fielder. The Guardians rookie won the Gold Glove award in the AL and deservedly so, as his +9 OAA was the best among all left fielders.
Center field: Jose Sirirays
+16 starts above average
Whether he was playing for the Astros or the Rays, Siri was elite in center field in 2022. He had great range to get into the gaps, as he was worth +14 total outs above average on plays to his left or his right
Right field: Max KeplerTwins
+11 starts above average
Kepler was just as good whether he was facing a lefty hook or a righty cut in right field, as he posted a +6 OAA against right-handed hitters and a +5 OAA against left-handed hitters. Kepler has consistently been one of the better right fielders, with a +51 OAA value at the position since Statcast introduced the stat in 2016. Only Mookie Betts has been better in right field.
Of baseball best overall fielding in 2021 As a shortstop, Lopez split his time between shortstop and second for Kansas City in 2022 and was still excellent as a hybrid infielder. Lopez’s +14 OAA made him a top-10 overall outfielder in MLB.
d’Arnaud was the only NL catcher with double-digit runs saved from the infield frame, which put him ahead of Omar Narváez, Yadier Molina and Tomás Nido. It was the best framing season of his career as d’Arnaud improved from +1 to +11 framing runs from 2021 to ’22.
Walker excelled early on with +14 OAA, making him not only the best defensive first baseman, but also a top 10 overall outfielder in MLB. Walker’s +33 OAA since 2019 is by far the best in the positionwith Matt Olson (+12) and Paul Goldschmidt (+11) following.
While Tommy Edman would deserve a Statcast award here, he will come in as a utility player. So McNeil gets the Statcast Defensive Award at second base in the NL for his career-best +8 OAA this season.
It was a huge defensive year for Swanson, who was the second-best outfielder in all of baseball by Outs Above Average and the No. 1 shortstop by a wide margin over Francisco Lindor and Nico Hoerner (+13 OAA each). Swanson’s 2022 gives you such a case best defender of the big four free agent shortstops.
Grisham narrowly edged out Siri for the most above-average outings among regular center fielders. he did 17 plays with a catch probability of 50% or lessmore than any other outfielder, including five five-star catches (25% catch chance or lower).
The versatile Varsho is a player good enough to play both catcher and center field. But most of his reps came in right field in 2022, and he accumulated +17 OAA, making him a top-five player in MLB. He made six five-star catches, more than any other gardener.
Edman was in a similar situation to Lopez, playing both second base and shortstop for the Cardinals (and some third base…and some outfield). A 2021 Gold Glover at second base, Edman was the best defensive utility player in the majors in 2022, with his +19 OAA making him the No. 3 overall outfielder in baseball.
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