Baseball Ratings

BOSTON (AP) _ According to researchers, Alex Rodriguez is one of the game's best shortstops.

The research also confirmed what many Atlanta fans knew for years -- that former Atlanta Braves star center fielder Andruw Jones is one of the best at that position.

Using a complex statistical method, researchers came up with their findings, which were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

That method involved looking at every ball put in play in major league baseball from 2002 through 2005 and recorded where the shots went.

Researchers then developed a probability model for the average fielder in each position and compared that with the performance of individual players to see who was better or worse than average.

Their final calculation came down to a measure called SAFE, Spatial Aggregate Fielding Evaluation. It calculated the number of runs a player saved or cost his team over a year.

They used this to rank, and no doubt rankle, players.

Research leader Shane T. Jensen says the group is now looking at the effect of the differences between ballparks on fielding.

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