Submitted by John Hill on Fri, 08/05/2005 - 5:14am
On Wednesday night, with the bases loaded and the game tied, one out in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Wuertz struck out Pat Burrell swinging. Michael Barrett though allowed the ball to get away, and though he recovered in time to catch Jimmy Rollins in no man's land, marooned between third and home, Barrett then literally threw the game away. What ought to have been a simple inning-ending rundown turned into a catastrophic game-ending score. And that led me to think, just how bad is Barrett's defence? And to what extent does it undermine his rather more quantifiable offensive value? The common consensus, which is based based largely on just watching the two behind the plate and with which I agree, is that Barrett is at best a mediocre defensive catcher, but that Henry Blanco is a fine defender, one of the best in the game. Perhaps it would be interesting to monitor just how the two have fared so far this year. There are plenty of complex defensive metrics around that aim to measure defence, but I generally find them just too obscenely obscure, abstract, incalculable, contradictory etcetera. But Catcher ERA, a very simple yet alarmingly crude and therefore flawed statistic, gave me an idea - calculate each pitcher's line throwing to Barrett, and then their line throwing to Blanco, and see what that throws up. And so I did...
These are the three pitchers who've thrown the most innings to both catchers. All the same, the sample sizes are still far from overwhelming, and neither are these numbers adjusted for ballpark, strength of opposition, days of rest, and what not. It's tough to draw many firm conclusions then. It's even tougher with regards to the rest of the numbers, because simply not enough innings have been thrown to one or both catchers such that a comparison holds any real value. With that in mind, here are the rest of the splits all the same...
All other pitchers have thrown just to Michael Barrett.
What do all these numbers tell us then? Not as much as I'd like. All the same, a number of things are at least suggested if not categorically stated...
|Greg Maddux||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||101.2||119||15||19||62||4.96||15||1||to Blanco||39.0||39||5||5||24||3.92||4||3|
|Carlos Zambrano||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||87.2||69||10||34||73||3.39||1||6||to Blanco||59.1||42||2||28||59||3.03||0||3|
|Mark Prior||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||25.0||24||5||8||29||4.68||1||0||to Blanco||81.1||59||12||27||83||3.32||0||2|
|Ryan Dempster (SP)||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||23.1||25||2||14||25||5.01||1||2||to Blanco||11.1||12||1||8||11||5.56||0||0|
|Ryan Dempster (RP)||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||22.1||16||1||14||24||2.42||0||0||to Blanco||11.0||9||0||5||5||3.27||1||0|
|Mike Wuertz||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||34.2||33||4||24||43||5.19||3||3||to Blanco||10.0||8||0||5||8||3.60||1||0|
|Roberto Novoa||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||17.2||21||1||16||14||5.09||0||0||to Blanco||9.0||6||0||3||12||1.00||0||0|
|Todd Wellemeyer||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||17.1||20||5||9||18||6.75||1||0||to Blanco||7.1||1||0||5||7||0.00||0||0|
|LaTroy Hawkins||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||12.0||12||3||3||7||4.50||1||0||to Blanco||7.0||6||1||4||6||1.29||0||0|
|Will Ohman||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||18.1||16||2||6||17||1.96||2||0||to Blanco||6.2||8||2||6||6||5.40||1||0|
|Mike Remlinger||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||27.2||24||3||10||23||4.23||0||1||to Blanco||5.1||7||2||2||7||8.44||0||1|
|Glendon Rusch (RP)||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||28.0||35||3||15||28||4.50||0||1||to Blanco||3.0||6||0||1||3||6.00||0||0|
|Chad Fox||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||5.1||5||1||6||9||6.75||0||0||to Blanco||2.2||3||1||2||2||6.75||0||0|
|Sergio Mitre (RP)||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||10.0||16||5||4||13||8.10||2||0||to Blanco||2.1||2||1||2||1||3.86||0||0|
|Cliff Bartosh||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||18.1||21||7||9||14||5.89||1||0||to Blanco||1.1||2||0||2||1||0.00||0||0|
|Joe Borowski||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||10.0||12||5||1||10||7.20||2||0||to Blanco||1.0||0||0||0||1||0.00||0||0|
|Jon Leicester (RP)||IP||H||HR||BB||K||ERA||SB||CS||to Barrett||5.1||5||0||7||3||6.75||0||0||to Blanco||0.2||1||0||1||1||13.50||0||0|
- It appears as though when pitching to Barrett, a lot of our staff has had problems keeping the ball in the park, and allowing home runs is the single worst thing a pitcher can do. Look not just at Maddux, Zambrano and Prior, who all have higher home run rates with Barrett, but also Wellemeyer, Hawkins, Mitre, Bartosh and Borowski, who've gone crazy and given up 25 dingers in just 67.2 innings pitching to Barrett. That's insane, about twice as bad as Eric Milton even! With Henry Blanco on the other hand, even if you don't overlook Mark Prior and his nine homers allowed in three starts, this hasn't been as much of a problem. If this enormous difference in home runs allowed is for real, and it may not be, Barrett's game calling could be rendering his bat null and void.
- Just how amazing is Henry Blanco's arm? He's allowed just eight stolen bases this year, and has thrown out ten. But four of the steals he's allowed were off Greg Maddux, who does so little to hold runners that Michael Barrett has thrown out just one of sixteen this year. Off pitchers not called Greg Maddux then, Henry Blanco has allowed just four bags to be swiped off him in nearly 220 innings behind the plate, and, as we all know, even though it was a bad throw, Hector Luna was clearly out in that Sunday night game against the Cardinals! So that's three. Scott Podsednik, Willie Harris and, last night, er, Chase Utley. Yes, that's right, it took until August 4th for a National League baserunner to really steal a bag off Henry Blanco!
- Blanco seems to work better with Zambrano and Novoa in particular, the two pictures for whom Spanish is also their mother tongue. Perhaps then it would be a good ploy to use Blanco as Zambrano's personal catcher, and to then use Novoa specifically in relief in those games. At the very least that might establish whether or not Novoa and Blanco really have something going, or whether it's just an oddity of the nine inning sample size involved. Sergio Mitre threw a complete game shutout, remember, nine innings is nothing. With Zambrano and Blanco, it's a bit clearer - they seem to work well together.
- Does Blanco have trouble catching lefties? Not one of Ohman, Remlinger, Rusch and Bartosh has fared particularly well with him behind the plate. Then again, besides Ohman, they've not fared particularly well with Barrett either, although Rusch as a starter was of course excellent. That's not to mention though that Remlinger and Bartosh probably wouldn't fare that well with the greatest defensive catcher in the history of the world back there. It's probably nothing, or just 16.1 innings...
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SF continues their kickass losing streak (6 games). WAS is suddenly back in the WC competition mix via SF's suck. SF 7.0 games back and WAS 7.5 games back is a hell of a distance for either team to climb at this point in the season.
Nice stuff tonight... Brewers sweep Pirates, 5-3 Giants losing to Rockies 9-2, 5th Dodgers losing 2-0 to SD, early. Corey Seager strikes out in 1st MLB at-bat.
Still taking quite a bit of time
I was running something that probably slowed it down. Should be much better now
Is it me, or is the site taking fo-r-ev-er to load?
Trying to make comments dynamic such that one displays to everyone in the comments section as well as in the recent comments blocks immediately after it's posted (i.e. no refresh required). Second test
It's Magic. http://tinyurl.com/osa2pm2
"never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations." Tie game at home in the ninth, there can never be a save situation. So you're saying, don't use your best reliever today.
Sorry if this was covered in a different thread, but while I overall like this new design, the white type on the dark background is a killer. I may be in the minority on that. But again, nice job.
It was almost like Javy was saying, "see, O&B, same old Javy here." Guy's gotta learn you don't need to swing hard to knock a Chapman ball out of the park. Choke up, dude, follow Rizzo's lead.
The magic number is now 24.
Kershaw uses his 132nd pitch for his 15th K (Marlon Juice Byrd, with the tying run at 2nd), and the Dodgers sweep the Giants. Also, Pirates lose to the Brewers for the 5th straight time. So...with 30 to play, we are 6.5 up on SF (7 in loss column) and 8 up on the Nats, and still in contact (4.5 back) of the Pirates. Man, what a roller coaster the last 2 days -- fantastic stuff.
Schlitter still pitching for Iowa? Guess nobody wanted him?
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates (I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
I personally don't think managers use closers enough in tie games in the 9th. The mindset and adrenaline should be just like a save situation. You get the outs, you have a great chance of winning. You don't your team is screwed.