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Entries in Yadier Molina (5)


The Tools of Intelligence: A look at NL contending catchers

One of the great statistical strides we have made in recent years is in appreciating the defensive metrics of catchers.

As Yadier Molina is being considered as an MVP candidate this season, it's not just because of his .334 batting average, but the difference he makes when he is behind the plate.

Here are the primary catchers for the NL contenders

National League Catchers
Ryan Hanigan (CIN) 51 1740 .224 .282 .375 .657 23.1% 6.6% 3.3% 30.1% 34.5%
A. J. Ellis (LAD) 86 3089 .233 .297 .345 .642 20.8% 7.7% 2.0% 28.2% 31.8%
Russell Martin (PIT) 93 3422 .237 .312 .346 .657 20.7% 8.7% 2.1% 28.2% 32.4%
Brian McCann (ATL) 67 2407 .237 .293 .358 .651 22.0% 6.4% 2.1% 28.8% 33.0%
Devin Mesoraco (CIN) 74 2564 .244 .309 .386 .694 21.2% 7.8% 2.6% 29.5% 33.3%
Yadier Molina (STL) 99 3485 .246 .306 .364 .670 21.3% 6.9% 2.0% 28.9% 34.1%
Miguel Montero (ARI) 89 3353 .257 .317 .407 .725 19.6% 7.2% 3.0% 28.7% 32.3%

The biggest surprise?

For me, the biggest surprise was the effectiveness of Ryan Hanigan of the Reds.

First of all, when he's behind the plate he has the best batting average against of all the receivers being considered.

Next, his pitchers' strikeout rate is the highest of all the catchers and as you look at the chart you can see why: his called strike rate is the highest which means he's framing pitches well and even his chase rate is high which to me indicates his strength in staying steady behind the plate and not moving too much.

Of course, his home run allowed percentage is significantly higher than Yadier's.

Oh, don't forget that Hanigan is a .199 batter, 135 points less than the great Molina.

More stats to consider

  Age Tm G Inn Rtot PB WP SB CS CS%

A.J. Ellis 32 LAD 86 748.0 9 5 28 26 24 48%

Ryan Hanigan 32 CIN 51 429.2 4 3 17 10 11 52%

Russell Martin 30 PIT 93 817.1 8 4 35 36 29 45%

Brian McCann 29 ATL 67 593.2 7 1 11 32 13 29%

Devin Mesoraco 25 CIN 74 608.2 -1 3 20 35 11 24%

Yadier Molina 30 STL 99 843.0 10 2 16 18 14 44%

Miguel Montero 29 ARI 89 796.1 -0 7 39 22 12 35%
  LgAvg     15 124 0 1 5 7 3 29%
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/20/2013.

You have to appreciate Yaddy's Rtot which indicates his play has saved 10 runs above average. This shows his MVP caliber defense.

Additionally, having A.J. Ellis behind the plate is clearly a plus for the Dodgers and there is no question that while Russell Martin is not the league's MVP, his value to the Pirates should not be minimized.

Make sure you take notice of Hanigan's, Molina's, and Martin's rate of throwing out base runners.

Here are their pitcher/catcher ERAs and all Runs allowed over 9 innings

  Pitching Stats  
  Tm PA ERA RAvg
A.J. Ellis LAD 3089 3.06 3.42
Ryan Hanigan CIN 1740 3.37 3.54
Russell Martin PIT 3422 3.16 3.38
Brian McCann ATL 2407 2.94 3.24
Devin Mesoraco CIN 2564 3.31 3.59
Yadier Molina STL 3485 3.22 3.45
Miguel Montero ARI 3353 3.80 4.03
LgAvg   524 3.73 4.07
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/20/2013. 

While there might be concern about Brian McCann's rate of throwing out baserunners, check out his ERA.

Not only watch who's at the plate, watch who's behind the plate

We have six weeks of great regular season baseball ahead and watching the catcher play will only add to your enjoyment.


Posey, Molina, Miggy Among MLB's Best Junk Ball Hitters

In general, swinging at pitches thrown out of the strike zone is about as sound a strategy as playing in traffic. Batters are hitting a paltry .177 and slugging .238 this season when they go after stuff thrown off the plate -- not far off the .148 average and .195 slugging percentage that pitchers have managed when swinging themselves. Put another way, taking a cut at junk thrown out of the zone makes you about as effective a hitter as the man throwing the pitch.

While swinging at would-be balls is disastrous for most hitters, some still manage to do damage even when they go after pitches only Vlad Guerrero would think are strikes. Buster Posey and Yadier Molina aren't just the best catchers in baseball -- they're also the game's best bad-ball hitters in 2013. Miguel Cabrera, whose league-leading 203 OPS+ is highest for a Tigers hitter since Ty Cobb, has also been excellent when he goes fishing out of the strike zone. Posey, Molina and Miggy rank in the top five in slugging percentage when swinging at pitches thrown out of the zone.

Highest slugging percentage vs. out-of-zone pitches (through Friday's games)

Posey doesn't chase pitches all that often -- 21.9% of the time, which is well under the 27.3% MLB average. But when he does, he usually expands his zone horizontally and hammers pitches thrown in on the hands or off the outside corner.

Posey's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches

Molina, meanwhile, chases at a slightly higher than average clip (28.3%) and inflicts pain on pitchers who venture too far inside. Eight of his nine extra-base hits on stuff thrown out of the zone have come against inside pitches.

Molina's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches

Cabrera goes after more off-the-plate pitches than Posey or Molina (28.8%), but he's similar to San Francisco's All-Star backstop in that he crushes stuff thrown inside or off the outside corner. Miggy has four home runs on pitches thrown out of the strike zone, tying him with Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis and Adrian Gonzalez for the major league lead.

Cabrera's slugging percentage by location against out-of-zone pitches


NL Best & Worst Hitters Home & Away

I know it is not a revelation, but there is no National League hitting equivalent of Miguel Cabrera.

NL Home and Away stars

The closest we can find in terms of home and away hitting in the NL, is the Brewers Carlos Gomez who is hitting .362 in Milwaukee and .378 away from home.

Next among the elite NL home and away batters are the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez who is hitting .345 in LA and .345 on the road and Yadier Molina hitting .333 in St. Louis and .324 on the road.

Home bodies

The top three hitters at home in the NL are: 

Road Warriors

We expect, and understand, hitting success in Colorado which is what makes Wilin Rosario's .417 road batting average, the best in the NL, fascinating. But what makes it truly amazing is that he is only hitting .184 at Coors.

The guys who prefer the road to hit are: 

Equal opportunity batter

Jean Segura is hitting .333 at home/.333 on the road. Segura is the only NL batter within four points on his home and away averages.

Some numbers of note 

  • Adam LaRoche is hitting .091 in Washington, the worst home batting average in the NL.
  • Rickie Weeks is hitting .095 away from Milwaukee, the worst road batting average in the NL.
  • B.J. Upton is hitting .133 in Atlanta and .159 away.
  • Ike Davis is hitting .176 in New York and .167 away.
  • Matt Kemp is hitting .189 in LA and .328 away.
  • Lucas Duda is hitting .200 in New York and .308 away.
  • Andrew McCutchen is hitting .316 in Pittsburgh and .182 away.
  • Jimmy Rollins is hitting .275 in Philly and .185 away.
  • Alfonso Soriano is hitting .333 in Chicago and .200 away.
  • Jedd Gyorko is hitting .333 in San Diego and .203 away.
  • Buster Posey is hitting .360 in San Francisco and .204 away.
  • Starlin Castro is hitting .329 in Chicago and .224 away.
  • David DeJesus is hitting .347 in Chicago and .224 away.
  • Carl Crawford is hitting .377 in LA and .241 away.
  • Bryce Harper is hitting .370 in Washington and .255 away.
  • Pete Kozma is hitting .216 in St. Louis and .297 away.