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In Part 1

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, we examined which teams did the best at preventing outs on balls hit to the infield. Here, we focus on which hitters were best (and worst) in this metric.

For more on the Infield Outs Prevented, see this Glossary entry

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. IFOP is pretty simple, though. It’s just Infield Reaches on Error (IFROE) plus Infield Hits (IFH), minus Infield Double Plays (IFDP). In other words, assume that each ball hit to the infield is a single out. Anything that isn’t an out is +1 IFOP and anything that makes two outs is -1 IFOP. Simple.

To qualify for either leaderboard, a player needed 400 PAs. Links in the tables go to Baseball-Reference.

skip to IFO/C Leaders

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+ IFOP Leaders for 2011 Season

2011 was another great year for IFOP. Given 600 PA, the league average player would have posted an IFOP of nearly +10. The median among qualified players was +7. Here are the top 20 players.

IFOP Components
Rk Player Tm PA IFBIP IFROE IFH IFDP IFOP
1 Juan Pierre
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CHW
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711 362 11 50 9 +52
2 Emilio Bonifacio
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FLA
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641 261 6 48 5 +49
3 Ichiro Suzuki
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SEA
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721 361 12 42 11 +43
Brett Gardner
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NYY
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588 265 4 45 6 +43
5 Michael Bourn
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HOU
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/ATL
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722 268 6 43 7 +42
6 Cameron Maybin
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SDP
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568 228 6 41 6 +41
7 Peter Bourjos
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LAA
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552 217 7 38 7 +38
8 Drew Stubbs
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CIN
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681 198 8 30 3 +35
9 Alcides Escobar
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KCR
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598 296 12 33 11 +34
10 Ben Revere
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MIN
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481 273 9 32 8 +33
11 Derek Jeter
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NYY
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607 276 10 33 12 +31
12 Austin Jackson
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DET
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668 206 10 32 12 +30
13 Omar Infante
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FLA
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640 269 13 27 12 +28
Ian Desmond
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WSN
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639 250 10 28 10 +28
15 Erick Aybar
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LAA
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605 279 8 33 14 +27
Jose Reyes
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NYM
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586 225 5 28 6 +27
17 Chris Getz
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KCR
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429 207 7 24 5 +26
Jamey Carroll
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LAD
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510 207 7 22 3 +26
19 Jacoby Ellsbury
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BOS
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729 277 7 27 9 +25
Melky Cabrera
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KCR
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706 276 11 29 15 +25
Generated 10/31/2011.

Juan Pierre is not a stranger to the tops of these IFOP lists, though this is the first time he’s led MLB since 2006. It’s also his highest mark since that year’s +58. Last year’s leader, Ichiro, dropped all the way from +69 to +43, which is just one more symptom of his substandard 2011 season. Of course, even that substandard IFOP (his lowest on record dating back to 2006) was still good enough to tie for 3rd-best in MLB.

Coming in at number 2 is Emilio Bonifacio, who was one of the biggest surprises of 2011 in that he was actually pretty good. The speed is no surprise, though, so seeing him at #2 isn’t all that strange. Other players appearing on the leaderboard for the first time include speedy centerfielders Cameron Maybin, Peter Bourjos, Drew Stubbs, and Ben Revere. Derek Jeter made the top 20 for the first time since 2007, when he had a +24 IFOP.

There were only 8 holdovers from 2010′s top 20

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: Pierre, Ichiro, Gardner, Bourn, Jackson, Infante, Desmond, and Aybar. Some top players from 2010 dropped off due to less playing time (Julio Borbon, Jose Tabata), while others had big dropoffs in IFOP. Most of the latter group still had good scores, they just weren’t in the top 20: Elvis Andrus was at +24, Hunter Pence +21, and Rickie Weeks was +20. Other notable absences include Carl Crawford (+14), Nyjer Morgan (+13), and Marlon Byrd (+10).

Here are the 6 lowest IFOPs of 2011:

IFOP Components
Rk Player Tm PA IFBIP IFROE IFH IFDP IFOP
202 A.J. Pierzynski
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CHW
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500 222 1 8 21 –12
201 Miguel Cabrera
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DET
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688 198 6 8 25 –11
200 Adrian Gonzalez
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BOS
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715 226 4 16 30 –10
Yadier Molina
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STL
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518 207 2 11 23 –10
198 Albert Pujols
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STL
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651 239 4 18 31 –9
Matt Holliday
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STL
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516 158 2 12 23 –9

So… two catchers (no surprise) and four of the top sluggers in the game. It makes sense that guys like Cabrera, Gonzalez, and Pujols would rate poorly in a speed-dependent metric; they’re so bulky that they certainly don’t run well. Still, it is a bit of a shock to see the bottom ranks of any statistic contain so many great hitters. For Pujols, it’s the second straight year in the bottom 6 (he was at -10 last year). Also: the Cardinals were really damn slow.

Last year’s worst IFOPs belonged to Billy Butler and Derrek Lee at -15 each. Both improved dramatically in 2011, posting matching -3 marks. That’s still not good, but it’s 12 fewer outs made than last year, so it’s a big improvement.

Speaking of improvements, here are the 5 hitters who improved their IFOPs the most in 2011 (among those who qualified for the leaderboards both years):

  1. Casey Kotchman, up 20 (-3 to +17)
  2. Alcides Escobar, up 19 (+15 to +34)
  3. Yunel Escobar, up 18 (+5 to +23)
  4. Justin Upton, up 18 (-2 to +16)
  5. Carlos Lee, up 15 (-4 to +11)

2011 was a good year for Escobars, I guess. Aside from Alcides, all of these guys enjoyed nice bounce-back years after down 2010 seasons. Based on their offensive stats and these numbers, I’d have to think that improved conditioning played a role in these comebacks. Either that, or they just really lucked into a bunch of infield hits and ROEs. There’s a correlation, at any rate.

Next up, here are the 5 hitters whose IFOPs decreased the most in 2011:

  1. Ichiro, down 26 (+69 to +43)
  2. Crawford, down 24 (+38 to +14)
  3. Holliday, down 17 (+8 to -9)
  4. Ronny Cedeño, down 17 (+27 to +10)
  5. Andrus, down 17 (+41 to +24)

The top 3 are all veterans whose speed may be beginning to desert them. This has to be a big concern for their teams, who are still on the hook for huge sums of money. As for Cedeño and Andrus, I think the declines are just them returning to their accustomed levels after surprisingly high 2010 numbers.

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+ IFO/C Leaders for 2011 Season

IFO/C is the rate version of IFOP. It measures how many infield outs a player makes for every 100 balls he hits on the infield. The MLB average in 2011 was 95.7, meaning about 96 outs were made for every 100 balls hit on the infield. Lower is better, so an excellent score would be around 90 or below, and a very bad score would be above 100.

Here are the top 20 for 2011:

Rk Player Tm PA IFBIP IFOP IFO/C
1 Emilio Bonifacio
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FLA
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568 228 +41 81.2
2 Cameron Maybin
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SDP
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552 217 +38 82.0
3 Drew Stubbs
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CIN
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681 198 +35 82.3
4 Peter Bourjos
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LAA
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552 217 +38 82.5
5 Brett Gardner
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NYY
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588 265 +43 83.8
6 Michael Bourn
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HOU
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/ATL
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722 268 +42 84.3
7 Austin Jackson
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DET
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668 206 +30 85.4
8 Juan Pierre
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CHW
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711 362 +52 85.6
9 Chris Getz
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KCR
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429 207 +26 87.4
Jamey Carroll
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LAD
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510 207 +26 87.4
11 Will Venable
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SDP
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411 139 +17 87.8
12 Ben Revere
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MIN
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481 273 +33 87.9
13 Jose Reyes
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NYM
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586 225 +27 88.0
14 Ichiro Suzuki
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SEA
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721 361 +43 88.1
15 Chris Young
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ARI
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577 238 +24 88.4
16 Alcides Escobar
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KCR
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598 296 +34 88.5
17 Derek Jeter
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NYY
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607 276 +31 88.8
Ian Desmond
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WSN
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639 250 +28 88.8
19 Rickie Weeks
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KCR
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/LAD
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515 180 +20 88.9
Andrew McCutchen
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PIT
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678 190 +21 88.9

This list is probably a bit more representative of a player’s speed, since it controls for the amount of balls hit on the infield. Accordingly, a lot of young(ish) guys move to the top of the list while older guys like Pierre, Ichiro, and Jeter are ranked lower compared to the IFOP list.

Four players made the IFO/C list but not the IFOP list: Will Venable, Chris Young, Rickie Weeks, and Andrew McCutchen. They replace Omar Infante, Erick Aybar, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Melky Cabrera.

Finally, here are the five lowest IFO/C marks of 2011:

Rk Player Tm PA IFBIP IFOP IFO/C
202 Adam Dunn
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CHW
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496 115 –7 106.1
201 Alfonso Soriano
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CHC
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508 140 –8 105.7
Matt Holliday
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STL
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516 158 –9 105.7
199 Miguel Cabrera
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DET
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688 198 –11 105.6
198 A.J. Pierzynski
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CHW
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500 222 –12 105.4

Adam Dunn can add IFO/C to the already prodigious number of statistics that he ranked last in baseball this season. I like Dunn a lot, but criminy, that was an abysmal year he had. Last year, for reference, he was at an almost-average 95.9 IFO/C. So he made 10 more outs for every 100 balls he hit on the infield. Rumor has it, he also now contains Potassium Benzoate. (That’s bad.

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)

But hey, White Sox fans, don’t fret. At least you have an experienced new manager taking over for Ozzie Guillen. Plus, the Jake Peavy trade is working out great. And your team only owes Dunn and Alex Rios $82 million through 2014. It’s all good on the South Side!

If you have any questions about IFOP, or what a particular player’s IFOP was this year, just leave a comment (or tweet me @junkstats). Thanks for reading.

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