2008 Catcher Block Percentage

Last year I began calculating how successful each catcher was at blocking pitches.  I tied together the MLB GameDay data with the Retrosheet play-by-play information to identify how many opportunities each catcher had to make a meaningful block.  I then subtracted away the number of "misses" or wild pitches and passed balls to come up with a percentage of blocked pitches, which I called Catcher Block Percentage.

 

Since Retrosheet released their updated event files this week, I've run the calculations for the 2008 season which can be found in the table below. As always, results are limited to those catchers with greater than 100 opportunities (I used that correctly, right Sky?).

Catcher Innings Misses Opportunities Block % Blocks AA Runs Runs/120
Jeff Mathis 793.33 18 312 0.942307692 26.37 7.12 6.57
Kurt Suzuki 1215 24 329 0.927051672 22.79 6.15 5.39
Jason Kendall 1328.33 45 443 0.898419865 18 4.86 3.16
Jason Varitek 1041.33 25 290 0.913793103 16.24 4.38 4.36
Russell Martin 1238 35 346 0.898843931 14.21 3.84 3.19
Yadier Molina 1002 35 327 0.892966361 11.5 3.11 2.74
Humberto Quintero 447 5 106 0.952830189 10.07 2.72 7.39
Brad Ausmus 569.67 11 148 0.925675676 10.05 2.71 5.28
Rod Barajas 785.33 19 203 0.906403941 9.87 2.66 3.78
Carlos Ruiz 828 23 226 0.898230088 9.14 2.47 3.15
J.R. Towles 408.67 10 133 0.92481203 8.91 2.41 5.21
Geovany Soto 1150.33 37 316 0.882911392 7.94 2.14 1.95
Matt Treanor 524.67 16 149 0.89261745 5.19 1.4 2.71
Chris Coste 612.67 14 132 0.893939394 4.77 1.29 2.81
Dave Ross 399.67 13 119 0.890756303 3.92 1.06 2.56
Jason LaRue 412 12 110 0.890909091 3.64 0.98 2.58
Josh Bard 416.67 11 100 0.89 3.22 0.87 2.51
Nick Hundley 486.33 18 146 0.876712329 2.76 0.75 1.47
Chris Snyder 922.67 32 244 0.868852459 2.7 0.73 0.86
Shawn Riggans 343.33 12 103 0.883495146 2.65 0.72 2
Kenji Johjima 833.33 27 207 0.869565217 2.44 0.66 0.92
Gregg Zaun 612.33 31 223 0.860986547 0.71 0.19 0.25
Joe Mauer 1203 31 222 0.86036036 0.57 0.15 0.2
Gerald Laird 753 30 207 0.855072464 -0.56 -0.15 -0.21
John Baker 496 18 120 0.85 -0.93 -0.25 -0.61
Brian McCann 1143.33 36 242 0.851239669 -1.58 -0.43 -0.51
Dioner Navarro 1011.33 33 218 0.848623853 -2 -0.54 -0.71
Paul Bako 770.67 35 226 0.845132743 -2.86 -0.77 -0.98
Wil Nieves 449.67 22 133 0.834586466 -3.09 -0.83 -1.8
Ryan Doumit 909 43 279 0.845878136 -3.32 -0.9 -0.93
Mike Napoli 625 32 193 0.834196891 -4.55 -1.23 -1.84
Bengie Molina 1128.33 48 303 0.841584158 -4.91 -1.33 -1.26
John Buck 950.33 42 260 0.838461538 -5.02 -1.36 -1.5
Kelly Shoppach 872.67 36 217 0.834101382 -5.14 -1.39 -1.84
Ramon Hernandez 1039.33 48 298 0.838926174 -5.62 -1.52 -1.47
Brian Schneider 881 36 206 0.825242718 -6.7 -1.81 -2.53
Ivan Rodriguez 930 34 190 0.821052632 -6.98 -1.88 -2.86
Brandon Inge 493.67 29 152 0.809210526 -7.38 -1.99 -3.78
Yorvit Torrealba 581 25 123 0.796747967 -7.51 -2.03 -4.75
Guillermo Quiroz 354.33 25 120 0.791666667 -7.93 -2.14 -5.14
Miguel Olivo 494.33 26 125 0.792 -8.22 -2.22 -5.12
Jesus Flores 673 34 176 0.806818182 -8.97 -2.42 -3.96
Jose Molina 737 31 154 0.798701299 -9.1 -2.46 -4.6
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 464.33 26 117 0.777777778 -9.36 -2.53 -6.22
A.J. Pierzynski 1134.33 40 213 0.812206573 -9.71 -2.62 -3.55
Chris Iannetta 837 40 192 0.791666667 -12.7 -3.43 -5.14

 A couple of AL West catchers lead up the list.  Mathis easily out-performed Mike Napoli behind the plate, but Napoli was much better at it (147 OPS+ versus 55).  Jason Varitek continues looking good at the defensive aspect of the game while his offense has crumbled.  It's nice to see Russell Martin do well, since he often seems to be overlooked when discussing top catchers.

At the bottom of the list is Chris Iannetta, who broke through offensively this season, but could use some work blocking pitches, although his teammate Yorvit Torrealba didn't do much better.  A.J. Pierzynski continues his poor performance from past seasons.  A lot of his placement comes from how much he played though - his rate performance isn't too bad.  The Yankees replaced Jorge Posada with approximately the same value behind the plate (a relatively low one).  Ivan Rodriguez was better in 2008 than in seasons past, but still was below average.  And we can make another check mark in the reasons to move Jarrod Saltalamacchia to first base column, as he ranks far behind Gerald Laird this season.

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