Two weeks ago, I published Deconstructing the Catcher: Valuating the Five Tools of the Backstop. It was long. But it was actually even longer. In an effort to keep the piece from reaching “War and Peace” lengths, I edited out a lot. I was pleased to see that my article had a favorable response, not just from the Crawfish Boxes community, but outside the Astros fan community as well.
In one of the later sections of the article, “Reconstructing the Catcher”, I explored using each catcher’s skill spectrum scores to created weighted Overall Spectrum Scores. In the weighted overall score, each skill is weighted by their relative impact to team success to create an overall score for the catcher, roughly on a 0 to 100 scale. I reported the top 5 overall scores for 2017 thru 2019, and score breakdowns for Astros-related catchers.
Because the main point of the article was about the value of catcher skills in general, and not of individual players, I did not publish all catcher scores and breakdowns. Since I released my article, I have had some requests to publish all of the catchers’ scores breakdowns. So here are the catcher skill spectrum scores and weighted overall spectrum scores from the last three and a half years. 2019 has been updated through the All-Star Break.
This is simply an appendix to the original article. For full details on the methodology and exactly how these scores are calculated, please refer to the original article.
- Data is taken from Baseball Prospectus.
- Catchers who caught 500 innings and had 250 PA’s are used to create the skill spectrum.
- Batting skill is derived from BRAA per PA, applied to 400 PA.
- Baserunning skill is derived from BRR per PA, applied to 400 PA.
- Pitch framing skill is derived from Framing Runs per Framing Chances, then applied to the number of Framing Chances the average catcher included in the spectrum would have over 825 innings.
- Throwing skill is derived from Throwing Runs per Inning Caught, applied to 825 innings.
- Blocking skill is derived from Blocking Runs per Blocking Chances, then applied to the number of Blocking Chances the average catcher included in the spectrum would have over 825 innings.
- The 10th percentile catcher in a skill is set at 0. The 90th percentile catcher is set at 100.
- For the weighted Overall Spectrum Score, the five skill scores are combined. Weighting is determined by the relative difference in impact between the five skills (illustrated in pie graphs)
- The tighter a spectrum is (for example, baserunning does not have a very large differential between the 90th and 10th percentile catchers), the more volatile a catcher’s score may be in that skill from year to year. But the tightness of the spectrum also leads this skill score to be weighted less in the overall score.
I have updated catcher data and scores through the 2019 All Star Break. As an average of only 90 of 162 games have been played, catchers required only 140 PA and 275 IC to qualify for inclusion in the spectrum. As I discussed in the original article, batting is weighted more heavily than in prior years. This is likely a function of the smaller sample sizes that come with using half season data. As catchers accumulate more plate appearances as the season goes on, the variance in batting should go down and the weighting should more closely resemble the pie graphs of 2016-2018. Even in recalculating the weightings from June 23 to July 7, with just two additional weeks of data, the weighting continued to shift towards previous year’s data.
2019 (Thru AS Break) Catcher Skills and Weighted Overall Spectrum Scores
For those of you with nice big tablet or computer screens, here is the table in JPEG format, with hot and cold color shading:
That is it for now. At the end of the season, I will update the 2019 data. If you have any questions not addressed in the original article, or if you have additional score breakdown requests for catchers not included in the table who may have fallen just short of the 500 IC or 250 PA requirements, let me know in the comments or by twitter @mhatter106 .