Juan Perez Giants

Juan Perez has been with the Giants for just a few short games, but in that short time he has made his impact felt with his glove.

In his five games started and seven games total he has been spectacular. In his 45 innings this year he already has 4 outfield assists, which ranks tied for 21st in all of baseball. In the small sample size he has been impressive.

What really inspired this post was something that East Bay Sports Guy posted on twitter yesterday:

For those not familiar, UZR is ultimate zone rating which, in a nutshell, splits the field into zones and rates players on the plays that they make (or don’t make) in their respective zone(s) compared to the average player. If you want to dig deeper you can check out the whole primer here. UZR/150 takes that information and prorates or projects it toward 150 games.

On the UZR scale 0 is average, 5 is above average, 10 is great defense and 15 and above is gold glove caliber defense. Before today’s game Perez is essentially breaking the UZR scale. Already this season he is at a 3.7, which extrapolates to a 112.9 for the season.

If you look at all outfielders who have logged at least 40 innings this season, Perez is far and away the leader. If you look at the Giants he already possesses the fourth highest UZR on the team, without even extrapolating to 150 games. He is behind just Brandon Belt, Gergor Blanco and Hunter Pence, and those three have each logged at least 10 times more innings this season.

What Perez has done in his short stint has been nothing short of impressive and eye-opening.

That being said, this is still in the incredibly small sample zone. Perez probably won’t post the greatest defensive season in the history of baseball. Defensive measures are still in their developmental stages, and take far more data to get accurate assessments than what is needed for hitting. So everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt and we need to be careful about prematurely handing out Gold Gloves.

Nonetheless, it is still fun to be able to put a number and some context around the number of “wow” plays Perez has made in his short stint with the Giants. But like a hot batting streak, it’s awesome to dream — what if he was able to do this for a whole season — even though we know doing that is nearly impossible.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the day dreaming about mesmerizing defense that would be worth 11 wins on the WAR scale all by itself for a little while longer.