Re: Time to Bench Salty
posted at 8/21/2012 7:14 PM EDT
Catcher defense has always been hard to quantify. In the past, many casual fans looked at CS%, PB totals, Fldg%, and personal observations to make judgements. Most fans rarely watched catchers on other teams too closely, and may never even have seen several catchers catch over several years.
With so many variables and intangibles involved in catcher defense and pitching staff handling, some fans just throw their hands in the air, and just go by what their gut tells them (from observations) and/or the traditional stats used to judge catchers by for years.
Salty's career CS% is 23%, and it is down to 18% this year. Salty must not be improving, they deduce. Putting context into CS numbers, almost every knowledgable Sox fans know our staff has struggled with holding men on base, and the team philosophy has been lax in this area for years. For instance, Shoppach went from 41% in 2011 to 34% in 2012 when coming to Boston. Again, I will say that even if you want to put the full blame of the excess SBs on Salty and not the staff, and Salty had the league average CS rate, he'd only have about 8-10 more CS's over the full 2012 season. For this alone, some have totally written him off. softy, for one, who over the years has minimized the importance of SB when evaluating Jacoby's overall skills, now suddenly feels like opponent's SBs are the front and center issue with a catcher's defense. Go figure.
But, then when you look at PBs and WPs, Salty has vastly improved over 2011.
2011: 26 PB/ 41 WP in 856 innings (PB+ WP 0.078 per inning)
2012: 5 PB/ 21 WP in 681 innings (PB + WP 0.038 per inning)
I'm really finding it hard to believe that those who are relying on their personal observations have not noticed a great improvement in Salty's blocking bad pitches skill. It's really night and day from last year.
Salty's Flg% (the worst stat in MLB) is higher in 2011-2012 with Boston than previously in his career.
His handling of the staff has improved enormously from 2011 and up to April 25th of this season. He has a 4.05 CERA after April 25. Maybe that is still not good enough for some posters, and I have no problem with that, but some want to deny an improvement has even happened, or they want to minimize an improvement from...
2011: 4.60 CERA
2012: 7.24 CERA before April 26th.
2012: 4.05 CERA after April 25th.
It's about a 3/4 run improvement per game. That's like 120 RBIs (.75 x 160 games) added to his total if we were to give him full credit for saving .75 runs per game over his earlier career work. I'm way over simplifying, I know, but you get my point.
Salty is 27. Some catchers learned earlier than Salty, some learned later or much later, but on the defensive part of Salty's game, it seems strange that so many Sox fans want to give up on Salty mainly because of his defense, but now with the slump, it's a total write-off.
I totally get the argument to give Lavarnway a shot. He has high offensive potential, and our offense has sputtered, especially with Papi out. I just don't get all the Salty defensive bashing. Even if you still view Salty as below average or bottom 33% on defense, it's impossible, IMO, to deny he has improved.
This winter will be an interesting time.