Monday, October 31, 2011

Omir Santos, Brad Thomas Removed from 40-Man Roster

The Tigers have removed catcher Omir Santos and Brad Thomas from their 40-man roster and optioned both to triple-A Toledo.  This is a procedural move that will result in both players becoming free agents.  If he never plays another major league game, Santos can say that he played in a playoff game.  After being added to the post-season roster as the Tigers backup catcher, Santos played in one game.  He was the Tigers catcher for one inning of the 10-1 loss to the Yankees in game four.  Brad Thomas had finished the season on the 60-day disabled list with an elbow injury. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Avila is Your Average Catcher

The title of this post obviously does not refer to Alex Avila's batting contribution in 2011.  In fact, I recently showed that Alex Avila had one of the best seasons ever for a Tigers catcher.  Kurt Mensching talked some more about Avila's season at Bless You Boys, but he also wanted to know more about his defense.  So, I'm going to talk about catcher defense today.

My system for rating catcher defense 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.

Smith's Total Zone catching metric (Rtot) now appears on Baseball-Reference.  Despite some methodological differences, the final results of Rtot are almost identical to mine.  What I'm going to do here though is break total catcher runs saved/cost into a few different statistics which represent different facets of catcher defense.  

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 500 innings in 2011.  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.

Diamond Backs catcher Miguel Montero was the MLB leader with an estimated 6.2 runs saved over an average catcher.   A negative sign before a number indicates that a catcher cost his team runs.  The worst receiver in this category was Matt Treanor, who cost the Rangers and Royals an estimated -9.8 runs.  Avila was eighth in the majors with 3.3 runs saved.  

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 was Phillies backstop Carlos Ruiz with 6.8 runs saved. On the other hand, Jarrod Saltalamacchia cost the Red Sox about eight runs (-8.4).  Avila finished in the bottom five of MLB costing the Tigers an estimated four runs (-3.7) with pitch blocking.

The TERuns column tells us about throwing errors.  There is not a lot of variation between catchers here, but Matt Wieters of the Orioles and Chris Iannetta of the Rockies led with 1.2 runs saved.  saved.  Avila was third at 1.0.  Conversely, Russell Martin cost the Diamond Backs -1.2 runs on throwing errors.

The FERuns column indicates how many runs catchers saved/cost their teams with fielding errors.  Again, there is not a of variation. The Cardinals Yadier Molina and Athletics Kurt Suzuki tied for the lead with 0.8 runs saved.  The worst was Eli Whiteside of the Giants (-1.1).  Avila was right around average on this measure (-0.2)

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 was Wieters who saved the Orioles over a dozen runs (12.5).  The worst is Treanor who cost his teams -11.7 runs.  Avila finished right in the middle of the pack at 0.4. 

In summary, Avila was very good at controlling the running game and avoiding throwing errors, but below average in  pitch blocking.  According to these numbers, he was an average catcher in terms of overall defense.  This combined with his spectacular hitting made him a legitimate all star and probably the best overall catcher in baseball in 2011.


Table 1: Catcher Runs Saved/Cost in 2011

Player
Team
Inn
CSRuns
WPBPRuns
TERuns
FERuns
CatchRuns
Matt Wieters
BAL
1,150
5.3
6.6
1.2
-0.7
12.5
Miguel Montero
ARI
1,169
6.2
3.5
-1.0
0.3
9.0
Lou Marson
CLE
667
5.3
2.2
-0.4
0.5
7.5
Kelly Shoppach
TBR
625
3.6
2.8
0.4
-0.1
6.8
Nick Hundley
SDP
654
4.6
1.7
-0.7
0.5
6.1
Ryan Hanigan
CIN
687
2.2
2.7
0.2
-0.0
5.2
Carlos Ruiz
PHI
1,051
-3.0
6.8
0.8
0.2
4.8
Ramon Hernandez
CIN
658
3.6
-0.2
0.7
0.5
4.7
Brayan Pena
KCR
537
3.9
0.0
0.3
0.4
4.6
Wilson Ramos
WSN
951
2.1
1.7
0.1
0.7
4.5
Mike Napoli
TEX
506
1.8
1.9
0.2
0.4
4.3
Yadier Molina
STL
1,150
0.6
2.4
0.4
0.8
4.2
Geovany Soto
CHC
1,041
1.5
1.9
-1.5
0.2
2.2
Yorvit Torrealba
TEX
823
2.5
1.0
-0.4
-0.9
2.1
Chris Iannetta
COL
943
1.4
-0.7
1.2
0.2
2.1
Drew Butera
MIN
670
1.6
0.3
-0.4
0.5
2.0
Rod Barajas
LAD
733
-1.4
2.4
0.9
0.0
1.9
Kurt Suzuki
OAK
1,132
0.1
0.8
-0.2
0.8
1.5
Humberto Quintero
HOU
642
-2.0
3.3
0.2
-0.5
0.9
Jeff Mathis
LAA
698
-0.2
0.0
0.3
0.5
0.6
Alex Avila
DET
1,157
3.3
-3.7
1.0
-0.2
0.4
Carlos Santana
CLE
786
-1.6
1.1
-0.7
0.6
-0.7
Eli Whiteside
SFG
583
-1.1
0.0
0.4
-1.1
-1.8
Russell Martin
NYY
1,044
1.6
-3.1
-1.2
0.7
-1.9
John Buck
FLA
1,144
-6.8
3.2
0.4
0.8
-2.4
Ronny Paulino
NYM
511
-2.8
-0.3
-0.9
0.4
-3.6
Josh Thole
NYM
793
-3.6
-1.6
0.7
0.6
-4.0
Jonathan Lucroy
MIL
1,043
0.2
-5.0
-0.0
0.2
-4.7
John Jaso
TBR
603
-4.2
-1.1
0.1
-0.1
-5.3
Brian McCann
ATL
1,083
-5.0
-1.2
0.6
0.3
-5.4
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
BOS
856
2.3
-8.4
0.5
0.1
-5.5
A.J. Pierzynski
CHW
1,008
-5.5
-1.6
0.5
0.7
-5.9
Jason Varitek
BOS
574
-7.3
0.5
0.1
-0.1
-6.9
Miguel Olivo
SEA
1,064
0.3
-6.5
-0.6
-0.8
-7.5
J.P. Arencibia
TOR
1,059
-2.5
-5.7
0.3
0.2
-7.7
Matt Treanor
KCR/TEX
565
-9.8
-1.9
0.0
-0.1
-11.7

Source: Baseball-Reference

Sabermetrics Book

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

Blog Archive

Subscribe

Ticket America

Purchase Tigers tickets at Comerica Park. Ticketamerica.com has access to Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers seats and STL Cardinals. Find and buy all MLB seats including Red Sox and NY Yankees here.

GoTickets

Get Tigers tickets for Comerica Park and watch them play the Seattle Mariners and other MLB teams. We also have baseball tickets, MLB All Star and World Series tickets.

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Other Stuff




Total Pageviews