Which Second Baseman Isn’t A Second Baseman
How Bad Was He?
Fangraphs publishes charts in their explanation of DRS , UZR, Total Zone and their own metric called DEF. The detailed definitions are on the linked pages as well. To save space I’ve combined them into one chart.
In 2009 39 players had at least 400 PA while playing second base and Callapso was the worst in every area except TZL where he placed 36th. Here’s the bottom five (number 35 through 39) from the Fangraphs chart. For complete results click the link.
Valbuena is really a third baseman, Casilla was part of a Twins team trying to find anyone who could play second base and Castillo was well past his prime. Yes folks even Dan Uggla was a better defender than Callaspo in 2009 . Was it just a bad year? Nope, Uggla was better in 2010 and 2013 as well. Once again Fangraphs provides the detailed data.
Now compare that to his play at third.
The difference appears to be range. Part of the UZR stat is something called Range Runs Above Average that explain by saying, “Is the player an Ozzie Smith or an Adam Dunn? Do they get to more balls than average or not?”
When you compare RngR at 3rd and 2nd the difference is pretty clear; as a second baseman Callaspo is more Dunn like that Smith-ish. Whether this means he can’t go to his left or he’s just slow laterally period, it’s pretty obvious he’s only a viable option at third.