A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III



    Ellsbury is on fire this year!!! 

    Bard has been lights out.  Perhaps he can give Lackey a few tips?  lol
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : Moon , Roy posted this recently. As you can see, CC has hit lefties before, which is why going by career norms is not necessarily accurate. In the same fashion, Papi is hitting them this year. As for non-platooning players of his caliber, the only way it makes sense is if the alternative is over-whelming. In other words, the difference in productivity must outweigh removing other elements of CC's game by  staggering proportions.
    Posted by harness


    This arfgument does not sway me at all. Crwford may have a good year here or there, but I will bet he is sub .700 vs LHPs in at least 4 out of the 7 years we signed him for. I'll give even odds he is sub .700 if 5 of 7.

    CC has speed and supposedly plays D pretty well (I haven't seen it yet with the Sox). That does offset some loss in OPS, but if we had someone who could hit .800+ and was an average fielder vs CC's sub .700; I'd sit CC vs most lefties. So far we havn't had that, but then again, CC is sub .500 with us so far vs LHPs.

    He's a platoon player in my eyes. You have to have some pretty incredible intangibles to offset a sub .700 OPS, let alone sub .500.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    Very interesting piece of research. This would have been a nice addition to the Catcher's relevance thread. I recall Don Slaught and LaValliere playing for the Pirates. Drawing a valid analogy requires utilizing the most IP.
    Using the examples from the Pirates SR with the most IP, here are the results:

    1990 Doug Drabek with:
    Slaught109 IP  25 ER  75 H  57 SO  25 BB  2.06 ERA  .214 BABIP
    LaVall:       92 IP  41 ER   95 H  54 SO   22 BB   4.01 ERA  .297 BABIP

    1991 Doug Drabek with:
    Slaught: 100 IP  26 ER  98 H  58 SO  28 BB  2.34 ERA  .296 BABIP
    LaVall:     122  IP   47 ER 133 H  76 SO  25 BB  3.45 ERA  .312 BABIP

    1992 Doug Drabek with:
    Slaught: 109 IP  35 ER  99 H  75 SO  18 BB  2.87 ERA  .270 BABIP
    Lavall:     140 IP   40 ER  111 H  96 SO    33 BB  2.57 ERA    .256  BABIP

     
    1991 John Smiley with:
    Slaught:  64 IP   20 ER  59 H  49 SO   13 BB  2.78 ERA  .268 BABIP
    Lavall:     123 IP  46 ER  118 H  80 SO  26 BB  3.35 ERA  .287  BABIP


    1991 Zane Smith with:
    Slaught:  60 IP   16 ER  54 H  38 SO     8 BB  2.37 ERA  .271 BABIP
    Lavall:    167 IP    65 ER  180 H  82 SO  21 BB  3.50 ERA  .303 BABIP 

    1992 Randy Tomlin with:
    Slaught:  66 IP   23 ER  66 H  39 SO     6 BB   3.12 ERA  .288 BABIP
    LaVall:    129 IP   48 ER 148 H  48 SO   26 BB  3.34 ERA  .317 BABIP


    The numbers run both ways with smaller sample sizes, as they often will.

    As you can see, the key numbers (ERA/BABIP WHIP) predominantly favor one catcher over the other. As in many other credible examples shown last year, SO/IP, SO/BB, and BB/IP don't run consistent. This involves pitching to contact and throwing fewer pitches as opposed to "going for SO's".

    Speaking of BABIP, the author of this research had this to say:
    "I would extend the hypothesis that catchers do  influence pitcher performance, in that different catchers call different games that result in balls being more weakly put in play".

    The one drawback to his work is that he combined 3 years of data for each pitcher and then drew analogies. This is a mistake, as a pitcher's form changes from year to year. Think Beckett 2010/2011.

    What I find interesting is that Slaught was the much better offensive receiver of the two. He didn't have Lavall's physical tools defensively, but he got more out of his pitchers. This  runs contrary to the belief that defensive catchers with a good physical skill-set generally  call better games.

    Game calling and working well with pitchers is a cerebral skill, not to be confused with physical attributes. Thanks for bringing this up, Boom.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Good stuff; I also don't think the change of a pitcher's effectiveness from yr-to-yr, as a whole, is that much of a statistical pollutant, because both Catchers are catching the guy at the same effectiveness level for that yr. (The only exception to this I can think of is this: Pitcher X is great in the 1st half, gets injured or tired or whatever, is lousy in the 2nd half, and catcher A started the 1st half, and for whatever reason was replaced by Catcher B in the 2nd half) 

    Also agree about physical vs cerebral skills behind the plate, although they tend to be correlated (Better raw talent equates to more experience, and those who are cerebral in general have a better approach to the game, making themselves better overall. To Quote Dick Radatz: The biggest difference between a big leaguer and a bush leaguer is from the neck up.)
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    Good stuff; I also don't think the change of a pitcher's effectiveness from yr-to-yr, as a whole, is that much of a statistical pollutant, because both Catchers are catching the guy at the same effectiveness level for that yr. (The only exception to this I can think of is this: Pitcher X is great in the 1st half, gets injured or tired or whatever, is lousy in the 2nd half, and catcher A started the 1st half, and for whatever reason was replaced by Catcher B in the 2nd half)  Also agree about physical vs cerebral skills behind the plate, although they tend to be correlated (Better raw talent equates to more experience, and those who are cerebral in general have a better approach to the game, making themselves better overall. To Quote Dick Radatz: The biggest difference between a big leaguer and a bush leaguer is from the neck up.)
    Posted by nhsteven


    Interesting quote. I definitely disagree with you when it comes to fusing years of IP. I've researched it thoroughly and find it is quite flawed. Here's why: some pitchers mature quicker than others, Buchholz is a good example. If you combine his numbers with Tek over the years, and compare them to VMART'S, it will favor VMART simply because he caught Buch exclusively when Buch finally broke out and had the year many felt he would.    

    Pitcher's form changes year to year due to injury/mechanics/etc. This criteria is best measured year to year.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    I thought the below 2 quotes were also relevant:

    "This requires a great deal more research, but I would extend the hypothesis that catcher’s do influence pitcher performance, in that different catchers call different games that result in balls being more weakly put into play."

    and

    "Even with a large sample size it is difficult to actually parse out the influence of the catcher, so whenever you read any article that prattles on about catcher ERA, you better take it with a huge grain of salt."

    The catcher who lost in this comparison was reputed to be vastly superior defensively by most metrics (career 0.992 field rate, league leading 45% CS rate and GG in 1987) as compared to an allegedly horrible defender (led the league in SB allowed in 1986, errors in 1988). Conventional wisdom would indicate that the results should be exactly the opposite. Is the conclusion that 3 years data is not enough sample size or is it that "calling a game" is by far the largest impact skill, enabling even a weak catching defender by all conventional metrics to compensate for lack of overall defensive skill through his game calling skills? Or is the whole thing just a fluke?

    The one skill I am impressed with the most regarding TEK is his game calling ability. One thing I do agree with you about Harness is that TEK has excellent game calling skill. 

    CERA continues to be an elusive, imprecise data set.



     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : Interesting quote. I definitely disagree with you when it comes to fusing years of IP. I've researched it thoroughly and find it is quite flawed. Here's why: some pitchers mature quicker than others, Buchholz is a good example. If you combine his numbers with Tek over the years, and compare them to VMART'S, it will favor VMART simply because he caught Buch exclusively when Buch finally broke out and had the year many felt he would.     Pitcher's form changes year to year due to injury/mechanics/etc. This criteria is best measured year to year.
    Posted by harness


    Agreed, and sorry I didn't clarify; I meant years in common; so for the example above, in comparing VMart to Tek with respect to Buch, I would only count Tek's stats for the time VMart was on the team (which, in this case, I believe was 1 yr).

    However, if VMart had multiple yrs on the RS (and Varitek wasn't retired, traded, out, etc); I would use those yrs for both and conclude that the sample is unbiased (FWIW, and not that it relates in my case necessarily to BB, I have an MS in Statistics; not that that makes me an expert here, but I think it's helpful, and I have read Baseball Articles in Statistics Journals)
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : This arfgument does not sway me at all. Crwford may have a good year here or there, but I will bet he is sub .700 vs LHPs in at least 4 out of the 7 years we signed him for. I'll give even odds he is sub .700 if 5 of 7. CC has speed and supposedly plays D pretty well (I haven't seen it yet with the Sox). That does offset some loss in OPS, but if we had someone who could hit .800+ and was an average fielder vs CC's sub .700; I'd sit CC vs most lefties. So far we havn't had that, but then again, CC is sub .500 with us so far vs LHPs. He's a platoon player in my eyes. You have to have some pretty incredible intangibles to offset a sub .700 OPS, let alone sub .500.
    Posted by moonslav59

    That's right, Moon. Yaz had them too. Look at his OPS vs. lefties.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    I thought the below 2 quotes were also relevant: " This requires a great deal more research, but I would extend the hypothesis that catcher’s do influence pitcher performance, in that different catchers call different games that result in balls being more weakly put into play." and " Even with a large sample size it is difficult to actually parse out the influence of the catcher, so whenever you read any article that prattles on about catcher ERA, you better take it with a huge grain of salt." The catcher who lost in this comparison was reputed to be vastly superior defensively by most metrics (career 0.992 field rate, league leading 45% CS rate and GG in 1987) as compared to an allegedly horrible defender  (led the league in SB allowed in 1986, errors in 1988). Conventional wisdom would indicate that the results should be exactly the opposite. Is the conclusion that 3 years data is not enough sample size or is it that "calling a game" is by far the largest impact skill, enabling even a weak catching defender by all conventional metrics to compensate for lack of overall defensive skill through his game calling skills? Or is the whole thing just a fluke? The one skill I am impressed with the most regarding TEK is his game calling ability. One thing I do agree with you about Harness is that TEK has excellent game calling skill.  CERA continues to be an elusive, imprecise data set.
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    It's hardly a fluke. Moon and I showed that last year.
    A catcher's relevance is very real. The degree of it is debateable.
    As has been said repeatedly, the difference between a catcher's physical skill-set and his cerebral one is like day and night.

    The 3-year study between these two particular receivers is pertinent if it's judged properly, which is going year to year and using the examples that offer the greatest amount of IP, as I showed. Finding credible examples of the phenomenon is what's elusive and imprecise. And as a result, studies cheat by fusing years of varying pitcher's form - or comparing batteries from different teams.

    I've seen tons of examples where the data goes both ways. That's a reflection of the limited cerebral variance between the catchers, not the premise. We got to see a major variance between Tek & VMART because we're talking about one of the best in the game vs. one who has a poor history with pithing staffs when accurate analogies are drawn. In fact, the difference between them is just as stark as the offensive difference between them.

    Ask yourself this question: Will VMART be seen as a HOF catcher?
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : Agreed, and sorry I didn't clarify; I meant years in common; so for the example above, in comparing VMart to Tek with respect to Buch, I would only count Tek's stats for the time VMart was on the team (which, in this case, I believe was 1 yr). However, if VMart had multiple yrs on the RS (and Varitek wasn't retired, traded, out, etc); I would use those yrs for both and conclude that the sample is unbiased (FWIW, and not that it relates in my case necessarily to BB, I have an MS in Statistics; not that that makes me an expert here, but I think it's helpful, and I have read Baseball Articles in Statistics Journals)
    Posted by nhsteven


    The problem is, as I stated to Boom, it's hard to find credible examples of "years in common".
    If a catcher catches 150 frames of Lester compared to 30 from his back-up, the analogy is not really credible.

    The best example I think I've ever seen is the Napoli/Mathis one which covered over 4 years. That was a true tandem.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III :
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : This arfgument does not sway me at all. Crwford may have a good year here or there, but I will bet he is sub .700 vs LHPs in at least 4 out of the 7 years we signed him for. I'll give even odds he is sub .700 if 5 of 7. CC has speed and supposedly plays D pretty well (I haven't seen it yet with the Sox). That does offset some loss in OPS, but if we had someone who could hit .800+ and was an average fielder vs CC's sub .700; I'd sit CC vs most lefties. So far we havn't had that, but then again, CC is sub .500 with us so far vs LHPs. He's a platoon player in my eyes. You have to have some pretty incredible intangibles to offset a sub .700 OPS, let alone sub .500. Posted by moonslav59 That's right, Moon . Yaz had them too. Look at his OPS vs. lefties.
    Posted by harness

    The difference was, harness, that a .690 OPS was not as bad then as it is now, and the Sox had nobody on the bench better than Yaz in OPS vs LHPs. That is why he played and should have played.

    Crawford should not play vs most LH starters. We have guys that are at least 150 points better in OPS. To me, that offsets the "intangibles".

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : The problem is, as I stated to Boom , it's hard to find credible examples of "years in common". If a catcher catches 150 frames of Lester compared to 30 from his back-up, the analogy is not really credible. The best example I think I've ever seen is the Napoli/Mathis one which covered over 4 years. That was a true tandem.
    Posted by harness

    The biggest problem with most CERA bashers is that they don't understand it's proper usage. It is a very limited and narrow use when used the right way. It can't be used effectively with every team, since many teams do not allow large enough sample sizes with the sdame pitchers and both catchers. When teams do have 2 catchers with large enough sample sizes, there is almost always a consistent disparity... the same way there is almost always a constent disparity between AGon's BA and Scutaro's. 

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : The biggest problem with most CERA bashers is that they don't understand it's proper usage. It is a very limited and narrow use when used the right way. It can't be used effectively with every team, since many teams do not allow large enough sample sizes with the sdame pitchers and both catchers. When teams do have 2 catchers with large enough sample sizes, there is almost always a consistent disparity... the same way there is almost always a constent disparity between AGon's BA and Scutaro's. 
    Posted by moonslav59


    That's not quite true, Moon. The disparity lies in the catcher's skill-set.
    The disparity can hold true over years with a back-up with limited PT.

    If Tek and Cash were an even tandem for 5 years running, I doubt the disparity would be worth writing about. I think it comes down to the catchers, not the credibility of the example.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Nonetheless, non Boston.com study after study show relevance but cautions about making too much from the data. Study after study agree that there is some impact but inevitably also indicate that the data is imprecise, difficult to quantify and not to be made too much of. 


     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    That doesn't mean that CERA is worthless. It is relevant. I just caution against making large, definitive judgements based on such data. It's an indicator similar to BABIP. A guys low BA at the start of a season could just be due to luck but maybe he just isn't hitting the ball hard either. It's like Ellsbury having a -10 UZR/150 in 2009 so he must be a terrible OF right. As his numbers grew, and he is now over a PLUS 8 for his career, things become clearer.

    CERA and catcher relevance are indicators. I wouldn't want to have to negotiate a contract over it. 
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    That doesn't mean that CERA is worthless. It is relevant. I just caution against making large, definitive judgements based on such data. It's an indicator similar to BABIP. A guys low BA at the start of a season could just be due to luck but maybe he just isn't hitting the ball hard either. It's like Ellsbury having a -10 UZR/150 in 2009 so he must be a terrible OF right. As his numbers grew, and he is now over a PLUS 8 for his career, things become clearer. CERA and catcher relevance are indicators. I wouldn't want to have to negotiate a contract over it. 
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    I agree there's grey area, perhaps not as much as there used to be. How much that will disappear over time remains to be seen. Once a catcher's relevance is accepted, it becomes a matter of the degree of differential. The actual impact could be:
    1) More than the numbers indicate.
    2) Less than the numbers indicate.
    3) Precisely what the numbers indicate.

    I ask you Boom - which is it in your opinion...and why?
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    Isn't it interesting that Ellsbury is having a career year, exactly as projected by some of us, and his UZR/150 in CF this year is now a PLUS 15.8. Bringing his career total UZR/150 to a PLUS 8.4. He has had only one negative UZR/150 year, out of his 5 years in mlb now ( since 2007 ) but some here still think he is a subpar defensive OF. The data is beginning to become definitive. He appears to be a solid PLUS defender, even in CF. 25 doubles so far, 10 HR. Extended out that is about 49 doubles and 20 HR for the year. Exactly as projected several years ago by many of us, with one or 2 extremely notable exceptions.
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    Boom you deserve credit for your scouting on Ellsbury, I think you were right on June 4th saying he was an average CF.  At that time so far in 2011 he was. not since.    The casual fans who think any fast player must be great on D are the ones that I have an issue with.

    I have written before the eye test corresponds with what UZR has said about him. Earlier this year he made a few bad reads and his UZR was around zero.  Lately he has been flawless and his UZR has shot up.  The same could be said for 2008 when he looked good and 2009 when UZR and many eyes said he was making bad reads. Maybe it was a slump of sorts.

    I have always thought and hoped he could improve and that he was stellar in LF where the reads are easier. 
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : That's not quite true, Moon . The disparity lies in the catcher's skill-set. The disparity can hold true over years with a back-up with limited PT. If Tek and Cash were an even tandem for 5 years running, I doubt the disparity would be worth writing about. I think it comes down to the catchers , not the credibility of the example.
    Posted by harness

    True enough. I worded that wrongly.

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Miller gets tested against his own division now. Should be interesting.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    If this was Wake letting up 3 ERs, 6 hits and 4 BBs in 4 IP, softy would be ...
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    If this was Wake letting up 3 ERs, 6 hits and 4 BBs in 4 IP, softy would be ...
    Posted by moonslav59


    ...He's already there, and long past it. All his time is spent covering his postless tracks. Jake is blossoming before our eyes, and his
    Jake to SD
    Jake to FLA
    Jake to LA train left the tracks of dream land and now enters his fantasy land.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : I agree there's grey area, perhaps not as much as there used to be. How much that will disappear over time remains to be seen. Once a catcher's relevance is accepted, it becomes a matter of the degree of differential. The actual impact could be: 1) More than the numbers indicate. 2) Less than the numbers indicate. 3) Precisely what the numbers indicate. I ask you Boom - which is it in your opinion...and why ?
    Posted by harness


    It is so difficult to quantify I'd have to say sometimes it is less and sometimes it is more. There is no question in my mind that Tek calls a great game though. We have seen it over time and the matter of degree is the only question. I do think it has been substantial with Tek. I notice that he often looks at the hitter before calling a sign. Wouldn't that make sense? He reads the players pyschological clues. I do not see other catchers doing that much. Or appearing to. 

    4 no hitters. Close several other times, including the time when Schilling shook him off for a 1 hitter. Tek's legacy is 2 world championships, great leadership, decent offense and perhaps the best game calling skill in the game. When he shoved that glove into Arod's face it was a seminal moment. We all admire him and well we should.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    When Ellsbury started driving the ball the 2nd half of 2009, it was clear that he was probably going to improve his pop and eventually get more bases on ball. He demonstrated that he was doing some damage with his bat. What is truly exciting is that he doesn't just hit HR, he is consistently getting the ball well over the fence. Well over the bullpen or deep into it. These are not fluke HR. For the first time he is hitting the wall with his opposite field stroke, even near CF. He is hitting the ball over the CF head. The trend lines are good. Imagine if he refines his opposite field stroke to start hitting the ball over that wall. Smaller players have learned that skill and become great players for the Sox. He may well become a 25-30 HR, 45-55 type double guy in the next couple years.

    If he does that, develops that skill, he becomes part of the discussion for mvp. Becomes a 7-8 WAR player. That is maybe 20-35 % likely IMO. Given the trend lines, it could well happen. 

    Softy didn't have a clue.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : It is so difficult to quantify I'd have to say sometimes it is less and sometimes it is more. There is no question in my mind that Tek calls a great game though. We have seen it over time and the matter of degree is the only question. I do think it has been substantial with Tek. I notice that he often looks at the hitter before calling a sign. Wouldn't that make sense? He reads the players pyschological clues. I do not see other catchers doing that much. Or appearing to.  4 no hitters. Close several other times, including the time when Schilling shook him off for a 1 hitter. Tek's legacy is 2 world championships, great leadership, decent offense and perhaps the best game calling skill in the game. When he shoved that glove into Arod's face it was a seminal moment. We all admire him and well we should.
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    Very astute observation.  I originally thought he was doing that to ensure the hitter wasn't peeking down at the signs, which is always a concern. Then I began to realize that he's right there with the hitter.
    "What is he expecting?"
    "How did he react to the last pitch?"
    "Do we exploit his book weakness now? Or set him up with one more pitch?"
    "Can my pitcher execute it at this point in time?"

    Satchel Paige once said he could tell a hitter's weakness by the 'give' in his knees.
    So much goes into it. Some minds act as a sponge. Others not so much.

    On Jake: He's definitely driving the ball more this year. He's hit some serious blasts to Fenway's RF. He has legit gap power now. The more of an extra base threat he becomes, the less he'll see meaty pitches from moundsman who may soon think twice about not chancing a base on balls.

    In short, he's becoming Softone's worst nightmare:)
     
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