ARLINGTON, TX: 2nd baseman Blake Davis of the Baltimore Orioles catches the ball during the MLB game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Blake Davis posted a really terrible UZR over a miniscule sample. Todd Frazier posted a really awesome UZR over a miniscule sample. Join me on this journey to wherever the hell this journey is going.
As sports bloggers for a website with dreams of being popular, we're expected to adhere to certain guidelines. We're supposed to be entertaining. We're supposed to be informative. We're supposed to be creative, and witty, and different, and prolific. We're supposed to be a lot of things, and if we can manage to be that lot of things, then the website should be better because of it. And then it will get traffic, and then it will generate money! And then we will get money! We will practically drown in the money that we get! As sports bloggers.
I am aware of these guidelines. Obviously, since I just shared them with you. Unfortunately, I cannot always stick to them. See, I also have my own personal guideline, which in the event of conflict overrides any and all others: be stubborn. If I put work into something, that means I put time and energy into something, and if I put time and energy into something, I'm damn sure going to get something out of it, no matter how horrible or pointless it might end up being.
This is probably going to be horrible and pointless. But I did research and work, and I'm not going to let those efforts go for naught. You have my permission to exit out of this article now. If I knew better, I would probably exit out of this article now. But I'm plugging along. If you choose to stick with me, please don't complain. I already gave you an out.
In my defense, I thought I had a neat idea. I, at least, had a different idea. We're all familiar with UZR, right? This is UZR. I'm going to assume that anybody who isn't already familiar with UZR isn't going to take the time to read that dissertation. UZR is a defensive stat. It measures player defense, assigning a run value to each play made or not made.
UZR is the subject of much controversy. A lot of people aren't willing to believe what it says, due to alleged flaws in the methodology. At the very least, people think you need a big sample of UZR data before it starts to tell you much. Something like three or four full player seasons. After a few seasons, maybe UZR can be of some value.
Looking at single-season UZR data is widely discouraged. A single season is a small sample size, for UZR. Looking at UZR data for any small sample size is widely discouraged. The smaller the sample size, the more it's discouraged. At 750 innings, you receive a stern email. At 500 innings, you receive a strongly-worded letter. At 250 innings, your house will be inspected without a warrant.
FanGraphs offers UZR data. I went over to FanGraphs and navigated to the UZR leaderboard. I set the innings minimum to zero and sorted.
The highest UZR/150 games belonged to Todd Frazier in left field, at +211.8 runs. He played 18 innings at the position. The lowest UZR/150 games belonged to Blake Davis at third base, at -177.7 runs. He played eight innings at the position.
I saw that and thought it was interesting. I thought it had potential. What a person smarter than I would've done is plan out where this was going to go. Brainstorm, and give it direction. Come up with an article outline. What I did instead was go straight to the footage and make a bunch of .gifs.
This is where it started to take time. It takes time to identify specific games and capture specific clips. It takes time to turn those clips into .gifs, reduce them, and upload them. I put in all this time without knowing what I was doing, and then I was done, and then I didn't know what I was doing. "What am I supposed to do with all of these .gifs?" I asked myself. "Write something anyway," I told myself. I'm writing something. I'm writing this!
I honestly don't know what to do. I thought this had potential. I'm certain that it has potential. I just haven't figured out how to unlock it. So instead this is basically a pointless .gif dump. At least we can laugh at Blake Davis' bad day at the end. Haha Orioles!
TODD FRAZIER DEFENSIVE PLAYS IN LEFT FIELD
Nice job by Todd Frazier, making some plays while not making plays he couldn't possibly have made anyway. He gets a little boost for that runner gunned down at home. One runner gunned down at home in 18 innings is nearly 56 runners gunned down at home in 1,000 innings! What made me mad about Todd Frazier is that his small-sample UZR shenanigans forced me to watch bits of games with the Cubs and the Astros. Gross. But that wasn't really Frazier's fault so I can't hold it against him.
BLAKE DAVIS DEFENSIVE PLAYS AT THIRD BASE
The bulk of Blake Davis' defensive experience as a professional has come at shortstop. You wouldn't think that shortstop and third base are that different. Blake Davis started one game at third base for the Orioles, on August 21. He made it look that different.
That was the first ball hit in Davis' direction.
That was the second ball hit in Davis' direction.
It doesn't get much better from here.
A seventh-inning double play! At least Davis could end his day on a high note.
Just kidding. Bobble! Throwing error!
For good measure, Davis went 0-for-3 at the plate. The next day, the Orioles optioned him to triple-A Norfolk. A couple of weeks later, they designated him for assignment. He cleared waivers and remained in Norfolk.
In conclusion, Todd Frazier, left field wizard:
And Blake Davis, third base catastrophe:
I'm sorry for making you sit through all this. If you can come up with a way for me to make this funny or somehow insightful then please let me know, and I will re-write it.