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Max Muncy is having a great year defensively. The Dodgers as a team are not

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A midseason look at SABR defensive numbers

MLB: JUL 03 Dodgers at Nationals Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Max Muncy is the top-rated Dodger using the SABR defensive index (SDI), an amalgam of five different statistics, accounting for both batted-ball and position-based measures as well as play-by-play data.

Muncy scores a 3.2 by SDI, the 20th-best fielder in the National League and only Dodger in the top 25. He has the highest SDI score at first base, which could come in handy during awards season. The SDI accounts for 25 percent of Gold Glove Award, with votes from managers and coaches counting for 75 percent of the tally.

“He catches the baseball. He saves a lot of runs and outs. The Range has been very good. His first-step reaction time is very good,” manager Dave Roberts said of Muncy on Friday. “I look in my eyes, and I look at the metrics. He’s clearly head and shoulders above everyone.”

In 2020, with schedules regionalized, the Gold Gloves were determined solely by statistics.

Mookie Betts has won five straight Gold Gloves, including leading National League right fielders with 7.5 SDI in 2020, the second-highest NL total at any position. But this year, a season which Betts has called frustrating and bad, one in which he’s dealt with nagging injuries, Betts is below average in right field (-0.3), 11th among 16 qualified fielders at the position.

A tour of other positions tell the tale of how the Dodgers have struggled defensively this season, with the caveat that this only counts fielders with enough innings to qualify at a specific position through July 11.

Dodgers defensive rankings per SDI

Player Position SDI Rank at position
Player Position SDI Rank at position
Will Smith C 1.6 7th of 26
Austin Barnes C 0.0 18th of 26
Max Muncy 1B 3.2 1st of 19
Albert Pujols 1B -0.6 14th of 19
Justin Turner 3B -3.6 18th of 19
Gavin Lux SS -1.3 15th of 20
Corey Seager SS -1.9 16th of 20
AJ Pollock LF 0.7 8th of 17
Chris Taylor CF -1.4 12th of 16
Zach McKinstry RF -0.2 10th of 16
Mookie Betts RF -0.3 11th of 16
through games of July 11 Source: SABR

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