As of the 6th, Lotte ranks 3rd in fewest errors (81) among the 10 KBO teams.
In fact, they were tied for second in that category until shortstop Goodrum made an error (31) in their 2-7 comeback loss to Samsung on Day 6.
So why does it seem like Lotte can’t play defense?
Because they can’t actually play defense, of course.
In baseball, “playing good defense” means “getting outs.
So if you want to know how well a team plays defense, look at how well they get outs.
Because, broadly speaking, a hit or an error is the same as a “missed catch”.
How do you measure this? You just count them.
So far this season, the Lotte pitching staff has allowed a total of 3096 in-play balls (fair balls excluding home runs).
The LOTTE outfield has turned 2039 of them (65.9%) into outs.
Out of the 10 teams in the KBO, only Lotte has a DER of less than two-thirds (66.7%) of these fair balls.
In other words, out of the 10 teams in Korea Baseball Organization, Lotte is the worst defense.
LOTTE is also extremely error-prone.
In 58 games without an error, Lotte went 35-23 (a winning percentage of 0.603).
When they make an error, their record drops to 18 wins and 37 losses (0.327 winning percentage).
Lotte is the team with the largest winning percentage difference (0.276) between games in which they committed an error and games in which they did not.
The reason Lotte is so sensitive to errors is because they make them at key moments.
Sabermetrics (baseball statistics) uses a metric called the LI-Leverage Index (LI) to analyze key moments in a game.
For example, at the start of a game in the top of the first inning, the LI is around 0.9.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the home team trailing by one run, the LI jumps to 10.9.
When Lotte committed an error, the average LI was 1.43.
That’s 43% more critical moments than normal (LI 1.0).
Of course, this is also the highest among the 10 KBO teams.
So it’s no wonder that when a team makes an error, their performance plummets.안전놀이터
Lotte also leads the league in average runs given up in an inning after an error.
It’s a vicious cycle of making mistakes at key moments, not being able to recover from them, and eventually giving up runs.
It’s even weirder when these teams are good at baseball.
So you can say that Lotte has players who can’t get used to not being able to play defense even though they’re not good at it.
“Don’t hit balls that are hard to hit, and don’t catch balls that are hard to catch.”
Novelist Park Min-gyu wrote in his 2003 novel The Last Fan Club of the Sammi Superstars (plagiarizing a popular 1990s PC news site “Clairvoyant”) that the Sammi played “baseball as self-discipline” in this way.
By now, you know that Lotte is a team that doesn’t catch hard-to-catch balls.
LOTTE also leads the league in the percentage of pitches thrown by opposing pitchers (56.1%).
If players are free to play “baseball as a form of self-discipline,” what the hell are Lotte fans guilty of?