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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Another "Texas Will Fall" Argument Sans DER

You just plain look silly when you don't address defensive efficiency. It's the elephant in the living room, and has been for a while now. And for the "Josh Hamilton is on the DL, look out now" scare, did anybody bother to notice that one of the big unsung stories of this season is Andruw Jones hitting .272/.400/.533? (On the other hand, Jones went down on July 2 with a strained abdominal muscle that may require surgery and a 60-day DL stint.)

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I think it's a bit extreme, Rob, to say suboptimal is "silly" because he made five good points, none of which involved your pet metric of the moment. Be civil with your peers, man. If suboptimal is silly for ignoring one data point, what are you for ignoring several others?

Discussing park factor (especially when the splits are extreme as they are), strength of schedule and injuries is totally reasonable when assessing the sustainability of the Rangers' success. Defense is important, but defensive stats are still relatively in their infancy, and DER is only one way of measuring team defense. Moreover, while Texas has the second-best DER is the league, Boston has the second-worst. Both teams are leading their divisions, have identical records, and Boston beat Texas last night.

Texas is doing well in part because of improved defense and some good early returns on a rotation with a ton of question marks in it. Let's see if summer heat, injuries, and a much harder schedule have an impact. They're a .500 team on the road, and a .500 team over the past two weeks as their schedule got more difficult. I think suboptimal has a decent argument here.
Texas' problem has historically been pitching. If their defense is suddenly turning into a vacuum cleaner, that's enough to make them scary.

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