DOES DEFENSE WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS?

How important is defense to winning a World Series? I decided to look at teams from the wildcard era (1995 until now) and see how important defense was to their success. I looked at fielding percentages and ranks as compared to the rest of the Majors.

TEAMFLD% RANK

1995 ATL .982 5

1996 NYY .985 2

1997 FLA .981 12

1998 NYY .984 4

1999 NYY .982 12

2000 NYY .981 14

2001 ARI .986 1

2002 ANA .986 2

2003 FLA .987 2

2004 BOS .981 21

2005 CWS .985 2

2006 STL .984 10

2007 BOS .986 3

2008 PHI .985 5

2009 NYY .985 10

2010 SFG .988 1

2011 STL .982 18

2012 SFG .981 25

2013 BOS .987 7

2014 SFG .984 11

2015 KCR .985 11

2016 CHC .983 20

2017 HOU .983 21

2018 BOS .987 5

AVERAGE FLD%: .984

AVERAGE RANK: 9

Let’s look at the main defensive positions:

1. CATCHER

TEAM FLD% LEAGUE AVERAGE

1995 ATL .990 .989

1996 NYY .996 .990

1997 FLA .994 .990

1998 NYY .994 .990

1999 NYY .990 .991

2000 NYY .994 .991

2001 ARI .994 .992

2002 ANA .996 .993

2003 FLA .992 .992

2004 BOS .997 .992

2005 CWS .995 .992

2006 STL .994 .992

2007 BOS .994 .991

2008 PHI .993 .993

2009 NYY .993 .992

2010 SFG .994 .993

2011 STL .993 .992

2012 SFG .989 .992

2013 BOS .994 .993

2014 SFG .994 .992

2015 KCR .995 .994

2016 CHC .985 .993

2017 HOU .990 .993

2018 BOS .998 .994

AVERAGE FLD%: .993

LEAGUE AVERAGE FLD%: .992

So does it? I would say it’s important, but a team doesn’t have to be the best at it, just better than average.

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