Quantifying catchers: May Rankings

A couple of weeks late is better than never, right? I pulled the data on June 1st and meant to write this article but I got busy and then some whole Is It a Perfect Game Or Not thing sort of happened and I figured I'd hold off on that.

Before we get started, here's the April rankings, and the original post with my methodology.

So here I am, bringing you the complete catcher rankings, updated through May 31st.

 

Rank NAME TEAM LG PA CSRns WP/PBRns FERns TERns TotalRns
1 Yadier Molina STL NL 1641 3.9 2.2 -0.2 0.4 6.3
2 Humberto Quintero HOU NL 1096 2.0 1.7 0.4 0.6 4.7
3 Henry Blanco NYM NL 529 3.3 0.4 0.2 0.3 4.1
4 Jose Molina TOR AL 569 3.8 -0.6 0.2 0.3 3.7
5 Matt Wieters BAL AL 1622 1.1 1.9 0.6 -0.1 3.5

 

Full list after the jump.

 

Rank NAME TEAM LG PA CSRns WP/PBRns FERns TERns TotalRns
1 Yadier Molina STL NL 1641 3.9 2.2 -0.2 0.4 6.3
2 Humberto Quintero HOU NL 1096 2.0 1.7 0.4 0.6 4.7
3 Henry Blanco NYM NL 529 3.3 0.4 0.2 0.3 4.1
4 Jose Molina TOR AL 569 3.8 -0.6 0.2 0.3 3.7
5 Matt Wieters BAL AL 1622 1.1 1.9 0.6 -0.1 3.5
6 Yorvit Torrealba SDP NL 896 2.1 0.6 -0.4 0.5 2.8
7 Miguel Olivo COL NL 1343 4.4 -1.7 0.5 -0.7 2.4
8 Carlos Ruiz PHI NL 1363 -0.4 2.2 -0.3 0.7 2.3
9 Lou Marson CLE AL 1397 2.6 -1.0 -0.3 0.8 2.1
10 Joe Mauer MIN AL 1346 0.7 1.1 0.5 -0.2 2.0
11 Ivan Rodriguez WSN NL 1199 0.4 0.9 0.4 0.2 2.0
12 Koyie Hill CHC NL 493 0.2 1.1 0.2 0.3 1.8
13 Nick Hundley SDP NL 1018 0.3 1.2 -0.4 0.6 1.7
14 Chris Snyder ARI NL 1520 0.4 -0.1 0.5 0.8 1.6
15 David Ross ATL NL 513 1.7 -0.2 0.2 -0.2 1.5
16 Jason Jaramillo PIT NL 448 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.2 1.4
17 Wil Nieves WSN NL 742 -0.1 1.3 0.3 -0.1 1.3
18 Ronny Paulino FLA NL 1036 1.2 0.2 0.4 -0.4 1.3
19 Ryan Hanigan CIN NL 860 1.6 0.2 0.3 -1.0 1.2
20 Craig Tatum BAL AL 336 0.7 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.1
21 Carlos Maldonado WSN NL 69 1.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.9
22 Ramon Hernandez CIN NL 1149 1.2 -1.5 0.4 0.6 0.8
23 Jason LaRue STL NL 279 0.0 0.5 0.1 0.2 0.8
24 Landon Powell OAK AL 489 0.4 0.8 0.2 -0.7 0.8
25 Ramon Castro CHW AL 208 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.7
26 J.R. Towles HOU NL 509 0.3 0.3 0.2 -0.2 0.6
27 Geovany Soto CHC NL 1474 -1.4 1.2 0.5 0.3 0.6
28 Eli Whiteside SFG NL 609 0.2 -0.2 0.2 0.3 0.5
29 Drew Butera MIN AL 298 0.4 0.3 0.1 -0.3 0.5
30 Gerald Laird DET AL 1151 0.2 -0.3 0.4 0.1 0.4
31 Max Ramirez TEX AL 415 0.3 0.1 0.1 -0.3 0.3
32 Brian Schneider PHI NL 283 -0.3 0.8 0.1 -0.3 0.3
33 Jason Varitek BOS AL 661 -1.2 0.8 0.2 0.4 0.2
34 Jonathan Lucroy MIL NL 88 -0.1 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2
35 Brad Ausmus LAD NL 40 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2
36 Paul Hoover PHI NL 220 0.3 0.1 0.1 -0.4 0.1
37 Josh Donaldson OAK AL 203 0.4 0.0 0.1 -0.4 0.1
38 Wilson Ramos MIN AL 258 -0.6 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.1
39 Chad Moeller NYY AL 62 -0.1 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.1
40 Corky Miller CIN NL 11 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
41 Nick Stavinoha STL NL 2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
42 Brett Hayes FLA NL 177 -0.4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.0
43 Jarrod Saltalamacchia TEX AL 37 -0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
44 Brian McCann ATL NL 1374 0.5 0.9 -0.3 -1.2 0.0
45 Jason Kendall KCR AL 1853 0.3 1.1 -0.1 -1.4 -0.1
46 Bobby Wilson LAA AL 137 -0.6 0.4 0.0 0.1 -0.1
47 Matt Treanor TEX AL 1135 -0.7 0.7 -0.4 0.1 -0.1
48 Eliezer Alfonzo SEA AL 43 0.3 0.1 -0.7 0.0 -0.2
49 Kelly Shoppach TBR AL 113 0.1 -0.5 0.0 0.1 -0.4
50 Bryan Anderson STL NL 46 -0.3 -0.1 0.0 0.0 -0.4
51 Paul Phillips COL NL 172 -0.1 -0.1 0.1 -0.4 -0.5
52 Jeff Mathis LAA AL 379 -0.6 -0.3 0.1 0.2 -0.6
53 Miguel Montero ARI NL 119 -0.7 0.1 0.0 0.1 -0.6
54 Donny Lucy CHW AL 190 -0.7 0.0 0.1 0.1 -0.6
55 John Baker FLA NL 752 -0.8 0.5 0.3 -0.5 -0.6
56 Ryan Budde LAA AL 121 -0.2 -0.5 0.0 0.1 -0.6
57 John Jaso TBR AL 930 0.3 0.2 -1.2 0.0 -0.7
58 Jake Fox OAK AL 180 -0.1 0.0 -0.7 0.1 -0.8
59 Russell Martin LAD NL 1696 0.1 -0.2 -0.2 -0.5 -0.8
60 Taylor Teagarden TEX AL 369 0.4 -0.3 -0.6 -0.3 -0.9
61 Alex Avila DET AL 747 1.6 -1.2 -1.2 -0.1 -0.9
62 Francisco Cervelli NYY AL 1035 -1.6 0.7 0.4 -0.4 -0.9
63 Dioner Navarro TBR AL 910 -0.2 -0.2 0.3 -0.9 -1.0
64 Josh Bard SEA AL 265 -0.4 -0.1 -0.7 0.1 -1.0
65 Rod Barajas NYM NL 1523 -1.7 0.7 -1.0 0.8 -1.1
66 Kurt Suzuki OAK AL 1067 -0.4 -0.3 0.4 -0.9 -1.2
67 Brayan Pena KCR AL 184 -0.3 -0.3 -0.7 0.1 -1.2
68 Gregg Zaun MIL NL 1095 -0.8 -0.2 -0.4 0.1 -1.3
69 John Buck TOR AL 1427 -1.1 -1.5 0.5 0.8 -1.3
70 Chris Iannetta COL NL 416 -0.8 -0.8 0.1 -0.3 -1.7
71 A.J. Pierzynski CHW AL 1517 -1.4 -1.0 -0.2 0.8 -1.8
72 Mike Redmond CLE AL 536 -1.9 0.1 0.2 -0.2 -1.8
73 A.J. Ellis LAD NL 237 -0.9 -0.7 0.1 -0.4 -1.9
74 Rob Johnson SEA AL 950 -0.3 -2.0 0.3 0.0 -1.9
75 Kevin Cash HOU NL 366 -0.8 -1.5 0.1 0.2 -2.0
76 Jorge Posada NYY AL 758 -1.0 -0.9 0.3 -0.5 -2.2
77 George Kottaras MIL NL 901 -2.0 -0.2 -0.4 0.0 -2.6
78 Adam Moore SEA AL 641 -0.5 -1.5 -1.3 0.3 -3.0
79 Mike Napoli LAA AL 1439 -0.6 -1.7 -0.3 -0.7 -3.3
80 Victor Martinez BOS AL 1376 -3.1 -1.1 0.5 0.3 -3.4
81 Bengie Molina SFG NL 1285 -3.4 -0.8 0.4 0.2 -3.5
82 John Hester ARI NL 406 -1.6 -2.8 0.1 0.2 -4.0
83 Ryan Doumit PIT NL 1618 -5.0 -1.2 -0.2 0.4 -6.0

 

You know we love our bullet points!

  • We'll hit up the  Tigers catchers first. I said in the April rankings about Laird's defense:

Laird's dragged down by his wild pitch/passed ball defense. He's been behind the plate for 9 wild pitches and 1 passed ball thus far. I would expect that to start to slow down as he's never been this bad before in this aspect of catching. Also: expect his caught stealing rate to rise. He sits at 22% (4-for-18) and the league caught stealing percentage is 20%.

  • Can I claim a bit of a victory here? Since starting 4-for-18, Larid has gunned down 3 of the last 4 would-be basestealers to sit at 7-for-22 which is finally above-average. What? So the league average is 23% and Laird's at 24%. Above-average is above-average! He can't hit water if he fell out of a boat this year, so can we at least give him some love on this?
  • That said, Larid has been the 29th best catcher in the major leagues this year. Is it sad that I'm trying to even remotely rationalize the fact that Laird has 79 PA's since the start of May to Alex Avila's 72?
  • Speaking of The Golden Child, Avila's fallen in the rankings. From 1.1 runs and 11th best in the majors to -0.9 runs and 61st best. So, maybe the catcher usage isn't too awful by Leyland, but Avila looks like he gets an 11 AM shadow and must shave every time he eats a meal, so he wins by default.
  • By the by, Avila's fallen because he's been behind the dish for 8 wild pitches and he's committed a fielding error in his last 419 PA's in the crouch.
  • Moving on to the rest of the league, Yadier Molina keeps being a beast. He's been behind the plate for 867 PA's in May and picked up 4.2 runs in that time frame -- or about a run saved every 200 plate appearances behind home.
  • Miguel Olivo's caught stealing numbers are regressing, as he's at 50% (13-for-26) which is down from his 60% April.
  • Carlos Ruiz and Yadier Molina lead the majors at 2.2 runs saved in the wild pitch/passed balls category. The worst is Arizona's Jon Hester who sits at -2.8 runs saved in the category in just 406 PA's behind home plate. That is impressive. For the Mariners fans out there: Rob Johnson is second at -2 runs saved in WP/PB's.
  • The aforementioned Miguel Olivo is still leading in caught stealing runs at 4.4 runs saved while the also aforementioned Yadier Molina is sitting at 3.9 runs saved through the end of May. Ryan Doumit is the worst at -5 runs saved. He's thrown out 2 of 43 would-be base stealers this year.
  • RYAN DOUMIT HAS THROWN OUT 2 RUNNERS OUT OF 43 OPPORTUNITIES. That needed it's own bullet point.
  • Bengie Molina (-3.4) and Victor Martinez (-3.1) are the only other catchers costing their teams 3 or more runs in the caught stealing category.

The Do Everything Well Duo

There are only two catchers thus far to be behind the dish for at least 700 PA's and still be positive in the four components: Caught Stealing Runs (CSRns), Wild Pitches/Passed Balls (WP/PBRns), Fielding Errors (FERns) and Throwing Errors (TERns) and they are Humberto Quintero of the Houston Astros and Ivan Rodriguez of the Washington Nationals. I think we can attribute Pudge being positive in all categories to Stephen Strasburg, though. He's taught him more about catching in the majors in the last ten days than Pudge has ever learned. True story.

Quintero: 2.0 CSRns, 1.7 WP/PBRns, 0.4 FERns and 0.6 TERns

Pudge: 0.4 CSRns, 0.9 WP/PBRns, 0.4 FERns, 0.2 TERns

The What Do We Have To Do To Get Someone Good Behind The Plate Guy

Say hello to Mr. Mike Napoli. I know there have been questions as to why Napoli hasn't been utilized more for his bat, but my guess is Mike Scioscia likes defense-first catchers given that was his M.O. when he played.

Napoli: -0.6 CSRns, -1.7 WP/PBRns, -0.3 FERns, -0.7 TERns

And one of my favorite things to look at: Who is getting run on the most?

Of players with at least 700 PA's behind the dish, we get...

 

NAME SB CS CS% SBA
John Baker 22 5 0.19 0.103
Jason Kendall 48 15 0.24 0.091
Bengie Molina 37 4 0.10 0.091
Victor Martinez 38 5 0.12 0.089
Mike Napoli 31 8 0.21 0.073
Humberto Quintero 20 10 0.33 0.072
Jorge Posada 17 3 0.15 0.070
Gerald Laird 22 7 0.24 0.070
Ryan Doumit 41 2 0.05 0.068
Geovany Soto 30 6 0.17 0.065

 

SBA is the number of stolen bases attempted when given the opportunity. I get this by tracking stolen base opportunities which are a runner on 1st or 2nd with the next base open. Just divide stolen bases attempted by stolen base opportunities, and you get the SBA percentage above.

Why do people keep running on Gerald Laird? He's basically league average this year, but you'd assume that his absurd 40% caught stealing rate last year would deter more managers. But, we quantitatively see what we witness when watching games: If Victor Martinez, Mike Napoli, or Jorge Posada are behind the plate, there should be a track meet on the base paths.

You can download the spreadsheet which has May data here. Just open the link and go File -> Download As -> your preferred file type.

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