Now that we’ve looked at a raw ranking of how catchers performed blocking pitches in 2007 (subject to concerns about pitching staff, scoring and sample size), let’s try and turn that into runs.
Using Tango’s run expectancy chart (from 99-02, so it’s likely a little off based on the lower run environment now), a catcher miss (wild pitch or passed ball) was worth about .27 runs in 2007. Using that run value, and calculating blocks above/below average for each catcher, we can determine how many runs were saved by each catcher. The average block percentage across the entire league was 86%.
Now to put players on the same scale – which might be a little unrealistic based on the possible outside influences mentioned above. There were .27 opportunities per inning in 2007. Many people use runs per 150 games as a baseline for comparison, but since we’re talking catchers here, I think runs per 120 games probably better represents a full season. So that means a full season of opportunities should be 292 opportunities. This might be a little high since there were only 12 teams that had catchers with more than 120 games last season, so I’m willing to tweak if people think it’s necessary.
We’ll sort this table according to runs saved per 120 games, limiting still to those with over 100 opportunities.
|Catcher||Innings||Misses||Opportunities||Block %||Blocks AA||Runs||Runs/120|
Mike Redmond retakes the top spot from Jason Varitek once we scale to the same number of opportunities, while Pudge looks worse again because of his low number of opportunities. However, he played almost as many innings as Varitek, but had almost 70 fewer opportunities. I don’t know if that’s an effect of scoring, pitching staff or simple variation, but it makes me wonder if, as rlc from BBTF suggested (comment 6), Pudge isn’t calling as many low breaking pitches as other catches would.
Anyway it looks like the range in value from blocking pitches is somewhere in the order of 12 to 17 runs (at least in 2007), which actually is higher than I would have imagined going in.