Saturday, July 02, 2011

Avila Can Defend Too

Last December, I ranked all the catchers in baseball in 2010 based on their fielding statistics (stolen bases, caught stealing, passed balls , wild pitches, throwing errors and fielding errors).  I took an early look at this for 2011 at the end of April.  Today, I am doing an update through July 1, 2011.

The system is complex and I'm not going to rehash the whole thing here.  If you want to see the details, you can read my earlier article.  I do want to give credit to others who inspired me with similar work in the past:  Sean Smith, Justin Inaz, Matt Klaasen and Mike Rogers.

First, remember that a half year of defensive data is a relatively small sample size so you should use caution in interpreting the results.  Also keep in mind that these numbers do not capture everything that a catcher does.  For example, they say nothing about game calling or understanding of pitcher abilities and tendencies. I am are only going to evaluate catchers based on what we can most easily measure - controlling the running game, pitch blocking and avoiding errors.

Table 1 contains data for all catchers with at least 325 innings through July 1.  That captures almost all of the starting catchers in the majors.  The CSRuns column gives us an estimation of how many runs each catcher saved/cost his team compared to the average catcher by controlling the running game.  It is based on stolen bases against and caught stealing.  Orioles catcher Matt Wieters is the MLB leader with an estimated  4.8 runs saved over an average catcher.  Detroit's Alex Avila is second with 3.4 runs saved.  A negative sign before a number indicates that a catcher cost his team runs.  The worst receiver in this category is Jonathan Lucroy who has cost the Brewers an estimated -4.2 runs. 

The next column (WPPBRuns) tells us how many runs catchers saved/cost their teams with pitch blocking or preventing passed balls and wild pitches.  Number one is Phillies backstop Carlos Ruiz with 3.6 runs saved. On the other hand, J.P. Arencibia has cost the Blue Jays about four runs (-4.2).  Avila is a little below average on this statistic costing the Tigers about a run (-1.2) with pitch blocking.

The TERuns column tells us about throwing errors.  There is not a lot of variation between catchers here, but Wieters leads with 0.6 runs saved.  Avila is tied for second with at 0.5.  Conversely, Miguel Montero has cost the DiamondBacks -1.6 runs on throwing errors.

The FERuns column indicates how many runs catchers have saved/cost their teams with fielding errors.  Again, there is not a of of variation. Several catchers are tied for the lead at 0.4.  The worst is Miguel Olivo of the Mariners (-1.1).  Avila is below average on this measure costing the Tigers -0.6 runs.

The final column (CatchRuns) is the sum of the previous four columns.  It tells us how many runs catchers saved/cost their teams on the above items combined.  The leader is Wieters who has saved the Orioles almost nine runs (8.7).  The worst is Lucroy who has cost the Brewers almost seven runs (-6.6).  Avila is 7th among 29 qualifiers with 2.1runs saved..

In summary, Avila has been oustanding at controlling the running game and avoiding throwing errors and a little below average at pitch blocking and fielding batted balls.  Overall, he is in the top third among major league catchers defensively.  This combined with his spectacular first-half hitting makes him a legitimate all star.


Table 1: Catcher Runs Saved/Cost through July 1, 2011

Player
Team
Inn
CSRuns
WPPBRuns
TERuns
FERuns
CatchRuns
Matt Wieters
BAL
594
4.8
2.8
0.6
0.4
8.7
Wilson Ramos
WSN
470
2.2
1.9
-0.1
0.4
4.4
Carlos Ruiz
PHI
512
0.2
3.6
0.5
-0.1
4.1
Ryan Hanigan
CIN
404
0.5
2.6
0.3
0.3
3.7
Buster Posey
SFG
361
1.9
1.5
0.3
-0.2
3.4
Geovany Soto
CHC
486
1.9
1.8
-0.4
-0.1
3.2
Alex Avila
DET
534
3.4
-1.2
0.5
-0.6
2.1
Nick Hundley
SDP
344
1.3
1.3
-0.1
0.3
2.7
Ramon Hernandez
CIN
347
2.0
0.2
0.2
0.3
2.6
Yadier Molina
STL
598
-0.4
0.1
0.0
0.4
0.2
Miguel Montero
ARI
603
0.4
1.8
-1.6
-0.1
0.6
Kurt Suzuki
OAK
589
1.6
-1.1
-0.5
0.4
0.4
Yorvit Torrealba
TEX
494
1.4
-0.9
0.2
-0.6
0.1
Matt Treanor
KCR
441
0.3
-1.5
-0.2
0.3
-1.1
Jeff Mathis
LAA
360
-2.2
-0.5
0.2
0.3
-2.1
Russell Martin
NYY
534
-0.5
-1.2
-0.3
0.4
-1.7
Carlos Santana
CLE
446
-2.4
0.8
-0.5
0.3
-1.7
Rod Barajas
LAD
428
-3.0
1.4
0.3
0.3
-0.9
John Buck
FLA
625
-3.4
1.5
-0.2
0.5
-1.6
Chris Iannetta
COL
542
-1.6
-2.8
0.5
0.4
-3.5
Hank Conger
LAA
344
-3.0
-0.1
-0.3
0.3
-3.1
A. J. Pierzynski
CHW
596
-3.7
-1.3
0.3
0.4
-4.3
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
BOS
415
-2.0
-2.1
0.3
0.3
-3.4
John Jaso
TBR
417
-3.5
-0.4
0.1
0.3
-3.5
Miguel Olivo
SEA
582
-0.7
-2.9
-0.3
-1.1
-4.9
Josh Thole
NYM
426
-2.5
-1.9
0.1
0.3
-4.1
J. P. Arencibia
TOR
517
-1.2
-4.2
-0.1
0.4
-5.2
Brian McCann
ATL
615
-3.6
-0.8
0.1
-0.0
-4.4
Jonathan Lucroy
MIL
499
-4.2
-2.5
0.2
-0.1
-6.6

Data for this table were extracted from Baseball-Reference

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter