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Cardinals Very Good and Bad in SABR Defensive Index

The SABR Defensive Index (SDI) is not just some new wave gobbledygook that can be brushed off as irrelevant. The calculation of Major League Baseball player defensive value by position is used for an important purpose. It is weighted at 25 percent of the annual Gold Glove Award voting, with managers and coaches carrying the rest. (SDI background can be viewed here.)

With that in mind, let’s look at how several St. Louis Cardinals are faring in the most recent update of the SDI, for the 2015 season through September 13.

With an SDI of 10.2, Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward leads his position and is fifth overall in the National League. At 6.5, Yadier Molina is the next-highest ranked Cardinal, third among catchers and 20th overall in the NL.

Though he has been the Cardinals’ most dependable pitcher, it is safe to speculate that John Lackey will not be winning a Gold Glove this season. His SDI is dead last among 43 NL pitching qualifiers. (Jaime Garcia is not listed.)

Other Cardinals with negative SDIs and among the lower-ranked at their respective positions are Matt Carpenter at third base, Jhonny Peralta at shortstop and pitcher Lance Lynn.

Here is a subset of the National League rankings by position. (Full details here.) Note that Heyward is the only Cardinals outfielder ranked.

Pos rank NL pitchers Tm SDI
1 Zach Greinke LAD 5.4
17 Michael Wacha StL 1.4
23 Carlos Martinez StL -0.1
40 Lance Lynn StL -2.4
43 (last) John Lackey StL -4.5
NL catchers
1 Buster Posey SF 9.7
2 Wilson Ramos Was 8.6
3 Yadier Molina StL 6.5
NL first base
1 Brandon Belt SF 11.1
7 Mark Reynolds StL 2.2
NL second base
1 Danny Espinosa Was 9.6
8 Kolten Wong StL 1.2
NL third base
1 Nolan Arenado Col 13.2
12 Matt Carpenter StL -4.8
NL shortstop
1 Brandon Crawford SF 16.8
10 Jhonny Peralta StL -3.9
NL left field
1 Starling Marte Pit 7.4
NL center field
1 Billy Hamilton Cin 8.0
NL right field
1 Jason Heyward StL 10.2

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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16 Responses to “Cardinals Very Good and Bad in SABR Defensive Index”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    With Lynn on the mound, the cards have a good though adventuresome lineup, stacking right swingers against a southpaw. We have score some runs tonight.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Good job by Mike on yesterday’s lineup. We need to do some hitting, to build confidence.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I have always wondered at what point all the close games move from a positive (building character, etc.) to a negative (draining). No easy answer.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          The birds have found runs hard to come by. This has to be dispiriting. You want clobber a few teams, to build confidence thaif we get into a slugfest, we can go toe to toe and win.

          • blingboy says:

            The boys had a rolicking time muscling up against the Reds AAA team. Even the veteran slackers are getting into it. We will have to see what kind of guys the Brewers are auditioning next. But then we have to play a real team of actual major leaguers. Yikes. Better make hay while the sun shines.

  2. blingboy says:

    “The SABR Defensive Index (SDI) is not just some new wave gobbledygook that can be brushed off as irrelevant.”

    Yes it is.

  3. blingboy says:

    How is a team with such bad infield D winning with pitching and defense?

  4. Gods Left Hand says:

    Pretty shocking to see Mark Reynold’s name up there with a positive number next to it. He has taken alot of crap this year but the fact is he has been better than Matt Adams, and by quite a bit.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Good point. Reynolds may be the most unheralded contributor on the team this season. In my book, Adams deserves a mulligan due to injury, but it is a good thing that Reynolds was there to help fill the gap.

    • blingboy says:

      I am not sure if you are saying Reynolds is a better defender than Adams at 1B. I am always pleasantly surprised by the plays Adams makes over there.

      I have been critical of a lot but not of Reynolds. Offensively, his numbers are right in line with what he’s done in recent years. He sure came in handy this season.

  5. Bw52 says:

    I would hope Reynolds is going to get offered a chance to return in 2016 in trhe role he was expected to fill this year.He has done good work at 1B-3B.A decent raise and why not?

  6. Bw52 says:

    Nice to see Tartamella play and get his 1st Big league hit.I hope Ed Easley is given a few innings also this last 2 weeks.

  7. Bw52 says:

    I don`t underrstand why Cruz was still catching in the 7th inning of last nights blowout.What if Cruz had gotten hurt?In a blowout why not pull Cruz earlier to avoid injury.Yadi could possibly been okay playing defense but what about swinging the bat?For all the Yadi talk about being back and playing by end of season he could be a liability hitting.So getting Cruz hurt in a blowout could be a major blow.Both catchers after Molina and Cruz had experience catching the guys who pitched late in the blowout.Just seemed like a unneed risk by MM.

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