Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chase Headley WILL Be Better in 2016

If you watched a Yankees game in 2015 there is a good possibility that the Yankees third baseman Chase Headley was in the game. Headley led the team in games played with 156 games in 2015 making him one of the more durable players on the team last season. If you watched at least one game in 2015 it is very likely that you also saw Headley either make an error or make a throw that would have been an error had Mark Teixeira or Greg Bird pulled it out of the air or the dirt. Headley was horrible defensively in 2015 and committed 23 errors but he should be much better in 2016.

Headley was considered an elite defender before coming to the New York Yankees in 2014. Earlier this week we discussed the Yankees infield defense for next season and we used the FIELDING stat, formerly known as dWAR, from Fangraphs and we will use it again here to make our case specifically for Headley. Keep in mind that no defensive metric is considered a “be all tell all” type stat like WAR is for batters or FIP, WHIP or ERA+ are for pitchers but it is as close as we can get in modern times. Headley’s FIELDING stat in 2015 was -3.0 which is not great but I truly believe this is just a blip on the radar. Keep reading.

In 2014 Headley posted a very impressive and almost staggering 20.4 FIELDING while in 2013 he was no slouch at the hot corner with a 7.0 FIELDING stat. If FIELDING is not the stat for you then how about an oldie but a goodie? Headley’s fielding percentage in 2013-2015 are here in order for your reference, .968, .975 and .946. Headley committed a total of 19 errors from 2013 and 2014 combined making his 23 errors in 2015 a bit of an anomaly for me.

Look, I believe in my heart of hearts that you just don’t lose it defensively at age 30 (he's 31 now). For every Chuck Knoblauch who just woke up one day and decided he couldn’t throw it to first base anymore you have thousands of other examples where players are at minimum adequate defensively late into their careers. Chase Headley will be fine ladies and gentlemen, it’s amazing what an offseason can do for a guy. 

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