Since 1876 (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and gloves weren’t a thing) errors have been tracked in the MLB. The most basic and primitive of all fielding statistics has been a part of MLB history for longer than our beloved Tigers. Yet I firmly believe it should be abolished. Why is that?
A home run is a homer run. A strikeout is a strikeout. An error is… subjective. Errors are something that is determined by feel rather than anything tangible. This is best exemplified by the official phrasing of the rule itself: "A fielder is given an error if, in the judgment of the official scorer, he fails to convert an out on a play that an average fielder should have made." If by the judgment of the official. This is the crux of my argument. Robbie Grossman is a below average outfielder I think we can all agree. The eye test and advanced metrics all agree on this yet errors would say he is on par with Willie Mays if not better. Grossman is currently on the longest streak of games without a single fielding error. There’s also the conundrum of worse fielders not having as many opportunities to make plays so better fielders could have more routine looking errors since they have more opportunities. I’m also fairly confident many of you have seen montages like this one from Foolish Bailey: https://youtu.be/p5pvsu8KyP8
I’ve already established that errors are fundamentally a flawed statistic, but one of the main counter arguments is that they serve to take away cheap hits from players. If you reach on error the box score still credits you with making an out. This takes away some of the cheaper hits. My main counter to this is simple. A cheap hit isn’t just reaching on an error. It can also be getting a weak blooper past the infield or getting a really lucky bounce. We already count those as hits on the box score so why don’t errors count either. With baseball savant and other forms of technology out there we already have much better ways of tracking not just fielding, but also hitting and accounting for those weak/cheap hits with stats like xWOBA and xBA.
So to summarize: Errors are a subjective and meaningless statistic. Errors may account for some cheap hits but we already have many other forms of cheap hits that already count in the box score. Finally, with technology and new statistics we have ways of assessing fielders and hitters much more accurately thus leaving errors without a place in the game.