The #SFGiants are tops in getting batted ball ground ball outs (courtesy of @msimonespn)

The San Francisco Giants have a 40-21 record, the best in the major leagues. Listening to other broadcasts, sometimes the praise that has fallen on the Giants is that they play solid, fundamental baseball. Part of that will be on the defensive side where the batted balls that come your way will turn into outs. Mark Simon of ESPN put out some tweets this morning that shows how the teams rank in terms of percentage of ground balls and fall balls turning into outs. These rankings do not necessarily make one team’s defense the best, but gives some reason into why the teams with good records have arrived at that spot.

When I look at the numbers and see the people at the top or bottom, I look to see if they are a huge outlier from the group, and I don’t consider the A’s and Giants lead on the rest of the lead “huge.” I don’t know how these stats compare to years past, so it’s hard to say if these ratios are sustainable. I wonder how much better the Marlins would be if their GB% rate to outs rate was closer to the middle of the pack? In this next tweet, it looks like the team of Brandon Hicks, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Michael Morse have helped lead the Giants to the top:

Those numbers should be higher since the distance to assist the putouts are shorter than what Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval. That chart also covers bunts and swinging bunts, so Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez, and the pitchers have helped out there as well. That the Giants are so far ahead the pack there and were second overall, it stands to reason that their percentage on this next chart will be lower, but they’re still in the top five:

Thought that the combination of Troy Tulowitzki and Nolan Arenado would garner a higher percentage, or at least a higher place on that list. Mr. Mark Simon also posted about balls in the air. The Giants are just at the end of the middle third in this ranking:

The Minnesota Twins have given up the most non-HR fly balls at 976 while the Pirates have given up the fewest at 776. The Giants are at 806.

As for what the advanced metrics say, overall the Giants appear to be a good team on defense, being top three in Defensive Runs Saved and top half in UZR/150. The Giants and A’s also have the three lowest BABIP-against numbers in baseball. So it may be that the metrics are suggesting the Giants might be over-achieving a little bit as their range may not be reflecting their out rates, but at the very least, the numbers help describe why so few runs have been scored against the Giants in 2014, allowing the offense to do their work, leading the Giants to their MLB-leading 40-21 record.


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