The buzz about Vizquel has always been about the fact that he had a great glove. Sure, he made numerous highlights plays and was seen nightly on every MLB highlight show.
However, the metrics tell us a different story.
His 29.5 defensive WAR trails behind Hall of Fame shortstops Ozzie Smith (44.2), Cal Ripken Jr. (35.7) and Luis Aparicio (31.8). The stat measures how many wins a player contributes through his defense relative to the efforts of a replacement-level player at that same position.
Another metric that showcases the quality of a defender is Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA).
This individual defensive metric is created using play-by-play data with adjustments made based on plays made, the expected number of plays per position, the park, and base-out stats.
In his career, Vizquel had an FRAA of 129.8, which is just above such players as Craig Counsell (127) and Placido Polanco (128).
Those players have as much chance of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame as I do!
Omar ranks seventh overall among shortstops and is significantly behind Hall of Famers Mark Belanger (241) and Ozzie Smith (239).
Without attempting to bore you with more defensive metrics (if it’s not too late), Omar’s career Range Factor (putouts + assists/defensive innings played) of 4.348 per nine innings was below the league average of 4.50.
Additionally, Omar was also not a great base-runner.
He stole 404 bases in his career, which places him 72nd on the all-time list. Astonishingly, he was also caught stealing a massive 167 times which lands Vizquel in the Top 20 All-Time in that dubious category.
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