2010 Beyond the Box Score Catcher Defense Rankings

Remember me? No? Yeah... about that... I did mean to post every month during the season... but I was busy, baby, you know I love you, right? Look, here's the full, year-end rankings, just for you and me. Forgive me now?

I won't go over the methodology stuff that you can find in earlier posts (so before complaining about it, check those out), there's a short bit at the end of the post after the full rankings. Quickly qualifications: I don't make any great claim to originality (these are my modified version of what own our JinAZ and and Sean "CHONE" Smith do) or perfection here. I started doing this because it was something I could do in Excel fairly quickly during the season from easily available stats. While these might be somewhat helpful in estimating "true talent" (i.e., making projections), these are the observed estimated value of observed 2010 performances of catchers (in runs above/below average) that are not prorated for playing time, so there is a difference there.

That said, a comparison with the 2010 Fans Scouting Report for catchers shows a decent amount of correlation at a glance, so I do think these are getting at something real, despite previously-discussed limitations. The full rankings and more commentary are after the jump, let's see which catchers in baseball are ranked as providing the most (and least) overall value to their team (I didn't combine multi-team performances) in 2010 in runs above/below average in combined fielding errors (FE), throwing errors (TE), passed balls and wild pitches allowed (PBWP), and caught stealing (CS).

Before that, though, here are a few "honorable mentions" in overall defensive value, presented without comment: Joe Mauer (#11, +4.9 runs), Buster Posey (#12, +4.5), Brian McCann (#15, +3.1), John Buck (#22, +1.5), Brayan Pena (#46, +0.4), Carlos Santana (#65, 0.0), Jason Kendall (#78, -0.8).

Best Overall: In agreement with the Fans Scouting Report, the 2010 BtB catcher defense rankings see the Cardinals' Yadier Molina as the defensively most valuable catcher in baseball at 14.6 runs above average. Even with a .299 wOBA, that makes him a very valuable player. The second-best was a surprise to me: Ivan Rodriguez at +9.6 runs. I'm still not sure that signing really made sense for the Nationals given his age, but he can still bring it behind the plate (if not beside it). Carlos Ruiz was #3 overall at +9.2 runs, and given his good bat (+15 runs according to FanGraphs), this was a monster season for a guy who doesn't get that much national attention. 

Worst Overall: Out of the 120 catchers listed here, Mike Napoli was pretty bad at number 113 overall and 5.5 runbelow average, so that might make some sense out of the Angels disillusionment with him, except that in relatively equal playing time, his replacement, alleged defensive stalwart Jeff Mathis, in in a three-way tie for baseball's worst with Ryan Doumit (of course) and Francisco Cervelli at -9.4 runs each. The Yankees had a real defensive machine behind the plate in 2010, with Jorge Posada clocking in at -8.6 runs.

Caught Stealing, the Best: Yadier Molina is (unsurprisingly) the best here at +8.6 runs, I don't know why teams run on him. The Rockies' (now the Jays until [hopefully for them] he turns down arbitration) Miguel Olivo gunned down plenty of runners, too, at +7.1 runs. It will be interesting to see who signs him, given his regression at the plate after a hot start and continued issues with blocking pitches. Cleveland's Lou Marson was a disaster at the plate this season, but he probably isn't really as bad as he looked, and if he really is this good defensively (+5.3 runs in throwing out basestealers, +7.3 overall) he will be a good backup for Carlos Santana, at least.

Caught Stealing, the Worst: No big shocker here, with Ryan Doumit at -8.5 runs. It wouldn't surprise me if he never saw extended time behind the plate again. Second-worst is Victor Martinez at -6 runs; as many have noted, teams looking at him in free agency really do need to consider just how much longer he'll be viable as a catcher when estimating his value. Jorge Posada is not surprise at -5.5 runs, but Kurt Suzuki is at -4.7.

Passed Balls & Wild Pitches, the Best: This is where Carlos Ruiz made his bones in these rankings, at +7.2 runs. Rod Barajas gets lumped in with the Bengie Molina crowd a fair bit, and while that is understandable on one level, a .310 wOBA isn't bad for a catcher, and he is good defensively, at +6.7 runs in blocking pitches. Pudge Rodriguez is usually noted for his throwing arm, but was more impressive at blocking pitches according to these rankings at +5.4 runs.

Passed Balls & Wild Pitches, the Worst: Jeff Mathis, defensive wunderkind, fills out the bottom of the rankings at -5.6 runs. He must call a heck of a game. Passed Ball Legend Miguel Olivo gives most of his value in the running game back in this part of his game at -4.9 runs. Adam Moore had a typical 2010 Mariners performance here at -4.5 runs.

 

2010 Beyond the Box Score Catcher Defense Rankings

Rank

Name

Age

Tm

PA

FERuns

TERuns

PBWPRns

CSRuns

Total

1

Yadier Molina

27

STL

4735

0.6

1.0

4.5

8.6

14.6

2

Ivan Rodriguez

38

WSN

3832

1.1

0.4

5.4

2.7

9.6

3

Carlos Ruiz

31

PHI

4045

0.4

0.1

7.2

1.5

9.2

4

Matt Wieters

24

BAL

4615

-0.2

1.4

4.7

2.6

8.4

5

Lou Marson

24

CLE

3158

0.1

1.0

0.9

5.3

7.3

6

Yorvit Torrealba

31

SDP

3259

0.2

1.0

4.3

0.8

6.3

7

Rod Barajas

34

NYM

2635

-1.5

1.6

6.7

-0.6

6.1

8

Humberto Quintero

30

HOU

2801

-1.5

0.7

3.5

2.7

5.5

9

Henry Blanco

38

NYM

1528

0.4

0.9

0.0

3.8

5.1

10

Chris Snyder

29

ARI

2317

0.7

0.9

3.2

0.1

4.9

11

Joe Mauer

27

MIN

3988

1.1

1.0

3.1

-0.4

4.9

12

Buster Posey

23

SFG

2735

0.0

-0.3

1.6

3.1

4.5

13

Ryan Hanigan

29

CIN

2155

0.6

-0.6

2.7

1.8

4.5

14

Ronny Paulino

29

FLA

3190

-0.6

0.0

1.6

2.6

3.6

15

Brian McCann

26

ATL

4700

-0.9

-2.4

3.5

3.0

3.1

16

Ramon Hernandez

34

CIN

3245

0.9

0.1

0.1

1.8

2.8

17

Drew Butera

26

MIN

1662

-1.0

-0.4

0.1

3.8

2.5

18

Josh Thole

23

NYM

1973

0.6

-0.2

0.2

1.9

2.4

19

Geovany Soto

27

CHC

3712

0.3

0.8

3.1

-1.9

2.3

20

Jason Varitek

38

BOS

1171

0.3

0.7

2.1

-1.0

2.1

21

Erik Kratz

30

PIT

331

0.1

0.2

0.1

1.5

1.9

22

John Buck

29

TOR

4028

1.1

0.0

-0.2

0.5

1.5

23

Nick Hundley

26

SDP

2795

0.0

0.3

1.8

-0.6

1.5

24

Corky Miller

34

CIN

782

0.2

0.5

0.9

-0.2

1.4

25

Miguel Olivo

31

COL

3935

1.1

-1.9

-4.9

7.1

1.4

26

Jason Castro

23

HOU

2192

0.6

0.9

-3.9

3.8

1.4

27

Brian Schneider

33

PHI

1432

0.4

-0.1

1.4

-0.4

1.3

28

Wilson Ramos

22

WSN

547

0.2

0.3

1.3

-0.6

1.2

29

Alex Avila

23

DET

3256

0.2

1.0

-3.5

3.5

1.2

30

Carlos Maldonado

31

WSN

116

0.0

0.1

0.1

1.0

1.1

31

Ramon Castro

34

CHW

1204

-0.4

0.7

1.6

-0.9

1.0

32

J. P. Arencibia

24

TOR

267

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.5

1.0

33

Luke Carlin

29

CLE

157

0.0

0.1

0.5

0.4

1.0

34

David Ross

33

ATL

1348

0.4

-1.1

0.9

0.8

1.0

35

Jason LaRue

36

STL

688

0.2

0.4

-0.2

0.5

0.9

36

Jake Fox

27

BAL

292

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.9

37

Chris Gimenez

27

CLE

739

0.2

0.0

-0.3

1.1

0.9

38

Dane Sardinha

31

PHI

350

0.1

0.2

0.5

0.1

0.8

39

Gerald Laird

30

DET

2876

0.1

-0.2

-2.4

3.3

0.8

40

Matt Treanor

34

TEX

2626

-0.8

1.1

1.9

-1.5

0.7

41

Jose Morales

27

MIN

198

0.1

0.1

0.6

-0.1

0.7

42

J.R. Towles

26

HOU

509

0.1

-0.2

0.4

0.3

0.7

43

Brett Hayes

26

FLA

824

0.2

0.5

-0.6

0.6

0.6

44

Dioner Navarro

26

TBR

1349

0.4

-1.1

0.6

0.7

0.6

45

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

25

BOS

186

0.1

0.1

0.5

-0.2

0.5

46

Brayan Pena

28

KCR

1492

-1.1

0.4

-0.1

1.2

0.4

47

Brad Davis

27

FLA

1204

0.3

-1.2

1.0

0.2

0.4

48

Chris Hatcher

25

FLA

111

0.0

0.1

-0.2

0.5

0.4

49

Jose Molina

35

TOR

1870

0.5

0.2

-4.0

3.6

0.3

50

Max St. Pierre

30

DET

66

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.0

0.3

51

Welington Castillo

23

CHC

197

0.1

0.1

-0.5

0.5

0.2

52

Tyler Flowers

24

CHW

136

0.0

0.1

-0.2

0.2

0.2

53

Josh Donaldson

24

OAK

203

0.1

-0.4

0.0

0.4

0.1

54

Wil Nieves

32

WSN

1712

0.5

-1.4

2.5

-1.6

0.1

55

Rob Johnson

26

SEA

2158

0.6

-0.6

-2.6

2.7

0.1

56

Steve Hill

25

STL

15

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

57

Brian Esposito

31

HOU

14

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

58

Russell Martin

27

LAD

3385

0.2

-2.3

-0.9

3.0

0.0

59

Jamie Burke

38

WSN

7

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

60

J. C. Boscan

30

ATL

4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

61

Chris Stewart

28

SDP

4

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

62

Nick Stavinoha

28

STL

2

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

63

Konrad Schmidt

25

ARI

74

0.0

0.0

-0.1

0.0

0.0

64

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

25

TEX

37

0.0

0.0

0.1

-0.1

0.0

65

Carlos Santana

24

CLE

1460

-0.3

0.4

-1.3

1.2

0.0

66

Jason Jaramillo

27

PIT

1008

-0.5

-0.3

0.5

0.3

0.0

67

Michael McKenry

25

COL

46

0.0

0.0

-0.1

0.0

-0.1

68

Bengie Molina

35

TEX

1876

-0.2

-0.8

0.5

0.2

-0.3

69

A.J. Ellis

29

LAD

1323

0.4

0.3

-1.1

0.1

-0.3

70

Eliezer Alfonzo

31

SEA

402

-1.4

0.2

0.6

0.2

-0.3

71

Bobby Wilson

27

LAA

1117

0.3

0.2

-0.1

-0.8

-0.4

72

Josh Bard

32

SEA

1288

-1.1

0.8

0.2

-0.3

-0.5

73

John Baker

29

FLA

752

0.2

-0.5

0.5

-0.7

-0.5

74

Donny Lucy

27

CHW

190

0.1

0.1

0.0

-0.7

-0.6

75

Jake Fox

27

OAK

251

-0.7

0.2

0.2

-0.2

-0.6

76

Ryan Budde

30

LAA

121

0.0

0.1

-0.5

-0.2

-0.6

77

Paul Hoover

34

PHI

268

-0.7

-0.3

0.0

0.3

-0.7

78

Jason Kendall

36

KCR

4495

-1.0

-2.1

1.8

0.5

-0.8

79

Landon Powell

28

OAK

1116

-0.4

-1.7

1.9

-0.5

-0.8

80

Guillermo Quiroz

28

SEA

81

0.0

-0.4

-0.6

0.2

-0.8

81

Gustavo Molina

28

BOS

81

0.0

0.0

-0.6

-0.4

-1.0

82

Brad Ausmus

41

LAD

721

0.2

0.0

1.3

-2.5

-1.0

83

Dusty Brown

28

BOS

157

0.0

0.1

-0.9

-0.2

-1.0

84

Hank Conger

22

LAA

314

0.1

-1.2

0.6

-0.5

-1.0

85

Bryan Anderson

23

STL

257

0.1

-0.3

-0.1

-0.7

-1.1

86

Mike Nickeas

27

NYM

109

0.0

-0.4

-0.2

-0.4

-1.1

87

Miguel Montero

26

ARI

2839

0.1

1.2

-3.4

1.0

-1.1

88

Gregg Zaun

39

MIL

1095

-0.4

0.2

-0.1

-0.8

-1.2

89

Chad Moeller

35

NYY

163

0.0

0.1

-0.6

-0.7

-1.2

90

Kevin Cash

32

BOS

789

0.2

0.0

-0.8

-0.7

-1.2

91

Wilson Ramos

22

MIN

258

0.1

0.2

-1.2

-0.4

-1.3

92

Paul Phillips

33

COL

232

0.1

-0.3

-1.0

-0.1

-1.4

93

Taylor Teagarden

26

TEX

885

0.3

0.1

-1.0

-0.7

-1.4

94

Koyie Hill

31

CHC

2389

-0.1

0.0

1.5

-2.9

-1.5

95

Kelly Shoppach

30

TBR

1688

-0.3

0.5

-0.6

-1.3

-1.6

96

Mike Rivera

33

FLA

136

0.0

-0.4

-0.7

-0.6

-1.7

97

Luke May

25

KCR

346

0.1

0.2

-1.5

-0.5

-1.7

98

Jonathan Lucroy

24

MIL

2815

-1.5

0.8

-3.2

2.0

-1.9

99

Mike Redmond

39

CLE

710

0.2

0.0

0.4

-2.6

-2.1

100

Matt Pagnozzi

27

STL

440

0.1

-0.2

-0.7

-1.4

-2.2

101

Eli Whiteside

30

SFG

1487

0.4

-0.1

-2.9

0.2

-2.3

102

A.J. Pierzynski

33

CHW

4650

0.6

0.9

-0.8

-3.0

-2.4

103

Bengie Molina

35

SFG

1937

0.5

0.7

-3.0

-0.9

-2.7

104

Max Ramirez

25

TEX

789

0.2

-0.5

-1.0

-1.5

-2.8

105

Craig Tatum

27

BAL

1355

-0.4

-0.1

0.1

-2.6

-3.1

106

Kurt Suzuki

26

OAK

4441

0.5

-0.7

1.6

-4.7

-3.2

107

John Jaso

26

TBR

3066

-0.6

0.4

-1.3

-2.0

-3.5

108

George Kottaras

27

MIL

2414

-0.1

0.0

0.7

-4.4

-3.8

109

John Hester

26

ARI

1030

0.3

0.6

-4.0

-1.6

-4.6

110

Kevin Cash

32

HOU

705

0.2

0.4

-3.0

-2.3

-4.7

111

Rod Barajas

34

LAD

712

0.2

0.4

-3.5

-1.9

-4.7

112

Chris Iannetta

27

COL

1930

-0.2

-1.2

-1.6

-2.1

-5.1

113

Mike Napoli

28

LAA

2329

-0.8

-0.5

-2.9

-1.2

-5.5

114

Victor Martinez

31

BOS

3883

0.3

0.0

0.0

-6.0

-5.7

115

Chris Snyder

29

PIT

1439

-0.3

0.9

-3.9

-2.4

-5.7

116

Adam Moore

26

SEA

2162

-1.6

0.8

-4.5

-1.6

-7.0

117

Jorge Posada

38

NYY

2866

0.8

-1.1

-2.7

-5.5

-8.6

118

Ryan Doumit

29

PIT

3522

0.2

0.2

-1.4

-8.5

-9.4

119

Francisco Cervelli

24

NYY

3073

-2.1

-2.0

-1.3

-4.0

-9.4

120

Jeff Mathis

27

LAA

2371

-0.1

-1.0

-5.6

-2.8

-9.4

 

Here are short explanations of the formulas used. 

Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing: A)  figure out the league rate for caught stealing; B) separate the catcher caught stealings from pitcher pickoffs; C) total the CSctch +SB to get total stolen base attempts (SBA) and then to total CSctch/total SBA for the lgCS rate; D) use the weight of .63 runs for each caught stealing, which represents the average linear weight of the caught stealing (.44 runs) plus the weight of the stolen base not achieved (.19 runs). Formula for runs above/below average: (CS - (lgCSrate) * SBA) * 0.63.

Wild pitches/passed balls: The league rate = (WPlg + PBlg)/lgPA. The linear weight for each passed ball/wild pitch is 0.28 runs. The formula for each player is ((WP + PB) - (lgWPPBrate * PA)) * -0.28.

Errors: There are two types of errors, throwing errors and fielding errors .There are separate linear weights for throwing errors (-0.48) and fielding errors (-0.75). Throwing errors: (TE - (lgTErate * PA)) * -0.48. Fielding errors: (FE - (lgFErate * PA)) * -0.75.

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