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View Full Version : Top 5 most underrated Reds players of past 25 years



max venable
01-31-2006, 05:49 PM
A few that come to mind:

Mariano Duncan
Joe Oliver
Bo Diaz
Norm Charlton
Jeff Shaw
Eddie Taubensee
Dmitri Young

bha
01-31-2006, 06:07 PM
I was thinking Mariano Duncan as well. The second name that come to mind was Billy Hatcher.

Strikes Out Looking
01-31-2006, 07:10 PM
Chris Stynes

Falls City Beer
01-31-2006, 07:14 PM
Bip Roberts
John Franco

GADawg
01-31-2006, 07:19 PM
Scott Sullivan....the set-up types sometimes get forgotten

Eric Davis...still underrated

westofyou
01-31-2006, 07:24 PM
Scott Sullivan
Bip Roberts
Eddie Milner (The equivalent of Harry Craft)
John Franco
Mariano Duncan

Patrick Bateman
01-31-2006, 07:31 PM
Jason LaRue.

Tony Cloninger
01-31-2006, 07:41 PM
This should go back 40 years...... beacuse Mike De La Hoz is clearly, hands down...the most underrated.

Besides myself.

gm
01-31-2006, 07:59 PM
Rob Murphy

SteelSD
01-31-2006, 08:02 PM
Mario Soto
John Franco
Kevin Mitchell
Bip Roberts
Jason Larue
Scott Sullivan

MartyFan
01-31-2006, 11:14 PM
Sullivan
Milner
Franco

cincinnati chili
02-01-2006, 12:08 AM
In terms of "underrated," the first guy to come to mind is Dan Driessen. Growing up, I thought of him as a weak offensive first baseman, and a guy with unfulfilled promise (peaked at age 25).

Having learned more about run creation (and out-avoidance), he actually seems to be a pretty decent (at least average, if not above average) offensive player for his era... even at first base.

His batting average and homer totals were subpar. But he got on base and had an rc/27 well over 5.00 for his Reds career.

Most of the guys people are calling underrated, are guys I always thought were good.

M2
02-01-2006, 12:20 AM
Jason LaRue
Mike Cameron
John Franco
John Smiley
Bo Diaz

BCubb2003
02-01-2006, 02:01 AM
Alex Ochoa

SteelSD
02-01-2006, 02:15 AM
Most of the guys people are calling underrated, are guys I always thought were good.

I'm looking at it from the perspective of "baseball fan" versus "Reds fan". I knew always that Mario Soto was good. But if you ask 100 baseball fans who were the best three NL Starting Pitchers were through the early 1980's, I doubt you'd hear more than one who'd say "Mario Soto".

Even after being beat to death by a horrible team the guy finished his career with 1730.3 IP while allowing 1395 Hits.

From 1982-1985, Soto threw 1025.3 IP and allowed 786 Hits. That's ridiculous. His BB rate was 3.13 per 9IP. His HR rate was 0.90 per 9 IP. The guy never played with a truly great team. Never played with a truly great defense. Always had to struggle to get through every Inning on his own.

I simply can't think of a Reds player who was more underrated in the context of overall baseball than was Mario Soto. If that guy had been on a good team who knew how to handle him, we might have seen a Hall of Fame career.

Wheelhouse
02-01-2006, 02:15 AM
Deion Sanders

Topcat
02-01-2006, 03:03 AM
1 Dan Driessen
2 Terry Crowley
3 Dave Collins
4 Tony Perez (outside of redsland he never got his due in my opinion)
5 Mike Lacoss

dougflynn23
02-01-2006, 07:45 AM
:) My top 5 are

1. Mario Soto - everything that Steel says above is 100% correct
2. Mariano Duncan
3. Jeff Shaw
4. Eddie Taubensee
5. Danny Jackson

Red Heeler
02-01-2006, 09:35 AM
Eric Davis and Adam Dunn.

"They could be great hitters if not for all the strikeouts."

Chip R
02-01-2006, 09:39 AM
In terms of "underrated," the first guy to come to mind is Dan Driessen. Growing up, I thought of him as a weak offensive first baseman, and a guy with unfulfilled promise (peaked at age 25).


I was thinking the same thing, chili. I think the thing that Reds fans have against Driessen is that he followed Perez and the Reds didn't have the same kind of success as they did when Tony was manning 1st.

REDREAD
02-01-2006, 09:50 AM
Not in any particular order, and I'm definitely more biased towards recent history, due to poor memory.

1. Mark Cameron.. the guy was an impact player, but few people at the time realized it.

2. Danny Neagle. Another guy who's stay was brief, but had a big impact. I still say that Bowden was totally robbed by the Yanks, even though Pena developed better than many suspected. A pitcher like Neagle should've fetched much more.

3. Tom Browning. The guy was a legit ace for 5-6 years. Check his numbers.
Too bad that knee injury (and later broken arm) ruined his career.

4. Scott Sullivan, as others have pointed out.

5. Rob Dibble. He's remembered as a blowhard and a jerk (deservedly so), but he was easily the most dominating reliever ever, IMO (and if you don't consider longevity).

Puffy
02-01-2006, 10:14 AM
Not in any particular order, and I'm definitely more biased towards recent history, due to poor memory.

1. Mark Cameron.. the guy was an impact player, but few people at the time realized it.

2. Danny Neagle. Another guy who's stay was brief, but had a big impact. I still say that Bowden was totally robbed by the Yanks, even though Pena developed better than many suspected. A pitcher like Neagle should've fetched much more.

3. Tom Browning. The guy was a legit ace for 5-6 years. Check his numbers.
Too bad that knee injury (and later broken arm) ruined his career.

4. Scott Sullivan, as others have pointed out.

5. Rob Dibble. He's remembered as a blowhard and a jerk (deservedly so), but he was easily the most dominating reliever ever, IMO (and if you don't consider longevity).

Both Cameron and Neagle were so underrated that Redread doesn't even know their actual names!!

PS - its Mike and Denny.

:evil:

westofyou
02-01-2006, 10:20 AM
Tom Browning. The guy was a legit ace for 5-6 years. Check his numbers.

I just did, I don't see it at all, in fact I'll venture that he was not even the best Reds starter when he was a Red.

That said when you get to elected to the Reds HOF with his record it's mostly because you are popular.

westofyou
02-01-2006, 10:24 AM
I simply can't think of a Reds player who was more underrated in the context of overall baseball than was Mario Soto. If that guy had been on a good team who knew how to handle him, we might have seen a Hall of Fame career.

Mario fact, the Reds as team have only had 6 seasons since 1951 (when they moved the fences in at Crosley) that a pitcher had the most Win Shares on the whole team. Only four of them were by starters and Sota had three of them from 82-84. Rijo had the other (93) and Abernathy (67) and Shaw(97) had the other three.

M2
02-01-2006, 10:59 AM
I just did, I don't see it at all, in fact I'll venture that he was not even the best Reds starter when he was a Red.

That said when you get to elected to the Reds HOF with his record it's mostly because you are popular.

Yeah, Tom was a horse, not an ace. Mind you, a guy who can throw innings like that would be a huge boon to a smaller market team today. Generally speaking, the Reds were left short-staffed in the seasons where Browning became the de facto ace ('89 and '91 for instance).

His status as the last good starting pitcher the Reds developed has kept him from being underrated.

Great points being made about Soto. Dibble and Collins are both good picks too.

MrCinatit
02-01-2006, 11:17 AM
i would have to agree with Mario Soto. whenever we went to a game in the early/mid '80s, we tried to schedule our games to see Soto, because we knew he would make it a game.

MattyHo4Life
02-01-2006, 11:18 AM
Hmmmm...here is my list

1) Mario Soto
2) Danny Jackson
3) Rob Dibble
4) Mariano Duncan
5) Billy Hatcher

TRF
02-01-2006, 12:30 PM
Jason LaRue
Reggie Sanders
Mario Soto
Kal Daniels (three fantastic years at the plate for the Reds)
Bip Roberts

MattyHo4Life
02-01-2006, 12:34 PM
Jason LaRue
Reggie Sanders
Mario Soto
Kal Daniels (three fantastic years at the plate for the Reds)
Bip Roberts

I never thought of Kal Daniels as underrated, but he was my favorite player growing up.

ochre
02-01-2006, 12:42 PM
should Greg Vaughn be considered for his '99 performance? I don't think many give him as much credit as he deserved for leading that team.

TRF
02-01-2006, 01:34 PM
I never thought of Kal Daniels as underrated, but he was my favorite player growing up.

underrated might not be the best word. quietly forgotten might better describe him.

registerthis
02-01-2006, 01:47 PM
I would say Soto, Danny Jackson, Greg Vaughn and Jason LaRue.

Soto, like Steel said, was absolutely one of th ebest pitchers in baseball during his prime. It's a shame he never got the support from his team that he deserved.

Jackson was the pre-eminent starter on the team during the late 80s, and his 1988 season was truly a thing of beauty (as an example, try to imagine any Reds starter during the last 15 years throwing 15 complete games in one season.)

Like Ochre, i think Greg Vaughn deserves consideration for his 1999 season. Just as the Reds were heading into the thick of the pennant race, vaughn was blistering hot--and he finished with an OPS > .880. Also, his 118 RBI were the most by a Red since Dave Parker garnered 125 of them in 1985, and his 45 HRs are the 5th-most all-time for a Red. Also interesting, people forget that Vaughn stole 15 bases in '99, at an 88% clip.

Finally, LaRue has simply been one of the most consistent--and under-appreciated--catchers of the last 5 years. His numbers are never flashy or extraordinary, but the consistency he has shown while playing the most demanding position in the game is rare.

Honorable mentions to Scott Sullivan, Jeff Brantley, Billy Hatcher and Mariano Duncan.

HotCorner
02-01-2006, 01:57 PM
Greg Vaughn

The leadership role he had on that '99 team was impressive.

REDREAD
02-01-2006, 02:29 PM
I just did, I don't see it at all, in fact I'll venture that he was not even the best Reds starter when he was a Red.

.

Thus, you support my arguement that he's underrated. :)

from 1985-1986 and from 1988-1991 .. (1987 was a bad year for him, I forget why).. CG = complete games

1985 ... 261 IP 3.55 ERA 38 starts
1986 ..243 IP 3.81 ERA Led the lead with 39 starts. 4 CG
1988.. 250 IP 3.41 ERA 36 starts 5 CG
1989 .. 249 IP 3.39 ERA 37 starts (led league) 9 CG
1990 .. 227 IP 3.80 ERA 35 starts, 2 CG
1991 ... 230 IP, 4.18 ERA 36 starts 1 CG

So you have a guy that gave 6 years in which he ate up a ton of innings and took the ball on his turn. Gave the Reds a ton of quality starts. I don't see what more you could want from an ace. Browning got results.

Sure in 1990, Rijo had a better year (that's what everyone remembers). But Rijo was somewhat like Dibble.. dominating for a short period. I'd rather the farm crank out a Browning every year.

If you compare Browning to Schilling, it's pretty close. Of course Schilling gets the edge because he had 10 very solid 180+ IP seasons, because his career wasn't cut short by injury like Browning.. and Schilling has an edge in raw numbers.. but it's not that far off. And Schilling is pretty much an undisputed ace.

SteelSD
02-01-2006, 03:19 PM
Thus, you support my arguement that he's underrated. :)

from 1985-1986 and from 1988-1991 .. (1987 was a bad year for him, I forget why).. CG = complete games

1985 ... 261 IP 3.55 ERA 38 starts
1986 ..243 IP 3.81 ERA Led the lead with 39 starts. 4 CG
1988.. 250 IP 3.41 ERA 36 starts 5 CG
1989 .. 249 IP 3.39 ERA 37 starts (led league) 9 CG
1990 .. 227 IP 3.80 ERA 35 starts, 2 CG
1991 ... 230 IP, 4.18 ERA 36 starts 1 CG

So you have a guy that gave 6 years in which he ate up a ton of innings and took the ball on his turn. Gave the Reds a ton of quality starts. I don't see what more you could want from an ace. Browning got results.

Sure in 1990, Rijo had a better year (that's what everyone remembers). But Rijo was somewhat like Dibble.. dominating for a short period. I'd rather the farm crank out a Browning every year.

If you compare Browning to Schilling, it's pretty close. Of course Schilling gets the edge because he had 10 very solid 180+ IP seasons, because his career wasn't cut short by injury like Browning.. and Schilling has an edge in raw numbers.. but it's not that far off. And Schilling is pretty much an undisputed ace.

See, I always considered Browning as a guy who was just about perfectly "rated". Always hung out pretty near league-average ERA. Super Innings-eater who seemed to be well-regarded as such. Good guy to have in your rotation of course, but definitely nowhere near ace-level.

And Jose Rijo, while not having the Innings early or late during his Reds career, posted ERA+ numbers of 150, 127, 147, 151, 141, 163, and 134 over his first seven seasons with the club. Browning put up above-average ERA+ seasons five times. That's 1,315 IP for Rijo with an average ERA+ of 145 versus 1646 IP for Browning over his first 7 full seasons with the club with an average ERA+ of exactly 100 (league average). Browning, was about 25% more durable than Rijo (although Rijo's 1998 IP total was cut down by being in the pen for much of the first half of the season). But Rijo was about 50% better with a baseball in his hand during his 7 years versus Browning's same 7 years. Not the same 7 years, but both pitcher's careers effectively spanned the same amount of time with the Reds.

And no, there's really no comparison between a guy like Browning and a dominant pitcher like Curt Schilling. Browning never posted an ERA+ above 107. Starting in 1995, Schilling produced 10 consecutive seasons where his ERA+ never fell below 121 and his average ERA+ during that time frame was 139.

traderumor
02-01-2006, 03:29 PM
Soto to me is one of the all-time Reds tragedies, perhaps ranking with Big Klu, of players who just played for the Reds at the wrong time and then were injured by the time help arrived.

Soto
Joe Oliver
Milner (dude could go get it)
Diaz
Duncan

westofyou
02-01-2006, 03:30 PM
1985 ... 261 IP 3.55 ERA 38 starts
1986 ..243 IP 3.81 ERA Led the lead with 39 starts. 4 CG
1988.. 250 IP 3.41 ERA 36 starts 5 CG
1989 .. 249 IP 3.39 ERA 37 starts (led league) 9 CG
1990 .. 227 IP 3.80 ERA 35 starts, 2 CG
1991 ... 230 IP, 4.18 ERA 36 starts 1 CG

Good numbers yes, but not ace material.

Between 1985-1991 the Reds had 18 pitchers with 20 more starts. Browning hovered slightly above average and below average in ERA vs the league.

But it's safe to say that every year but 1989 in that span Tom was the 2nd best starter on the staff and if you include some of the relievers he often fell down a notch there too.


CINCINNATI REDS
SEASON
1985-1991

GAMES STARTED >= 20
RSAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria

ERA YEAR DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE GS RSAA
1 Jose Rijo 1991 1.18 2.51 3.69 30 35
2 Jose Rijo 1990 1.10 2.70 3.80 29 24
3 Danny Jackson 1988 0.73 2.73 3.45 35 26
4 Jack Armstrong 1990 0.38 3.42 3.80 27 7
5 Bill Gullickson 1986 0.34 3.38 3.73 37 14
6 Tom Browning 1989 0.11 3.39 3.50 37 8
7 Tom Browning 1985 0.05 3.55 3.60 38 6
8 Tom Browning 1988 0.04 3.41 3.45 36 6
9 Mario Soto 1985 0.02 3.58 3.60 36 5
10 Tom Browning 1990 0.00 3.80 3.80 35 0
11 Tom Browning 1986 -.08 3.81 3.73 39 3
12 Jay Tibbs 1985 -.32 3.92 3.60 34 -4
13 Rick Mahler 1989 -.33 3.83 3.50 31 -4
14 Ted Power 1987 -.41 4.50 4.09 34 -6
15 John Denny 1986 -.48 4.20 3.73 27 -6
16 Tom Browning 1991 -.49 4.18 3.69 36 -4
17 Bill Gullickson 1987 -.77 4.85 4.09 27 -11
18 Tom Browning 1987 -.93 5.02 4.09 31 -16

But he also just made the Reds HOF, so he can't be underrated IMO.

registerthis
02-01-2006, 03:37 PM
Soto to me is one of the all-time Reds tragedies, perhaps ranking with Big Klu, of players who just played for the Reds at the wrong time and then were injured by the time help arrived.

Soto
Joe Oliver
Milner (dude could go get it)
Diaz
Duncan

Joe Oliver and bo Diaz were always the definition of "vanilla" to me. They were just...there. Oliver played with the '90 WS team, and generally had a solid nucleus of players around him until the last couple years of his career ('96 and '97, when the reds started to hit bottom.) Still, ne never had a season that I would quantify as even "very good". He was merely average all the way.

Ditto for Diaz, though he generally played on substantially worse teams. Nothing about him excited me very much.

I agree about Soto and Duncan, though. (Although Duncan, too, was around in '90 and got himself a ring.)

Roy Tucker
02-01-2006, 04:00 PM
Are we talking about the same Eddie Milner that patrolled the Reds OF in the mid-80's? From what I recall, in his best year, he was merely average.

I guess it could be because he played next to such stellar OFs as Cesar Cedeno and Paul Householder, it made him look better.

My vote for OF in that era would be for Gary Redus.

westofyou
02-01-2006, 04:04 PM
Are we talking about the same Eddie Milner that patrolled the Reds OK in the mid-80's? From what I recall, in his best year, he was merely average.Which makes him the black Harry Craft, Eddie's value was mostly in his glove, his 392 PO's in 1983 is 11th best in club history.

M2
02-01-2006, 04:14 PM
Joe Oliver and bo Diaz were always the definition of "vanilla" to me. They were just...there. Oliver played with the '90 WS team, and generally had a solid nucleus of players around him until the last couple years of his career ('96 and '97, when the reds started to hit bottom.) Still, ne never had a season that I would quantify as even "very good". He was merely average all the way.

Ditto for Diaz, though he generally played on substantially worse teams. Nothing about him excited me very much.

They suffered from not being Johnny Bench.

Oilver was your standard good receiver, but Diaz ranked 9th and 14th in catcher VORP in 1986 and 1987. He was a lot like LaRue in that he gave the team solid production at a position from which a lot of teams got nothing. He was easily the best post-Bench catcher to wear a Reds uni until Jason showed up. Plus, his '87 Strat card was a clutch-hitting marvel.

REDREAD
02-01-2006, 04:22 PM
I know the comparison to Schilling was a stretch.

I can see how Rijo could be better. In my mind Rijo is an ace too.

In my mind, a guy that gives you as many quality innings as Browning is an ace. If you'd guys rather call him a horse or an inning eater, that's ok..
But I highly value guys that can give you that many starts and innings year in and year out. IMO, the rest of you undervalue him :)

Guys like Browning get you to the playoffs. They can't dominate the playoffs like Rijo did, but they get you there and keep your bullpen fresh for the playoffs.

registerthis
02-01-2006, 04:34 PM
They suffered from not being Johnny Bench.

Oilver was your standard good receiver, but Diaz ranked 9th and 14th in catcher VORP in 1986 and 1987. He was a lot like LaRue in that he gave the team solid production at a position from which a lot of teams got nothing. He was easily the best post-Bench catcher to wear a Reds uni until Jason showed up. Plus, his '87 Strat card was a clutch-hitting marvel.

I must disagree, offensively at least. Eddie Tauubensee's 1999 season eclisped anything Diaz ever put up: 21 HRs, 87 RBI, .875 OPS (which includes a fantastic .521 slugging %). Diaz never OPS'ed more than .721 for the Reds during two full seasons and several partial years with them. Taubensee's OB % during '98 and '99 (.352 and .354) are both far better than Diaz's (.300 and .321).

Where Diaz is superior is defense, unquestionably. But as far as complete players go, Diaz sits right about where he belongs--average.

M2
02-01-2006, 05:42 PM
I must disagree, offensively at least. Eddie Tauubensee's 1999 season eclisped anything Diaz ever put up: 21 HRs, 87 RBI, .875 OPS (which includes a fantastic .521 slugging %). Diaz never OPS'ed more than .721 for the Reds during two full seasons and several partial years with them. Taubensee's OB % during '98 and '99 (.352 and .354) are both far better than Diaz's (.300 and .321).

Where Diaz is superior is defense, unquestionably. But as far as complete players go, Diaz sits right about where he belongs--average.

Taubensee might have been as bad as you can be behind the plate and still play behind the plate. He wasn't a good receiver, pitchers hated the way he called games (iirc Gullett had to call Taubensee's pitches for him) and he couldn't have thrown himself out on an SB attempt. He was helpless back there if the other team decided to run in a close game. He was also a pure platoon hitter. That said, he could do some damage against RHPs. He might have made an effective discount platoon DH. He was a poor man's Matt Nokes or Dave Nilsson.

Yet Bo Diaz made the Bill James list of top 100 catchers ever and his second and third best seasons (in terms of Win Shares) came in a Reds uniform.

Diaz was a productive piece of two pretty good Reds teams ('86 and '87) and he helped fuel the team's late surge in '85. IMO, people underestimate just how much good an "average" catcher can do for a team. It's a hard job and guys who can handle the bat and give you something behind the plate are not common.

If I were looking for a pinch hitter/spot catcher, I'd pick Taubensee. If I were looking for a regular catcher, make mine Baudilio.

They actually would have made a nice catching tandem. Give Diaz about 110-120 starts and spot Taubensee in against tough RHPs. Diaz could sub defensively for when the team had a lead. Taubensee could PH for when the club was behind.

Chip R
02-01-2006, 05:50 PM
I can see how Rijo could be better. In my mind Rijo is an ace too.


Speaking of Rijo, was it just me or did the Reds have problems scoring runs when he was starting? Soto too but that bunch he played with would have problems scoring in a bordello with a fistful of fifties. Have there been studies done (calling WOY) that have shown whether the ace of a staff gets more, less or average run support? I realize the term "ace" is kind of subjective but it seems a lot of the time a team has trouble scoring runs for their ace.

registerthis
02-01-2006, 06:14 PM
They actually would have made a nice catching tandem. Give Diaz about 110-120 starts and spot Taubensee in against tough RHPs. Diaz could sub defensively for when the team had a lead. Taubensee could PH for when the club was behind.

Yeah I don't disagree with that. But the whole topic here is undervalued players--players who played at a level higher than they are commonly credited for. Bo Diaz was a fine catcher--solid behind the plate, average at the plate. And bear in mind that I wasn't arguing for Taubensee here, either. I just don't think either of them are necessarily undervalued . Granted this argument is entirely subjective, but if given the choice between Diaz, Taubensee and LaRue--I'd take LaRue. It's why I included him on my list, but ommitted Diaz, Oliver and Taubensee.

M2
02-01-2006, 06:25 PM
Yeah I don't disagree with that. But the whole topic here is undervalued players--players who played at a level higher than they are commonly credited for. Bo Diaz was a fine catcher--solid behind the plate, average at the plate. And bear in mind that I wasn't arguing for Taubensee here, either. I just don't think either of them are necessarily undervalued . Granted this argument is entirely subjective, but if given the choice between Diaz, Taubensee and LaRue--I'd take LaRue. It's why I included him on my list, but ommitted Diaz, Oliver and Taubensee.

I think most Reds fans consider anything sub-excellent at catcher to be horrible.

Diaz, for me, is a guy who made some important contributions when the franchise shook the monkey of '82-'84 off its back.

Anyway, I'm guessing that a lot of Reds fans, if they remember much of Diaz at all, would tell you he wasn't very good when in truth he was a solid player. I'd take LaRue too, but Diaz is a guy you don't hear a lot about who, IMO, deserves some remembrance.

Plus, like I mentioned, his '87 Strat card was supernatural.

registerthis
02-01-2006, 06:28 PM
At least no one has mentioned Jeff Reed.

WVJulz
02-01-2006, 06:59 PM
Soto too but that bunch he played with would have problems scoring in a bordello with a fistful of fifties. .

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've never heard that one and I thought I had heard them all!!!!! Love it!

Julz :laugh:

Mario-Rijo
02-01-2006, 07:18 PM
I am basing my players on who is underrated from a Reds fans perspective. Because quite frankly the greatest Reds of the last 25 yrs were "underrated" by the "So-Called Experts" and general "Baseball" fans. I mean what Reds fan wouldn't take Barry Larkins career (w/ exception to the last few yrs. perhaps) over Ozzie Smiths. Please in my mind there was no better SS in the past 25 yrs. in any and all facets than BL, (Ripken was very close) until the babies came along (Jeter, A-Rod, Nomar and Tejada). But BL is far underrated by most, because of where he played. Had it been NY, CHi, Bos or LA they would have said that Jeter is Larkin-Esque.


That said here are my top 5.

1.) Jason Larue- K's too much and misses some past balls. But name another major weakness, not bad for an unheralded guy. And don't count calling a game until we have someone who can throw one.
2.) Joe Oliver- Somebody had to catch perhaps the best Reds staff top to bottom in history, not sure my memory only goes to around '83 or so. Plus w/o that game winner in the clutch we may not have a Wire-To-Wire WSC.
3.) Ron Oester- Look he was Casey before Casey when it came to passion for the game and desire to win. We would do well to have this solid a 2B right now!
4.) Scott Sullivan- Gave us alot of innings of solid pitching for a few years of competitive ball. When he went down so did the rest of the staff.
5.) Sean Casey- Look his offensive game when fully healthy was very good (unfortunately sometimes he wasn't fully healthy) And his defense for his level of talent was pretty solid.

SteelSD
02-01-2006, 08:01 PM
I know the comparison to Schilling was a stretch.

I can see how Rijo could be better. In my mind Rijo is an ace too.

In my mind, a guy that gives you as many quality innings as Browning is an ace. If you'd guys rather call him a horse or an inning eater, that's ok..
But I highly value guys that can give you that many starts and innings year in and year out. IMO, the rest of you undervalue him :)

Guys like Browning get you to the playoffs. They can't dominate the playoffs like Rijo did, but they get you there and keep your bullpen fresh for the playoffs.

Jeff Weaver has put up consecutive seasons of 220+ IP and has done that three times in the last five years. During that time span, he's posted an ERA pretty near league average and is pretty much right there for his career (99 ERA+). Is Jeff Weaver an "ace"? Gosh no. Nor was Browning.

He was an Innings-eater who produced an ERA a titch above MLB average most of the time. The Innings volume moved him up from a high-level #3 starter to a decent #2 guy, but those Innings would have needed to be of significantly better quality to get him near an "ace" rating.

cincinnati chili
02-01-2006, 10:05 PM
Jeff Weaver has put up consecutive seasons of 220+ IP and has done that three times in the last five years. During that time span, he's posted an ERA pretty near league average and is pretty much right there for his career (99 ERA+). Is Jeff Weaver an "ace"? Gosh no. Nor was Browning.

He was an Innings-eater who produced an ERA a titch above MLB average most of the time. The Innings volume moved him up from a high-level #3 starter to a decent #2 guy, but those Innings would have needed to be of significantly better quality to get him near an "ace" rating.

While I recognize your larger point about people's failure to recognize the merit of the innings-eater, Jeff Weaver has been pretty awful on the road over the last two years. He was awful for the Yankees the year before. I think his ERA would be a "titch" below suck if he'd pitched somewhere besides Dodger stadium.

There's a peter principle at work here. On the one hand, he can throw a lot of innings, so teams want to use him as a starter. On the other hand, he's ideally suited to middle relief where a manager can spot him against mostly right handed bats.

He's a rich man's Bronson Arroyo but much more of a pain in the ass.

SteelSD
02-01-2006, 10:09 PM
While I recognize your larger point about people's failure to recognize the merit of the innings-eater, Jeff Weaver has been pretty awful on the road over the last two years. He was awful for the Yankees the year before. I think his ERA would be a "titch" below suck if he'd pitched somewhere besides Dodger stadium.

There's a peter principle at work here. On the one hand, he can throw a lot of innings, so teams want to use him as a starter. On the other hand, he's ideally suited to middle relief where a manager can spot him against mostly right handed bats.

He's a rich man's Bronson Arroyo but much more of a pain in the ass.

Oh, I agree with every word of that. I just grabbed the first guy who approximated the "average" numbers while I was looking through a list of NL IP leaders.

HalMorrisRules
02-02-2006, 09:27 AM
My obvious #1 answer would be of course, Hal Morris. He had the sweetest swing and happiest feet.

I also always liked Frank Williams. He had that funky side armed delivery. Pitched 105 innings in 1987 with a 2.30 era. I always felt confident when he would come in a game.

Nick Esasky was the man. Very businesslike, just went out there and did his job.

And I will always have a special place in my heart for Wayne Krenchicki. Not for what he did on the field but because for some reason he was the best player on my 1985 Reds team in Microleague Baseball for my old Atari home computer. Must have been a programming bug because he would hit home run after home run for me.

REDREAD
02-02-2006, 09:54 AM
Jeff Weaver has put up consecutive seasons of 220+ IP and has done that three times in the last five years. During that time span, he's posted an ERA pretty near league average and is pretty much right there for his career (99 ERA+). Is Jeff Weaver an "ace"? Gosh no. Nor was Browning.
.

I guess it depends how narrowly you define "ace". Some people define it so narrowly that there's only maybe 5 of them in the game at any one time. Or maybe 10.

I have a broader definition of the term, I guess. For example, if the Reds had a rotation of 5 Brownings (in his prime) last year, they make the playoffs, easily. Not only is the starting pitching upgraded tremendously, but the 5 Brownings eat so many innings you could easily get away with a 5 man bullpen, instead of the 12 man staff we are currently forced to carry. That's two extra position players you can carry, instead of two mop up guys.

But I can respect the opinion of people that have a much narrower definition of "Ace".. I'm not saying Browning should be in the HOF, just that many fans don't realize how valuable he was. In this thread alone, he's been called just slightly above average.

I also agree that Bo Diaz was a great catcher and undervalued.

Roy Tucker
02-02-2006, 10:53 AM
(iirc Gullett had to call Taubensee's pitches for him)
This got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing).

The season tickets that I have are on a direct line from the catcher to the corner of the Reds dugout to me a few rows back. So when I'm at a game, I always notice when the Reds catcher glances over towards the dugout to get signs.

Seems that when Gullet was in the dugout, all catchers looked over 4 times out of 5 to get a pitch sign (I assume that's what they were doing).

But thinking back now to later in the season, I seem to recall noticing Larue no longer looked over to the dugout (or least not very often) and that he was calling his own game. And I was a little surprised.

Was this something that changed when Miley/Gullett got dumped? Since I lost interest closely watching the Reds late last season, I don't have enough data points to say.

westofyou
02-02-2006, 11:15 AM
I guess it depends how narrowly you define "ace". Some people define it so narrowly that there's only maybe 5 of them in the game at any one time. Or maybe 10.

Let's define it like this then, 30 starts and a half a run better than the league in ERA.

From 1985-1991 the MLB had 185 seasons where a pitcher achieved that in the NL there were 81 seasons that a pitcher achieved it.

Browning isn't on the list.



ERA YEAR ERA GS ERA W L RSAA
1 Dwight Gooden 1985 1.53 35 2.07 24 4 58
2 John Tudor 1985 1.93 36 1.67 21 8 44
3 Orel Hershiser 1985 2.03 34 1.57 19 3 33
4 David Cone 1988 2.22 28 1.24 20 3 21
5 Mike Scott 1986 2.22 37 1.50 18 10 47
6 Orel Hershiser 1988 2.26 34 1.20 23 8 40
7 Rick Reuschel 1985 2.27 26 1.33 14 8 32
8 Scott Garrelts 1989 2.28 29 1.22 14 5 23
9 Orel Hershiser 1989 2.31 33 1.19 15 15 25
10 John Tudor 1988 2.32 30 1.13 10 8 28
11 Dennis Martinez 1991 2.39 31 1.30 14 11 22
12 Pascual Perez 1988 2.44 27 1.01 12 8 24
13 Fernando Valenzuela 1985 2.45 35 1.15 17 10 25
14 Jose Rijo 1991 2.51 30 1.18 15 6 35
15 Zane Smith 1990 2.55 31 1.25 12 9 26
16 Tom Glavine 1991 2.55 34 1.13 20 11 46
17 Bob Ojeda 1986 2.57 30 1.16 18 5 22
18 Ed Whitson 1990 2.60 32 1.20 14 9 33
19 Tim Belcher 1991 2.62 33 1.06 10 9 26
20 Ed Whitson 1989 2.66 33 0.85 16 11 22
21 Frank Viola 1990 2.67 35 1.13 20 12 29
22 Bruce Hurst 1989 2.69 33 0.82 15 11 23
23 Jose Rijo 1990 2.70 29 1.10 14 8 24
24 Pete Harnisch 1991 2.70 33 0.99 12 9 20
25 Bob Walk 1988 2.71 32 0.75 12 10 16
26 Jose DeLeon 1991 2.71 28 0.98 5 9 14
27 Dennis Martinez 1988 2.72 34 0.74 15 13 23
28 Danny Jackson 1988 2.73 35 0.73 23 8 26
29 Doug Drabek 1990 2.76 33 1.03 22 6 23
30 Nolan Ryan 1987 2.76 34 1.32 8 16 23
31 Mike Morgan 1991 2.78 33 0.91 14 10 25
32 Doug Drabek 1989 2.80 34 0.70 14 12 12
33 Sid Fernandez 1985 2.80 26 0.80 9 9 12
34 John Smiley 1989 2.81 28 0.70 12 8 10
35 Ron Darling 1986 2.81 34 0.92 15 6 17
36 Tim Belcher 1989 2.82 30 0.68 15 12 9
37 Sid Fernandez 1989 2.83 32 0.67 14 5 13
38 Bryn Smith 1989 2.84 32 0.66 10 11 18
39 Rick Rhoden 1986 2.84 34 0.89 15 12 26
40 Dwight Gooden 1986 2.84 33 0.88 17 6 17
41 Danny Cox 1985 2.88 35 0.72 18 9 13
42 Bob Ojeda 1988 2.88 29 0.57 10 13 3
43 Ron Darling 1985 2.90 35 0.70 16 6 14
44 Danny Cox 1986 2.90 32 0.82 12 13 22
45 Tim Belcher 1988 2.91 27 0.55 12 6 14
46 Jim Deshaies 1989 2.91 34 0.59 15 10 17
47 Tim Leary 1988 2.91 34 0.54 17 11 17
48 Bryn Smith 1985 2.91 32 0.68 18 5 11
49 Joe Magrane 1989 2.91 33 0.59 18 9 16
50 John Tudor 1986 2.92 30 0.81 13 7 22
51 Ramon Martinez 1990 2.92 33 0.88 20 6 18
52 Jerry Reuss 1985 2.92 33 0.68 14 10 8
53 Mike Scott 1988 2.92 32 0.53 14 8 7
54 Oil Can Boyd 1990 2.93 31 0.87 10 6 14
55 Dave Dravecky 1985 2.93 31 0.66 13 11 17
56 Rick Reuschel 1989 2.94 32 0.56 17 8 10
57 John Smoltz 1989 2.94 29 0.56 12 11 15
58 Greg Maddux 1989 2.95 35 0.56 19 12 23
59 Dennis Martinez 1990 2.95 32 0.85 10 11 17
60 Randy Tomlin 1991 2.98 27 0.70 8 7 11
61 Andy Benes 1991 3.03 33 0.66 15 11 15
62 Mike Krukow 1986 3.05 34 0.68 20 9 13
63 Orel Hershiser 1987 3.06 35 1.03 16 16 19
64 Doug Drabek 1991 3.07 35 0.62 15 14 12
65 John Smiley 1991 3.08 32 0.61 20 8 11
66 Dennis Eckersley 1985 3.08 25 0.52 11 7 23
67 Eric Show 1985 3.09 35 0.51 12 11 15
68 Rick Reuschel 1987 3.09 33 0.99 13 9 27
69 Bruce Hurst 1990 3.14 33 0.66 11 9 19
70 Bob Knepper 1986 3.14 38 0.59 17 12 17
71 Fernando Valenzuela 1986 3.14 34 0.58 21 11 11
72 Bob Ojeda 1991 3.18 31 0.50 12 9 11
73 Dwight Gooden 1987 3.21 25 0.88 15 7 16
74 Bob Welch 1987 3.22 35 0.87 15 9 13
75 David Cone 1990 3.23 30 0.57 14 10 11
76 Mike Scott 1987 3.23 36 0.85 16 13 14
77 Mike Harkey 1990 3.26 27 0.53 12 6 19
78 Dave Dravecky 1987 3.43 28 0.65 10 12 10
79 Joe Magrane 1987 3.54 26 0.55 9 7 8
80 Atlee Hammaker 1987 3.58 27 0.50 10 10 5
81 Danny Darwin 1987 3.59 30 0.50 9 10 3

dfs
02-02-2006, 11:45 AM
1.) Jason Larue- K's too much and misses some past balls. But name another major weakness, not bad for an unheralded guy. And don't count calling a game until we have someone who can throw one.

I don't know what to say about this other than to say watching Jason LaRue behind the plate is almost as bad as watching WMP and Dunn in the outfield. Well, now that I think about it, yes, it is worse. There is hope that WMP will settle down and Dunn's problems certainly seemed to be attention related.

What I see when I watch Jason LaRue catch....
Jason LaRue doesn't set a target for his pitchers.
Jason LaRue doesn't frame the pitches well for the umpire.
Jason LaRue doesn't manage his pitchers on the field.
Jason LaRue doesn't throw particularly well anymore.
Jason LaRue waves his mit at anything in the dirt and the official scorer at GAB calls it a wild pitch. I swear I've seen balls bounce off Jason's chest protector called a wild pitch.

Watch for it and you'll see the same stuff. None of it is new. It's been going on since he came up. It seems impossible to me that 4 consecutive former catchers have managed Jason and nobody says boo about it. All that stuff looks small, but set it in the context of a team that can't get anybody out with K's or with the glove, and it looms huge.

Jason LaRue at the plate is an asset. He can hit for a catcher just fine, but Jason LaRue with the leather is part of the ongoing defensive/pitching problems that kill this roster as a major league team.

Jason LaRue is most certainly not under-rated.

sorry about that....back to your regularly scheduled web-board.

max venable
02-02-2006, 02:18 PM
I also always liked Frank Williams. He had that funky side armed delivery. Pitched 105 innings in 1987 with a 2.30 era. I always felt confident when he would come in a game.



Frank Williams is a good choice.

registerthis
02-02-2006, 03:02 PM
Jason LaRue at the plate is an asset. He can hit for a catcher just fine, but Jason LaRue with the leather is part of the ongoing defensive/pitching problems that kill this roster as a major league team.

Defensively, jason may not be a gold glove winner, but he's hardly as bad as you make him out to be--and he's far down on my laundry list of problems which this teams needs to address.

His arm and range are both fine. Jason was 4th in the NL in throwing out runners, at a 33% clip, for catchers with at least 900 innings. That's higher than the likes of Ramon Hernandez, Brad Ausmus and Damian Miller--and he threw more than they did, too, because Reds pitching isn't particularly adept at keeping runners on base. His range factor of 6.87 places him squarely in the middle of the pack of all NL catchers, as does his .993 fielding percentage. His 6 passed ball's last year were tied for the lowest in his career.

On a team with a pitching staff as putrid as the Reds have run out there the last several seasons, LaRue's level of play can hardly be the source of blame for the team's woes. As far as the subjective things you list--you're certainly entitled to those opinions, but I've not heard/read many complaints about the way that laRue handles the pitching staff, and having a debate about WP-PB is just pointless. Offensive and defensive consistency in a catcher is difficult to find, and LaRue fits that mold. The Reds are lucky to have him.

M2
02-02-2006, 03:43 PM
I don't know what to say about this other than to say watching Jason LaRue behind the plate is almost as bad as watching WMP and Dunn in the outfield. Well, now that I think about it, yes, it is worse. There is hope that WMP will settle down and Dunn's problems certainly seemed to be attention related.

What I see when I watch Jason LaRue catch....
Jason LaRue doesn't set a target for his pitchers.
Jason LaRue doesn't frame the pitches well for the umpire.
Jason LaRue doesn't manage his pitchers on the field.
Jason LaRue doesn't throw particularly well anymore.
Jason LaRue waves his mit at anything in the dirt and the official scorer at GAB calls it a wild pitch. I swear I've seen balls bounce off Jason's chest protector called a wild pitch.

Watch for it and you'll see the same stuff. None of it is new. It's been going on since he came up. It seems impossible to me that 4 consecutive former catchers have managed Jason and nobody says boo about it. All that stuff looks small, but set it in the context of a team that can't get anybody out with K's or with the glove, and it looms huge.

Jason LaRue at the plate is an asset. He can hit for a catcher just fine, but Jason LaRue with the leather is part of the ongoing defensive/pitching problems that kill this roster as a major league team.

Jason LaRue is most certainly not under-rated.

sorry about that....back to your regularly scheduled web-board.


Yeah, I couldn't disagree with that post more.

alex trevino
02-02-2006, 03:46 PM
Tony Fernandez
Ron Gant
Greg vaughn
Ken Griffey Sr.
Cesar Geronimo
Tom Hall
Mike Cameron
Clay Kirby

I think Ryan Freel continues to be underratted.

Chip R
02-02-2006, 04:43 PM
Yeah, I couldn't disagree with that post more.

Sounds like someone got stiffed for an autograph.

dfs
02-02-2006, 05:20 PM
Sounds like someone got stiffed for an autograph.

heh. No. My comments come from observation and they do sound harsh.
When the games start up again, make a point of watching LaRue for an inning and then watch the other teams catcher for the next frame, you will see what I mean.

As a a balance I think Jason is likely a very valuable baseball comodity, but I think he's a terrible fit for this team with Valentin already on the roster.

I think this team needs somebody behind the plate to give their pitchers and fielders every break they possible can get and that's not LaRue.
Put him in a place where they had a pitching staff or decent defense and I would even say he's underpaid.

No, way is he underrated.

registerthis
02-02-2006, 05:30 PM
You say that LaRue is a liability to this team, but where? Offensively, we all agree that he's an asset. But his defense is at or slightly above league average, and I've not heard any complaints from the pitchers about the way he calls a game. He can't be blamed for having to catch the worst staff in the NL this side of Coors Field--Johnny Bench couldn't do much with this staff.

So aside from your own obersvations about how he frames pitches and sets targets, what can you give to support the notion that LaRue is a liability? There's nothing in laRue's stats that supports your repeated assertions of his awfulness. If you think LaRue is a sub-par catcher, your standards for catching must be extraordinarily high.

M2
02-02-2006, 06:03 PM
heh. No. My comments come from observation and they do sound harsh.
When the games start up again, make a point of watching LaRue for an inning and then watch the other teams catcher for the next frame, you will see what I mean.

As a a balance I think Jason is likely a very valuable baseball comodity, but I think he's a terrible fit for this team with Valentin already on the roster.

I think this team needs somebody behind the plate to give their pitchers and fielders every break they possible can get and that's not LaRue.
Put him in a place where they had a pitching staff or decent defense and I would even say he's underpaid.

No, way is he underrated.

Pretend the people around here have seen a few Reds games and have paid more than a little attention to LaRue's defense over the years. Yes, he's got his rough edges. They add up to very little in the final tally and they're more than offset by his defensive plusses - strong arm, quick out of the box on bunts and popups, ferocious at blocking the plate.

He's not aesthetically pleasing to some catching purists. Bob Boone was one of those people. Bob Boone also managed to commit 22 errors behind the plate once upon a time. He allowed 19 PB the season before that. Boone was still a great defensive catcher despite those blemishes.

LaRue's not a great defensive catcher, but mountains have been made of the molehills that are his flaws.

westofyou
02-02-2006, 06:12 PM
They add up to very little in the final tally and they're more than offset by his defensive plusses - strong arm, quick out of the box on bunts and popups, ferocious at blocking the plate.

I went to the first game after the AS game against the Rockies, and LaRue went 0-3 but man he was good elsewhere.

Larue pounced on a bunt and nailed the guy in an effortless motion and later blocked the plate on a Griffey laser to nail the runner going for the tieing run.

He also called a great game and Harang had a 7 K 1 BB night.

dfs
02-02-2006, 06:51 PM
I don't think I ever implied people here weren't watching the games. I find that my attention wanders if I don't plan to focus on something and I'm just asking you to focus on it for a couple innings. I first noticed Jason's D when somebody else pointed it out a couple years back. My first reaction was "that can't be right," so I started to watch for it specifically fairly often. I keep seeing the same thing. It certainly wasn't one game.

As to Bob Boone, well, he had enough squirrelly ideas that it's not suprising the nut had one right.

I would love to be able to point at sabre type proof that would illustrate what I see, but there are no stats kept on strikes given away because the catcher didn't frame the pitch or set the target. What's an extra strike worth 4 times a night? In the right situations that alone would elevate this pitching staff all the way up to below average.

The reds are a 70 win team because they let the other team score too many runs. They need to be doing everything they can to help their pitchers succeed and that's not LaRue's strength.

He's a valuable guy, but not a good fit for this team. I'll truly be shocked if the reds are a competitive team while he's behind the plate.

pedro
02-02-2006, 07:01 PM
I don't think I ever implied people here weren't watching the games. I find that my attention wanders if I don't plan to focus on something and I'm just asking you to focus on it for a couple innings. I first noticed Jason's D when somebody else pointed it out a couple years back. My first reaction was "that can't be right," so I started to watch for it specifically fairly often. I keep seeing the same thing. It certainly wasn't one game.

As to Bob Boone, well, he had enough squirrelly ideas that it's not suprising the nut had one right.

I would love to be able to point at sabre type proof that would illustrate what I see, but there are no stats kept on strikes given away because the catcher didn't frame the pitch or set the target. What's an extra strike worth 4 times a night? In the right situations that alone would elevate this pitching staff all the way up to below average.

The reds are a 70 win team because they let the other team score too many runs. They need to be doing everything they can to help their pitchers succeed and that's not LaRue's strength.

He's a valuable guy, but not a good fit for this team. I'll truly be shocked if the reds are a competitive team while he's behind the plate.


I think what you are not considering is that the Reds would not necessarily be any better with a catcher that did the "little things" you point out, unless that catcher could also do the things that JL does do well defensively and hit as well as JL does. It's a big assumption, and one that many of us feel is faulty.

Mario-Rijo
02-02-2006, 07:34 PM
I think what you are not considering is that the Reds would not necessarily be any better with a catcher that did the "little things" you point out, unless that catcher could also do the things that JL does do well defensively and hit as well as JL does. It's a big assumption, and one that many of us feel is faulty.



Excellent way to put it Pedro!:thumbup:

Cedric
02-02-2006, 08:20 PM
I think what you are not considering is that the Reds would not necessarily be any better with a catcher that did the "little things" you point out, unless that catcher could also do the things that JL does do well defensively and hit as well as JL does. It's a big assumption, and one that many of us feel is faulty.

What is little about what DFS said? That's honestly the biggest part of being a catcher in my opinion, and the main reason I think Jason Larue is also anything but underrated.

pedro
02-02-2006, 08:23 PM
What is little about what DFS said? That's honestly the biggest part of being a catcher in my opinion, and the main reason I think Jason Larue is also anything but underrated.

I just believe DFS is overestimating the impact of what he, and others (such as you), feel are Jason's shortcomings, without giving credit to the real value of what he does do well.

Cedric
02-02-2006, 08:25 PM
I give him plenty of credit for being an above average offensive catcher. It's just my opinion that doesn't make up for his lacking in the more important areas. Just an opinion.

dfs
02-02-2006, 08:29 PM
I think what you are not considering is that the Reds would not necessarily be any better with a catcher that did the "little things" you point out, unless that catcher could also do the things that JL does do well defensively and hit as well as JL does. It's a big assumption, and one that many of us feel is faulty.

I think it's a matter of degree. I think Jason LaRue does the little things SO badly that it's a big thing.

It's not like I've tarred all the other catcher because of memories of JB. I can see why Joe Oliver is on some people's under-rated lists. Dan Wilson caught a mean game. Bo was fine. Benito...well, Benito had his own way. Eddie Taubensee got holy hell from the press about his technique but he never looked that bad to me. This is different.

Look, I recognize that my opinion is not a popular one and my prose isn't going to convince anybody. I'm fine with that. What I'm asking for here is a sanity check. When the games start again....watch LaRue closely and then watch the other catcher. Pay attention to JUST that part of the game. Let me know what you see. I'll try and remember to ask the same questions in June and see what you think.

SteelSD
02-02-2006, 10:30 PM
What I'm asking for here is a sanity check. When the games start again....watch LaRue closely and then watch the other catcher. Pay attention to JUST that part of the game. Let me know what you see. I'll try and remember to ask the same questions in June and see what you think.

Actually, you're not asking for a "sanity check". You're asking for an unneccessary re-evaluation of something others have already seen enough of to be able to form a reasonable opinion on the subjective elements involved with catching at the MLB level.

The fact that reasonable objective fans don't agree with you isn't an indication that they're not watching closely enough.

M2
02-03-2006, 12:02 AM
I think it's a matter of degree. I think Jason LaRue does the little things SO badly that it's a big thing.

It's not like I've tarred all the other catcher because of memories of JB. I can see why Joe Oliver is on some people's under-rated lists. Dan Wilson caught a mean game. Bo was fine. Benito...well, Benito had his own way. Eddie Taubensee got holy hell from the press about his technique but he never looked that bad to me. This is different.

Look, I recognize that my opinion is not a popular one and my prose isn't going to convince anybody. I'm fine with that. What I'm asking for here is a sanity check. When the games start again....watch LaRue closely and then watch the other catcher. Pay attention to JUST that part of the game. Let me know what you see. I'll try and remember to ask the same questions in June and see what you think.

To echo what Steel has said, we've already done that. You think you're the first person who ever paid attention to the catcher? Far from it.

And there's a really good litmus test for your contention that LaRue's catching skills are having a major deleterious effect on the pitching staff. The staff would pitch much better for other catchers than for LaRue and this would happen on a consistent basis. That's not the case. Reds pitchers over the past five years have sucked for everyone. Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops. It's exactly the kind of random distribution pattern you'd expect to see if all the evils you've listed added up to nothing. I'm talking about zero effect here.

If it was a BIG thing, then we'd see a measurable effect. That's the thing about BIG things. They're obvious. They grab you by the front of your shirt and shake you. There is no such thing as a BIG thing that has no effect. That's the definition of NOTHING.

dfs
02-03-2006, 10:03 AM
I don't care for CERA for several reasons and I wouldn't have brought it up. But since you propose it as a standard of proof, I'll comply.

Year LaRue Valentin/Stinnett/Miller
CERA INNINGS CERA INNINGS
05 5.26 841 4.92 500
04 4.92 906 5.51 410
03 5.08 954 5.19 409
02 4.64 930 3.66 547
01 5.07 915 4.53 463

Last five years 5.00 4546 4.70 2329

If you accept the belief that CERA actually measures what you propose it does, then Jason LaRue has cost the reds pitchers more than a run every four games.

(That's not a simple average of the ERA's. It's innings weighted as it should be. Note that we have not compared Jason to outstanding defensive catchers, but to his backups. I left out LaRue's 00 and 99 campaigns, because you said last five years and he was only there for 30 or so games each year. When it comes to sample size you have to have some standards. If you want they're easy enough to add. I included Miller's numbers for 02 because Stinnett got hurt. Other year's 3rd catchers numbers aren't included simply because I'm lazy and the samples are small. Not gonna move things much.)

In 03 they are essentially even. In three other years LaRue is worse. The only year in his favor was the year Javy Valentin got stuck catching Cory Liddle every 5 days and doing nothing else. I think there are valid sampling reasons to discard it, but I've kept it in there because it's the only year you can make the case that Jason's D was better than his backups. Take that year out and it's WORSE, but we'll go with the low estimate.

So if Jason costs them a run every four games. That's...40 or so runs over the course of the year.
But Jason didn't play full time last year he caught about 2/3 of the innings so we'll say that's 26 runs. Now we need an estimate of Jason's offensive contribution. That's easy. We can extract Bill James Runs created easily enough from Baseball-Reference. Subtract 26 runs from Jason's outstanding 2006 campaign leaves him with an RC of 29.

Adjust for playing time and that's below folks like matheny or ausmus or ...well, that's pretty much below everybody you can name.

This last year Kelly Stinnett got less than 150 plate appearances and he created 19 runs. Adjust for playing time on offense AND defense and he outperformed Jason. Stinnett was pretty much avaliable for the asking this last off-season. Nobody thinks he's under-rated or some kind of star that they need to lock up for multiple years.

M2
02-03-2006, 11:49 AM
I don't care for CERA for several reasons and I wouldn't have brought it up. But since you propose it as a standard of proof, I'll comply.

Year LaRue Valentin/Stinnett/Miller
CERA INNINGS CERA INNINGS
05 5.26 841 4.92 500
04 4.92 906 5.51 410
03 5.08 954 5.19 409
02 4.64 930 3.66 547
01 5.07 915 4.53 463

Last five years 5.00 4546 4.70 2329

If you accept the belief that CERA actually measures what you propose it does, then Jason LrRue has cost the reds pitchers more than a run every four games. You're gonna tell me that's not big?

(That's not a simple average of the ERA's. It's innings weighted as it should be. Note that we have not compared Jason to outstanding defensive catchers, but to his backups. I left out LaRue's 00 and 99 campaigns, because he was only there for 30 or so games each year. When it comes to sample size you have to have some standards. If you want they're easy enough to add. I only included Miller's numbers for 02 because Stinnett got hurt. Miller's (and other 3rd catchers) numbers for the other years aren't included simply because I'm lazy.)

One of those years they are essentially even. In three of them LaRue is worse. The only year in his favor was the year Javy Valentin got stuck catching Cory Liddle every 5 days and doing nothing else. I think there are valid sampling reasons to discard it, but I've kept it in there because it's the only year you can make the case that Jason's D was better than his backups. Take that year out and it's WORSE.

So if Jason costs them a run every four games. That's...40 or so runs over the course of the year.
But Jason didn't play full time last year he caught about 2/3 of the innings so we'll say that's 26 runs. Now we need an estimate of Jason's offensive contribution. That's easy. We can extract Bill James Runs created easily enough from Baseball-Reference. Subtract 26 runs from Jason's outstanding 2006 campaign leaves him with an RC of 29.

Adjust for playing time and that's below folks like matheny or ausmus or ...well, that's pretty much below everybody you can name.

This last year Kelly Stinnett got less than 200 plate appearances and he created 19 runs last year. Adjust for playing time on offense AND defense and he outperformed Jason. Stinnett was pretty much avaliable for the asking this last off-season. Nobody thinks he's under-rated or some kind of star do they?

Nice job of fudging the stats. So we can count Corky Miller's innings, but not Jason LaRue's from 2000 and 1999? Standards isn't the term I'd use for that.

Because I suspect you know what happens when you count those years, you get a statistical wash.

For the record, I also don't think CERA is all that great a statistic (for instance, those 2002 numbers probably had a lot to do with the percentage of innings that people caught the bullpen and Elmer Dessens), but, back to my main point, LaRue's done better than the team average in four of his seven seasons. No way that happens if he's consistently giving away runs like you've intimated. It shows a completely random distribution pattern. Unless every catcher the Reds have had for seven years has been completely deficient, LaRue seems to come out just fine.

Mike Matheny came out below his team average for CERA last year (and I belive the year before, but ESPN won't dredge up the numbers for me). That's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Starting catchers get tethered to the team ERA while backups form outliers in either direction. A guy whose little flaws add up to something BIG would show a consistent pattern of undermining his pitchers and the outliers would rarely pop up with a higher CERA. It would also be exceedingly difficult for a guy with a BIG defensive hole to provide a positive outlier. You'd expect him to produce negative outliers, but just the opposite is what occurred. BIG doesn't duck and hide. It doesn't disappear for two years in a row. BIG would run roughshod over other factors.

As for comparing LaRue to other catchers, for the past five seasons running, he's come out ahead of Mike Lieberthal and Jason Kendall for defensive Win Shares per inning caught. No one's claiming LaRue's elite, but the guy compares to and even does a little bit better than others whom almost no one considers to be defensively deficient. Heck, some years he's even come out ahead of Pudge Rodriguez on WS/inning.

You're chasing a phantom. A lot of people do with LaRue. That's why he's underrated, because too many people elevate style over substance.

dfs
02-03-2006, 12:40 PM
Nice job of fudging the stats. So we can count Corky Miller's innings, but not Jason LaRue's from 2000 and 1999? Standards isn't the term I'd use for that.

Because I suspect you know what happens when you count those years, you get a statistical wash.


I'm sorry you feel misused. That was not my intent.

Adding in everything actually makes the numbers WORSE for Jason. If you care to, I'll let you investigate as to the reason why that's so. Jason's numbers are from ESPN.com. Eddie Taubensee isn't active meaning he's not listed there. So for the non-Jason CERA I had to go back to direct calculation from the team numbers. I think I've included everything needed to replicate the results.

Jason Jason Team Team Other
Innings CERA ERA IP CERA
1999 241 3.81 3.991 1461.3 4.027
2000 257 3.75 4.327 1456.0 4.451
2001 841 5.07 4.772 1442.7 4.353
2002 906 4.64 4.272 1453.7 3.665
2003 954 5.08 5.090 1446.3 5.118
2004 930 4.92 5.187 1443.7 5.677
2005 915 5.26 5.150 1433.0 4.952
Total 5044 4.8729 4.682 10136.7 4.492


LaRue's done better than the team average in four of his seven seasons.
Really, I guess that's true, but you only asked for the last five. You're giving him credit for two years in which he played a total of 67 games, another year with a 0.01 difference in ERA and the Cory Liddle platoon in 04 and you accuse me of fudging data? I really don't know what to say to that. You asked for numbers and you're finding them unconvincing. Ok. I can live with that.

The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster. There's no comment I can add. I presented the numbers because I thought you would want to know.

M2
02-03-2006, 01:18 PM
The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster.

Actually the numbers don't show that.

You've made an assumption here, that the catcher is wholly responsible for the CERA differentials. I suspect you didn't like CERA to begin with because the catcher bears responsibility for only a sliver of the stat. I don't think I'm out on much of a limb in noting that ERA, no matter how you slice it, is primarily a pitching measurement.

I submit the 0.30 differential from your first count is probably statistically insignificant and that the 0.19 overall differential between LaRue and the team average certainly is. Why? Because if the catcher only owns a 1/4 of the CERA (and that's probably shooting way high on the fraction). Then LaRue would be costing the team eight runs (7.695 to be exact) a year, max, and that's over 162 games. Fix it to LaRue's playing time and you'd wind up at five runs a season. In fact I'd fix that as the figure for how far you could stretch it if you assumed maximum deleterious effect for LaRue's supposed flaws.

Personally, I think a more proper ownership fraction for CERA might be about 1/10. That would knock you down to two runs a season for LaRue. And that's all assuming those numbers mean something and that they don't fit into the kind of random distribution pattern you commonly would see for the position. CERA seems to jump all over the place. A seasonal differential of more than 1.00 isn't that odd between catchers on the same team.

Anyway, looking over Win Shares fielding figures from 2002-2005, the guy who seems to be the best defensive comp for LaRue is Jason Varitek, which gets back to my point that LaRue is defenisively fine.

registerthis
02-03-2006, 01:35 PM
You're chasing a phantom. A lot of people do with LaRue. That's why he's underrated, because too many people elevate style over substance.

Absolutely.


The numbers show that over the course of his career Jason has cost his team about 2 runs every 5 games compared to the other catchers on the roster.

It's interesting that you claim not to care for CERA, yet you use it to somehow support your belief that LaRue's defense is hurting the Reds. It's also interesting how you imply that his presence in the lineup has cost the Reds "2 runs a game" over his career (a practically worthless statistic due to the mass fluctuations in the quality of the pitching staff from year to year), yet ignore what his offensive presence has contributed.

From 2002 to 2005, Jason had RC's of 4.09, 4.11, 4.41 and 5.27. The other Reds catchers during this time: Stinnett had 4.93, 4.44 and 3.38 from '01 to '03. Miller had 3.14, 4.31 and 3.38 from '01 to '03. Valentin had 3.86 in '04 and 6.86 in a statistically-skewed performance in '05. So, not only is LaRue a solid offensive player, he is consistent.

Additionally, he is responsible for far more win shares than any other Reds catcher during the past serval years. In 2003, he was credited with 10, in 2004 he had 15, and in 2005 he had 18. No other reds catcher even comes close during those years. In fact, in 2005, Jason trailed only Mike Matheny and Michael Barrett in NL catchers win shares.

So, to recap, your claim that LaRue is a substandard catcher and a liability to the team stems from your observations of him while he catches (which many of us do not share), and your use of the career CERA stat to show that he costs them .4 runs per game. Forgive me for not being convinced.

SteelSD
02-03-2006, 01:57 PM
Mike Matheny came out below his team average for CERA last year (and I belive the year before, but ESPN won't dredge up the numbers for me). That's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. Starting catchers get tethered to the team ERA while backups form outliers in either direction. A guy whose little flaws add up to something BIG would show a consistent pattern of undermining his pitchers and the outliers would rarely pop up with a higher CERA. It would also be exceedingly difficult for a guy with a BIG defensive hole to provide a positive outlier. You'd expect him to produce negative outliers, but just the opposite is what occurred. BIG doesn't duck and hide. It doesn't disappear for two years in a row. BIG would run roughshod over other factors.

And with Matheny, we're talking about a guy who only makes millions because of his reputation for allegedly making pitchers better.

Ironically, Matheny has posted a CERA below 100% of his team's average ERA in only 3 or 12 seasons. In only one of those three seasons was he behind the plate for more than 900 Innings- 2000, when Matheny's CERA finished up at 99.1% of the Cardinals' team ERA.

It appears that dfs isn't looking within the numbers to understand the true nature of Larue's career CERA deviation versus the team numbers (the 2001-2002 differentials). Even IF CERA wasn't junk and even IF Jason Larue was 100% responsible for CERA differentials- thereby actually making pitchers worse during those two seasons (106.2%, 108.6% CERA vs. Team ERA)- I'd think that his most recent differentials (99.8%, 94.7%, 102.1%) would quash any fears about the current version of Jason Larue. In fact, logic would dictate that if one were using those differentials to attempt to indict Larue for previous defensive deficiency, one couldn't maintain consistency unless they were also willing to concede that his most recent performance indicates defensive PROFICIENCY.

But alas, CERA is junk. And I'm getting tired of hearing arguments about how much a productive Catcher sucks.

dfs
02-03-2006, 02:06 PM
I suspect you didn't like CERA to begin with because the catcher bears responsibility for only a sliver of the stat. You could have just asked and I would have been glad to state that CERA gets confounded by staff/park and team and usage effects and usually a meaninglessly small sample size. Neither staff or park effects apply here, because the players are on the same club and we're computing a difference. The only conspicous usage effect that I remember would be in the one year in the last five that really goes in Jason's favor, his backup was platooned with a Cory Liddle. We've got 5+ years of data so sample size isn't a concern. For the most part those objections don't hold water with the LaRue/Backup comparison.


I submit the 0.30 differential from your first count is probably statistically insignificant
You can do that, but I strongly suspect you would be mistaken. That's a big sample spanning several seasons where most of the specific limitations of CERA are controlled for. I'll let you do the work to estimate a controlled variance to compute significance.

That's not "Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops." After the first two years of his career, Jason does consistantly worse than other catchers when everything else is controlled for.


Because if the catcher only owns a 1/4 of the CERA (and that's probably shooting way high on the fraction).

I'm not sure how you conclude that. Once you've controlled for park,staff, and usage patterns I guess space aliens are left. Frankly, At this point I don't much care. You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore. Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.

SteelSD
02-03-2006, 02:23 PM
You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore.

No. M2 didn't do that. What he said (and I'm paraphrasing) is that we don't see significant annual negative CERA deviations for Larue.

Your true issue isn't Larue's career deviation. Your problem is really with Larue's biggest negative deviation seasons (2001, 2002) in isolation. But those seasons aren't representative of who he is right now even IF we could use CERA as a true guage of who Jason Larue is. We can't so it's moot but there's nothing consistent about the logic you're using.

In short, if Jason Larue was bad then, he has to be good now. There's no two ways about that if you're attempting to use CERA as a way to measure his current defensive performance.


Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.

You're not seeking truth. You're seeking something that fits your pre-conceived notion of truth and then pimping it as truth. Funny thing about bad methodology- it'll lead you right down the exact path you want to go if you try hard enough to get there.

M2
02-03-2006, 02:49 PM
You could have just asked and I would have been glad to state that CERA gets confounded by staff/park and team and usage effects and usually a meaninglessly small sample size. Neither staff or park effects apply here, because the players are on the same club and we're computing a difference. The only conspicous usage effect that I remember would be in the one year in the last five that really goes in Jason's favor, his backup was platooned with a Cory Liddle. We've got 5+ years of data so sample size isn't a concern. For the most part those objections don't hold water with the LaRue/Backup comparison.

When the Reds bullpen had a much better ERA than the starters, that created a major usage effect differential (backups tend to catch a higher percentage of later innings). The Reds have also needed to revamp large portions of their pitching staff in mid-season in many years, which would give a guy like Corky Miller an advantage because he didn't have to catch some of the dogs that laid down in the gate during April and May. Also, a little extra work with an Elmer Dessens in 2002 or Aaron Harang in 2005 can have a big effect on a guy logging backup innings. Similarly, extra work with Ryan Dempster or Eric Milton can ruin the CERA for a backup. There's jiggle all over the place with the stat. Claiming that staff effects have normalized strikes me as simplistic pap. A quick review of CERA stats for teams from the 2005 will show you that wild vacillations in CERA numbers occur all over the place. You can see from LaRue's numbers how easy it is to bounce to either side of the team norm. Either catchers as a group suffer from defensive fits and starts or there's an ocean inside of CERA that you've failed to account for.



You can do that, but I strongly suspect you would be mistaken. That's a big sample spanning several seasons where most of the specific limitations of CERA are controlled for. I'll let you do the work to estimate a controlled variance to compute significance.

That's not "Some years they're a little better for LaRue than others, other years it flip-flops." After the first two years of his career, Jason does consistantly worse than other catchers when everything else is controlled for.

Except for the two years where he did better. You seem to want to make 2002 go away, but it's there. Plus, except for 2004 and 2005 Adam Dunn isn't all that elite a homerun hitter. LaRue's been behind the plate during seven major league seasons and in four of them he's been better than the team average for CERA.

And, as has been mentioned, everything isn't controlled. It isn't even sort of controlled. You've got a stat with a huge jiggle and random distribution on the outliers even for players on the same team. If LaRue was anywhere near the sort of defensive liability you make him out to be, he'd run roughshod over that pattern. He doesn't. In fact, he fits into it quite neatly.



I'm not sure how you conclude that. Once you've controlled for park,staff, and usage patterns I guess space aliens are left. Frankly, At this point I don't much care. You proposed a standard of proof and when it was met declared it not to your liking. Ok. I'm down with that, but don't expect me to play anymore. Funny thing about the search for truth. It often takes you to places you didn't expect to go. You're willingness to go there depends on how hard you seek the truth. No more hoops for me today. I'm out.

As mentioned above, twice, you haven't contolled for squat. I proposed CERA full-well knowing that it was snipe hunt. We've been down this road before on this board. This is about as old hat as it gets around here. We've parsed these numbers to death over the years.

The reason I raised the spectre of CERA was that once folks take a deeper look at it, they often come away with the realization that catchers have damn-little effect on ERA. Granted, a truly atrocious catcher could submarine it, but truly atrocious catchers rarely get to spend a lot of time behind the plate. Mike Matheny didn't do squat for the Giants pitching last season and he's your classic good receiver. People have been crashing upon the rocks of CERA for years. It's why no one I'm aware uses it much. All it ever produces are spits into the ocean.

The real defensive differentiator among catchers is assist rate, where LaRue's just fine thank you due to his arm and quick feet. The BIG effect you'd assumed isn't there and no matter how much squinting you do it won't be there.

registerthis
02-03-2006, 03:02 PM
* Edited by an administrator - please keep reputation matters private. You can see who left you reputation by clicking on your user control panel.

Ravenlord
02-03-2006, 03:07 PM
i know what LaRue's problem is....he's not Johnny Bench.

bomarl1969
02-05-2006, 10:02 PM
Deion Sanders-caught a lot of heat from the fans
Tom Browning
Mike Cameron
Remember Roger Salkeld? He was a good young pitcher in about 96 or 97
Kal Daniels