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Opportunity Matters for Defensive Value

I was curious just how much the pitching staff matters for defenders behind them. At hypothetical extremes, of course, it matters a lot; a pitching staff that struck out or walked every batter they faced wouldn’t need defenders at all. A team that allowed only grounders would sacrifice a lot on the offensive front to have a good defensive infield. But what about actual examples, not silly hypotheticals?

Take Simmons. He’s the best shortstop in baseball by general acclaim. Injuries shortened his 2019 season, but even then he was 10 runs above average by UZR and 14 by DRS. That’s a lot of runs saved, of course. It’s also his worst season with the glove.

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