Hey baseball fans!
Kevin Kiermaier is the center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. A couple of years ago, Kiermaier got a massive contract extension to stay in Florida. Well, the extension itself wouldn't be big to Mike Trout, but for a guy who only hits in the low .200s with barely 10 home runs a season, it was a massive contract extension. Yes, he's a three-time Gold Glover and someone who's known for robbing homers like it's his job, but why did the Rays give their outfielder a spanking new contract just for being an above-average fielder? The answer? Defensive runs saved.
Defensive runs saved is a statistic used to determine, well, how many runs on defense a player saves by making a play. There's a lot of averaging out and conversion that goes into the formula, but at its core, DRS is calculated in the following way. Say an outfielder makes a play that was 35% possible. That would mean that the fielder gets .65 points added into the DRS formula. Again, there's a lot more math that happens with that .65, but basically, if a fielder makes hard plays that prevent lots of runs, they have a high DRS. The same thing goes in the opposite direction. Let's say a shortstop boots an easy grounder that has an 80% success rate. Well, for his DRS metric, he gets .8 points deducted from his score.
Kevin Kiermaier saved a whopping 42 runs in 2015 according to his DRS calculation, a number that the Rays thought was quite valuable to their winning ways. The all-time leader in DRS is Adrian Beltre at 212, but keep in mind that this statistic is very new, and that if data was calculated for it going back into the 1800s, you'd probably see Ozzie Smith or Brooks Robinson at the top of the all-time DRS rankings. But you know who has the lowest all-time DRS? Derek Jeter at -152! I guess "The Flip" was really an anomaly, especially for the Captain.
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