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Fundamentals Vs Flash

Last night I had to go out during the game to take my boy to baseball tryouts, so I listened to some of the game on XM radio and I got the Braves radio feed. As you know it wasn't a fun game, but it is interesting to listen to broadcasters for other teams sometimes. There was one line the Brave commentator used that got my attention. Talking about Yunel Escobar he said that 'Yunel was flashy and could make plays that would make you stand up and cheer but his 'fundamentals' were lousy.' Well, I'm not sure if he used the term lousy, maybe he said terrible or horrible or awful, but it was one of those.

Then he went on to say that Alex Gonzalez wasn't flashy, but he was 'fundamentally sound' and made all the plays he was supposed to make. He went on about this for the length of an inning, but then the Jays' innings were pretty short. He said that because Yunel wasn't good fundamentally he makes too many mistakes, while Alex didn't make mistakes. 

I love lines like this because it is a great way of saying 'I don't like player x' without having having to back it up with, you know, real, definable words, while still sounding sort of baseballish. I mean, who'd want a flashy shortstop, baseball not being a spectator sport and all. We'd hate to have players do things that fans would enjoy watching. 

Anyway, I figured if Yunel was terrible at fundamentals and Alex was great, Yunel must have a lot more errors. That makes sense right?

This year Alex has 6 errors for a .983 FA. Yunel has 7 errors for a .975 FA. 

Too small a sample?

Last year Alex had 19 errors for a .973 FA. Yunel had 18 for a .972 FA. 

Still too small?

Career Alex has a .971 FA. Yunel .975.

So if Yunel makes a lot more mistakes it doesn't show up in his error rate. Now I really don't like using errors for many things. Since errors are a judgement call by a official scorer, there can be biases involved. But it seemed like to tool to use for this. Clearly Yunel doesn't make a lot more mistakes that are of the type that appear in the box score. You'd imagine if his fundamentals are so much worse he would.

Anyway, I fine with Atlanta folks not liking Yunel, but, if you say something silly, I hope you don't mind if I check it out.