The Dodgers haven’t had a second baseman with a positive UZR or UZR/150 since Alex Cora in 2004 (ohh, THAT’S why he was good). Part of that is because Jeff Kent played the position for about 900 to 1,000 innings a year from 2005-2008 and the other part is that Orlando Hudson doesn’t have the range he used to.
Those things being said, Blake Dewitt currently mans the defensively-depleted position and his UZR/150 is at 1.8. UZR/150 isn’t supposed to be looked at in such a small sample size, and obviously there’s still a lot of season to take place, but Dewitt has put up a positive UZR at 2B before and at other positions, so it may be leaning in his favor. Plus, it’s a positive step in the right direction and Blake could man it for a while.
This isn’t exactly a revelatory conversation, Blake kept a lot of thoughts on the surface, but I imagine this won’t be the last time we talk on the subject.
Read more after the jump.
Seth: Do you know a lot about UZR or advanced metrics in defense?
Blake Dewitt: No
S: Well it says you’re one of the better defensive second basemen the Dodgers have seen in some time. What do you think of your defense?
B: I feel pretty good. Definitely playing better than I have in the past couple years. I’m just starting to feel more comfortable this year. I’ve still got a lot to learn.
S: What are you learning?
B: Well, you know, just learning more about where to be positioned. I’m not thinking about what particular assignment. Now I know where I’m supposed to be without thinking about it more than in previous years. Everything was a little mechanical and stuff like that.
S: So you’re starting to feel natural there?
B: Yeah, I’m getting to that point. Like I said, I have some more improvements to make, but I definitely feel comfortable with the improvements I’ve made [to this point].
He talked a little bit after this about how he’s learned to stop trying so hard to get every ball, and how his defense has gotten better because of it, I think he was hinting that because he’s learned positional adjustments so well, he can naturally get to a ball easier.