Not too long ago, fielding percentage was the standard measuring stick for a major league player's defensive performance. But those days seem to be long gone.
While fielding percentage, much like batting average, is viewed as an antiquated way of evaluating a player's production, it still has its place. But different metrics like Outs Above Average (OAA) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) have wiggled their way into the mainstream conversation.
Baseball Savant now provides a new defensive metric called Fielding Run Value. A player's Fielding Run Value is supposed to encompass every aspect of a player's defensive skillset and convert it into a player being worth X runs above or Y runs below.
New Statcast metric reveals that TJ Friedl is the Reds' best defender.
So, who is the Cincinnati Reds best defender? Well, according to Baseball Savant's newest metric, it's outfielder TJ Freidl who has a Fielding Run Value of +4. Only five Reds players are considered above-average, and outfielder Stuart Fairchild is no longer on the active roster.
For reference, Friedl's Fielding Run Value of +4 is only good enough to be in the Top 70 in all of baseball. The National League Central, however, is well represented at the top of the list with Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Austin Hedges and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Joey Wiemer leading the way.
The new metric is rather complimentary of catchers with blocking, framing, and throwing all taken into account. Four of the Top 20 rated-players are backstops. Both Curt Casali (0) and Luke Maile (+1) are considered average to slightly above-average, while Tyler Stephenson (-4) has some room for improvement.
For all the flack he tends to catch, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India has a Fielding Run Value of -2, which puts him above Stephenson, Nick Senzel (-3), and Spencer Steer (-5).