Re: What about Salty?
posted at 11/11/2013 2:37 PM EST
I've never heard of McCann being even a plus defensive catcher let alone a top one.
The Fielding Bible does not have McCann in it's top 10 this year. He finished in 15th place, and Salty finished in 18th (ahead of Ruiz).
McCann finsihed in 19th place in 2012.
He got no votes in 2010 (Salty finished 23rd out of 24 with votes)
2009: McCann finished 17th
2008: 19th (1 of the 10 panelists had him ranked #10)
2007: 20th (1 voter placed him 10th)
When it comes to catcher defense, there are two different areas that are involved - actual fielding and handling of the pitching staff. For me, the most important aspect of a catcher's defense is the handling of the staff. I think for many others, the fielding aspect is the one that is emphasized (and too often CS%) and that is why many people do not consider McCann a good defensive catcher.
I agree, but I am not one of those people who think that a catcher who allows 10-20 more SBs than the norm is enough to outweigh other aspects of his position, such as pitch-framing, blocking bad pitches, making plays in front of the plate and at the plate. I agree though, handling the staff is more important than all those things put together.
The Fielding Bible rates catchers defense in four categories - Catcher Adjusted Earned Runs, which is similar to CERA but adjusted for park and pitcher, Catcher Stolen Base Runs, Bunt Runs, and Good Plays/Misplays Runs. As you can see, most of their rating system is based on fielding rather than handling of the staff.
The Fielding Bible is not stat based. It is 10 guys rating the player 1 to 10. While some of the people on the list are dubious experts, I respect their cumulative rating more than the GG award/
I do not dismiss the Fielding Bible Awards, as I think they are spot on with their awards. And defensive worth does encompass all areas of catcher defense, so being able to field a bunt, for instance, becomes part of the defensive worth. Where McCann places in the Fielding Bible Awards is certainly a fair and valid point.
That said, in all the numerous studies conducted by the guys at BP, McCann's name repeatedly shows up in the list of top defenders when it comes to pitch framing, blocking pitches, and calling a good game.
Except the study I provided.
Also interesting to note is that Varitek, whom I believe we both consider one of the best at handling a staff, only broke the top 10 voting once. He is another pitcher who does not rate as well with the fielding aspect of defense.
As far as I know, "The Bible" only started in 2006. VTek was best from 2003-2007. Again, his arm hurt his ovrall score, and I agree that it hurt McCann and salty's rating more than it should have, but I still have not seen enough evidence to conclude that McCann is one of the best defensive catchers in MLB, even when weighting CERA-related areas heavily. One cannot compare McCann's CERA to a catcher on a team with horrible pitching or a matchbox park or tougher offensive opponents or worse fielding teams behind him.
(Someday, I may go back 4-5 years and check out how McCann stacks up to the other Atlanta catcher pitcher by pitcher on ERA and OPS against.)
I am keeping an open mind. I was wrong about Aviles and Drew at SS, so I may be wrong about McCann. If we do sign him, there may be a learning curve to go through first, but he probably wont be much better or worse than Salty in any area of defense. I do think he is better than Salty on offense, despite the recent 2 year comparative and the trend curves assoiciated with Salty and McCann, but not $5-6M more a year better and not 1-3 years longer either.