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Monday, February 20, 2006

Barrett Being Defensive?

Alerted to this interesting article in the Chicago Sun-Times on Michael Barrett and his defense.

I especially enjoyed this comment:

Barrett points to the numbers (other than throwing out runners) to support his claim.

"I study the stats,'' he said. "Over the last two years, I feel like my defense has been right there in terms of fielding percentage. Calling games, I feel good about.

"For whatever reason, there is no reflection in winning the Gold Glove in your catcher earned-run average. You would think that would have an impact.''

Barrett suspects that his catcher ERA might be worse this season than last year because of the uncertain health of some pitchers.

Well. Perhaps people don't look at Catcher's ERA because it hasn't been shown that catcher's have much if any impact on ERA.

Barrett made this comment because his CERA in 2005 was 4.45, which was similar to Mike Matheny. Barrett threw out 21 of 91 runners while Matheny threw out 39 of 102.

Barrett did have an interesting idea however.

"I wish baseball would design a catcher rating system like a quarterback rating system,'' he said.

How would it work?

"Your catcher ratio would be based off your percentage of throwing guys out, your percentage of wild pitches vs. passed balls and all the things added together,'' he said. "Then you would get a real glimpse of where I'm at.''

Of course, included in such a system would be a recognition that some catchers prevent runners from attempting stolen bases in the first place, a fact that the caught stealing percentage alone doesn't capture.

Certainly good catchers prevent both wild pitches and passed balls but the percentage of wild pitches to passed balls I don't think would tell you much. A WP/PB ratio of 2.0 would be better than 1.0 in some sense but good catchers would have fewer opportunities overall. A better approach might be WP+PB/Total Pitches if you could control for the pitcher (think Tim Wakefield).

I like the way he's thinking though.

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