The first back of UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) numbers are up for the 2011 season, and this should give us a very early look at how the new approach to fielding is working for the Nationals.
In the No-Shock-To-Anyone department, Ryan Zimmerman (in just 8 games) leads the team in UZR, racking up a 0.9 on the way. His UZR/150 numbers (basically a 150 game average), would place him 1st in the NL (4th overall). Other members of the Nationals in the Positive are:
- Cora (SS) - 0.5
- Hairston (3B) - 0.4
- Hairston (2B) - 0.1
- Espinosa - 0.1
Hairston (LF) and LaRoche come in at 0.0. Rounding out the positivity of the Nationals defensive upgrade to the 2011 season.
The rest of the team currently resides on the negative side of the UZR spectrum.
Ankiel and Cora (3B) are at -0.2
Werth is at -0.4
Stairs is at -0.6
Morse is at -0.7
Hairston (CF) is at -0.8
Nix is at -1.6
Rounding out the worse range of Nationals is one Ian Desmond - coming in at a whopping -2.2 UZR, placing him 2nd to last in MLB; right behind Hanley Ramirez.
Team Totals have the Nats with a -4.8 which is good for 24th overall, 13th in the National League.
Why though are the Nats so low on the list?? Didn't the front office make the extra effort for defense?
That is a very complicated question, but the easiest and most straightforward answer is twofold - Ryan Zimmerman is hurt and these are just the first numbers. In no way is this a trend, yet. Lets stay tuned to all of these numbers as the next month or two progresses, and then we will talk.
But most importantly, don't panic.