Defensive metrics, specifically UZR, does not like think Colorado center fielders (CF) are good defenders. From 2002 to 2012, they are ranked second to last in total UZR. I am going to take a brief look to see if UZR under rates the defense of Rockies’ center fielders.
The easy solution to see if a bias exists would be to compare the home and away UZR values, but those numbers don’t exist. Instead, I will use my own defensive metric, Out% to create home and away defense values. Out% just looks at the number of outs a position/player makes taking nothing else into account. Here are some baseline values for the situation:
Criteria (2002 to 2012): Out%
All CF from 2002 to 2012: 9.4%
COL CF (home and away): 8.7% (ranked last)
COL CF (away):9.1%
COL CF at home:8.4%
Other teams at COL: 8.9%
The Rockies center fielders have the lowest Out% over the last 11 years, so the the low UZR makes sense. When comparing how Rockies perform at home and away, they are markedly better on the road (9.1%), but still below league average. Compared to the other teams in the league over the time frame, the Rockies’ CF would rank 23rd with their road value. Besides the overall combined values, here are the year-by-year values.
Again, signs point to Colorado center fielders being better away from Coors field, but generally below average defensively. They have not been the best fielders over the years, but they should not be getting as bad of a rap as they have gotten from other defensive metrics like UZR.