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Statcast: The Rays had the best outfield defense in 2016

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Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

Statcast has been expanding its influence when it comes to defensive metrics, introducing catch probabilities and star-rankings for difficulty this year.

It comes as no surprise that Kevin Kiermaier, a prodigious outfield defender and the best in baseball, ranks at the top in these categories, but he’s not alone in his talent.

According to Statcast the Rays outfield defense, as a whole, ranked No. 1 in 2016:

Immediately you're thinking, "This is because Kevin Kiermaier is great, right?" And you're absolutely correct to think so, as he's got a strong case for the best outfielder in baseball. When we noted above that Hamilton had the second-best rate of turning these tough plays into outs, it was only because Kiermaier was first, at 65 percent... We're learning that no one can haul in outfield balls like he can.

And that’s fair, just watch their sample breakdown of KK here:

But the Rays were able to flank KK with outfielders who have superior range, which then allowed the team to deploy coverage otherwise missed in the corners. This expansion turned Corey Dickerson into an above average defender, by results, and exemplified Steven Souza’s range in the opposite corner.

Now strangely, I’m having trouble with embedded videos so here are examples one, two, three, and four of Souza Jr. that are well worth your time.

The Rays have good defense, what else is new?