PDA

View Full Version : "He Handles The Pitchers Well"



Ltlabner
08-19-2008, 03:10 PM
# YEAR NAME AGE PA EqA OBP SLG VORP RAR RAP
13. 2008 David Ross 31 173 .270 .381 .366 4.5 6.8 3.3
29. 2008 Paul Bako 36 281 .216 .291 .335 -6.8 -3.7 -9.4

It is often said that Paul Bako was brought to town and kept over Ross because he "works well with pitchers and calls a good game".

But what is the value of working well with the pitchers/calling a good game? How does that make the Reds win more ball games?

Let's start on the offensive side of the plate. I did a ranking of all NL catchers with 100 PA's. The list is sorted by VORP decending. So out of 31 qualifying catchers, Bako is 29th on the list. His OBP is nearly 100 points less than Ross. He's actually less valuable at the plate than a replacement scrub type (VORP) and creates less runs than a scrub catcher could be expected to create (RAR). Compared to other catchers he creates far fewer runs than his fellow backstops (which is pretty sad considering the current state of offensive catchers).

Now lets explore defense. I'm not a fan of (m)any defensive stats. FWIW, his FPCT is .993 and RF is 8.38. He throws out .311% of the attempted base runners. 6 passed balls thus far. We can argue over his defense till the cows come home. So lets call it neutral at best. I watch with my eyes and I'm not impressed.

So for his "handling of the pitchers" to benefit the Reds it has to exceede the immense drag he creates at the plate and his run-of-the mill ball handling skills. I've taken a look at an assortment of pitchers that were here last year (pre-Bako) and this year (post-Bako).

For the theory of "Bako handles the staff well" to hold water, I would expect to see dramatic improvements in performance from year to year. That is, changes in performance beyond normal fluctuations in year-to-year performance.



# YEAR NAME IP H9 BB9 SO9 HR9 SO/BB
5. 2007 David Weathers 77.7 7.76 3.13 5.56 0.46 1.78
9. 2008 David Weathers 54.0 10.00 3.67 6.50 1.00 1.77


# YEAR NAME IP H9 BB9 SO9 HR9 SO/BB
10. 2007 Homer Bailey 45.3 8.54 5.56 5.56 0.60 1.00
12. 2008 Homer Bailey 36.3 14.61 4.21 4.46 1.98 1.06


# YEAR NAME IP H9 BB9 SO9 HR9 SO/BB
11. 2007 Jared Burton 43.0 5.86 4.60 7.53 0.42 1.64
10. 2008 Jared Burton 48.3 8.38 3.17 9.31 0.56 2.94

# YEAR NAME IP H9 BB9 SO9 HR9 SO/BB
18. 2007 Gary Majewski 23.0 16.83 1.17 3.91 1.17 3.33
13. 2008 Gary Majewski 31.7 11.37 2.84 5.40 1.14 1.90

# YEAR NAME IP H9 BB9 SO9 HR9 SO/BB
22. 2007 Bill Bray 14.3 10.05 3.14 8.79 0.63 2.80
11. 2008 Bill Bray 40.0 9.45 4.50 9.68 0.68 2.15

Doesn't look like any real significant improvements there. At the very least, no noticable pattern, with the interesting execption of K/9. Every guy, save Bailey, has seen an improvement in his K/9 rate. Some guys significantly.

But is that directly attributable to Bako? If he can effect more K's couldn't he reduce the number of walks also? No pattern there. Homers? Nope, no pattern there (in fact, most guys are giving up more long-balls). Hits per 9? Negative.

So the improvement in k/9 could be from Bako. Then again, it could be from Dick Pole, random variations or changes in strike-zone management by the umps.

So if Bako is "handling the pitchers and calling a good game" where is the bottom line improvement to the Reds?

I can believe a catcher can do a lot for young pitchers that can never be measured. Things like calming him down, giving him pitch advise, kicking him in the butt are hard to prove other than (1) improvements in staff performance that show up in the numbers (2) a constant parade of pitchers saying "I love Paul Bako" in interviews.

I don't see or hear either here.

My conclusion....Bakos bat destroys whatever negligable and tenious improvement he creates by defense and "handling the pitchers well".

oneupper
08-19-2008, 03:12 PM
You had me at "He" :D

gonelong
08-19-2008, 03:35 PM
[code]
But what is the value of working well with the pitchers/calling a good game? How does that make the Reds win more ball games?
...
So for his "handling of the pitchers" to benefit the Reds it has to exceede the immense drag he creates at the plate and his run-of-the mill ball handling skills.


In a one-year time window I agree completely, however it gets a bit more foggy to me when we try to figure out what affect have PB behind the plate in 2008 might mean for our younger pitchers in 209 & 2010.

GL

Mario-Rijo
08-19-2008, 03:35 PM
At some point the emphasis has to be squarely on developing these pitcher's w/o regard to offense IMO. Once they have established themselves you can then look to be more competitive all around at that position. We have been looking for a happy medium for a long time and simply put haven't so might as well go with development and then being competitive.

traderumor
08-19-2008, 04:04 PM
I think it is impossible to quanitify the attribute. Sometimes the only thing there is to rely on is human decision making. I think this is one of those areas in baseball.

Krusty
08-19-2008, 04:22 PM
The guy I would like to see the Reds trade for is Rockies' Chris Iannetta. With the Rockies stuck with Torrealba's contract, they might make Iannetta available in the right deal.

Chip R
08-19-2008, 04:45 PM
That description about a catcher is about the same as "She's got a nice personality."

durl
08-19-2008, 05:39 PM
I think that some catcher DO do a better job handling pitchers than others. I also believe the catcher's position is first and foremost a defensive one. Still, I'll accept some defensive trade-offs if the offensive is substantially better.

But I don't believe Bako handled pitchers better than Ross. I'd rather see Ross back behind the plate.

VR
08-19-2008, 06:40 PM
10 teams in 11 years. If that's what the Reds think, they may be the first team to do so.

Spring~Fields
08-19-2008, 06:45 PM
It is often said that Paul Bako "works well with pitchers and calls a good game".


Baker says a lot of things.

Looks like other organizations had a different opinion, and I think that Jocketty will also in due time.


YEAR TEAM POS GP CERA
1998 Det C 94 4.86
1999 Hou C 71 3.95
2000 Atl C 23 3.68
2000 Hou C 1 2.25
2000 Fla C 56 4.52
2001 Atl C 60 3.40
2002 Mil C 76 4.76
2003 ChC C 69 3.81
2004 ChC C 47 3.53
2005 LA C 13 5.38
2006 KC C 53 5.60
2007 Bal C 57 4.96
2008 Cin C 78 4.11


Bako has never been in one place for very long, looks like the only team that ever thought much of his skills was a team managed by Dusty Baker, and even that was limited.

Rojo
08-19-2008, 07:53 PM
Paul's got a good chance for a career high in AB's. Super.

mth123
08-19-2008, 08:30 PM
10 teams in 11 years. If that's what the Reds think, they may be the first team to do so.

Yet Ross was DFA'd. No team claimed him on waivers. He was the personification of putrid behind the plate. Two things I won't miss at all are the Griffey 2 step in RF and the David Ross torreador act on plays at the plate. I can live with poor defenders, but can't stand guys who just give plays away.

IslandRed
08-19-2008, 09:58 PM
I agree that Bako simply can't hit and he shouldn't be part of the plan. But since the season's in the tank already, if they think he has a positive impact on Volquez and Cueto, there's no long-term harm in letting him hang around in the Crash Davis role for the rest of the year.

RFS62
08-19-2008, 10:01 PM
I agree that Bako simply can't hit and he shouldn't be part of the plan. But since the season's in the tank already, if they think he has a positive impact on Volquez and Cueto, there's no long-term harm in letting him hang around in the Crash Davis role for the rest of the year.


It's been his role for a while. It's all that has kept him in the bigs.

camisadelgolf
08-20-2008, 02:00 AM
If anyone knows about making outs in MLB, it should be Paul Bako.

Team Clark
08-20-2008, 08:45 AM
My conclusion....Bakos bat destroys whatever negligable and tenious improvement he creates by defense and "handling the pitchers well".

Agreed. I like Bako behind the dish for what he CAN do but at some point when you are losing 1-0, 2-0 and 3-1 ballgames you got to have someone who can at least help you out at the plate.

princeton
08-20-2008, 09:20 AM
Agreed. I like Bako behind the dish for what he CAN do but at some point when you are losing 1-0, 2-0 and 3-1 ballgames you got to have someone who can at least help you out at the plate.


I feel the opposite.

if your pitching is all that's keeping you in the game, then having a catcher who can help to maximize the pitcher's performance becomes very important.

Ltlabner
08-20-2008, 10:18 AM
I feel the opposite.

if your pitching is all that's keeping you in the game, then having a catcher who can help to maximize the pitcher's performance becomes very important.

Yet there is no indication whatsoever that Bako actually helps maximize our pitchers performances. So its a dandy theory, but in practice Bako is providing neither offense, defense or the mystical guidence for the youngsters on the mound.

I agree with Chip, 'he calls a god game and works well with the pitchers' is the baseball equivelent to 'shes got a great personality'.

Team Clark
08-20-2008, 11:30 AM
I feel the opposite.

if your pitching is all that's keeping you in the game, then having a catcher who can help to maximize the pitcher's performance becomes very important.

I understand where you are coming from. I am all for having the Charlie O'Brien, Steve Lake and Marc Hills' of the world on your roster. They serve a valuable purpose. What is changing my mind over the last few years is seeing close games where catching really isn't the factor but a near automatic out with runners in scoring position from the catching postion.

Bako, who I like, and am not advocating releasing needs to be better utilized as long as there is a better offensive option or game plan. (which there is not at this time :))I certainly want Bako behind the plate to tutor the younglings.

I saw all the metrics posted earlier and they are what they are. Statistically Bako is not proving to be incredibly valuable. Soooo many factors come into play that can not be measured make the stats useful but not absolute. Certainly a good tool to use.

I am sure Bench's statistics at some point made him look not so good but who else would you really want calling a game? You want the guy you "know" beyond measure has at least the best game plan. Bench in his later years behind the plate may have had trouble physically blocking, throwing and/or backing up bases but he still was a damn good receiver and game manager. Bako is no Bench. (duh) However, he has knowledge and skills that neither Valentin or Hanigan have. Ross, you just never which Ross you were getting that day.

I like Hanigan but I have not seen enough, as of yet, to say he will be a #1 catcher next year. He could change my mind over the next month or so.

RedsManRick
08-20-2008, 11:35 AM
It's one thing to play a defensive oriented catcher who can't hit a lick if said catcher is really a particular asset behind the plate -- a Henry Blanco or Yadi Molina.

My concern with Bako is that you're giving up a spot in the lineup for a guy who's only marginal better somebody who can carry a much better stick. I've got no bias when it comes to scoring vs preventing runs. But I'm not at all sold that the math works in Bako's favor -- he just doesn't seem to be that good defensively.

Why not let Hannigan start to work more with the staff he's going to have to catch next season? Might as well start working on those rapport and game calling issues now.

Chip R
08-20-2008, 12:04 PM
Why not let Hannigan start to work more with the staff he's going to have to catch next season? Might as well start working on those rapport and game calling issues now.


Dude, we're trying to win games. Like Hank Aaron told me one time...