Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach has 10 Defensive Runs Saved this season, the most for any outfielder in MLB.
That’s an unusually high total for someone who has played such a small number of innings this season. It’s an especially high total for someone who doesn’t sprint all over the outfield making amazing catches, like his teammate Byron Buxton.
Larnach has earned more than half of his Runs Saved with his arm.
But though he has three outfield assists this season, there’s more to it than that.
Larnach has allowed only 2 of 14 runners to advance an extra base on a hit, error or a caught fly ball/line drive as a left fielder. The average runner advances on about 40% of opportunities, or about 5.6 of every 14 chances.
He’s allowed only 1 of 7 runners to advance an extra base on hits, errors, or caught balls as a right fielder. The average runner advances on a right fielder on 52% of opportunities, about 3.6 times in 7 chances.
Larnach has allowed only 3 opportunities to advance on 21 chances. The average runner would have advanced approximately 9 times (5.6 + 3.6).
Though that’s without knowing anything about the depth of the fielder or the speed of the runner (which Runs Saved does take into account and by which Larnach fares alright – we explained things the way we did for the purpose of simplicity).
Add that to the three situations in which Larnach literally saved a run by throwing a runner out at home plate and it’s fair to say that he’s been a strong deterrent in the field.
And we can even add something else into the mix.
SIS tracks Good Fielding Plays and Defensive Misplays. An outfielder can earn them for things like a sliding or diving catch, robbing a home run, or throwing out a baserunner. But our system is such that we also award value for other plays, such as cutting a ball off in the gap to hold a batter to a single.
This play against Vladimir Guerrero was worth about one-quarter of a Defensive Run Saved.
It’s a small gain in the grand scheme of things, but it does count for something in our world, and it pushes Larnach ever-so-slightly higher in our Runs Saved tally.
And we should note that Larnach been fine in the field too. He has 3 Runs Saved from his range, with plays like these on his ledger and a minimal number of missed out opportunities.
But we probably wouldn’t be writing about Larnach if not for his arm. It’s been a valuable piece as part of the Twins run to the top of the AL Central.