Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fan Scouting Report 2013

For the 11th year, Tom Tango is conducting his fan scouting report on fielding skills. The survey is a very valuable resource, so I'm encouraging all knowledgeable fans who watch a lot of Detroit Tigers games to participate.  Many readers of this blog have participated in the past and said it was fun and it only takes a few minutes.

The survey asks fans to rate the fielding skills of players on their favorite teams just based on observation. You will be asked not to use any stats at all and also not to vote based on what somebody else told you. Just use your own eyes as if you were a scout.  Past results were very interesting and informative, but a large sample size is needed in order for them to be useful again this year. Some of the results appear in the Bill James Handbook which comes out every November and also FanGraphs.com  So, I urge all of you to complete the ballot.

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)

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