Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Updating Catcher Defense: Where Does Alex Avila Rank Now?


Giants catcher Buster Posey excelled defensively in 2014
(Photo credit: MLB Trade Rumors)

Shortly after the 2014 season ended, I presented statistics on catcher defense and ranked MLB catchers on total run saved.  I used five components to arrive at the total:
  • Stopping the running game
  • Pitch blocking
  • Avoiding fielding errors
  • Avoiding throwing errors
  • Pitch framing or receiving
Baseball Prospectus researchers Jonathan Judge, Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks recently developed a new method to capture pitch framing.  They do a good job of introducing this very complex topic here.

I re-ranked the catchers based on the first four bullets above plus the new framing method.  Table 1 below shows that Giants catcher Buster Posey led MLB with 33 runs saved and was especially good a framing (27 runs).  Rene Rivera of the Padres was second with 30 runs saved.

Tigers catcher Alex Avila saved an estimated 12 runs with his catching in 2014.  He was average or above average on all five elements particularly excelling at stopping the running game (+4 runs) and pitch blocking (+6 runs to lead the majors).

Table 1: Runs Saved By Catchers, 2014 
Player
Team
Inn
Running Game
Pitch Blocking
Throwing Errors
Fielding Errors
Pitch Receiving
Total
Buster Posey
SFG
929
1.3
4.3
0.3
0.1
26.7
32.7
Rene Rivera
SDP
734
5.2
-0.2
-0.6
-0.0
26.2
30.5
Russell Martin
PIT
940
6.8
-0.6
0.0
0.6
16.5
23.3
Jonathan Lucroy
MIL
1,182
-1.0
4.8
0.9
0.2
18.0
23.0
Hank Conger
LAA
637
-1.5
-0.3
-0.7
-0.1
25.2
22.5
Caleb Joseph
BAL
672
4.7
1.0
0.4
-0.1
13.2
19.2
Mike Zunino
SEA
1,121
0.6
-4.9
0.6
0.2
22.3
18.8
Brian McCann
NYY
889
4.9
0.7
0.8
0.6
10.6
17.5
Yadier Molina
STL
931
5.7
5.2
0.8
0.6
4.9
17.2
Jose Molina
TBR
628
-0.1
-1.0
0.4
0.4
17.2
16.8
Miguel Montero
ARI
1,152
0.9
2.2
-0.8
-0.8
14.2
15.7
Yan Gomes
CLE
1,082
2.9
1.6
-2.0
0.2
11.3
13.9
Alex Avila
DET
1,017
4.3
6.0
0.4
0.1
1.7
12.6
Jason Castro
HOU
971
-3.4
0.4
0.9
-0.4
12.3
9.8
Tyler Flowers
CHW
1,052
1.3
-3.0
-0.1
0.2
11.5
9.8
Yasmani Grandal
SDP
607
-5.2
-3.3
0.1
-0.1
17.8
9.3
Ryan Hanigan
TBR
603
-1.5
1.7
0.6
0.4
6.5
7.7
Wilson Ramos
WSN
775
3.1
3.4
0.3
-0.0
-0.1
6.7
Robinson Chirinos
TEX
784
5.7
2.7
0.0
0.5
-4.4
4.6
Travis d'Arnaud
NYM
909
-3.5
-2.4
-0.9
0.1
11.2
4.5
Devin Mesoraco
CIN
936
-0.5
2.5
0.8
0.1
0.5
3.4
Carlos Ruiz
PHI
960
0.1
3.6
0.6
-0.4
-6.5
-2.6
Chris Iannetta
LAA
835
1.2
-2.5
0.7
0.5
-2.9
-3.0
Evan Gattis
ATL
799
-3.1
-4.9
0.1
-0.0
4.2
-3.8
Salvador Perez
KCR
1,248
1.7
1.2
-0.4
0.3
-7.4
-4.6
Welington Castillo
CHC
916
3.1
-0.3
0.2
-0.4
-9.2
-6.7
Derek Norris
OAK
870
-4.8
0.2
-0.1
0.0
-2.3
-7.0
A.J. Ellis
LAD
773
-0.9
0.6
0.6
-0.5
-6.9
-7.1
Kurt Suzuki
MIN
1,017
-1.4
3.5
0.4
0.6
-11.2
-8.0
A.J. Pierzynski
BOS/STL
721
-9.2
0.2
-0.0
0.4
-1.6
-10.2
Dioner Navarro
TOR
907
-3.1
2.1
0.5
0.6
-10.3
-10.2
Wilin Rosario
COL
824
-3.1
-5.2
-0.2
-0.5
-1.4
-10.4
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
MIA
922
-4.6
-0.2
-2.5
0.1
-18.7
-26.0
 Data sources: Baseball-Reference.com and BaseballProspectus.com 

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