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View Full Version : Are three catchers really that bad?



Spitball
06-09-2006, 01:01 PM
Is having three catchers really that bad? With two catchers, the second rarley gets into the game unless it is an emergency. With three, the third won't likely see action, but the manager has the option of using one to pinch hit from the left or one from the right. There is the option of pinch running for one if needed because there is still that safety valve provided by the third catcher.

Really, Valentin is a versitile component that is available to catch, play first, or pinch hit. He removes that "last off the bench" handicap that is always affixed to the second catcher. I think it is more like having 2 and 1/3 catchers and it gives the manager more versitility than if he just had two catchers.

Unassisted
06-09-2006, 01:06 PM
I say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I don't think LaRue would agree that it "ain't broke." It would be less "broke" for him if he could be plugged into another position with regularity.

Reds1
06-09-2006, 01:12 PM
In the Reds situation they can have 3 catchers. When you have a guy like Ryan Freel who can play all 3 OF and basically all IF positions he can take the place of 2 or even 3 players. Then you have Aurilia, Phillips, and Lopez who can play all IF positions well. Valentine is the lefty specialist and Catcher with EZ, Then you swap Ross and LaRue out and keep them fresh and then the other is a bat off the bench or emergency catcher. You figure McCracken doesn't even get any playing time so holding the 3 catchers on this team is no big deal at all. In a pinch I think both Ross and LaRue could play LF or RF.

The problem that could happen is if Ross becomes so good they start benching LaRue. Then LaRue never gets the bat going and then is not playing and can't even pinch hit because he can't get it going. I think while we are winning it will be fine and I also thing even if Ross gets more start that they will have to get LaRue in there at least twice a week to keep it going.

We also have a tradeable component if the right player comes available. I really like this Ross guy though!

Go Reds

redsrule2500
06-09-2006, 01:30 PM
I agree, it doesn't seem to be hurting anything. LaRue is the weakest link in my opinion, but he's the best defensive catcher. Why not keep it for the time being?

redsmetz
06-09-2006, 02:32 PM
I mentioned this elsewhere, but with two players day to day, it was really clear the Reds would be jammed if something happened elsewhere. For instance, Mark Berry was extremely quick and quite direct in moving Ryan Freel away from the ump last night after a called third strike ended the inning. If Freel had gotten tossed, we had McCracken to take his spot. Jason has played the outfield in five games, so they could have chosen him too, but you can see what I mean. The Day To Day guys need to get back quickly.

oregonred
06-09-2006, 02:45 PM
The flexibility of Aurillia and Freel makes three catchers and an extra pitcher viable for this team. It can't be stated enough how those two productive and flexible guys are just huge to have on this club over a 162 game season. Especially with KGJ often day-day which would really be crimping this team without Freel/Aurillia to fill into the lineup card at Narron's disposal.

The bench is actually a huge strength for this team right now. The third catcher subs for a late inning bat since you have the field covered by being able to simply move around guys like Freel/Aurillia/Phillips into a number of positions. A rare luxury for a small/mid market team and IMO a hidden strength for this club that has played a big role in the 36-24 start.

pedro
06-09-2006, 03:19 PM
The way I look at it they just replaced Jacob Cruz with some who could hit and catch (Valentin). Seems like a winwin to me.

TOBTTReds
06-09-2006, 03:46 PM
I dont like it when one of them is making over $3 mil, and he's not our number one, or possibly our number two. I'm not saying start him (bc of his salary), but I would rather get rid of his salary than let it rot.

KronoRed
06-09-2006, 04:02 PM
I think it is, if we had 11 pitchers not so much but 12, 3 catchers and 1 guy who can't play any other spot then 1st (The Hat) it makes for a REALLY short bench.

redsmetz
06-09-2006, 04:08 PM
I think it is, if we had 11 pitchers not so much but 12, 3 catchers and 1 guy who can't play any other spot then 1st (The Hat) it makes for a REALLY short bench.

Well Scott would be our FOURTH catcher in a pinch :)

Reds1
06-09-2006, 05:27 PM
I think it is, if we had 11 pitchers not so much but 12, 3 catchers and 1 guy who can't play any other spot then 1st (The Hat) it makes for a REALLY short bench.


That's what I'm saying about Freel. A guy who can play all positions is like almost having two guys - especially with the flexibility of the other players. It's somewhat of a unique position to be in. But that being said if we could trade one to help the team that's a good thing too! Apparantly the 3 catchers isn't hurting us at all right now, but if you have a lot of day-to-day ala Griffey then you have a problem.

CTA513
06-09-2006, 05:30 PM
LaRue will probably be the first one to complain about playing time.
He was the starting catcher, then split time with Valentin last year and now is spliting time with 2 other catchers.

GAC
06-10-2006, 07:43 AM
The flexibility of Aurillia and Freel makes three catchers and an extra pitcher viable for this team.

And Phillips, as well as Valentin, can play other positions if needed. I see more versatility with this team then with recent ones. And that is a plus IMO.

Highlifeman21
06-10-2006, 02:31 PM
Hatteberg can be our emergency catcher. We do not need 3 designated catchers on the team. 2 catchers and Hatteberg will be just fine.

edabbs44
06-10-2006, 02:44 PM
I'd rather have 3 catchers than Q taking up space...having both situations is suicide.

KronoRed
06-10-2006, 04:55 PM
Hatteberg can be our emergency catcher. We do not need 3 designated catchers on the team. 2 catchers and Hatteberg will be just fine.
Agreed, get Val or Larue out of here, stop waiting for some great deal, one isn't coming, when EE returns I want Olmedo to stay.

That or..go with 11 pitchers.

Highlifeman21
06-10-2006, 06:16 PM
Agreed, get Val or Larue out of here, stop waiting for some great deal, one isn't coming, when EE returns I want Olmedo to stay.

That or..go with 11 pitchers.

Sure, if we're gonna keep Ross, Valentin, LaRue, then we need only 11 pitchers.

If we're gonna come to our senses and go with 2 catchers, then 12 could be ok.

Just as long as that 12th pitcher isn't Rick White.

Spitball
06-10-2006, 09:43 PM
Hatteberg can be our emergency catcher. We do not need 3 designated catchers on the team. 2 catchers and Hatteberg will be just fine.

Hatteberg really isn't a good option as a third catcher. He has not caught in years for a variety of health and performance reasons. Plus, he is the platoon starter at first base. There will be times he will many times he is out of the game for a pinch hitter or defensive reasons. Also, he is likely to be used as a pinch hitter off the bench. In order to be a third catcher, he'd really have to be a bench player.

With Valentin as the third catcher, Ross and LaRue are much more versitile. Narron can pinch hit for LaRue, use Ross as a pinch hitter, pinch run for either, or double switch with either because Valentin adds those dimensions. Plus, as others have said, Freel and Aurilia stay sharp because they play almost regular roles filling in almost every night. This bench works fairly well as it is constructed.

reds44
06-10-2006, 10:25 PM
Hatteberg can be our emergency catcher. We do not need 3 designated catchers on the team. 2 catchers and Hatteberg will be just fine.
Yep no reason to have 3 catchers and the Hat.

M2
06-10-2006, 10:40 PM
Three catchers are fine if they can all hit. LaRue and Valentin haven't been doing that much this season. Given recent history, you'd have to hope that will change. Then again, given recent history, Ross will probably cool off once his PAs start to climb.

When you're on a short bench (shortened by having to carry seven relievers), then you need to have a bat or play multiple positions. I can see the argument that maybe the Reds don't have a better bat at this time to replace one of the catchers (Denorfia could replace McCracken for instance), but having three guys to fill your #8 slot in the lineup? That's not really an optimum allocation of resources.

Spitball
06-11-2006, 03:07 PM
Three catchers are fine if they can all hit. LaRue and Valentin haven't been doing that much this season. Given recent history, you'd have to hope that will change. Then again, given recent history, Ross will probably cool off once his PAs start to climb.

I agree. LaRue and Valentin can hit, they just haven't. Once Ross starts to cool and the opportunities arise, I'm betting LaRue's productivity improves.




When you're on a short bench (shortened by having to carry seven relievers), then you need to have a bat or play multiple positions. I can see the argument that maybe the Reds don't have a better bat at this time to replace one of the catchers (Denorfia could replace McCracken for instance), but having three guys to fill your #8 slot in the lineup? That's not really an optimum allocation of resources.

Sometimes things work out differently than the "book" suggests. Typically, your third catcher is working in triple A, but that doesn't appear to be an option with the Reds situation so there are three on the major league roster. Denorfia is better off playing full time in the minors until an injury to a regular outfielder.

Sometimes a player's greatest value is not in what he does but what he makes it possible for others to do. Catchers are typically limited in some aspect of the game, and a third catcher allows for more freedom in pinch hitting, pinch running, and defensive adjustments.

M2
06-11-2006, 09:11 PM
Sometimes a player's greatest value is not in what he does but what he makes it possible for others to do. Catchers are typically limited in some aspect of the game, and a third catcher allows for more freedom in pinch hitting, pinch running, and defensive adjustments.

That's actually my exact argument against three catchers. By carrying the third catcher and devoting two slots on a five-man bench to players who wear the tools of ignorance, you've eliminated a slot that could go to a pinch hitter/pinch runner/defensive replacement. Three catchers gives the team less freedom, less flexibility, less diversity to make adjustments in the later innings.

Spitball
06-11-2006, 10:01 PM
That's actually my exact argument against three catchers. By carrying the third catcher and devoting two slots on a five-man bench to players who wear the tools of ignorance, you've eliminated a slot that could go to a pinch hitter/pinch runner/defensive replacement. Three catchers gives the team less freedom, less flexibility, less diversity to make adjustments in the later innings.

I see your point, but I think the Reds' situation is different. With the versitility of Freel and Aurilia, the value of the remaining bench players is in what they allow the manager to do with strategic situations. Of the eight non-pitching positions, the catchers are the most in need of being replaced for a pinch runner. And with LaRue or Valentin in the game, the catching position is the most likely to need a pinch hitter. A real third catcher allows Narron to make moves during the game that can help negate the weaknesses inherent in most catchers.

M2
06-11-2006, 10:14 PM
I see your point, but I think the Reds' situation is different. With the versitility of Freel and Aurilia, the value of the remaining bench players is in what they allow the manager to do with strategic situations. Of the eight non-pitching positions, the catchers are the most in need of being replaced for a pinch runner. And with LaRue or Valentin in the game, the catching position is the most likely to need a pinch hitter. A real third catcher allows Narron to make moves during the game that can help negate the weaknesses inherent in most catchers.

Except Larue runs pretty well and he's been better than the average PH until his recent slump (which has been the worst of his career).

And, like I said, the presence of three catchers and a seven-man pen means you don't have players to pinch run or pinch hit even if that's what you want to do. The Reds' non-catcher bench, when everyone's healthy, consists of Freel, Aurilia and McCracken. That's not a lot of depth or talent to be utilized in key strategic situations. Put a Denorfia and a quality LH bat on the bench and you'd have a far more dangerous unit.

Spitball
06-12-2006, 09:32 AM
Except Larue runs pretty well and he's been better than the average PH until his recent slump (which has been the worst of his career).

He runs well? Does that mean he runs on his toes? With the game on the line and LaRue on base, I'd pinch run for him with Freel, McCracken, Arroyo, or Claussen.



This is from The Hardball Times, April 13, 2006

I decided to do some statistical analysis of the slowest active players in baseball, using both career statistics and 2006 statistics, and with Tangotiger's 2005 Scouting Report By The Fans, For The Fans as a guide. I used a version of Bill James's "Speed Scores" for the analytical work; a future version will incorporate THT's own Incremental Baserunning Runs as an element of the speed score, but for now I looked at stolen base percentage, stolen base attempts, triples, runs scored per time on base, and double plays grounded into. Speed scores work by rating each component on a statistical scale from 0 to 10; the top four scores are then averaged to produce an overall score. E-mail me if you want the full details of the calculations.

Surprisingly, Bengie Molina isn't the slowest player in baseball, as best as I can figure. For now, you'll have to wait for who that is. Let's take a look at some of the data:

10 Lowest Speed Scores, 2005 (100+AB)-- 10 Lowest Speed Scores, 2005 (350+ AB)

1 Geronimo Gil, BAL 0.3--- 1 Toby Hall, TB 1.4
2 Todd Greene, COL 0.3-- 2 Scott Hatteberg, OAK 1.4
3 Mike Jacobs, NYM 1.1-- 3 David Bell, PHI 1.7
4 Matt Treanor, FLA 1.3-- 4 Jason Phillips, NYM 1.7
5 Toby Hall, TB 1.4---- 5 Johnny Estrada, ATL 1.7
6 Gary Bennett, WAS 1.4--- 6 Jason LaRue, CIN 1.7
7 Mike Redmond, MIN 1.4 -- 7 Daryle Ward, PIT 1.8
8 Scott Hatteberg, OAK 1.4- 8 Adam LaRoche, ATL 1.9
9 John Olerud, BOS 1.4-- 9 Sammy Sosa, BAL 2.0
10 Henry Blanco, CHI 1.4-- 10 Bengie Molina, ANA 2.0

This isn't a stop watch, but it throws in a measurement that is beyond an opinion. We don't have to agree on this. I originally posted this because so many seemed to be commenting on the three catcher situation. I don't think it is really the ideal situation, but I can see the merit in carrying three catchers.

M2
06-12-2006, 11:22 AM
He runs well? Does that mean he runs on his toes? With the game on the line and LaRue on base, I'd pinch run for him with Freel, McCracken, Arroyo, or Claussen.

Faster than Aurilia, possibly faster than Jr. too (though Jr. cuts a turn fairly well). He gets some decent turnover in his legs, he's got a good stride and he gets a good push off each stride. He's no speed demon, but he's hardly a liability. My guess is that when they put a stopwatch on the team, Larue grades out right in the middle.


This is from The Hardball Times, April 13, 2006

I decided to do some statistical analysis of the slowest active players in baseball, using both career statistics and 2006 statistics, and with Tangotiger's 2005 Scouting Report By The Fans, For The Fans as a guide. I used a version of Bill James's "Speed Scores" for the analytical work; a future version will incorporate THT's own Incremental Baserunning Runs as an element of the speed score, but for now I looked at stolen base percentage, stolen base attempts, triples, runs scored per time on base, and double plays grounded into. Speed scores work by rating each component on a statistical scale from 0 to 10; the top four scores are then averaged to produce an overall score. E-mail me if you want the full details of the calculations.

Surprisingly, Bengie Molina isn't the slowest player in baseball, as best as I can figure. For now, you'll have to wait for who that is. Let's take a look at some of the data:

10 Lowest Speed Scores, 2005 (100+AB)-- 10 Lowest Speed Scores, 2005 (350+ AB)

1 Geronimo Gil, BAL 0.3--- 1 Toby Hall, TB 1.4
2 Todd Greene, COL 0.3-- 2 Scott Hatteberg, OAK 1.4
3 Mike Jacobs, NYM 1.1-- 3 David Bell, PHI 1.7
4 Matt Treanor, FLA 1.3-- 4 Jason Phillips, NYM 1.7
5 Toby Hall, TB 1.4---- 5 Johnny Estrada, ATL 1.7
6 Gary Bennett, WAS 1.4--- 6 Jason LaRue, CIN 1.7
7 Mike Redmond, MIN 1.4 -- 7 Daryle Ward, PIT 1.8
8 Scott Hatteberg, OAK 1.4- 8 Adam LaRoche, ATL 1.9
9 John Olerud, BOS 1.4-- 9 Sammy Sosa, BAL 2.0
10 Henry Blanco, CHI 1.4-- 10 Bengie Molina, ANA 2.0

This isn't a stop watch, but it throws in a measurement that is beyond an opinion. We don't have to agree on this. I originally posted this because so many seemed to be commenting on the three catcher situation. I don't think it is really the ideal situation, but I can see the merit in carrying three catchers.

LaRue doesn't steal bases and that's what undercuts his score (didn't even attempt one in 2005). There's a reason for that. Stealing bases bangs you up and catchers get banged up enough already. He also doesn't hit triples. Runs scored per time on base automatically penalizes lower lineup hitters in the NL because they've got a pitcher hitting behind them.

Yet LaRue doesn't hit into many DPs (though that has a lot to do with what type of hitter you are, because he hit the ball up the middle Barry Larkin always hit in his fair share of DPs).

IIRC, LaRue actually rates pretty good at taking an extra base (particularly for a catcher). I don't have my 2005 Bill James in front of me and I'd have to dig around for the previous two seasons, but LaRue can take two bases on a single or three bases on a double. That's where he employs the speed he's got. IMO, it's an intelligent use of it. So, unless you plan on stealing a base I don't see where you'd need to PR for LaRue. Valentin or Ross? Sure, get a runner in there.

westofyou
06-12-2006, 11:25 AM
IIRC, LaRue actually rates pretty good at taking an extra base (particularly for a catcher). I don't have my 2005 Bill James in front of me and I'd have to dig around for the previous two seasons,2006 39% overall, weak going 1st to 3rd (17%) strong 2nd to home (57%)

M2
06-12-2006, 12:02 PM
2006 39% overall, weak going 1st to 3rd (17%) strong 2nd to home (57%)

That makes sense. He seems to be fairly selective about when he airs it out. Sprinting is a self-destructive activity (particularly when you finish up with a slide, dive or collision). A catcher in his 30s probably shouldn't be writing too many checks on that account except when he can plate himself. Also, since he hits lower in the lineup, he probably doesn't want to take too many chances at 3rd base. That's smart baseball, IMO. Anyway it underscores that LaRue can take a base when he needs to.