Solidly means 3.86 vs.3.12. Thats pretty extreme, not just solid. It also means 13-7 head to head comparing all the pitchers. Thats a pretty solid difference. Its 6-4 in your top 10. Solid.
6-4 is not solid if one of the 6 was by 0.02 and a tiny sample size.
3.86 to 3.12 is not solid when the guy with the 3.12 pitched over 44% of his inning with our Buch and Lester as compared to just over 20% by Salty. Salty caught only 38% of his innings with our top 4 starters: Ross caught 55% vs the same. Do the math. Adjust either Salty's down or Ross' up by evening out the percent with our better pitchers, and my guess is the disparity will all but vanish.
I totally agree that there are differences in who catches who. And that it has probably hurt Salty not only this year but the last 3 years. However, do I think those differences make up a 0.74 ERA difference this year? No. Now if you can come up with a formula to calculate those differences, more power to you. Until then head to head is the best and easiest way to seperate those differences. And head to head its clear advantage Ross.
Again, only clear to you.
(Red indicates a differential of 0.25 or more on ERA or .025 in OPS Against)
w/ Salty w/ Ross w/ Lava
Lester (143) 3.58/ .671 (70) 4.11/ .770 n/a
Lackey (147) 3.06/ .687 (11) 2.38/ .715 (31) 5.81/ .774
Demp (103) 4.62/ .750 (48) 3.00/ .711 (19) 8.38/ .985
Doub (135) 3.86/ .708 (9) 8.31/ .871 (17) 3.18/ 711
Buch (67) 1.75/.558 (43) 1.73/ .529 n/a
Peavy (33) 4.64/ .743 (20) 2.75/ .573 (12) 4.50/ .599
The 6 starters: Ross is significantly better than Salty with 3 of 6 starters, but one of them (Lackey) has a small sample size of just 11 IP. Salty is significantly better with 2 of 6 starters. With OPS Against, Salty is significantly better than Ross with 3 out of the 6 starters, and Ross with3 of 6, but 2 of which both are small sample sizes of 11 and 20 IP.
The ones Salty leads with are 0.53 and 4.45 (in all fairness, the large one is a 9 IP sample size for Ross)
The ones Ross leads with are 0.68, 1.62, and 1.89
The ones Salty leads: .099, .028, and .168.
The ones Ross leads: .039, .029, and .170
Also, to me, the differentials between the top 4 innings guys carry more weight.
Sorry, I don't see any solid edge here.
Top Four Relievers:
w/ Salty w/ Ross w/ Lava
Uehara (54) 1.01/ .379 (14) 1.32/ .432 (6) 1.50/ 4.50
Tazawa (49) 2.55/ .716 (15) 4.11/ .763 (4) 7.36/ .954
Breslow (43) 2.32/ .677 (7) 0.00/ .390 (9) 0.96/ .590
Workm (18) 5.00/ .728 (4) 4.15/ .635 (19) 5.12/ .800
On the surface, it looks like a clean split: 2-2, but the two that Ross leads in are tiny sample sizes, such is the dilema with comparing CERA with the pen.
If you look at the top 8 Sox pitchers by innings pitched, the record is like this:
CERA: Salty +4 and Ross +3 (1 very close).
OPS: Salty +5 and Ross +3 .
Also, understand how huge the differences in CERA has been the last 3 years. If it was .2 or .3 over the last 3 years then your point on catching one pitcher more then others would be totally on point. I probably would not even mention these numbers if it was at those levels. But we are talking extreme differences in total CERA......
Look, I was for trading Salty after 2010, based largely on his CERA. At the start of 2011, I was not happy, but by the end of April, Salty began to turn it around. Perhaps, it was just familiarity. Perhpas it was a combination of several things, but the fact is, he improved greatly. Pitcher by pitcher or as compared to our other catcher. Although I totally disagrzee with any use of overall CERA, unless the percentages with each pitcher are near equal, let's look at the progression ... (See red disparity)
(Note: VTek hardly ever caught Wake in 2010 as Tito played the catcher caddy game, and Bobby V created huge disparities in inning's percent with each catcher as well. John has changed that a bit, but with the injury to Ross, some large disparities in innings were realized.)
Shoppach-3.77 (1.07, but significantly closer after 4/25/12)
And head to head.....
Really? How large were some of these 22 pitcher's sample sizes. but regardless, I am on board with Salty's CERA futility in 2010. No argument here.
I'm not doubting your veracity here, but I recall it being much closer. I lost all my data from back then, but I do remember that Salty closed the gap after April 24th. Salty got rocked in early April.
Total is 39--21 pitcher to pitcher. Thats pretty solid. A CERA advantage of around 0.95 over a 3 year period. Incredibly high difference. Just understand, just a 0.2 difference would equal around 3 wins and 6 games over .500 for a single season.
The 3 year total is a viable sample size, but it really doesn't measure Salty's improvement.
Has Salty improved a bit? Probably.
Probably? Your own numbers show a clear improvement, and if you look at each pitcher year by year with salty, when the sample sizes are significant, you will see an obvious improvement:
CERA & OPS against with Salty from 2011 to 2013:
2011 2102 2013
Lester: 3.77/ .717 (VTek 2.48/ .577) 5.62/ .869 (Shopp 3.70/ .638) 3.58/ . 671
Lackey: 6.31/ .874 (VTek 6.82/ .769) n/a 3.06/ .687
Doubr: 5.19 .828 (VTek 10.80/.875) 4.95/ .777 (Shopp 4.18/.769) 3.86/ .708
Buchh: 3.52/ .662 (VTek 3.38/ .841) 6.30/ .935 (Shopp 3.23/ .622) 1.75/ .558
Taza: 6.75/ 1.000 (Lava 5.40/ .946) 1.45/ .604(Shopp 0.00/1.100) 2.55/ .716
Bres: n/a 3.95/.670 (Shopp 0.00/ 5.00) 2.32/ .677
Are you lessening the importance of the above numbers? How about looking at the 3 starters that have been here since 2010?
wVTek w Shopp w Ross ERA + or - (Net) with Salty (Net)
Lester 2.48 3.70 4.11 +1.22 +0.41 (+1.63) +1.85 -2.04 (-0.19)
Lackey 6.82 n/a 2.38 n/a -4.44 (-4.44) n/a -3.25 (-3.25)
Doub 5.19 4.18 8.31 -1.01 +4.13 (+3.12) -0.24 -1.09 (-1.33)
Even I thought he looked somewhat better the second half of the season. Still, I don't see how people can look at these numbers and at least not wonder whether its smart to commit long term to this player. Nearly 300 extra runs given up over the last 3 years. 300!
Try going back and looking at VTek's comparative CERA at ages 27-29 (with Hatteberg and Hillenbrand- two catchers never known for defense). VTek did not begin to master the CERA domain until after age 30 to 31.
I'm not saying Salty will continue to improve until he reaches VTek's legendary status, but I'd say a continued improvement over the last 5 months of 2012 and 6 months of 2013 is a good sign that he might keep getting better as he reaches catcher defensive prime, which may be some where between 32-36, not the typical 27-31 of other positional players.
If we don't keep Salty, finding a decent bridge catcher will not be easy. That was one reason, I suggested we extend Salty last winter, while his cost would have been lower. I realize a $48M/4 or $38M/3 is an overpay, but such is the way of FAs at high need positions.
McCann will be way too costly and a lost draft pick.
Ruiz is old and in decline, but may be a decent 1 year bridge signing, if he'll take it. I really like Vazquez, Swihart, and have heard wonders about Denny, but they are likely at least a year away. To me, going with Lava and Ross would be a huge step back on offense, and CERA related areas. Have you seen Lava's CERA numbers? Replace Salty's nubers with Lava's and work out how many runs and losses that would lead to.
This winter, Salty holds all the cards.