A NEW EMPHASIS ON DEFENSE? I look at the Baseball Musings blog more than any other baseball blog. The blog reported recently on a conference at MIT on sports analytics which featured some very impressive speakers. The session described here featured Rob Neyer, John Dewan and Dan Duquette. I posted last week on the success that the Seattle Mariner had last year by emphasizing defense. John Dewan says that: “the Mariners, the Tigers and now the Red Sox are all improving their defenses to win more. John says the Red Sox will gain six to eight wins with their defensive improvements.” (Among other changes, the Red Sox have signed Mario Scutaro, whose defense I posted on last year.) Dewan also pointed out (and other speakers at the conference agreed) that with improved statistics we know a lot more about fielding than we did 15 years ago. I would add that other teams, including the White Sox and the Yankees, seem to be stressing defense this year.

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