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MLB Predictions: Power Ranking the Best Defensive Teams in MLB

Buehrle-flip-trot_display_imageDefense may not be the most entertaining part of a baseball game, but it is certainly important.

We tend to only recognize when players make outstanding defensive plays, and fans will always criticize players for making defensive mistakes.

The following slides will show you truly the best defensive team in baseball based on a number of factors.

The methodology is as follows: Teams were ranked from No. 1 to 30 based on statistics from the 2010 season. The lower the better.

The categories considered were UZR, stolen bases allowed, total zone (TZ) and Gold Gloves. One point was deducted for each Gold Glove winner and two were deducted for each Fielding Bible winner.

This difference is because the Fielding Bible award is based on more quantitative information.

30) Kansas City Royals

ZR: 28

Stolen Bases Allowed: 29

Total Zone: 22

OOZ: 25

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 104

The Royals are last on this list by a large margin. Getting rid of Yuniesky Betancourt will certainly help them out defensively, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Luckily, they are a young team and have some top prospects on their way up.

29) Pittsburgh Pirates

UZR: 30

Stolen Bases Allowed: 24

Total Zone: 30

OOZ: 8

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 92

The Pirates pitching was not the only reason that the team allowed 866 runs last season.

The team is forced to deal with Pedro Alvarez's .936 fielding percentage because of his offensive abilities.

28) Cleveland Indians

UZR: 29

Stolen Bases Allowed: 26

Total Zone: 27

OOZ: 9

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 91

The main reason that the Indians allowed so many stolen bases was not because they had poor catchers.

Indians catchers threw out potential base stealers 32 percent of the time, which is six percent higher than league average.

27) Chicago White Sox

UZR: 26

Stolen Bases Allowed: 18

Total Zone: 27

OOZ: 17

Gold Glove: 1

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 85

White Sox starter Mark Buehrle had the play of the year on Opening Day last year. He followed it up with a strong defensive season.

Buehrle won his second consecutive Fielding Bible award last season.

26) Chicago Cubs

UZR: 18

Stolen Bases Allowed: 20

Total Zone: 27

OOZ: 18

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 83

The Cubs created a myriad of defensive issues on the left side of the field by having both Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano there.

While Tyler Colvin had success with the bat in his rookie year, he did struggle a bit in the field.

25) Florida Marlins

UZR: 23

Stolen Bases Allowed: 19

Total Zone: 25

OOZ: 14

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 81

Dan Uggla was not at all known for his defensive prowess. However, he is now a member of the Braves, so the Marlins should improve a bit defensively in the coming season.

The team also hopes to see Hanley Ramirez improve in the field.

T24) Los Angeles Dodgers

UZR: 25

Stolen Bases Allowed: 14

Total Zone: 12

OOZ: 29

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 80

The left side of the Dodgers infield was weak defensively last season. Both third baseman Casey Blake and shortstop Rafael Furcal failed to post fielding percentages over .960.

T24) Philadelphia Phillies

UZR: 17

Stolen Bases Allowed: 20

Total Zone: 16

OOZ: 30

Gold Glove: 1

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 80

The Phillies have the top defensive second baseman in the National League in Chase Utley. He is consistently on top of the runs-saved leaderboard.

In addition, the team should see a defensive improvement with the insertion of Domonic Brown into the lineup.

22) Milwaukee Brewers

UZR: 15

Stolen Bases Allowed: 15

Total Zone: 24

OOZ: 24

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 78

Having Prince Fielder playing first base certainly does not help the Brewers' case defensively.

However, Fielder is mobile for a man of his size and does make some impressive plays every now and then.

21) Boston Red Sox

UZR: 21

Stolen Bases Allowed: 30

Total Zone: 4

OOZ: 22

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 77

The Red Sox not only got a boost to their offense when they acquired Adrian Gonzalez, but also a boost to their defense.

The two-time Gold Glove winner should make the play of the rest of the Red Sox infield seem even better.

20) Baltimore Orioles

UZR: 22

Stolen Bases Allowed: 8

Total Zone: 26

OOZ: 19

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 75

Adam Jones is able to cover a lot of ground in center field for the Orioles.

This was definitely important to the team, as the O's had five different outfielders play at least 10 games in left last season.

19) Houston Astros

UZR: 19

Stolen Bases Allowed: 12

Total Zone: 29

OOZ: 14

Gold Glove: 1

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 71

As a team, the Astros had a miserable year in 2010. However, Michael Bourn managed to wrap up two different defensive awards last season.

Bourn is arguably the fastest player in the game today, as he needs to cover all the space in Minute Maid Park's expansive center field.

18) Los Angeles Angels

UZR: 14

Stolen Bases Allowed: 28

Total Zone: 21

OOZ: 4

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 67

Vernon Wells will be very important in the middle of the Angels batting order, but he will hurt them defensively. The best dWAR he has posted in the past three years was -0.9.

The Angels still have Torii Hunter, who has the nickname Spiderman for a reason.

17) Texas Rangers

UZR: 9

Stolen Bases Allowed: 24

Total Zone: 18

OOZ: 12

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 63

The Rangers are facing some uncertainty in regards to their infield next season. It is unknown where Michael Young will be playing.

In addition, there will be a competition between Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli for the first base position.

16) Minnesota Twins

UZR: 6

Stolen Bases Allowed: 9

Total Zone: 20

OOZ: 28

Gold Glove: 1

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 62

Joe Mauer picked up his third-straight Gold Glove at catcher this past season.

The Twins do have some question marks defensively. Danny Valencia had some defensive struggles at third last year.

It will also be interesting to see how Japanese-import Tsuyoshi Nishioka adjusts to playing in America.

15) Colorado Rockies

UZR: 24

Stolen Bases Allowed: 8

Total Zone: 5

OOZ: 27

Gold Glove: 2

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 60

With Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez, the Rockies have an impressive display of speed in the outfield.

Their best defender, however, is Troy Tulowitzki, who won both a Gold Glove and a Fielding Bible award.

14) Atlanta Braves

UZR: 27

Stolen Bases Allowed: 17

Total Zone: 11

OOZ: 3

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 58

The most interesting thing about the Braves defensively is that even though they had a low UZR, their defenders still did an outstanding job at recording outs on balls hit out of their zones.

Jason Heyward should continue to grow defensively this season.

13) San Francisco Giants

UZR: 2

Stolen Bases Allowed: 22

Total Zone: 8

OOZ: 23

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 55

The defending champions received their biggest boost of the year when Buster Posey was called up.

Not only was Posey a threat at the plate, but he was also a threat behind it. Posey managed to throw out 37 percent of attempted base stealers last season.

12) Washington Nationals

UZR: 13

Stolen Bases Allowed: 6

Total Zone: 23

OOZ: 11

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 53

Nyjer Morgan is another center fielder in the majors today who has outstanding range. It seems as if he can track almost any ball down.

Replacing Adam Dunn with Adam LaRoche will help improve the team defensively.

11) New York Yankees

UZR: 11

Stolen Bases Allowed: 27

Total Zone: 3

OOZ: 16

Gold Glove: 3

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 52

The Yankees had an impressive three Gold Glove winners last season, but this did not translate into Fielding Bible award winners.

Robinson Cano is one of the more exciting young players in the MLB and is one of the best defensive second basemen as well.

10) Arizona Diamondbacks

UZR: 1

Stolen Bases Allowed: 22

Total Zone: 10

OOZ: 14

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 47

Trading Mark Reynolds to the Orioles should significantly improve the Diamondbacks infield defensively. Stephen Drew has continued to impress fans with his glove.

9) Toronto Blue Jays

UZR: 16

Stolen Bases Allowed: 3

Total Zone: 19

OOZ: 6

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 44

The Blue Jays added speedster Rajai Davis to their lineup this off season.

Davis should make many outstanding plays in center field for the Jays this season.

8) St. Louis Cardinals

UZR: 20

Stolen Bases Allowed: 2

Total Zone: 15

OOZ: 6

Gold Glove: 2

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 39

The Cardinals have the best defensive catcher in the league in Yadier Molina. He is the only person to be voted as a unanimous winner of a Fielding Bible award.

In addition, Albert Pujols is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball.

7) Cincinnati Reds

UZR: 4

Stolen Bases Allowed: 4

Total Zone: 14

OOZ: 19

Gold Glove: 3

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 38

Drew Stubbs surprised many people with his play, both offensively and defensively last season.

Joey Votto has also seen significant development of his defensive skills in the past few years.

6) Oakland Athletics

UZR: 5

Stolen Bases Allowed: 11

Total Zone: 2

OOZ: 21

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 37

The team will certainly be impacted by the loss of Rajai Davis; however, Coco Crisp should be a serviceable replacement.

Daric Barton won a Fielding Bible award last season and should continue to be the defensive anchor of the A's infield.

5) New York Mets

UZR: 12

Stolen Bases Allowed: 1

Total Zone: 13

OOZ: 10

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 36

Ike Davis finished second to Daric Barton in the Fielding Bible awards. The Mets also have Angel Pagan, who seemed to be making big defensive plays for the team every day.

It is also interesting to note that they allow the lowest number of stolen bases in the league, despite not being able to find an everyday catcher until late in the season.

4) Detroit Tigers

UZR: 8

Stolen Bases Allowed: 16

Total Zone: 6

OOZ: 2

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 32

At times last year the Tigers had some struggles, but they put together a solid defensive season.

Austin Jackson made some impressive plays in center field and Miguel Cabrera surprised some people defensively.

3) San Diego Padres

UZR: 3

Stolen Bases Allowed: 6

Total Zone: 7

OOZ: 13

Gold Glove: 0

Fielding Bible: 0

Total: 29

The Padres seemed to be your quintessential small-ball team last year, winning with pitching and defense.

David Eckstein and Tony Gwynn Jr. both played in over 100 games last year and posted a perfect fielding percentage.

2) Tampa Bay Rays

UZR: 7

Stolen Bases Allowed: 12

Total Zone: 9

OOZ: 1

Gold Glove: 2

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 25

Evan Longoria is the best defensive third baseman in the game right now. Some of the throws he makes across the diamond are incredibly impressive.

The Rays will be hurt by the loss of Gold Glover Carl Crawford, but Desmond Jennings should be able to take his place.

1) Seattle Mariners

UZR: 10

Stolen Bases Allowed: 5

Total Zone: 1

OOZ: 5

Gold Glove: 2

Fielding Bible: 1

Total: 15

Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki are two of the best defensive outfielders in the majors. It seemed as if at least one of them would be on SportsCenter's Top Plays on a daily basis.

This past season, Ichiro picked up his 10th consecutive Gold Glove and third Fielding Bible award, while Gutierrez received his first career Gold Glove. 

TOKYO - DECEMBER 15:  Prince Fielder (C) of the Milwaukee Brewers poses with students while visiting Minamisuna Junior High School as part of the Major League Baseball (MLB) International Ambassador program to promote the game of baseball on December 15,
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Nearly ever kid dreams of growing up and becoming a professional athlete. However, this dream does not come true for over 99.9% of children. However, in the MLB, there are numerous players that look like they have no business being a professional. Regardless of their looks or size, these players have proved with their skills that they are deserving of their jobs.


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