Performance Review

Golden Lo: A Sabermetric Review of Lorenzo Cain’s Defense

Lorenzo Cain has been named a Gold Glove Finalist for the fourth time in his career. Despite playing elite defense through injuries and robbing homers at a clip never seen before, Cain hasn’t won gold yet. BREW MATHs uses a heavy dose of Sabermetrics to break down the man’s defensive greatness… After all, you can’t spell gold without “Lo!”


Every defensive play that Lo made & the area he covered to do it.

A glance at Cain’s year in the field shows us that he takes his title seriously and literally covers all the ground in center. Lo’s reach even extends further as he routinely brings back bombs that are destined for the bleachers. Anyone who has watched The Brewers over the past two years knows the superhuman feats he is capable of. The most impressive part? He does it all while banged up, broken and hobbled. Lorenzo Cain does not know the meaning of quit. A review of his fielding stats emphasize just how consistent (read: tenacious) he can be:

If It Ain’t Broke…

The graphic above compares where LoCain positioned himself over the last two seasons. While Lo has moved around throughout his career, he has set-up in the same exact position in 2018 and 2019. He seems to be getting pretty comfortable in Miller Park.


Each year, almost immediatlely after the season ends, Rawlings names three finalists for Gold Glove – at each position, for each League. This year the three finalists for National League Centerfielder are:

  1. Lorenzo Cain
  2. Victor Robles
  3. Harrison Bader

All of these players have had exceptional seasons as the captain of the outfield. Comparing and contrasting their advanced stats will help us stratify LoCain’s chances…


Comparing The National League Finalists: Advanced Fielding Stats



Directional OAA Explained (click to enlarge)
Lorenzo Cain’s Directional OAA (2016-2019); click to enlarge

Over the last three years, Cain has been amongst MLB Leaders in OAA. If we zoom in on his efforts in 2019, we can determine where he made the superhuman plays:

While this might seem bizarre, it is rather simple to interpret. If you have any questions please refer back to the Directional OAA Explanation (Green Bar Above). It shows us that nine of Lo’s amazing catches were made running BACK and five were made charging IN.


MLB Leaders (2019 Directional OAA); click to enlarge


Outfielder Jump attempts to figure out who is the best at tracking down balls in the open spaces of the outfield. It consists of three components that are measured separately:

  1. Reaction Time
  2. Burst
  3. Route to Ball

The chart below highlights how it is derived and applied…

LoCain’s Jump
MLB Rank considers the 98 Centerfielders who qualified.
Centerfielder JUMP: A Golden Comp.

As you can see, the three players being considered are all elite defenders. What seems to separate Cain from the pack is his ability to come up big when The Brewers need him most. Whether it is a walk in the 10th inning or another electrifying home run robbery, Cain is always focused on one thing: winning. When LoCain is in your lineup you always have a chance… nothing illustrates that better than the five home runs he robbed in 2019!

Win, lose or draw… Milwaukee will always believe in the words of Lane Grindle:

THIEVERY! All Five of LoCain’s Robbed Homers, for your viewing pleasure…