With the World Series over (and former D-backs Stephen Drew and Craig Breslow picking up rings), the major news for D-backs Nation in the last week was the Gold Glove wins for Paul Goldschmidt and Gerardo Parra.  Patrick Corbin was also among the finalists, but didn’t pick up an award.

The other bit of news is the departure (on waivers) of Chaz Roe to Texas, and the arrival of Matt Tuiasosopo from Detroit.  Jeff posted some thoughts here.  I agree with Jeff that this may spell the end of the Eric Chavez era for Arizona.

Regarding the Gold Glove awards, I was interested to discover that Goldy’s defensive season was one of the finest ever, by at least one metric.  Gerardo Parra’s, on the other hand, was definitely elite.

In right field, Parra tallied 36 Defensive Runs Saved and a 26.6 Ultimate Zone Rating.  Both are unquestionably elite; the only players with more DRS at a position this year were Andrelton Simmons at SS (41 DRS) and Carlos Gomez in CF (38 DRS).  Parra’s 26.6 UZR was bested only by Manny Machado at 3B (31.2 UZR).

But here’s the thing: this was Parra’s first season with more than 255 innings in right field.  So not only was he incredible there despite only 516 major league innings there in his career, but he maybe deserves some credit for the time he spent in the other outfield spots (41 in LF, 272 in CF).

As we saw with the team-of-Parras exercise, Gerardo’s excellent throwing arm makes him a better fit in right than at the other positions (an outfielder rarely throws to first base, but sometimes throws to third).  He’s only been a tick above average in center for his career, but he’s been well above average in left.

In addition to the numbers for right field above, Parra was a defensive asset this year in left field (1 DRS, 1.1 UZR in 41 innings) and in center (4 DRS, 3.4 UZR in 272 innings).  I’m not sure if those numbers factored into the sabermetric component of the Gold Glove award (25% of the numbers were from stats, while 75% was still manager/coach voting).  Still, they are in play if we’re wondering if Parra had one of the best defensive seasons of all time.

All told, Parra had 41 DRS and 31.1 UZR.  That ties him with first place in DRS with Simmons and puts him one tenth behind Machado in UZR.  Note that both of those players touched the ball more; at short, Simmons had 240 putouts and 499 assists; Machado had 116 putouts and 355 assists.  Parra had 343 putouts but just 17 assists (the 17 A were tied with Alex Gordon for the most among outfielders in 2013).  The DRS metric has an “outfield arm” component, and Parra also led there (10 runs, ahead of Jose Bautista’s 9 and Adam Jones’s 7).

Note that Andrelton Simmons also had one of the finest defensive seasons recorded; tying him with 41 DRS is no small feat.  The leaders in the ten other seasons for which DRS was calculated:

2012 28 Darwin Barney
2011 29 Austin Jackson
2010 30 Michael Bourn
2009 32 Franklin Gutierrez
2008 30 Chase Utley
2007 31 Troy Tulowitzki and Albert Pujols
2006 34 Adam Everett
2005 32 Jack Wilson
2004 30 Scott Rolen and Ichiro Suzuki
2003 28 Hank Blalock

Any way you slice it, this guy was amazing in 2013.  DRS normally tops out around 30, and generally there are only 6-8 guys to put up seasons of 20 or more.  The season Simmons had at shortstop really obscures just how amazing Parra was this year.  Don’t believe me?  Check out 25 of Parra’s top plays from this year, courtesy AZ Snake Pit.

And now, the links:

  • In this Nick Piecoro notebook, Mobile manager Andy Green observed that Nick Ahmed’s defense is as good at short as any player he’s seen, majors or minors.  And Kevin Towers is quoted as wondering if Nick Ahmed could be at shortstop what Parra is in the outfield.  If Towers thinks Parra’s defense is that valuable, then he has to understand what he has in getting a guy like that who is also nearly average offensively.  That’s good news.
  • Jake Barrett and Matt Stites were recognized for their Arizona Fall League performances.
  • The D-backs mostly stayed with in-house candidates as they plugged holes in the coaching staff.
  • The D-backs come in at 40-1 in early 2014 World Series odds.
  • Jim McLennan did breakdowns of how the D-backs may choose to fill in for Chavez, and whether or not the team can and should bring back Willie Bloomquist.
  • John Baragona did an extremely in-depth look at Matt Davidson that is definitely worth a read.  In my view, if Davidson ends up being any better than league average, it won’t be by much.  At the league minimum, that’s a fantastic asset for the team; but if the curse of the D-backs is being average most places without being above average in many, I won’t get too torn up if Davidson gets moved this offseason.
  • Also at Snake Pit, shoewizard discusses the types of moves the D-backs should make.  The only note I’d make is: should the threshold be “championship caliber”?  I like and prefer that, but I think most teams are aiming to make the playoffs consistently.  And the D-backs aren’t so far away from 90 wins that a talent push through trades or free agent signings can be dismissed outright.
  • Thomas Lynch wonders if the D-backs could target Carlos Beltran.  I’m not sure I agree that with Cody Ross sidelined, there’s an opening in the outfield.  There was already a crunch, and if Davidson is playing most days, you already have four guys (Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton, A.J. Pollock, and Martin Prado) for three spots.  Love the idea of going out and getting an above-average hitter without giving up talent (although the Cardinals will almost certainly extend a qualifying offer to Beltran), but Arizona is largely locked up with the position players already aboard, unless someone gets traded away.
 

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