Bill James the baseball writer, historian and statistic guru recently said that Paul Konerko was the worst defensive first basemen in the majors. I’m sorry, but James is 100% flat wrong.
James says that Konerko cost the Chicago White Sox 11 runs in 2012. I don’t know where he is getting those numbers or what arithmetic he is using. Let’s take a look at the numbers that Konerko had at first base in 2012.
In 2012, Konerko had a fielding percentage of .999 in 105 games. He committed one error at first base. That’s right the “worst defensive first baseman in the majors” only committed one error. Konerko had 60 assists and helped turn 96 double plays.
To compare Konerko to his peers I will look at some of the other first baseman in the American League. Mark Teixeira had the same fielding percentage that Konerko did. He turned 91 double plays and had 69 assists. Adrian Gonzalez had a .998 fielding percentage, committed two errors, had 104 assists and helped turn 100 double plays.
Finally, Albert Pujols was near the bottom for defense in the AL. He had a fielding percentage of .993. He committed nine errors. He had more assists at 97 and helped turn 95 double plays.
How is Konerko the worst defensive first basemen in the majors? In Konerko’s 16 year career he has a fielding percentage of .995. The league average in his 16 years is .994 at first base.
Now look, I’m not the best at math but I would say that a fielding percentage of .995 career wise is better than .994.
I don’t know what James is looking at. Maybe he just wants to get White Sox fans upset. Perhaps it’s because the team he is employed by the Boston Red Sox did so bad last year. He is the Senior Adviser of Baseball Operations. He sure did advise the Red Sox pretty well with that Bobby Valentine hire.
I think that most White Sox fans will agree that they would take Konerko’s defense over most first baseman in the majors. I will take Konerko when he has a better fielding percentage at first base in his entire career then the league average.
So James, keep advising those Red Sox. Maybe this year the Red Sox won’t be in last.
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