Re: A Realistic Look at 2012: Part II
posted at 5/10/2012 7:45 PM EDT
But is Salty "light years" away from where Varitek WAS at this stage of his career?
I'm not sure, because I wasn't keen on the CERA philosophy back then.
It's hard to compare VTek with Salty at age 27. Salty has 313 games as a catcher and 39 as a 1Bman in MLB spread over 6 seasons (from age 22-27), overlapped with 358 games as catcher in minorleagues from age 18.
Salty's CERA-related skillset has been discussed at length for close to 2 years now. Recently, he has looked better, but overall his numbers are scary (even this year as a whole).
VTek started in the minors at age 23. He played about 300 games in the minors over 3 seasons, which is about the same amoung as Salty, but at much different ages and at a more concentrated rate. He played about a half a season in the bigs at age 26 in 1998, then pretty much became a FT MLB catcher at age 27 (1999)- pretty close to Salty's age last year and this year.
Looking at just the early numbers, and not remembering much anecdotally, it looks like he started off much better than Salty in terms of how he compared to the other catcher on the team, but since we don't really know how Hatteberg in 1998-1999 compares to VTek in 2011 and Shoppach in 2012, it's hard to know exactly what the numbers mean. While they are about the same ages, the experience levels are different. Here they are:
Remember team CERA is not an accurate reflection of what the comparison really is. It is better to take pitchers one by one and compare how each did with them, since one catcher might catch a particularly good or bad pitcher much more than the other.
Hatteberg (904 IP) 4.10
J Varitek (516 IP) 4.29
Pitcher's PA/OPS against:
Pedro (724) .568 (227) .808
Wake (467) .741 (472) .760
Saber (445) .758 (280) .661
Wasd (339) .807 (81) .807
Lowe (319) .678 (190) .709
1999: (Warning: unbalanced sample sizes)
Hatteberg (158 IP) 3.13
J Varitek (1153 IP) 3.98
Rapp (139) .721 (432) .745
Portug (106) .715 (381) .876
Pedro (73) .664 (762) .524
Ramon (62) .560 (22) .789
Wasdin(53) .605 (216) .706
Wake (43) .539 (579) .803
Hatteberg (377) 5.02
J Varitek (1076) 3.96
OPS against (Unbal totals- Hatteberg was Schourek's personal cady):
Schourek (423) .782 (41) .957
Wake (211) .827 (495) .843
Fassero (207) .849 (370) .787
It's pretty unconclusive with such unbalanced individual pitcher totals, but it appears by 2000/2001 VTek becomes much better than his co-team catcher.
VTek (427) 3.00
Hatt (582) 4.60
Mira (389) 4.75
VTek (1064) 3.74
Mira (378) 3.83
VTek (1075) 4.49
Mira (387) 4.46 (almost exclusively Wake's personal cady)
Salty's calling looks good to me -- and apparently also to the pen. Or does CERA only count for starters? Are you tracking pitches. Salty has been setting up a nice rhythm for pitchers. Too bad they don't always dance well to it.
Harness and I did a complete breakdown pitcher by pitcher, including relief pitchers between VTek and Salty and VTek and VMart. The ones that should matter the most are ones where the sample sizes are close to equal, and the larger the better, meaning starters carry more weight, but combining relief pitchers who tend to see each catcher more evenly since the personal cady philodphy of Tito did not extend to relief pitchers- only starters. The vast majority of starters and releivers who had somewhat comparable sample sizes even if smaller relief sample size showed about 70% of all pitchers did better with Vtek than VMart or Salty. I haven't checked the numbers recently, and the sample sizes are too small fo judge right now, but I think about 60-70% of our pitchers are doing better (in CERA) with Shoppach than Salty, but I think the gap is closing of late. (Just a hunch) I will do another check after 40 games.
I have been watching pitches more closely as you asked. I do not think I am able to see all that you see, since I am not as experienced in this area, and have only been a knuckleball softball pitcher- never baseball.
I must say that I was a little surprised when Shoppach did NOT call for breaking stuff or a straight change to Butler. He is known to chase bad breaking balls.
I am not impressed with Shoppach. I expected better from an experienced catcher who has had decent CERA comparative numbers in the past (harness had done a study on VMart vs Shopp).
I will keep watching, and am keeping an open mind. I do think i have seen some improvement from Salty.
One question for you, ex: have you noticed we hardly ever throw "purpose pitches" anymore? I think Tek really got the pitchers to use the inside of the plate more than anyone I have ever noticed on the Sox. Your thoughts?