Friday, October 25, 2013

Pitch Receiving Helps Make Avila a Valuable Catcher.


In an earlier post, I attempted to quantify catcher defense by combining statistics from Baseball-Reference and Stat Corner.  The following facets of catching were considered:
  • Stopping the running game - Runs saved based on stolen bases and caught stealing
  • Pitch Blocking -  Runs saved by preventing wild pitches and passed balls
  • Throwing Errors - Runs saved by avoiding throwing errors
  • Fielding Errors - Runs saved by avoiding fielding errors
  • Pitch Receiving/ Framing - Runs saved by getting strike calls on pitches inside and outside the strike zone
The first four numbers were calculated from data at Baseball-Reference.  The Pitch Receiving value came from Stat Corner.  Baseball Prospectus also has some Pitch Receiving Numbers, but only through August and only for the best and worst pitch receivers. While it is incomplete, the Baseball Prospectus data are probably a little more accurate as they adjust for more variables.  Thus, I am now going to plug in those numbers where I can.

In the earlier post, I only looked at the leaders and trailers.  In Table 1 below, I'm including all the catchers with at least 500 innings.  According to Baseball Prospectus, Tigers starting catcher Alex Avila saved his team 23 runs with pitch receiving which trailed only the Molina brothers - Jose of the Rays (25) and Yadier of the Cardinals (24). 

If Avila's pitch framing was as good as indicated by Baseball Prospectus, it added two wins to his value which made up for some streaky offense and his deficiencies in stopping the running game (-6 runs cost) ,pitch blocking (-2) and avoiding fielding errors (-1).  Avila finished 12th out of 37 catchers with 14 runs saved overall.  This compared favorably to back-up catcher Brayan Pena's two runs saved. 

This might explain why Tigers pitchers like working with Avila so much and why it's important the Tigers are able to keep him as healthy as possible next season. 


Table 1 - Catcher Runs Saved, 2013

Player
Team
Running Game
Pitch Blocking
Throwing Errors
Fielding Errors
Pitch Receiving
Total Runs
Yadier Molina
STL
5
8
1
-1
24*
37
Jonathan Lucroy
MIL
-4
2
0
-1
31
28
Russell Martin
PIT
7
-2
1
1
18
25
Chris Stewart
NYY
2
-1
1
1
23
25
Jose Molina
TBR
1
-2
0
0
25*
24
Brian McCann
ATL
-1
5
0
1
19*
23
Yan Gomes
CLE
4
1
0
1
15
21
Derek Norris
OAK
-1
1
0
0
20*
21
Buster Posey
SFG
2
4
0
0
11
17
Ryan Hanigan
CIN
4
1
1
0
8
14
Alex Avila
DET
-6
-2
0
-1
23*
14
Hank Conger
LAA
-1
-3
-1
0
18
13
J.P. Arencibia
TOR
-1
-1
-1
-1
16
12
Joe Mauer
MIN
4
3
1
0
0
8
Wilson Ramos
WSN
1
0
-1
-1
4
3
Matt Wieters
BAL
4
7
1
0
-9
2
Tyler Flowers
CHW
-2
0
0
0
3
2
Brayan Pena
DET
-1
0
0
0
3
2
Jeff Mathis
MIA
2
0
1
0
-2
1
Devin Mesoraco
CIN
1
3
0
1
-3
1
Salvador Perez
KCR
4
0
-1
1
-5
-1
A.J. Ellis
LAD
7
-1
1
0
-7
-1
Miguel Montero
ARI
2
-3
0
0
-1
-3
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
BOS
-4
2
0
1
-3
-4
Carlos Ruiz
PHI
-1
2
0
0
-6
-5
Josh Phegley
CHW
1
-2
0
0
-2
-5
Jason Castro
HOU
-1
-2
1
0
-4
-6
Jose Lobaton
TBR
-6
-1
0
1
0
-7
A.J. Pierzynski
TEX
3
-1
1
0
-11
-9
Rob Brantly
MIA
0
-1
0
0
-9
-10
Kurt Suzuki
WAS
-7
5
0
0
-9
-12
Carlos Santana
CLE
-4
-4
0
-1
-8
-16
Nick Hundley
SD
-1
2
-1
1
-17*
-17
Chris Iannetta
LAA
-5
-1
1
-1
-15*
-21
John Buck
NYM
-9
2
0
0
-15*
-22
Welington Castillo
CHC
1
1
-1
-1
-23*
-22
Wilin Rosario
COL
0
-4
-1
0
-19
-24

*Baseball Prospectus as of 8/31/2013 (Other Pitch Receiving numbers are from StatCorner)

6 comments:

  1. I sure would like to see the stat of which Catchers have taken the most abuse. Avila is the unluckiest guy behind the plate. His ability to endure the punishment is mighty impressive. Maybe he should take up boxing in the off-season, it's a pretty good advantage when you are immune to pain or getting knocked out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. If at some point they start calling pitches electronically, this skill will go the way of of the buggy whip.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is true, but I don't see an electronic strike zone coming any time soon. More likely, we'll be arguing about how well instant replay is working for the next 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ain't that the truth. Gosh 10 years is a long time though. Still some hope that at that point a Computer will be the Commissioner of the league. Then no more screwing around, get with the program or you get DELETED!

      Delete
  4. Lee, ... very interesting, as always! Note that the player and team don't match up for the last 9 or so lines. Jim in Cincinnati

    ReplyDelete

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