Because data doesn't lie
The ‘Tek talk heats up, and rightfully so as we near spring training. I asked for some assistance in researching the stats on catching and how it affects teams and Gary from Chapel Hill (he of ‘Nuggetpalooza’) was more than willing to provide the sweat equity needed to get this done.
Gary went back to 1980 and looked at every team (what a trooper) and based on my earlier assumptions this was the data that came back.
By the way, that’s a total of 864 teams to start with.
The first stat is one that tells a story in and of itself. Only 35 teams went from having 80 percent-plus of the innings caught by a catcher that’s been with the team for three or more seasons to a next year of less than 40 percent of their innings caught by a catcher that’s been with the team for three or more seasons.
That so few teams have done it only reinforces my belief that they realize how vital this is to a staff’s stability. That’s less than 4 percent of the teams during that period.
Of those 35 teams they breakdown as follows:
– Four showed very little ERA change from Year 1 to Year 2 (less than .10 either way);
– Nine had their ERA decrease by at least 0.10 (two of those by 0.50 or more);
– Twenty-two had their ERA jump by at least 0.10 (10 of those by 0.50 or more).
That so few teams did it is an indicator in and of itself. That 22 of 35 had an increase of a tenth of a run or more, 10 teams by more than a half a run, is telling and really not surprising. There are so many variables that are just impossible to factor in — health, injuries, new signings, free agents leaving, rookies that impact both ways, but overall it’s to be expected that a team featuring a new catcher would see ERA problems a majority of time due to the staggering work a catcher needs to do to handle 12-20 pitchers in a season.
Add to that the fact that so few catchers actually do it anyway, and I can only feel the argument to have ‘Tek back is even stronger.
The other X Factor is the Red Sox themselves. This team is way outside the box in terms of scouting and preparation. I know for a fact in the past five years we’ve beaten teams before a series started simply by talking to other pitchers and hearing what they do as a staff to prepare.
Throw out what’s happened, it’s meaningless at this point. ‘Tek declined arbitration, the Sox walked away, Boras f’d this up in about 50 different ways. But the facts are that ‘Tek wants to play here, he hasn’t signed yet, and this team doesn’t have it’s starting catcher for the 2009 season.
I’m hoping the past weekend was a good sign in that Jason has taken this on himself and met with Mr Henry to try and make that happen. I can’t imagine him wearing another uniform, I can’t imagine him not being the captain on this team and retiring here.
Here’s to hoping it happens.
P.S. Go Steelers!