BtB 2010 Catcher Defense Rankings: June 29

 

[Update, June 30, 2010, 1:03 A.M. EST: Thanks to Justin and Mike in the comments, I realized that I had a problem in my spreadsheet, in short -- the league averages weren't updating properly. I've basically fixed it now. The difference was usually only a few tenths of a run per player, so there weren't too many changes to the overall rankings, although Matt Wieters fans will be happy. It was a dumb thing, but I'm glad it got caught. Sorry that I'm still a moron. -- Matt]

I know the last month or so has been difficult for our millions of readers who anxiously awaited these updated catcher defense rankings with baited breath. I won't bore you with the methodological details, alternate accounts of catcher defense, and myriad qualifications. For those (and links to more), check May's rankings, I recommend taking a look at that before commencing with complaining. I'll hopefully being making some modifications to how errors are handled in the future, but for now they stay the same as in the past. Keep at least two things in mind when looking over these: (1) this is an admittedly simple method for getting a handle on measuring something very complicated, and is thus even further from perfection than other defensive stats; (2) there is a difference between observed performance and true talent.

Players are ranked by linear weights runs saved above (or below) average in four categories. fielding errors (FE), throwing errors (TE), passed balls and wild pitches allowed (PBWP), and caught stealing (CS).

Overall Leaders: As alwaysI readily admit that this method is far from perfect, but the leaders and trailers in the overall ranking and individual categories (at least as far as pitch blocking and basestealing are concerned) usually conform well enough to our expectations that I think these rankings get at reality. Yadier Molina's continued presence at the top of the overall rankings at 6.8 runs above average is a good example of this; he ranks at the top for pitch blocking (passed balls and wild pitches) and very close the top for throwing runners out. A bit more surprising, given his age, is Ivan Rodriguez at the #2 spot (+4.5 runs). While Pudge has long had a good defensive reputation, his defense has fallen off over the years, although not this season so far. As mentioned above, my update found that Matt Wieters is actually #3 at +3.8 runs.In a surprise, Miguel Olivo's (#4) ability to gun down runners has so far more than balanced out his inability to block pitches.

Overall Trailers: Jack Moore mancrush George Kottaras might walk a great deal, but in limited playing time so far this season he hasn't really controlled the running game, either, coming in at #86 overall. #88 Mike Napoli, is an "impressive" -5.1 runs in catcher defense despite playing a fair bit of first base -- although I'm sure just about every team would take his bat behind the plate, especially given that Jeff Mathis isn't exactly a whiz back there, either (#76 at -1.3 runs in only 672 defensive PA). John Hester of Arizona has managed to be -5.5 runs in a heroic 528 plate appearances. I'd say that was "par for the course of Arizona's season," except I really should save it for Pittsburgh's Ryan Doumit, who brings up the rear (#90) at -6.8 runs. Remember that good season he had that one time?

Pitch Blocking (WP/PB) Leaders and Trailers: As mentioned, Yadier Molina leads the rankings at +3,3 runs, with Matt 'Deadly Accurate' Wieters (badly misrepresented by my previously broken spreadhsset) and Joe Mauer following closely at +2.5 each. It's worth noting that Joe Mauer is good defensively, but he's going to have to be better than this if he's only going to have a .350 wOBA -- he is one of the few catchers for whom that kind of offensive production is disappointing. At the bottom of the back we have poor Jon Hester at -3.8 runs, Bengie Molina shows why Buster Posey is playing first at -2.8 runs, and Mike Napoli and Rob "I Can't Believe I'm in the Majors" Johnson come in at -2.5 runs each.

Caught Stealing (CS) Leaders and Trailers: Some changes in order occurred with the corrections. The rocket-armed, gloveless, and strike-zone-clueless Miguel Olivo's good year with the bat so far is matched by his ability to gun runners down at 5.1 runs above average, the best in the majors. Toronto's Jose Molina is second at +4.1 runs in limited time. Yadier Molina is third at +3.7 runs. Your limped-armed wonders so far? George Kottaras at -3.6(sorry Jack), Victor Martinez at -3.9 (Varitek's mentoring paying off!), and... wait for it... Ryan Doumit at -6.3. Taking shots at the Pirates is just depressing, so I won't.

Commentary Free Bonus: Miguel Olivo +3.7, John Buck -0.8, Jason Kendall -1.7

The complete (corrected) rankings are after the jump.

 

 

Rank Player Tm PA FERuns TERuns PBWPRns CSRuns Total
1 Yadier Molina STL 2358 0.0 -0.2 3.3 3.7 6.8
2 Ivan Rodriguez WSN 1729 0.6 0.4 1.7 1.8 4.5
3 Matt Wieters BAL 2375 0.8 -0.2 2.5 0.7 3.8
4 Miguel Olivo COL 1977 0.6 -0.4 -2.0 5.4 3.7
5 Jose Molina TOR 753 0.2 0.4 -1.1 4.1 3.6
6 Humberto Quintero HOU 1555 -1.0 0.4 1.8 2.3 3.5
7 Henry Blanco NYM 837 0.3 0.4 0.2 2.2 3.2
8 Lou Marson CLE 1696 0.6 0.4 -0.9 3.0 3.1
9 Carlos Ruiz PHI 1780 -0.2 1.0 2.4 -0.4 2.8
10 Joe Mauer MIN 2083 0.7 -0.3 2.5 -0.3 2.5
11 Brian McCann ATL 2128 -0.8 -0.8 2.1 2.1 2.5
12 Ramon Hernandez CIN 1808 0.6 1.0 -1.4 2.0 2.2
13 Carlos Santana CLE 535 0.2 0.3 -0.1 1.6 1.9
14 Jason Varitek BOS 927 0.3 0.5 1.6 -0.6 1.8
15 Yorvit Torrealba SDP 1223 -0.4 0.2 1.1 0.9 1.8
16 David Ross ATL 727 0.2 -0.1 -0.4 1.9 1.7
17 Matt Treanor TEX 1724 -0.2 0.4 1.4 -0.1 1.6
18 Drew Butera MIN 495 0.2 -0.2 0.3 1.2 1.5
19 Nick Hundley SDP 1630 -0.2 -0.1 1.4 0.1 1.2
20 Ryan Hanigan CIN 860 0.3 -1.0 0.3 1.6 1.2
21 Koyie Hill CHC 843 0.3 0.5 1.4 -1.0 1.1
22 Carlos Maldonado WSN 116 0.0 0.1 0.1 1.0 1.1
23 Jason LaRue STL 471 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.9
24 Jason Castro HOU 229 0.1 0.1 -0.4 1.2 0.9
25 Wil Nieves WSN 1126 0.4 -0.8 1.6 -0.3 0.8
26 Buster Posey SFG 74 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.8
27 Gerald Laird DET 1557 0.5 -0.1 0.1 0.4 0.8
28 Jake Fox OAK 251 -0.7 0.1 0.7 0.5 0.7
29 Ramon Castro CHW 388 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.7
30 Dioner Navarro TBR 1123 0.4 -0.8 0.5 0.5 0.6
31 J.R. Towles HOU 509 0.2 -0.2 0.4 0.3 0.6
32 Craig Tatum BAL 538 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.6
33 Jason Jaramillo PIT 747 -0.5 -0.1 0.2 0.8 0.5
34 Alex Avila DET 1266 -0.3 0.2 -1.6 2.2 0.5
35 Ronny Paulino FLA 1935 -0.9 -0.4 0.6 1.0 0.4
36 Corky Miller CIN 328 0.1 0.2 0.4 -0.4 0.3
37 Brian Schneider PHI 696 0.2 -0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.3
38 Brad Ausmus LAD 40 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.2
39 Wilson Ramos MIN 258 0.1 0.1 0.5 -0.6 0.1
40 Paul Hoover PHI 220 0.1 -0.4 0.1 0.3 0.1
41 Josh Donaldson OAK 203 0.1 -0.4 0.0 0.4 0.1
42 Landon Powell OAK 591 -0.6 -0.6 0.9 0.3 0.0
43 Josh Thole NYM 32 0.0 0.0 0.1 -0.1 0.0
44 Jarrod Saltalamacchia TEX 37 0.0 0.0 0.1 -0.1 0.0
45 Jamie Burke WSN 7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
46 Nick Stavinoha STL 2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
47 Kurt Suzuki OAK 1836 0.6 -0.5 0.6 -0.9 -0.1
48 Dane Sardinha PHI 78 0.0 0.0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1
49 Kelly Shoppach TBR 351 0.1 0.2 -0.1 -0.3 -0.1
50 Taylor Teagarden TEX 369 0.1 -0.3 -0.3 0.4 -0.1
51 Jake Fox BAL 6 0.0 0.0 -0.5 0.3 -0.2
52 Bobby Wilson LAA 423 0.1 0.2 0.7 -1.3 -0.3
53 Eliezer Alfonzo SEA 402 -1.4 0.2 0.6 0.2 -0.3
54 Brett Hayes FLA 219 0.1 0.1 0.1 -0.5 -0.3
55 Bryan Anderson STL 46 0.0 0.0 -0.1 -0.3 -0.4
56 Rob Johnson SEA 1531 0.5 -0.1 -2.5 1.7 -0.4
57 John Baker FLA 752 0.2 -0.6 0.5 -0.8 -0.5
58 Paul Phillips COL 172 0.1 -0.4 -0.1 -0.1 -0.5
59 Donny Lucy CHW 190 0.1 0.1 0.0 -0.7 -0.6
60 Ryan Budde LAA 121 0.0 0.1 -0.5 -0.2 -0.6
61 Jonathan Lucroy MIL 601 -0.6 0.3 -1.3 0.8 -0.7
62 John Jaso TBR 1333 -1.1 0.2 -0.3 0.4 -0.8
63 Chad Moeller NYY 123 0.0 0.1 -0.5 -0.4 -0.8
64 John Buck TOR 2161 0.7 0.7 -0.9 -1.3 -0.8
65 Geovany Soto CHC 2042 -0.1 0.1 1.0 -2.0 -1.0
66 Francisco Cervelli NYY 1625 0.5 -0.1 0.9 -2.3 -1.0
67 Josh Bard SEA 265 -0.7 0.1 -0.1 -0.4 -1.0
68 A.J. Ellis LAD 425 0.1 -0.3 -0.4 -0.5 -1.0
69 A.J. Pierzynski CHW 2271 0.0 1.2 -0.6 -1.6 -1.0
70 Miguel Montero ARI 499 0.2 0.3 -1.3 -0.1 -1.0
71 Kevin Cash HOU 705 0.2 0.4 -1.0 -0.7 -1.1
72 Rod Barajas NYM 2080 -1.6 1.1 1.1 -1.8 -1.2
73 Gregg Zaun MIL 1095 -0.4 0.1 -0.1 -0.8 -1.2
74 Russell Martin LAD 2474 0.1 -1.6 -0.9 1.2 -1.2
75 Jeff Mathis LAA 672 0.2 -0.1 -0.8 -0.5 -1.3
76 Chris Snyder ARI 2002 0.7 0.6 -1.1 -1.4 -1.3
77 Eli Whiteside SFG 865 0.3 0.5 -1.9 -0.1 -1.3
78 Brayan Pena KCR 286 -0.7 0.2 -0.3 -0.7 -1.5
79 Jason Kendall KCR 2692 -0.6 -1.9 1.2 -0.4 -1.7
80 Max Ramirez TEX 751 0.2 -0.6 -0.9 -0.8 -2.0
81 Mike Redmond CLE 672 0.2 -0.1 0.3 -2.7 -2.3
82 Bengie Molina SFG 1902 0.6 0.5 -2.8 -0.7 -2.4
83 Adam Moore SEA 641 -1.3 0.3 -1.5 -0.5 -3.0
84 Jorge Posada NYY 1021 0.3 -0.4 -1.2 -1.8 -3.1
85 Chris Iannetta COL 720 -0.5 -0.6 -1.0 -1.2 -3.3
86 Victor Martinez BOS 2066 0.7 0.1 -0.4 -3.9 -3.4
87 George Kottaras MIL 1338 -0.3 -0.7 0.0 -3.6 -4.6
88 Mike Napoli LAA 1820 -0.9 -0.5 -2.5 -1.3 -5.1
89 John Hester ARI 528 0.2 0.3 -3.8 -2.2 -5.5
90 Ryan Doumit PIT 2244 0.0 0.2 -0.7 -6.3 -6.8
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