Phillies Position Analysis: Catcher

In the interest of not alienating our non-basketball readers, and also in the interest of me pretending the baseball season is almost here, I am going to start a bi-weekly position-by-position analysis of the Phillies. I’ll be including many non-Phillies tidbits as well, both past and present.

Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)

2008- Carlos Ruiz

2007- Rod Barajas

2006- Mike Lieberthal

2005- Mike Lieberthal

2004- Mike Lieberthal

2003- Mike Lieberthal

2007 Recap

The Phillies started the season hoping that Rod Barajas would be a solid defensive presence behind the plate and add a little pop to their lineup. He wasn’t, and he didn’t. By the end of the year, Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste were sharing time behind the plate. Offensively, they were actually slightly below average in the NL. It may have seemed as though that wasn’t the case because they were definitely better than the parade of horrendous offensive catchers the Phillies have put out there the last couple years.

NAME

G

AB

R

H

2B

HR

TB

RBI

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Ruiz

111

368

41

95

28

6

145

52

42

48

0.258

0.34

0.394

0.734

Barajas

38

113

15

24

7

4

43

9

20

23

0.212

0.341

0.381

0.721

Coste

31

110

13

29

3

4

44

18

3

18

0.264

0.296

0.4

0.696

NAME

G

AB

R

H

2B

HR

TB

RBI

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Phillies

162

591

69

148

38

14

232

79

65

89

0.25

0.332

0.393

0.725

As you can see, Ruiz had pretty much the exact same on-base percentage as Barajas, and only a slightly better SLG%. Coste, meanwhile, didn’t play nearly as well as he did in 2006, and had the same amount of total bases as Barajas in pretty much the same number of at-bats. Both, however, hit much better with runners in scoring position, hence more RBI.

What We Need In ‘08

The Phillies offense is potent enough that they don’t need a lot from the catcher position. Ruiz and Coste’s biggest contribution in ’08 will be to manage the pitching staff and play solid defense (as GARGS below points out, Ruiz was 6th in the MLB in throwing out baserunners last year). On the offensive end, all they need to do is hit around .250, not make bad outs, and drive in 60-70 runs. Ruiz will be 29 on opening day. If he does not make strides this year, it is unlikely he will make them after his 30th birthday.

Catcher of the Future? Jason Jaramillo, 25, starts the season in AAA-Ottawa

NL East Catcher Rankings

1. Brian McCann, Braves

2. Paul LoDuca, Nationals

3. Carlos Ruiz, Phillies

4. Brian Schneider, Mets

5. Mike Rabelo, Marlins

Top 3 Catchers in MLB for ‘08

1. Victor Martinez, Indians

2. Joe Mauer, Twins

3. Russell Martin, Dodgers

Best Season By a Phillies Catcher: Darren Daulton, 1992 (.279 BA, 27 HR, 109 RBI, 64 XBH, .909 OPS)

Best Season Ever By a Catcher: Johnny Bench, 1970, Cincinnati Reds. .293 BA, 45 HR, 148 RBI, 84 XBH, .932 OPS. Led the Majors in HR, RBI and XBH. Was near unanimous NL MVP and won a gold glove. Also, did all of this at age 22.

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14 Responses

  1. Dude, some of us are too old to read font that small.

    Also you need a running count down on the blog, I think it’s only 2 months till catchers and pitchers report.

  2. One stat that is very important is defense, specifically the number of stolen bases that a catcher gives up and his percentage for throwing out base stealers.

    Last year, Kenji Johjima led the majors by far by nailing 47% of base stealers. Comparing that to guys like Varitek (24%), Posada (24%), Lo Duca (23%) McCann (21%), and Kendall (15%), it becomes clear that a good catcher can have a significant impact on a team’s ERA by keeping baserunners in place. When a guy like Kendall gives up over 50 more SBs than someone like Ruiz, that can translate into 10-25 more runs (just a guess), which can translate into a few more notches in the loss column.

    Ruiz was solid at 30%, good for sixth in the MLB. With that said, I think Ruiz will improve and Lo Duca will digress, making Ruiz a pretty good option among NL East catchers.

  3. 45 HR for Bench in 1970 ? That is crazy, were the Reds ever tempted to move him to the outfield to prolong his career ?

    Daulton in 92 could well have been using drugs to get that big bump. I’ve seen stats in a book on John Elway and it’s crystal clear he started using drugs in 1993. So it was available back then.

    By the way if ReclinerGM were to ever recruit a third Football only writer, this blog would be perfect. As it is, it rocks, I’m just looking for perfection, is that too much to ask ?

  4. I know he didnt play much but 9 RBIs for Barajas last year. That’s terrible!

    Is that last comment referring to Dutch using steroids or John Elway?

  5. Both.

    Elway’s numbers have a bright line in 1993. Before that a very good career with numbers rising till he hits 27-28 ( which coincides with all athletes physical prime ) and his numbers decline in the 3 years after that.

    Then in 1993 the numbers leap off the page. TD’s twice as many as his previous high 3 years prior, completion percentage adds 10% from his previous high 3 years prior. etc…

    For Daulton I am just speculating. I don’t know how his career year compares with other years or how old he was in 1992. I’m just saying that drugs were around in 1992 and he probably did use them if 1992 is a clear anomaly.

  6. So your saying its crystal clear john elway did steroids because his completion % and tds went way up in 93? 93 also is the first time sharpe started every game for denver.

    can we conclude mcnabb did steroids in 2004 based on his stats spike?

  7. Mike Donnelly,
    Does that mean that Favre is on roids? You’re awfully quick to deduce that something is “crystal clear.” The only thing that is crystal clear is that you are a retard.

  8. […] Analysis: C, 1B Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)             2008- Chase Utley             2007- […]

  9. I think Ruiz will be better this year with more experience under his belt. I had no idea that Coste’s OBP was so shitty. Hopefully Jason Jaramillo is ready to take over in Sept. and for good in 2009.
    And the “theory” that Elway was on roids stuff is laughable. It can’t be ruled out entirely (for any athlete), but to make that conclusion because his numbers had an upswing is just plain dumb. That way of reasoning works for baseball, but not so much in football when there are a ton more elments into a Qb’s stats (offensive coordinator, WRs, running game, good offensive line play, etc.).

  10. […] Position Analysis: Short-Stop Posted on January 28, 2008 by Pete Previous Analysis: C, 1B, […]

  11. […] Position Analysis: 3rd Base Posted on February 2, 2008 by Pete Previous Analysis: C, 1B, 2B, […]

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