Monday, April 25, 2011

The Problem With Catchers

Catcher. The most important defensive position excluding the pitcher. Heck, even good pitchers can look great with a good catcher. No one on the field knows the opposing offense better and no one else controls the tempo of the game like a catcher. Good catchers are invaluable and great catchers are priceless... Except in Fantasy Baseball...

Why you might ask? Let me answer that question with a question, or rather a statement followed quickly by a question.

Name today's great catchers. Go ahead, just do it.

Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada, Russell Martin, Brian McCann, Victor Martinez...
Were these the guys you named? Why?? I bet it has more to do with their bats than anything else. Of course, their bats are all we're worried about when talking fantasy.

So what's the problem with catchers? Well, the way this blogger sees it, it is a simple lack of opportunity, namely:
  • MLB catchers don't play everyday (unless they play another position and have 'C' eligibility-See B. Inge c.2009)
Let's take a closer look and to do so, let's compare the offense output of catchers and similarly 'shallow' positions, Shortstop and Second Base. I've dug in, averaged, and compared the top 15 scoring C/SS/2B in two categories, At Bats and Fantasy Points. For fun, I've thrown in 1B & 3B as well; and to prove that this isn't just a small sample set, I've also included 2010 full season values.

Year Position AB FP FP/AB
2011 C 58 44 .76
2011 SS 77 57 .73
2011 2B 79 57 .72
2011 3B 74 63 .85
2011 1B 77 67 .88
Year Position AB FP FP/AB
2010 C 432 276 .64
2010 SS 558 355 .64
2010 2B 577 382 .66
2010 3B 559 406 .73
2010 1B 570 452 .79

Let's look at the same data in a different way. We'll look at the catcher's At Bats & Fantasy Points as a percentage of the other positions (C AB/SS AB, etc):

Year Position AB FP
2011 SS 75% 77%
2011 2B 79% 76%
2011 3B 78% 69%
2011 1B 75% 65%
Year Position AB FP
2010 SS 77% 78%
2010 2B 75% 72%
2010 3B 77% 68%
2010 1B 76% 61%

So it looks like, if a Catcher were to get all the AB's of SS or 2B, they would score as well, if not better, but not as well as a 3B/1B.
From the above, it's pretty easy to see that the C position is held back by their lack of at bats and that is The Problem With Catchers.

**As an example, Carlton Fisk's 1985 season included 543 ABs and what would have been 455 FP in our scoring system. That would have put him as the 17th highest scorer in our league last year directly ahead of Evan Longoria.**

1 comment:

  1. They are so problematic must explain why some owners go long periods with no catcher on their roster!