Re: Is Jason LaRue overpaid or just underappreciated?
I don't speak for jmcclain19 but to my knowledge catching defense isn't well measured by any metric. Part of this is due to sample size and part of it is due to usage patterns that create confounding waves in the data. I would be very wary of making inferences based on CERA or defensive win shares or anything else.
He can hit, but observationally putting Jason LaRue behind the plate is the equivalent of mailing yourself a letter bomb. He never sets a target. He doesn't frame pitches well for the umpires. He does throw well, but controlling the running game is at least half the pitchers responsability. He doesn't block the plate well, although he is willing to take a hit. He may not have many past balls, but I've seen the scorer at GAB call wild pitches on balls that have bounced off his chest protector.
The other side of the coin is how are pitchers developing with Jason around? Part of the catchers job is to make the pitcher....2% better. Does anybody think that's been happening with the reds staff? I know there is plenty of tar on that brush. It drove Don Gullet out of town. I simply don't know how much of that tar belongs on LaRue.
Now, three former catchers, Bob Boone, Dave Miley and Jerry Narron, all seem very comfortable with Jason behind the plate and you have to include that when you think about him. As jmcclain points out, LaRue carries a mean stick for his position. By his contractual status the reds still think of him as an up and coming star. Obsiously I disagree, but I can't point at any hard and fast numbers about why, just ...observations and anecdote.