Defensive Catching Statistics — Player Analysis
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Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
Defensive Catching Statistics — Player Analysis
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on November 29, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

This week we’re looking at the Defensive Catching Statistics Stolen Base Runs Saved (rSB) and Passed Pitch Runs (RPP).

rSB looks at a catcher’s ability to save his team runs by both throwing out runners trying to steal and dissuading runners from attempting to steal because of their strong arms while RPP determines how many runs a catcher is above or below average at blocking pitches in the dirt.

To remind you of how to judge your team’s catcher based on these statistics:

Rating rSB, RPP
Excellent +5
Great +3
Above Average +1
Average 0
Below Average -1
Poor -3
Awful -5

Also if you combine a catcher’s rSB and RPP, you will need to double the above table to adjust the ratings.

Now let’s look at two of today’s best catchers Yadier Molina and Buster Posey through these Defensive Catching Statistics.  This past year, Molina’s ability to throw out runners and scare them from running on him were on full display as he posted an rSB of 8.  Looking back at the past 3 years, which I recommend to get a better picture of how a player is progressing or regressing, Molina certainly rebounded from his performance last year with an rSB of 0 to his performance level in 2010 where he posted an rSB of 6.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Molina spent more time this past offseason to improve his ability to throw out runners and put up such a great rSB this season.  In terms of RPP, Molina posted his lowest total this season at 2.0 after posting 6.0 and 5.3 in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  When adding Molina’s rSB and RPP, you get a combined score of +10 which is excellent according to FanGraphs.

Buster Posey, the 2012 NL MVP, was not as productive behind the plate as a defensive catcher as Molina but was still above average while serving as the offensive engine for the Giants.  He posted an rSB of 2.0 and a RPP of 4.0 this past season and in 2010 and 2011 he had an rSB of 4.0 and 2.0 respectively and has increased his RPP dramatically from 1.5 in 2010 and 0.8 in 2011.

With Molina in the last years of his prime (he is 30 years old) and Posey about to enter his prime (which is scary since he is only 25 and has won 2 World Series and a league MVP), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Posey continue to progress behind the plate the next 3 years while Molina’s number begin to decline.

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