Unfortunately errors are not very awesome. Thus, watching the Orioles play defense is dreadful. They lead the MLB with 16 Errors (As of 4/20/12), and most likely lead the league in starting pitching frustration. Of course, the starters have done a decent job of minimizing the damage from these errors for the most part. And obviously I didn't write this to tell you how terrible the Orioles are at defense. Interestingly enough, UZR seems to actually favor the Orioles defensively this season for some unfathomable reason.
Take a look at these odd and interesting statistics:
For anyone not up to speed with advanced defense metrics, here are the definitions:
Thanks of course to Fangraphs:
I thought the Orioles were terrible at defense? Apparently the advanced metrics do not agree entirely with that thought. As shown above, they are actually pretty damn good for the most part. Of course the ErrR is going to be near league bottom, since they do lead the league with 16 errors. But it is surprising to see that they are indeed favored defensively over quite a bit of teams so far.● Outfield Arm Runs (ARM) – The amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners to advance.
● Double-Play Runs (DPR) – The amount of runs above average an infielder is in turning double-plays.
● Range Runs (RngR) – Is the player an Ozzie Smith or an Adam Dunn? Do they get to more balls than average or not?
● Error Runs (ErrR) – Does the player commit more or fewer errors compared with a league-average player at their position?
Even more surprising was to look at the top 5 UZR players on the Orioles:
Yes, you read that right. Wilson Betemit is 3rd on the Orioles in UZR. I don't think there is any logical explanation for this, but it's true. In fact, he has a better UZR than Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis, whom have combined for -0.8 UZR. Also you might find it interesting to see the man on the bottom of the totem pole:
So what exactly is going on? Anyone whom has watched the Orioles play this season knows that they have looked dreadful at times defensively. Sure, there have been some excellent plays too, but the bad ones have been BAD. The only thing I can determine is that the season is young, and that if you factor out the errors, they actually haven't been too shabby. I know that everyone has been secretly impressed with how good Chris Davis has looked at times defensively (Of course then he makes an entirely laughable error). Endy Chavez has probably been the most impressive defensively, and UZR agrees. Matt Wieters has actually be disappointing so far defensively, but even then he still is tied for second with 2 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).
As the season goes on, I expect UZR to favor the Orioles less and less. However, as of now they are in good standards.