Originally Posted by TSJ55
To suggest that catching in the MLB is a throw away position shows minimal knowledge of how the game is played on the field level.
The post you quoted was merely me saying that in a given game, it may never once come into play. If a catcher "steals" a strike with a nice frame job but the next pitch goes for a home run, did that strike stolen matter? It certainly counts as value added in sabermetrics, but in reality, it was not of any value in that scenario. That is all I was really trying to say, I just didn't expand on it.
It isn't a throw away position. But I think people get too caught up in some magical things that the catcher does to alter the game. Just like any other position, there are varying degrees of ability at the position. Hanigan is near the top behind the plate.
Where the difference comes in, is that I don't believe he is doing something that most other Major League catchers can't come awful close to replicating behind the plate when it comes to what the pitcher does on the mound.
I fully believe that there used to be a much larger variance from catcher to catcher. But in a day and age where you or I can get insanely advanced scouting reports on a hitter in a few minutes or watch hours of video on a single hitter, I feel those days have gone by because there is so much information out there now that used to really only be available by actually being around the league to see everyone.
So where it comes down to for me, is pitch framing, blocking the ball and controlling the running game.
Pitch framing, Hanigan is better, but in limited action last year, Mesoraco actually rated out slightly above-average himself. Blocking pitches is something that both guys also rated out as above-average in last season. Controlling the running game is more than just the catcher. For example, Hanigan catches Cueto. Cueto keeps runners incredibly close because he has insanely quick feet/quick move, so guys can't take big chances on him. When guys do run on him, it gives Hanigan an advantage versus trying to catch a guy without a good move because runners can get an extra step or step and a half. So we are really worrying about two things here: Pop times and accuracy with the throws.
Pop Time wise, both guys are in that 1.85-1.95 range, which is well above-average for a Major League catcher. So we are a wash there really. Accuracy? I honestly don't know. You can judge that one.
At the end of the day, I just feel that while Hanigan is better behind the plate, that it isn't by a whole lot due to the things I laid out above.