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Thread: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

  1. #1
    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Code:
    #   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.


    Code:
    #  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".
    a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.

    I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate

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  3. #2
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    You had me at "He"
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

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  4. #3
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    [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

  5. #4
    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    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.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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  6. #5
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    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.

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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    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.
    If you think small, you'll go nowhere in life.

  8. #7
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    That description about a catcher is about the same as "She's got a nice personality."
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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    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.

  10. #9
    Member VR's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    10 teams in 11 years. If that's what the Reds think, they may be the first team to do so.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

  11. #10
    Member Spring~Fields's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    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.
    Code:
    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.
    Last edited by Spring~Fields; 08-19-2008 at 06:47 PM.

  12. #11
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Paul's got a good chance for a career high in AB's. Super.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

  13. #12
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Quote Originally Posted by VR View Post
    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.
    Last edited by mth123; 08-19-2008 at 08:36 PM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

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  14. #13
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    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.
    Last edited by IslandRed; 08-19-2008 at 09:59 PM. Reason: Typo
    Not all who wander are lost

  15. #14
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    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.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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  16. #15
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: "He Handles The Pitchers Well"

    If anyone knows about making outs in MLB, it should be Paul Bako.


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