On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

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    On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    by Scott Lauber/Boston Herald
    It is convenient to break down the Red Sox’ team ERA based on which catcher is behind the plate — 2.07 with Jason Varitek, 6.14 with Jarrod Saltalamacchia — and conclude that Varitek is far superior at handling pitchers.

    But it wouldn’t necessarily be true.

    Take it from Mike Scioscia, a catcher for 13 seasons with the Dodgers and the Angels’ manager for the past 12 years: Catcher’s ERA can be a telling statistic, but only if it is used correctly. And, too often, it is misapplied.

    Scioscia has spent considerable time thinking about catcher’s ERA, which uses the ERA formula for pitchers but substitutes a catcher’s innings played for the innings pitched. For much of the past five seasons, Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli served as the Angels’ catching tandem. Mathis, a .200 career hitter, always has been known for his defense. Napoli, who possesses middle-of-the-order power, is widely regarded as a below-average backstop. And catcher’s ERA seemed to support those characterizations. Since 2006, Mathis has a 3.90 catcher’s ERA, more than a half run lower than Napoli (4.47), who eventually was jettisoned in an offseason trade for outfielder Vernon Wells.

    But Scioscia never put much stock in those aggregate numbers. Instead, he preferred to look at a catcher’s ERA with each individual pitcher to help measure the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of that particular pitcher-catcher relationship. As much as teams would like their pitchers to have success with any catcher, it is human nature that some batteries, like some marriages, work better than others, and the catcher’s ERA stat is one way to find out which of those relationships are built to last.

    “I think it’s an absolute tool to evaluate a catcher’s performance with a pitcher, but it can’t be cross-referenced,” Scioscia said the other day. “It’s got to be really with that pitcher to get an idea of what is that catcher doing with that pitcher. You want analyze, why is this guy giving up a run a game more with this other catcher. Is it walks because of pitch selection? Is it hits? Is it stolen bases? Why is it happening that when this guy catches, this pitcher’s ERA is 5.30, and when this other guy catches, it’s 4.30? A guy might not be conditioned with one pitcher, but we don’t just stop and say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t catch this guy well.’ We want to know why. Why did Napoli walk more guys with this (pitcher) than Mathis? You want these guys to all be there for every pitcher.”

    Along those lines, here is a look at each Red Sox starter’s career ERA with various catchers to whom they have thrown most often during their tenure with the Red Sox:

    Jon Lester
    Varitek (3.49 in 85 games), Victor Martinez (3.24 in 27 games), Kevin Cash (3.83 in 9 games), Saltalamacchia (2.22 in 4 games)

    John Lackey
    Martinez (4.81 in 20 games), Saltalamacchia (4.63 in 7 games), Varitek (3.29 in 6 games)

    Josh Beckett
    Varitek (3.86 in 114 games), Martinez (5.48 in 15 games), Saltalamacchia (4.50 in 2 games)

    Clay Buchholz
    Martinez (2.83 in 40 games), Varitek (5.26 in 20 games), Saltalamacchia (6.19 in 4 games), Cash (4.38 in 4 games)

    Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Varitek (3.90 in 80 games), Martinez (5.47 in 12 games), Cash (3.81 in 5 games), Saltalamacchia (11.42 in 2 games)

    A few conclusions: Beckett and Matsuzaka are clearly most comfortable working with Varitek, and over the past few weeks, the Red Sox have made certain to match them up with the 39-year-old captain. Lackey and Lester have similar degrees of success with multiple catchers, so they are seemingly good fits to work with Saltalamacchia as he continues to get comfortable behind the plate. Buchholz had tremendous success with Martinez, but he is still working on consistently duplicating that synergy with Saltalamacchia and/or Varitek.

    But before we get too carried away, one other critical point: Scioscia also noted that catcher’s ERA, like any statistic, is reliable only if it is based on a large enough sample size. With Saltalamacchia, the sample size remains small. To conclude, based on three weeks, that Saltalamacchia is incapable of calling a good game would be akin to labeling Carl Crawford a lousy hitter because he’s batting .171 with a .462 OPS after 20 games. Yes, Red Sox pitchers had an 8.16 ERA over the season’s first four games with Saltalamacchia behind the plate. But in his last five starts, Red Sox pitchers have a 2.06 ERA. See? Small sample size.

    Point is, catcher’s ERA can be a useful tool upon which to make judgments. But it’s usefulness must be kept in the proper perspective.

     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    If yesterday's shutout had ANYTHING to do with the way Salty called the game then he can 0-4 every game for all I care.  My main concern is that salty learns how to be a "catcher" first.  I'm sure the power will come eventually, he may be a nominal hitter that manages 25-30 homeruns but if he can call a ballgame, then he has a home here in Boston. 
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Salty is a work in progress, let's give him a chance to mature a little bit behnd the plate. Varitek is a good mentor for him.

    Harness ought to be showing up soon with his thoughts on CERA.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Thanks for the intro, M.N. I'm glad Edith posted this article,as it's spokesperson, Scioscia, has been there, and he knows how to measure this criteria properly. Other sabermetric "experts" erroneously draw comparisons to catchers catching different pitching staffs are different times - behind different defenses.

    I don't care for Scioscia beyond the fact he was a hell of a good catcher/handler of pitchers. But he does know his stuff. The Angels have employed a tandem between the weak hitting Mathis and the power-hitting Napoli for years. They have a much higher winning pct.with Mathis catching. And, not coincidently, he gets more out of his pitchers year in and year out.

    Even Scioscia, an ex-ML catcher, didn't really explain why.

    The mistake the author makes is in the attempt to measure CERA by the aggregate. Never look at this data beyond a year-to-year basis if at all possible. The reason is that a pitcher's form/health can change dramatically from one year to the next.

    Tek only caught 4 innings of Buch last year. Buch wasn't the same pitcher in 2010 as he was in his other troubled years, where he had to deal with maturity issues. In addition, Buch added 2 MPH on his fastball last year thanks to putting on some weight/bulk.

    In short, to look at Buch's numbers with Tek from 2007-2009 and then compare them to Buch of 2010 is ridiculous. To find proper examples is very difficult, but to get lazy (i.e. not put it in it's proper perspective) and use faulty criteria such as employing the accumulative data only sends out the wrong message.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    ctredsoxfan good post - here we need a catcher not another player who can hit 15+ homers. If Salt ever morphed into Tony Pena then all we will here is we need a catcher who can hit for power, it gets old.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    harness I will ask you this question (as I can barely watch the games over here) - Is Salty or can Salty truly be a very good defensive catcher?

    If you might be so kind to answer I would be very interested.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    harness I will ask you this question (as I can barely watch the games over here) - Is Salty or can Salty truly be a very good defensive catcher? If you might be so kind to answer I would be very interested.
    Posted by BurritoT


    Anytime you post in this tone, it's a pleasure to retort to it.

    In my opinion, we have not seen Salty's A-GAME. That doesn't mean we will see it.
    Playing in a pressure-cooker city and being thrown into the fire by the FO has hindered his progression. So,  it's hard to get a decent read on him.

    While his size can be detrimental to physical defensive skills, his ability to get the most out of a pitching staff remains an enigma. He has shown promise, but only sporadically. I don't care for his target setting, but that's just me.

    He has shown he can hit in the past, and I think this is another area where we aren't seeing his true skill-set.

    It's like betting a longshot horse. He can go either way.

    I know you want a FT catcher who can do both. That's a hard commodity to come by. You may have to settle for a tandem until that happens. If Salty shows improvement over time, I think the FO will stick with the status-quo. If not, they will likely go for a veteran catcher and cut ties with Salty.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Remember, he has options left and can go to AAA and given another chance at a later date.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Yes. I know. But I think any demotion at this point will pretty much be the writing on the wall.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Tim McCarver also said he felt that Jason Varitek was the most valuable RedSox player ever. And he made mention to Fisk, Yaz and Teddy...
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Both Lester and Buch are an example of what I've known for a long time. It's never been Varitek, and never will be. It's always about the pitcher, 100%. Scoiscia is correct in taking the data and simply using it to determine what catcher a pitcher is comfortable with. There is an adjustment curve, and some pitchers simply don't communicate or get along with some catchers. A pitcher calls his own game, throws the ball where he wants, the way he wants, and where he wants to. All a catcher does is suggest a pitch and location.

    A golfer who has used the same caddy for years and won, will simply continue the relationship because he feels comfortable with it. A golfer can break a driver and then get an exact copy and not feel comfortable with it. This is the same for pitchers. Some step over the line, out of superstition.

    Varitek has been washed up for a long time. But he's a fan and media favorite. Thus, fans and the media like to make up reasons why he's still on the active roster. CERA is one of those hysterical urban legends to make Varitek look like he has a purpose. While it's true that he's Beckett's baby blanket, it's also true that Beckett could adjust to a new catcher. He'll have to do just that, as the Red Sox have a boat load of money to pay him long after Varitek has to be told to go.

    While one might think that Varitek is a savior, there is no truth to it. Buch liked VMart, and is having an adjustment issue with a catcher change.

    At the end of the day, Theo played his hand on catchers wrong. The good news is that it's not about the catching, it's about the pitching, so this team has the construction to win the division if it gets good starting pitching from at least 3 starters for a full season. The bad news is that the roster isn't constructed the best it can be for the same or less value. Theo made the foolish value decison to go after Crawford,, then came up with the notion of "speed players age better" propaganda to justify 7 years on Crawford. But let's not rehash Crawford and VMart. Let's simply say that a good defensive veteran backup/split-time catcher with a weak bat could have been brought in, cheaply for one year contract, to insure the Red Sox have a catcher who can move well and block the ball well, and has a strong and accurate throwing arm. The Red Sox have neither.

    True, there would be an adjustment for pitchers, but adjustments would be made. Theo chose to go with Salty, who doesn't block the ball or move well and who doesn't throw well, and another round of Varitek, who is in the same boat. Salty might start to hit better, but the main purpose of the catcher is to throw to the bases well and catch and block the ball well. 

    The CERA is a bugaboo, a myth that is about compatibility and familiarity, not substance. A pitcher doesn't pitch, nor does a caddy decide on the club or the target or the distance the player decides he's going to need to carry the shot. 

    Baseball is full of urban legend, and CERA is about as valid as a rabit's foot.
     
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    You continue to turn a blind eye to the mounting data as to a catcher's relevance.
    That's UR choice, but don't call something truth or non-truth simply because you refuse to acknowledge or accept it.

    To use a CADDY reference (Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?) is a poor analogy. Familiarity is over-blown. A catcher's affinity with his pitchers is more about ability/approach than familiarity. Scioscia was a gold glover who knew how to handle a pitching staff. He didn't employ a catching tandem for years for nothing. He knew how much better his staff pitched with Mathis. He could have used Napoli, a far better hitter, in a FT capacity, but never did.

    VMART is a DH who poses as a PT catcher at age 32.  

    UR voodoo take is running thin.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    No, VMart is actually a split-time catcher. He's not posing. You have zero proof that one catcher is responsible for the results of any pitcher. Scioscia is refuting your CERA claims, pointing out that they are a symptom of whether a pitcher is comfortable with a catcher.

    You falsely claimed that Napoli was shipped off because of the magic fingers voodoo, but Scioscia shot that down.

    VMart is a split time catcher who also DH's. Varitek is a washed up old backup catcher who will soon be forced out of MLB.

     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    No, VMart is actually a split-time catcher. He's not posing. You have zero proofthat one catcher is responsible for the results of any pitcher. Scioscia is refuting your CERA claims, pointing out that they are a symptom of whether a pitcher is comfortable with a catcher. You falsely claimed that Napoli was shipped off because of the magic fingers voodoo, but Scioscia shot that down. VMart is a split time catcher who also DH's. Varitek is a washed up old backup catcher who will soon be forced out of MLB.
    Posted by BaseballGM


    Zero proof? You must be drinking 80 proof!
    Re-visit the thread you fled last year. It's chalk full of proof. The data covered the RedSox season of '10., as well as thousands of innings covering several years from other catching tandems. Also covered was the legendary O's staff of the late 60's/early 70's and the Braves staff of the 90's.

    What did Scioscia shoot down? He said:
    "I think it (CERA) is an absolute tool to evaluate a catcher's performance with a pitcher".

    That in itself shoots down your "catchers have nothing to do with pitching"
    "It's solely on the pitcher" theory.

    I never said Napoli was shipped out for his ineptness with the staff. That would be assuming. Where did you read that? I said he wasn't deployed as a FT catcher. Scioscia chose a catching tandem. Now, why on earth wasn't the better hitting Napoli the FT catcher?
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    If either of our catchers could hit, this would be a moot point.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    A pitcher calls his own game, throws the ball where he wants, the way he wants, and where he wants to. All a catcher does is suggest a pitch and location.

    Perfect drivel from someone who never has played the game and claims he doesn't "watch the games".

    You have zero proof that one catcher is responsible for the results of any pitcher.

    The burden of proof is on you now.

    Why do 90% of pitchers do better with VTek than his counterpart?
    Every year?
    For the last 10 years?
    Why the same for Mathis vs Napoli?
    Posada's back up vs Posada? 
    Why does their teams win more when they catch even if their counterpart hits better?

    Prove us wrong.

    Showing that Buch did well with VMart while VTek didn't catch him last year proves nothing, except your blind spot is growing.

    It's like saying Papi is not a good hitter, because he does poorly vs one or two pitchers in LB.


     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    Both Lester and Buch are an example of what I've known for a long time. It's never been Varitek, and never will be. It's always about the pitcher, 100%. Scoiscia is correct in taking the data and simply using it to determine what catcher a pitcher is comfortable with. There is an adjustment curve, and some pitchers simply don't communicate or get along with some catchers. A pitcher calls his own game, throws the ball where he wants, the way he wants, and where he wants to. All a catcher does is suggest a pitch and location. A golfer who has used the same caddy for years and won, will simply continue the relationship because he feels comfortable with it. A golfer can break a driver and then get an exact copy and not feel comfortable with it. This is the same for pitchers. Some step over the line, out of superstition. Varitek has been washed up for a long time. But he's a fan and media favorite. Thus, fans and the media like to make up reasons why he's still on the active roster. CERA is one of those hysterical urban legends to make Varitek look like he has a purpose. While it's true that he's Beckett's baby blanket, it's also true that Beckett could adjust to a new catcher. He'll have to do just that, as the Red Sox have a boat load of money to pay him long after Varitek has to be told to go. While one might think that Varitek is a savior, there is no truth to it. Buch liked VMart, and is having an adjustment issue with a catcher change. At the end of the day, Theo played his hand on catchers wrong. The good news is that it's not about the catching, it's about the pitching, so this team has the construction to win the division if it gets good starting pitching from at least 3 starters for a full season. The bad news is that the roster isn't constructed the best it can be for the same or less value. Theo made the foolish value decison to go after Crawford,, then came up with the notion of "speed players age better" propaganda to justify 7 years on Crawford. But let's not rehash Crawford and VMart. Let's simply say that a good defensive veteran backup/split-time catcher with a weak bat could have been brought in, cheaply for one year contract, to insure the Red Sox have a catcher who can move well and block the ball well, and has a strong and accurate throwing arm. The Red Sox have neither. True, there would be an adjustment for pitchers, but adjustments would be made. Theo chose to go with Salty, who doesn't block the ball or move well and who doesn't throw well, and another round of Varitek, who is in the same boat. Salty might start to hit better, but the main purpose of the catcher is to throw to the bases well and catch and block the ball well.  The CERA is a bugaboo, a myth that is about compatibility and familiarity, not substance. A pitcher doesn't pitch, nor does a caddy decide on the club or the target or the distance the player decides he's going to need to carry the shot.  Baseball is full of urban legend, and CERA is about as valid as a rabit's foot.  
    Posted by BaseballGM


    You deal in absolutes when you actually have no idea.  Schilling gives credit to Tek, so I'll go with Tek having a positive influence on a staff.Schillings position vs. yours...hmmm, tough call.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    The list goes way beyond Schill.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    You needed ERA to determine that Tek is a better catcher than Salt?????

    Tek is in his upteenth year in the majors - Salt was in AAA last year.  Doesn't that speak volumes?

    Salt and Tek are on the team so that Tek can teach Salt how to catch.  No one said that it was a sure thing.  Every one knew it was an experiment.  And it's going to take more than 1 month into the season for Salt to absorb everything Tek has to teach.

    Maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons that neither guy is hitting is because they are both focused on catching.  Maybe, just maybe, the FO told Salt that his hitting is a non-issue.  They want him to learn how to catch.

     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    You needed ERA to determine that Tek is a better catcher than Salt????? Tek is in his upteenth year in the majors - Salt was in AAA last year.  Doesn't that speak volumes? Salt and Tek are on the team so that Tek can teach Salt how to catch.  No one said that it was a sure thing.  Every one knew it was an experiment.  And it's going to take more than 1 month into the season for Salt to absorb everything Tek has to teach. Maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons that neither guy is hitting is because they are both focused on catching.  Maybe, just maybe, the FO told Salt that his hitting is a non-issue.  They want him to learn how to catch.
    Posted by DirtyWaterLover


    This is Saltalamacchia's 5th year to make it in the bigs. If he doesn't know how to catch by now, at the major league level, perhaps he belongs in AAA.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    You needed ERA to determine that Tek is a better catcher than Salt????? Tek is in his upteenth year in the majors - Salt was in AAA last year.  Doesn't that speak volumes? Salt and Tek are on the team so that Tek can teach Salt how to catch.  No one said that it was a sure thing.  Every one knew it was an experiment.  And it's going to take more than 1 month into the season for Salt to absorb everything Tek has to teach. Maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons that neither guy is hitting is because they are both focused on catching.  Maybe, just maybe, the FO told Salt that his hitting is a non-issue.  They want him to learn how to catch.
    Posted by DirtyWaterLover


    That's an interesting point. I alluded to similar last year when I said Tek/VMART were rubbing off on eachother. I think both improved to a degree where they were weak.

    Salty is under the gun. The FO put him in this position.
    Once the team started poorly, and Tek was pressed into service, I gotta believe he put more emphasis than usual on trying to help the pitchers straighten things out.

    If the RedSox have to depend on either catcher for his offense, then they spent 170 mil very foolishly.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    In Response to On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA:
    by Scott Lauber/Boston Herald It is convenient to break down the Red Sox’ team ERA based on which catcher is behind the plate — 2.07 with Jason Varitek , 6.14 with Jarrod Saltalamacchia — and conclude that Varitek is far superior at handling pitchers. But it wouldn’t necessarily be true. Take it from Mike Scioscia, a catcher for 13 seasons with the Dodgers and the Angels’ manager for the past 12 years: Catcher’s ERA can be a telling statistic, but only if it is used correctly. And, too often, it is misapplied. Scioscia has spent considerable time thinking about catcher’s ERA, which uses the ERA formula for pitchers but substitutes a catcher’s innings played for the innings pitched. For much of the past five seasons, Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli served as the Angels’ catching tandem. Mathis, a .200 career hitter, always has been known for his defense. Napoli, who possesses middle-of-the-order power, is widely regarded as a below-average backstop. And catcher’s ERA seemed to support those characterizations. Since 2006, Mathis has a 3.90 catcher’s ERA, more than a half run lower than Napoli (4.47), who eventually was jettisoned in an offseason trade for outfielder Vernon Wells. But Scioscia never put much stock in those aggregate numbers. Instead, he preferred to look at a catcher’s ERA with each individual pitcher to help measure the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of that particular pitcher-catcher relationship. As much as teams would like their pitchers to have success with any catcher, it is human nature that some batteries, like some marriages, work better than others, and the catcher’s ERA stat is one way to find out which of those relationships are built to last. “I think it’s an absolute tool to evaluate a catcher’s performance with a pitcher, but it can’t be cross-referenced,” Scioscia said the other day. “It’s got to be really with that pitcher to get an idea of what is that catcher doing with that pitcher. You want analyze, why is this guy giving up a run a game more with this other catcher. Is it walks because of pitch selection? Is it hits? Is it stolen bases? Why is it happening that when this guy catches, this pitcher’s ERA is 5.30, and when this other guy catches, it’s 4.30? A guy might not be conditioned with one pitcher, but we don’t just stop and say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t catch this guy well.’ We want to know why. Why did Napoli walk more guys with this (pitcher) than Mathis? You want these guys to all be there for every pitcher.” Along those lines, here is a look at each Red Sox starter’s career ERA with various catchers to whom they have thrown most often during their tenure with the Red Sox: Jon Lester Varitek (3.49 in 85 games), Victor Martinez (3.24 in 27 games), Kevin Cash (3.83 in 9 games), Saltalamacchia (2.22 in 4 games) John Lackey Martinez (4.81 in 20 games), Saltalamacchia (4.63 in 7 games), Varitek (3.29 in 6 games) Josh Beckett Varitek (3.86 in 114 games), Martinez (5.48 in 15 games), Saltalamacchia (4.50 in 2 games) Clay Buchholz Martinez (2.83 in 40 games), Varitek (5.26 in 20 games), Saltalamacchia (6.19 in 4 games), Cash (4.38 in 4 games) Daisuke Matsuzaka Varitek (3.90 in 80 games), Martinez (5.47 in 12 games), Cash (3.81 in 5 games), Saltalamacchia (11.42 in 2 games) A few conclusions: Beckett and Matsuzaka are clearly most comfortable working with Varitek, and over the past few weeks, the Red Sox have made certain to match them up with the 39-year-old captain. Lackey and Lester have similar degrees of success with multiple catchers, so they are seemingly good fits to work with Saltalamacchia as he continues to get comfortable behind the plate. Buchholz had tremendous success with Martinez, but he is still working on consistently duplicating that synergy with Saltalamacchia and/or Varitek. But before we get too carried away, one other critical point: Scioscia also noted that catcher’s ERA, like any statistic, is reliable only if it is based on a large enough sample size. With Saltalamacchia, the sample size remains small. To conclude, based on three weeks, that Saltalamacchia is incapable of calling a good game would be akin to labeling Carl Crawford a lousy hitter because he’s batting .171 with a .462 OPS after 20 games. Yes, Red Sox pitchers had an 8.16 ERA over the season’s first four games with Saltalamacchia behind the plate. But in his last five starts, Red Sox pitchers have a 2.06 ERA. See? Small sample size. Point is, catcher’s ERA can be a useful tool upon which to make judgments. But it’s usefulness must be kept in the proper perspective.
    Posted by -EdithBunker-


    You're last statement--so true.  For example, Becket and Varitek vs. the Yanks.  Dice K and Salty vs the O's.  Is anyone sure Tek is going to be the big factor?  How about the lumber NY sends to the plate in comparison to the O's?
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    This is Saltalamacchia's 5th year to make it in the bigs. If he doesn't know how to catch by now, at the major league level, perhaps he belongs in AAA.

    VTek's first full season (144 games) was at age 27.

    Salty turns 26 soon.
     
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    Re: On Varitek, Saltalamacchia and the usefulness of catcher’s ERA

    Still waiting for the answer as to why Scioscia didn't make Napoli his FT catcher.
    His hitting prowess should have made him a lock.
     
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