Brendan Ryan dominating advanced fielding statistic | M's notebook
The Mariners shortstop received attention for leading major-league shortstops in defensive runs saved.
Seattle Times staff reporter
OAKLAND, Calif. — Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan is getting increased attention for the defensive prowess he's displayed this season.
Ryan leads the majors in the advanced fielding metric known as "defensive runs saved" (DRS) — a stat frequently recognized as one of the top ways of measuring a player's defense. On Friday, the stat's creator, John Dewan, listed Ryan as his front-runner to win a Fielding Bible Award this year at the shortstop position.
Unlike the Gold Glove Awards — voted on by coaches who often don't see players more than a few games at a time — the Fielding Bible Awards are picked by a panel of 10 "expert" stats researchers and media members — including Dewan — and are only given to one player at each position. The Gold Gloves are given to one player from each league at their respective positions.
"It is hard to believe that Brendan Ryan has never won either a Fielding Bible Award or a Gold Glove," Dewan wrote in his daily blog, outlining his front-runners at each position. "Ryan has at least 18 Defensive Runs Saved in each of the last three seasons, and he has already flown by those previous totals with 29 this season. That's 12 more than J.J. Hardy, the closest shortstop behind him. In addition to covering ground, Ryan has converted an impressive 77 percent of his opportunities for double plays, which is a career high."
Ryan was pleased to hear some positive news pertaining to his play given how he's spent much of the season hovering just below a .200 batting average.
"It's no secret that defense is why I'm here," Ryan said before Friday night's game against the Oakland Athletics. "I really do take a lot of pride in it, and when it's a tough day, it's really tougher than a bad day at the plate."
Interestingly enough, Ryan committed a rare fielding error in the fifth inning of Friday's game when he bobbled a hard grounder to his left.
• Trayvon Robinson hit a solo homer in the second inning of Friday's contest to extend Seattle's streak of games with at least one home run to 17. That's the second-most in team history and two shy of the franchise record set in 1999.
The Mariners have lagged near the bottom of baseball's home-run totals for several years, but have moved up a bit this season. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said before the game that he thinks this trend of the Mariners spreading their home runs around the lineup is going to continue.
"I think you're going to see it up and down the lineup," Wedge said. "I don't think you're going to have one particular person hit a ton of home runs. But I think you've got a chance to collectively hit home runs as a ballclub. I think you're going to have seven or eight guys in there who can hit 10-plus home runs, and potentially more than that."
The Mariners entered Friday with seven players owning at least 10 home runs — the most by the team since the 2000 season.
• Franklin Gutierrez was still feeling some soreness in his neck Friday after a collision with the wall in the fifth inning of Sunday's game. Wedge opted to keep Gutierrez out of the lineup Friday, hoping he'll be healthy enough to play the final five games of the season.