Re: A Pitching Fix
posted at 4/28/2012 7:08 PM EDT
I disagree. I think that a single-game sample of pitch-calling is significant, especially if one is watching closely pitch-by-pitch, inning by inning, through the order more than once. It's not the same as, say, a .210 hitter going 4 for 5. Salty had that White Sox lineup dead to rights. Or he was just lucky.
I have watched every pitch of every game this year and nearly every one last year. I thought I was seeing some improvement into the summer last year, but then he seemed to get worse. A lot worse, and I'm not counting the Wake games.
The plate-blocking aspect of Salty's game is just a small part of the total package. He may be improving in that one area, but there are several more I seriously doubt he can improve enough to offset his better-than-average catcher offense. I hope I am dead wrong.
He looks better to me behind the plate than he did at this time last year. He's quicker and more certain with his right leg on blocked balls. His glove looks a little quicker to me.
I'll go along with this analysis, but he looked pretty bad in a couple of early games this year.
If you aren't willing to risk the patience, what would you do? Send Salty to AAA? Try to get something for him? And what might that be? If other teams don't think he's any better than you do, what would they give for him?
Actually, I was for trading him this past winter, because I thought his stock was higher than when we got him, and I thought there might be a team or two's GM who were blinded by Salty's catcher OPS and nice arm. Enough to overpay for him. However, the main reason was that I felt Lava can not be any worse than Salty on game-calling and CERA related issues, and that he is probably a better offensive catcher than Salty.
What could we get for him? I don't know. I wouldn't just trade him for nothing. I had mentioned him being part of a deal to get Gavin Floyd, but I have no idea if the White Sox want a catcher, want salty, or would make a deal with us.
I wasn't high on the Shoppach signing, but I do think he's better than Salty at getting more out of the staff. Since Lava hits lefties much better than righties, he doesn't match up as well with Lava as he does with Salty.
If they planned to use him as backup, what would they give to obtain a backup? Do you really think that Salty is so bad that you'd be willing to take almost anyone for him? You'll say package him with X or Y. But, still, why would another team want him at all? Unless its scouts have a higher estimation of him than you do.
I tend to think GMs have varying ideas of a player's wothiness. Like I said, I wouldn't just give him away, but I know many teams had horrible offensive production from their catchers last year. Salty is young, and for many reasons stated here already, I think someone would want him more than I do, yes.
Would you jettison Salty one way or another now, and give the job to Lavarnway? He's raw at the job. What makes you think that he'd learn all those things you listed as catching requirements any faster than Salty?
I don't think he will. What I do think is that he can't do much worse in all the areas I mentioned. I'd much prefer to have a known great game-calling catcher than Lava or Salty, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. I'm not happy with Shoppach as adefensive catcher and game-caller either, but he has a decent history in this area.
Please don't say a Yale degree.
I have never and will never use the Yale argument in defense of Lava.
I don't know any more than you how the Salty situation will play out. For the moment, I opt for patience.
I don't think we have much of a choice. patience with Salty or patience with Lava, but I'll stick to my projection. At the end of this season, look at each of our pitchers one-by-one, throw out any pitcher who was not caught by both catchers more than 20-25 innings, and then compare ERA and OPS against with Shoppach and with Salty, and I'll give 3:1 odds the majority of pitchers did better with Shoppach than Salty.
I also would bet we win more games as a percent with Shoppach than Salty, unless BV starts going with a personal caddy method of platoon and one gets Beckett and Lester much more than the other.
Shopp has looked godawful more than once behind the plate this year.
He has looked even worse than I expected, but game-calling and bonding with the staff is more important than passed balls and CS% in my opinion.