Sean “Chone” Smith has applied his TotalZone defensive metric on minor league data for the past few years, although it didn’t become available until last year at MinorLeagueSplits.com. Recently updated data has become available for games up to July 31st. While every defensive metric have their own quirks (especially metrics that depend on scorekeepers coding of batted balls as “line drives” or “fly balls”), the quirks can only be heightened when not dealing with a full season.
I’d trust the scouting reports first, then go with two or better yet three seasons worth of data before making any hard conclusions on a minor leaguer’s glovework. Or better yet, go watch them yourself for a few games.
But for what it’s worth, let’s check out some of the Cardinals’ top prospects and how their TotalZone numbers look. It’s also important to know these numbers translate a better for infielders than outfielders. Let’s start with the up the middle positions first.