About Matsui: The Astros and WAR Predictions

No, I'm not going to throw out my own predictions about what Houston's WAR total is. I was struck by some of the commentary between OremLK and clack going on in that last post. I thought I'd expand that a little here.

Clack basically stated that through his work on expected BABiP, Matsui was unlucky last season and should bounce back to be a 1.5-2.0 WAR player. Here's the money quote:

Also, based on watching him the last two years, I don’t think his range has deteriorated very much. The negative UZR results last year surprise me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he could improve that part of the WAR.

My impression of Matsui's defense has been that his range is pretty good; it's his glove work that's the problem. If you look at his advanced stats on Baseball Reference, his total number of errors was down from 2008, but he had zero throwing errors for the first time in three years. It's safe to say he'll chalk up a couple throwing errors in 2010. Matsui did have the most fielding chances in his career in 2009, and converted about his career average of them into outs (94%). He also turned more double plays in 2009 than he had in his career, including more 6-4-3 twin killings. How will those numbers be affected by Tejada's departure? Will having a better defensive shortstop next to him increase his fielding opportunities?

So I guess I just wanted to discuss Matsui's defense with the community. Is there a good chance of Matsui bouncing back in his range but regressing with the glove? Does that make him the anti-Tejada, a solid fielder who lacked enough range to play short? Talk amongst yourselves...

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