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Hardy's range (or lack thereof)


Over this tough stretch, there have been a number of key hits that have just eluded Hardy. Now range has never been JJ's strong suit, but is it me or has his range decreased this year following his foot/ankle surgery?

 

In checking Range Factor Stats (a somewhat dubious stat admitedly) of the 20 guys in the NL who have started at least 20 games at short, Hardy is ranked 18th, ahead of (barely) Cesar Izturis and also barely ahead of Mark Loretta.

 

If that's all the range JJ has at age 24, what are his long term prospects as a shortstop?

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I agree with you, his range has seemed especially lackluster lately. It's hard for me to tell just how good of a shortstop JJ is. He seems pretty mediocre to me but a lot of people rave about his defense, so I don't know. Then again, a lot of people also rave about Jeter's defense, so maybe you can't tell by that either.

 

Overall though, I don't think JJ's defense has lived up to it's pre-MLB hype. He was portrayed as being a Gold Glove-level defender, which to me means one of the top 4-5 defensive players at a position in the majors. I don't think he's been that, or even within shouting distance of that.

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He's average defensively on balls hit into his zone, above average on balls hit out of his zone for the season. I don't see this being a problem for the season, it may be a short term issue though especially if he's still not 100% healthy.
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"I don't see this as a problem for this season".

 

It may already have been. Those balls hit off of Cordero and Turnbow for the most part weren't rockets. Some were very well placed to be sure but a couple Hardy dove for and missed. I do know we can't expect Turnbow and Cordero to strike everyone out.

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I think you misunderstood what I said. So far this season Hardy's range has been above average, it has not been a season long problem. Now it could be a short term problem, I haven't watched the last few games because I've been at work and I can't look at stats for just a few games and they wouldn't tell me much anyway. But over this entire season worth of games Hardy statistically has been an above average defensive SS. He's looked good in general when i've watched him play too.
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For whatever its worth, the BABIPs of Turnbow and Cordero are .290 and .347 respectively, a bit high. My feeble memory seems to recall a bunch of bleeders and dinks leading to Cordero's blown saves, but every hit that Turnbow to give up being a rocket. Both pitchers seem to live and die with their slider. Cordero is more prone to burying it and ocasionally hanging it, where Turnbow will lose confidence and regress to a one pitch pitcher.

 

I don't think there's any doubt that a stronger up-the-middle defense would help Brewer pitching, but it's hard to surmise that it would have saved the handfull of late inning meltdowns the bullpen has experienced recently.

 

Perhaps some improvement could be needed in Ned's usage of Counsell. It seems like he could be brought in via the double switch more often, serving as both a pinch hitter and defensive replacement.

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it may be a short term issue though especially if he's still not 100% healthy.

 

Considering he never seems to be 100% healthy his ability to play shortstop at a high level is probably what is short term. One thing this guy has got to prove is whether he can survive the rigors of being an everyday major leaguer. If he can't play at a high level while being less than 100% he is never going to be able to play at a high level for an entire year. Let alone an entire career.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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Perhaps some improvement could be needed in Ned's usage of Counsell. It seems like he could be brought in via the double switch more often, serving as both a pinch hitter and defensive replacement.

 

Yeah -- I was thinking that yesterday -- it seems like Hardy should have gotten to at least one of those balls... none of them were routine for sure. I think Counsell has exhibited more range later in the season. Hardy might be hitting a wall, having not played so long into a season in his career.

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"So far Hardy's range has been above average"

 

If that's true, how do explain his RF of 3.72 being the lowest among all regular shortstops in baseball and only higher than part timers Loretta and Izturis who have started at least 20 games there?

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Slow feet, you can see it when he runs too. Looks like he has a piece of glass stuck in his foot. Maybe the whole ligament injury is pestering him and he remains quiet. Positioning is the only solution and I don't think the Brewers do that as well as they did with Dauer.
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Range factor measures how many plays he makes. It's only use is to compare it to other SS's on his team, as the pitching staff dictates how many ground balls he'll see.

 

Zone rating measures how many balls were in "his zone" and how often they were turned into outs. You still have the human element of the stats people, but overall, ZR is far superior.

 

If I played SS with 4 LHP in the rotation, and 3 of them were sinker specialists, i might have a higher RF than JJ, and though I have a decent glove, you can measure my speed with a sun dial. However, my ZR would be terrible.

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I don't think defensive metrics are ever going to be really accurate, they don't seem to show a strong correlation year to year so I'm guessing you need a couple years worth of data to really nail down how good someone is.
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Was this subject started by a Bill Hall fan, who wants him back at SS.

 

 

Hardy is the best short stop the Brewers have, he is above average on defense. Take a look at the plays he has made this year and he has saved enough hits and runs for this team.

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While his defense isn't amazing, the fact that he can't get on base is a much more pressing concern than his inability to save a few singles here and there. He's costing the team many more runs with his bat than with his glove right now.
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