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Catching Hell

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Marbleheader, May 2, 2018.

  1. NYCSox

    NYCSox chris hansen of goats Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    7,603
    Sure but it’s not like it cost much more than that to have Stanton given away.
     
  2. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    When David Ortiz is the owner of the Marlins "Anything Is Possible"
     
  3. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Stanton also has that monster contract tied to him. Realmuto not so much. Other teams would be in on him.
     
  4. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    If their teams decide to sell, Johnson and Swihart could probably fetch Lucroy or Tyler Flowers. They could maybe fetch Cervelli.
     
  5. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Cervelli would be the starting NL all star catcher right now. He obviously doesn't have that kind of offensive track record, but they did sign him to a 3 year deal. and he is making them look very smart. Plus they are half a game out and he's making over 10 AAV which the Sox would really have to scramble to get around.

    I think Swihart has trade value (Johnson less so), but not enough for both of them to get a starting player of consequence. Losing their options kind of killed that.
     
    #55 grimshaw, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  6. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    8,093
    The farm is pretty devoid of catching talent too. Roldani Baldwin looks like the best of the lot and he's in A+ ball. He can hit a little and has some pop but isn't great defensively and his batting eye needs work. Austin Rei (AA) looks like a bust, Dan Butler (AAA) is Mr. Pawtucket.

    I don't know enough about Mike Ohlman either way since he's new to the system but he's had a few good seasons with the bat and a few not so good. Is he actually an option?
     
  7. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1,080
    Cervelli seems to be benefiting from a swing change, and is truly mashing. I fully expect the Pirates to fall out of it, but they're a great story right now and I'd love to be wrong.

    I'd figure the Angels, Nationals, and possibly the Diamondbacks would also be looking at catchers this summer. Maybe the Mets and Brewers if they hang around. Realmuto, Lucroy, and Ramos should all be available, with Suzuki, Flowers, Cervelli and maybe even Grandal possibly joining them. The worst/cheapest guy from that group would still be an upgrade over Vazquez and Leon right now.
     
  8. Marco

    Marco lurker

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    34
    we should use our wallets and trade for Russ Martin's remaining contract. great gamecaller with probably still a league average bat. his contract should keep the player cost down, and only signed for one more year.
     
  9. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1. The Blue Jays are contending.
    2. Russell Martin is owed $20M this year and next.
    3. He is 35 and has an 83 wRC+.
     
  10. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    The bottom three spots in the Red Sox' lineup have been atrocious.

    #7 spot: 10th in the AL with a .604 ops
    #8 spot: 14th in the AL with a .479 ops
    #9 spot: 8th in the AL with a .583 ops

    Yet they're second in all of MLB in runs scored and tied for first in OPS. The Yanks have four guys with 10+ homers but the Sox are only three homers behind them. They actually have a 10-point edge in SLG over NY.
     
  11. Marco

    Marco lurker

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    34
    not sure if they are - or if that would stop their FO from selling anyways.

    He does have an 83wRC+ but that's with a .180babip over only about 100pa. Previous 2yrs he was dead on 100wrc+. his last 50pa he's at 112.

    and the contract means he won't cost us anything big in assets. (we're over the luxury threshhold already, no?)

    oh, and he also plays a mean 3B!
     
  12. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Betts, Mooreland, Xander and Holt are probably all due for some regression. It's possible Xander is starting to live up to all his potential though, which would be a huge help. I can also see Ben10 and Devers getting a little better and Pedroia will replace Nunez.

    I'm fully confident this team could carry a bat like Vazquez all year, I'm not so sure they can carry 2. JBJ or Vaz need to start hitting.
     
  13. TFisNEXT

    TFisNEXT Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    8/9 spot is probably going to stay pretty brutal with the catchers on roster. I do suspect we will see some better hitting out of Vaz/Leon, but not enough to move the needle a lot. The 7 hole should see a big improvement when Pedroia returns.
     
  14. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    2,151
    Has there been any press about whether Vaz and/or Leon are trying to buy into the whole "launch angle" thing? Looking at their numbers, both of their FB% are way higher than previous years, and both their LD% and GB% are significantly lower. It's probably all SSS noise, but might bear watching going forward (and, if that trend does continue, they might not really be candidates for the launch angle revolution as I think John Farrell, of all people, suggested on ESPN earlier this season).
     
  15. geoduck no quahog

    geoduck no quahog Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I have to think it’s one of two things with Swihart;

    1. Pitchers refuse to throw to him
    2. He can’t throw to 2nd base

    Why else?
     
  16. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    He's caught 13 innings at the Major League level since his problem with the yips of throwing back to the pitcher. It wouldn't shock me at all if he can't throw to 2b. I mentioned it and other people dismissed it but playing at a minor league level is completely different than a Major league level when it comes to the mental side of the game. I'll believe he can play catcher when he does so at a Major league level.
     
  17. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Refuse is a strong word, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some push back. It's mostly established pitchers on the roster - I'm sure they care much more about who they are comfortable with than getting a little extra offense.
     
  18. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Mean is the word.

    And there are multiple luxury thresholds and the Sox are up against the next one and it is big.
     
  19. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    The fact that a .583 OPS out of the 9 spot puts them in the middle of the pack in the AL shows how weak the back end of everyone's lineup is. You can thrive with just one of those guys down there. Three is tough.
     
  20. effectivelywild

    effectivelywild Member SoSH Member

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    To make sure you understand Marco, that in this case its not just about John Henry's wallet and pure money for being "over" the tax---if we get above over 40 million over the cap (which for 2018 is 197 million, so in this case over 237 million) not only do we impose an even higher monetary penalty but our first draft pick is knocked 10 slots back. Which in addition from costing us a chance to snag a more highly regarded player also costs us valuable "slot" money for the draft. So its not just the financial penalty we're eating---we're also handicapping our already weak farm system for the privilege of paying Martin 20 million for the next 2 years to replace Leon (as I can't imagine they would jettison Vazquez after just extending him). Now you maybe can understand why everyone isn't all aboard the Martin train.
     
  21. Marco

    Marco lurker

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    ah didn't realize there were such serious penalties above and beyond the main luxury tax level.

    maybe we offer them a real prospect for Martin if they eat most of his salary? I think they've leveraged their payroll to add prospects a couple times recently?
     
  22. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    If the Sox had any real prospects that might be possible but they don’t.
    It would still be a bad idea but it would be possible.
     
  23. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    And what real prospects do we have?
     
  24. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    3. I said this elsewhere but I also wonder if the team—Dombrowski and Cora—aren’t willing to put Swihart in at catcher until they decide to move on from one of the existing guys. Which is to say they know it’s a bigger deal given the pitchers preferences and aren’t willing to dip their toe into the waters and start a controversy of some sort until they are absolutely sure they’re ready to pull the trigger.
     
  25. CoffeeNerdness

    CoffeeNerdness Member SoSH Member

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    2,550
    Not sure if the Dodgers would bite, but maybe they could explore a Swihart for Austin Barnes trade. Swihart could backup Grandal and help at the corner OF spots where Puig is currently sitting at a .534 OPS. Barnes has a .407 OBP this season after putting up a .408 OBP in 218 ABs last year. He also has some decent pop, can steal an occasional base, and play some 2B/3B.

    Slotting a .400 OBP guy into the ninth slot in front of Mookie? Sign me up yesterday.

    (That said, I'm not sure the Sox have the chips to make it happen, as I'd imagine the package would have to be Swihart + prospects.)

    http://m.mlb.com/player/605131/austin-barnes?year=2018&stats=career-r-fielding-mlb
     
  26. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1,080
    I like Austin Barnes, but I'm not sure why the Dodgers would trade a proven major league catcher with four years of control for an unproven one with five.
     
  27. Marco

    Marco lurker

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    heh. this one made me think....and think...and then give up.
     
  28. phenweigh

    phenweigh Member SoSH Member

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    I listened to the first hour of the game on the radio yesterday, and they mentioned Blake was regularly working with Tek on his defense.

    My guess is Swihart has been kept as injury insurance to Vaz and Leon. I suspect he's gone if/when all the positional players are healthy, which may be soon, but maybe the Sox brain trust has a Leon trade in the pipeline and are waiting to pull the trigger until they have no other choice.
     
  29. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    8,093
    Why would anyone trade for Leon?
     
  30. phenweigh

    phenweigh Member SoSH Member

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    I'm not saying it's likely there is a demand for Leon, but it's not inconceivable to me that a team without a roster crunch might value a catcher with a good receiving reputation as a backup and offer something slightly greater than a bag of balls in return.
     
  31. Buzzkill Pauley

    Buzzkill Pauley Member SoSH Member

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    10,513
    This is where I’m at. The Red Sox were winning a lot of games to start the season by relying on pitching and the top half of the lineup.

    But that’s proving to be unsustainable as those elements of the team regress back to mortality.

    Without superhuman efforts there, catcher becomes a huge problem area for the lineup, with no clear solution to improve offense the way that Moreland is the puzzle piece which allows the OF to be tweaked for offense. So if JBJ continues to fail to be able to hit his way out of a paper bag, the Sox can simply use him as a defensive replacement.

    That can’t work with catcher, where both Vazquez and Leon are meeting their bottom-quintile performance expectations on offense. Maybe.

    If the rotation’s injury situation had sorted itself out for Wright to start, I would have expected Cora to roll with a 2-2-1 rotation of personal catchers, with Blake drawing short-straw to corral the knuckleball.

    Since that hasn’t happened, though, some other dominoes have to fall. Leon and Vazquez are the 76th and 77th ranked catchers by fWAR in MLB today, out of 77 catchers with a minimum of 0 PA. Since Vazquez got an extension, I expect that a Leon DFA may be happening within the next three weeks. However, as the Sox’ two best pitchers prefer throwing to Sandy, Cora can’t really act to put Swihart into that action until DDski removes Leon from the roster.
     
  32. Rovin Romine

    Rovin Romine Johnny Rico Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I don't know if it's due or already happened in some way.

    Since their high water mark on April 21, they've been a .500 team for their last 20 games. The standard sorting over at Fangraphs paints a pretty clear picture: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.a...am=3&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=16,d

    Hanley, Boegarts, Nunez, Holt, JBJ, and Vazquez haven't contributed much with the sticks over the past 14 days (not games). If you go back 30 days on Fangraphs, it's the same, except it captures Holts' pre injury hot streak, and some of Xander's.
     
  33. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    Right now the sum of Swihart/Leon/Vazquez' OPS+ is 45.
     
  34. AB in DC

    AB in DC OG Football Writing Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Sandy Leon really feels like a non-tender candidate at the end of the season. No real point in spending $2 million on a backup catcher who can't hit when you could use a Swihart or get some journeyman FA at minimum salary.
     
  35. Rovin Romine

    Rovin Romine Johnny Rico Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    You may be right, but any of those three guys getting warm (let alone hot), or injured, could change that dynamic very quickly. One of those three should be able to establish themselves as an average catcher by the end of the season. The question is which horse do you pick?
     
  36. mfried

    mfried Member SoSH Member

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    1,431
    Leon has made some good contact and even has some hits to show for it. Vazquez has allowed his offensive underperformance to influence his defense.
     
  37. DeadlySplitter

    DeadlySplitter Member SoSH Member

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    Vaz has one inexcusable passed ball a game lately. He worked a couple decent counts tonight, got pitches to hit, and grounded weakly to the pitcher twice. I can't recall a solid throw from him on a steal lately.

    Just absolutely brutal. and we extended him 3 years for 21 mil?? I'm trying to be patient but we're getting close to 1/3 of the season in the books.
     
  38. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    2,857
    It's actually a rough 4/$21m if you are going to count that club option year.

    Which I do agree DD handed out prematurely, but is still hardly worth any losing sleep over. Outside the fans who tend to stress on every dollar this team spends (I'm as guilty as anybody there), I don't think it will ever matter or be a deciding factor in terms of what DD would or wouldn't do at catcher going forward if CV doesn't start hitting.
     
  39. Sprowl

    Sprowl Emile de Becque Dope

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    30,321
    Has anybody taken a look at Vazquez' framing numbers for this season? One of the side effects to trying to steal strikes is an increased number of passed balls -- probably a justifiable risk, given the results of past seasons' studies of the run expectancies resulting from stealing a strike from a marginal ball.

    I am suggesting that Vazquez could be a net positive for the ballclub because of his framing skills, his poor batting performance notwithstanding. I expect the answer is positive, and the club is probably quite satisfied with locking in Vazquez for years to come.

    Yes, his TJ surgery seems to have degraded his throwing arm somewhat, but I haven't lost hope in a generational defensive talent living up to his SoSHbilling.

    @iayork or @Jnai , are there any data on catcher framing for 2018?
     
  40. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

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    1,080
    Vaz's framing skills seem to rate slightly above average this year according to this Baseball Prospectus chart, and below average in this one at StatCorner done by analyst Matthew Carruth.
     
  41. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    It may not even be framing - according to SABR, Vazquez and Leon were really freaking good defensively last year. As in the #2 and #3 defensive catchers as well as #10 and #12 fielders respectively in all of baseball. https://sabr.org/sdi/2017-final

    Here is a breakdown of what SABR measures.
    https://sabr.org/content/details-new-rawlings-gold-glove-awards-selection-process-sabr

    TL/DR - An aggregate of DRS/UZR/Runs effectively defended. For catchers two of the factors are controlling the running the game and blocking balls in the dirt.
     
  42. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    So two systems looking at the same computerized data get different results. And teams are making decisions to live with a sub 500 OPS based on this? Ah, gotta love the people hired to run baseball teams. I guess the reason they only pay assistant GMs slave wages is to keep the competition down.
     
  43. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    Catching up on the lowlights tonight.

    Terrible effort by Vazquez on the throw home that had the runner dead to rights if he catches the one hop throw. It was a slightly bad and somewhat in between hop, so not an error by any stretch. But it’s one that can be made often enough. How do the advanced defensive metrics score that one for catchers?
     
  44. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    If you have a definitive mathematical map of the current strike zone as it travels through time across umpires, well, you can probably think about retiring even sooner than you had been planning.

    I like how @iayork calculates his, but that could be pro-SoSH anti-flu bias.
     
  45. Adrian's Dome

    Adrian's Dome Member SoSH Member

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    Nobody has a definitive method of measuring that, which is why the various different "statistical measures" are, like most other defensive stats...pretty much bullshit, even moreso the smaller the sample size.

    There's a reason offense is generally more valued: it can be measured and compared player-to-player. Analyzing defense is like trying to predict the weather.
     
  46. CoffeeNerdness

    CoffeeNerdness Member SoSH Member

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    So Blake got an inning last night in the 9th where he had the pleasure of catching Steven Wright (Cora trolling?) and Hembree. I thought he looked ok. He had a nice block on a Wright knuckler in the dirt and framed a called third strike to Chris Davis (a bit awkwardly) that was up in the zone where you often see pitches called balls. I didn't see anything technique-wise that said they couldn't give him a token start behind the dish. Have to think at this point that they just don't think his ankle can take the toll of catching full games.

    I think this video from last night backs this notion up. Vaz seems to pull his glove inward causing him to just miss an easily catchable ball.

    https://www.mlb.com/gameday/orioles...,lock_state=final,game_tab=videos,game=530063
     
  47. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    36,580
    We'd need to invent new math to calculate the probable incorrectness of this post.

    And possibly a branch of epistemology to inform the new economics of the wrongness.
     
  48. Adrian's Dome

    Adrian's Dome Member SoSH Member

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    4,117
    More probable than not this reply is as useful as defensive analytics.
     
  49. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    This is exactly my point. The way in which these pitch framing stats, and even moreso the (implausibly) large translation of those stats into runs, is currently dominating playing time decisions and contracts is mind-blowing statistical hubris. Every time I seriously evaluate a defensive stat, I almost always see a direct comparison to the bogus plus-minus stats in hockey and basketball, or, for the best ones, maybe I can concede that it is as reliable as runs scored in judging hitters. In the case of framing, The score depends on the pitchers’ repertoire, the pitchers’ command, the umpire, and the hitter, and the catcher. There’s no way you’re actually reliably isolating the catcher in all that without gobs of data. But, then you’re introducing Time into the variables that need to be considered.

    Nonetheless, I had been thinking maybe framing is among the better ones, akin to judging a hitter by runs scored. But, if the same guy can score as among the best in the game or a net negative across two different valid systems, then the conclusion is that the stat is worse than useless.
     
    #99 Plympton91, May 19, 2018
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  50. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    I can definitely see why they thought Christian was worth extending based on his defensive metrics from at least 2017 and age.

    The frustrating thing is that along with his well documented noodle bat, the statistics between both framing sites linked above, show he has been awful defensively - not just in framing. Balls in the dirt and throwing runs above average are both not in the ballpark from last year so far. I imagine the small sample size to this point still gives him a chance to be above average though.

    There really is a ton of year to year variance from catcher to catcher, so the risk from signing a well below average hitter means the defense has to be top notch to justify the contract. At least by publicly viewable metrics. I'm sure there are other variables and intangibles they value pretty highly like pitcher comfort, leadership etc. At least his contract is relatively cheap


    Honestly - a good offense is a good offense regardless of what lineup spots they get it from. As long as the runs score it matters very little what the offense is from a particular spot, or if there are back to back black holes. There is going to be positive regression from the catcher position as well as negative regression from the top hitters.
     
    #100 grimshaw, May 19, 2018
    Last edited: May 19, 2018

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