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Thread: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

  1. #526
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    So what exactly did Ausmus do to improve Roger Clemons and Andy Pettit? Did he help Roy O figure out some hitherto unrealized pitching secret?

    And if Aumus somehow helped improve Clemons, Pettit and Oswalt why didn't he use the same skilz with Wandy Rodreiguez?

    Having the all-knowing sage catcher ala Tom Berringer in Major league is nice, but the tallent comes from the mound, not pep talks during visits too the mound.
    You should tell all those baseball guys who have disagreed with you for the past 100 years.

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  3. #527
    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by kpresidente View Post
    I think the catcher position is one of the more poorly analyzed aspects of baseball in general.

    One of the things you always hear is the importance of managing a staff, and yet, where is the study showing that catchers have a large impact on pitcher's performance? It wouldn't be that hard, all you need to do is compare the pitchers' performances with a given catcher relative to their career averages with other catchers. Use any stat or combination of stats you like, be it ERA, FiP, or what have you. If the numbers show that certain catchers cause pitchers to overperform or underperform their career averages, then you have something, but my suspicion is that any difference is going to be negligible.

    I think the HUGE importance that's put on a catcher's defense is misplaced. When you count outs, I just doubt it adds up (although I haven't done the math), at least not relative what teams tend to lose offensively relative to other positions. I think the real problem with catchers is a developmental one. Young kids don't want to play catcher, so they don't. That makes the pool shallow. Then, organizations don't want to convert players to catcher because there's a lot of time involved in learning the nuances. You have to be a field manager, change the way you throw, there's footwork that's unique to the position (having played both catcher and 2B, I found that throwing to 2B was more difficult than turning a double play), blocking pitches, and just overall becoming accustomed to a whole new approach to fielding. It's not ground balls and fly balls anymore, it's squating and blocking. Your view of the field is reversed. Catcher is so unique in every aspect that skills taken from other positions won't translate. Heck, even pop-ups for the catcher are more difficult, because you're dealing with a lot of unpredictable backspin and your view of the ball is almost entirely vertical.

    Still, these are just learned skills. It takes time to master but it doesn't require any special physical ability. People say anybody can play LF, well, I think anybody can play catcher, too. It just takes more repetition to get it down, and nobody is going to put any their well-thought-of prospects through that. It slows down arrival times when you're trying to speed things up. Plus, what kind of quality prospect is really going to put themselves into a conversion when they know they can make it faster and more easily as a 1B or OF? The net result is that catchers can't hit. Then the teams explain that away post-hoc by saying it's a defense first position. But again, where is the study showing catchers contribute a lot of outs to your defense? I can't imagine it compares to SS, 2B or CF.
    Great post. As a former catcher, I totally agree.

  4. #528
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by osuceltic View Post
    You should tell all those baseball guys who have disagreed with you for the past 100 years.
    Paul Bako is reported to 'work well with the pitchers'.

    If he had a magical effect on the pitching staff why didn't he use his skilz to help Majewski, Fogg and Bailey?

    Did he just decide he didn't like them or something?

    Seems to me if he had any ability to effect a pitchers performance in a meaningfull way he could have really helped the team by working with those guys.
    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

  5. #529
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    One of the most controversial results from the sabermetric community is the lack of evidence supporting big differences in catcher defensive ability, other than differences in controlling the running games. Professionals within the game insist that catchers make a gigantic difference and that the question is simply beyond the capability of statistics to find. However, the further we look into catcher performance, the fewer places the elusive realm of catcher influence has to hide. There is no objective evidence that the catchers considered to be the best at their craft actually improve pitcher efficiency, increase strike rates, induce more misses and fouls, or do anything else to reduce batters' offensive output. If the professionals are right and the best game-callers are having some effect that statistics can't measure, we still have to ask how much offensive production a team could responsibly give up to obtain such an undectable improvement.
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  6. #530
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    Paul Bako is reported to 'work well with the pitchers'.

    If he had a magical effect on the pitching staff why didn't he use his skilz to help Majewski, Fogg and Bailey?

    Did he just decide he didn't like them or something?

    Seems to me if he had any ability to effect a pitchers performance in a meaningfull way he could have really helped the team by working with those guys.
    There you go messing up a perfectly good fiction with logic. Per what *BaseClogger* posted, this is one of baseball's big lies. I suspect it persists because so many managers and coaches are former catchers.
    Last edited by M2; 12-21-2008 at 06:24 PM.
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by M2 View Post
    Also, managers/pitching coaches call a significant number of pitches in the modern game.
    The Reds included, if I recall.
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    Paul Bako is reported to 'work well with the pitchers'.

    If he had a magical effect on the pitching staff why didn't he use his skilz to help Majewski, Fogg and Bailey?

    Did he just decide he didn't like them or something?

    Seems to me if he had any ability to effect a pitchers performance in a meaningfull way he could have really helped the team by working with those guys.
    It's possible that Majewski, Fogg and Bailey are beyond help, and no catcher can possibly help them.

  9. #533
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Crappy pitching can't be improved by quality catching, but young pitchers can be, especially those with talent. Sure the numbers aren't something that throws out obvious differences (like replacing Dunn with Taveras would do) but I've read too many books and interviews with catchers and pitchers to think that having a smart defensive catcher doesn't help your pitching staff. Across the board learning about the league and the nuances of everyone batting on the opposing team helps a pitcher, most teams that do have rookie or young catchers tend to be established staffs with more age than inexperience. Of course every few years a young receiver shows up and throws a wrench in that thinking, but it's less often than we'd like to believe.

  10. #534
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Crappy pitching can't be improved by quality catching, but young pitchers can be, especially those with talent. Sure the numbers aren't something that throws out obvious differences (like replacing Dunn with Taveras would do) but I've read too many books and interviews with catchers and pitchers to think that having a smart defensive catcher doesn't help your pitching staff. Across the board learning about the league and the nuances of everyone batting on the opposing team helps a pitcher, most teams that do have rookie or young catchers tend to be established staffs with more age than inexperience. Of course every few years a young receiver shows up and throws a wrench in that thinking, but it's less often than we'd like to believe.
    My take is most catchers are good enough to "help" young pitchers. The guy who's behind the plate when a young pitcher clicks tends to get svengali credit, but there aren't too many pitches out there that your average catcher can't handle (knucklers and certain split fingers excepted).

    Dave Duncan and Leo Mazzone have made a lot of catchers look smarter than they were over the past 20 years. IMO, the big difference with experienced catchers is they're probably not the least bit hesitant to demand trust (e.g. throw that pitch as filthy as you can, I'll catch it). Younger catchers probably don't put that burden on their own shoulders so readily.
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  11. #535
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Crappy pitching can't be improved by quality catching, but young pitchers can be, especially those with talent. Sure the numbers aren't something that throws out obvious differences (like replacing Dunn with Taveras would do) but I've read too many books and interviews with catchers and pitchers to think that having a smart defensive catcher doesn't help your pitching staff. Across the board learning about the league and the nuances of everyone batting on the opposing team helps a pitcher, most teams that do have rookie or young catchers tend to be established staffs with more age than inexperience. Of course every few years a young receiver shows up and throws a wrench in that thinking, but it's less often than we'd like to believe.
    Don't get me wrong. There's a value to an experienced vet catcher talking a young pitcher through a difficult at-bat. Or knowing when to trot out to the mound when a kid is gearing up to melt down. Or just being able to share that player X is susceptible to the low-and-away junk before the game.

    But that value is murky at best. What if the pitcher/catcher just don't connect or get along? What if the pitcher doesn't want to hear what the catcher has to offer? What if there's just a language barrier?

    So the value to guiding the young pitchers is there certinally, it's just too much like nailing jello to a wall to broadly say "having a sage catcher improves the entire staff by X amount". There will be some positives of a good working tandem with some guys and none with others.

    When you get to the experienced pitchers you either have the chaff like Fogg where Bench v.2008 isn't going to help, or the seasoned vet who needs zero guidance from the catcher to be successful. I just can't imagine Greg Maddoux standing on the mound thinking, "damn, I wonder what Paul Bako thinks I should do next".

    So while romantic to think of the battle hardened catcher being the little general out there, the positive benefits of "catcher wisdom" are murky at best and non-existent at worst. In todays game it's certainly not worth giving up a bunch of offense in exchange for something that can't be fully grasped or measured.
    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

  12. #536
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor View Post
    The Reds included, if I recall.

    Nope. Dusty doesn't call pitches from the dugout.
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    So what exactly did Ausmus do to improve Roger Clemons and Andy Pettit? Did he help Roy O figure out some hitherto unrealized pitching secret?

    And if Aumus somehow helped improve Clemons, Pettit and Oswalt why didn't he use the same skilz with Wandy Rodreiguez?

    Having the all-knowing sage catcher ala Tom Berringer in Major league is nice, but the tallent comes from the mound, not pep talks during visits too the mound.
    Catchers dictate a lot of stuff, pace of the game, some set-up of the defense. Confidence matters. Pitchers prefer certain catchers, for instance. It's a game played by humans. Maybe there aren't "certainties" borne out by numbers, but catchers impact teams and games. They don't make pitchers "better" perhaps, but they tighten up the field in ways that aren't immediately visible.

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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltlabner View Post
    So what exactly did Ausmus do to improve Roger Clemons and Andy Pettit? Did he help Roy O figure out some hitherto unrealized pitching secret?

    And if Aumus somehow helped improve Clemons, Pettit and Oswalt why didn't he use the same skilz with Wandy Rodreiguez?

    Having the all-knowing sage catcher ala Tom Berringer in Major league is nice, but the tallent comes from the mound, not pep talks during visits too the mound.
    Wandy Rodriguez had a better season last year than 4/5th of the Reds' rotation. Just sayin'.

    Houston's a good example: their rotation was Oswalt and a bunch of castoffs and a bullpen full of bums, yet somehow, some way, that pitching staff allowed 57 fewer runs than our vaunted, "4-pitchers-deep" starting staff and $50 million closer. Similar defenses, too, so those runs can't be blamed exclusively on the Reds' defense. I don't know what it is, but I'm not eliminating Ausmus from a decent chunk of the responsibility.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 12-21-2008 at 09:36 PM.

  15. #539
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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    But that value is murky at best. What if the pitcher/catcher just don't connect or get along? What if the pitcher doesn't want to hear what the catcher has to offer? What if there's just a language barrier?
    Murky yes, what if the catcher is a hard arse guy who treats young pitchers like crap (even though he can hit) and often intimidates the younger hurlers? Sometimes they end up tanking, that's what happened with Claude Osteen as a Red, he was bullied on the mound by Ed Bailey, whom coincidentally was dumped for a no hit catcher that the manager (who once pitched )preferred.

    As for the pitcher not wanting to throw what the catcher wants, I guess they work that out, chances are if he's a rookie he better be damn good to get away with that, most catchers have the managers standing behind them. As for the language, it helps to be able to be on the same page, chances are good that most catchers try to learn a few choice phrases in Spanish if the pitcher is speaking that. Earl Weaver got Mike Cueller a Spanish speaking catcher and it worked wonders for him.

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    Re: Freel traded for Ramon Hernandez

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer View Post
    They don't make pitchers "better" perhaps, but they tighten up the field in ways that aren't immediately visible.
    Plenty of players can point at their team mates and reposition them defensively based on experience. Yet we don't hear about the mystical power of a seasoned, wise and guruesque second-baseman that helps boost the performance of his short-stop.

    Somehow the catching position has acquired this mystique and while it has value it's so tenuous and impossible to define that it's not worth sacraficing big offensive output just to have it around.
    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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