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  1. A few questions:

    1) The catcher knows the runs environment and so might exert more or less effort depending on that, is that accounted for?

    1.b) If you have good hustle and, i.e. get a guy out after a PB, that should count in your favor. Does the count actual runs or just estimated runs?

    2) Is there nothing to be said for keeping the pitcher from using hard to block pitches with someone on third? Who should get credit for not using hard to block pitches (I’d say the pitcher) shouldn’t this be in their WAR?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 29, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  2. sorry, I forgot, this is awesome and probably one of the big things missing from catcher defense. Thanks a million for adding it!

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 29, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  3. Can the same technique be applied to First Basemen on “Hard to Scoop” balls? I’d imagine a player like Freddie Freeman, who doesn’t have great range but handles low throws very well, would see a noticeable jump in defensive value and overall value.

    Comment by Dan Holland — February 29, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  4. This type of research is very interesting and valuable, but all of the questions you mentioned are legitimate. Considering the samples involved, they could mitigate some of the value of this data.

    Comment by Will — February 29, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  5. This is great!

    I was wondering: Are you going to implement other attributes, such as pitch framing, into WAR? BP has done numerous (and incredible) studies on the effects of pitch framing, as well as other aspects, on run prevention:

    What are your thoughts?

    Comment by Frag — February 29, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  6. Did you really just make a “catching to the score” argument?

    Comment by Max — February 29, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  7. Just curious, what do “CPP” and “RPP” actually stand for, or are we running out of letters to use for abbreviations?

    Regardless, this is really cool to see. I think this could definitely be expanded in the near future using Barkey Walker’s suggestions above.

    Comment by Bryz — February 29, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  8. No. There is a huge difference between throwing meat balls when you are up by 7 than throwing your body around / putting it in danger when there is nobody on base.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 29, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  9. I always thought UZR underrated some first baseman due to this part of the game. I think some of the other defensive metrics currently measure first baseman more accurately.

    Comment by Drew — February 29, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  10. Sorry, one more note. I got the idea for 1.b from watching a college game where the home team ate up 3B runners by having a “passed ball” followed by an out at the plate. The ball would hit the backstop just so and would pop back up towards the receding catcher who would then turn and throw out the runner at the plate. This happened two times in the game and the third time the away team did not move from third on a PB. It made me wonder if the play was well practiced.

    While this third play wasn’t worth as much as the first two, it was still pretty valuable relative to other passed balls with a guy on third. So, from that point on, unintentional PBs were not as valuable to the opponent.

    Obviously this can get a bit hart to calculate. Part of what is great about having a RF with a great arm is that sometimes runners who could get to third don’t try because of the reputation the fielder has. Obviously, for catchers, this is a much bigger effect where suppressed base running might be more valuable that normal base running even if it isn’t as valuable as caught base running.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — February 29, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  11. “RPP – The number of runs above / below average a pitcher is a blocking pitches.” Perhaps “…a [catcher] is [at] blocking pitches” ?

    Comment by Lex Logan — February 29, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  12. Hmmm, wonder where my teams catcher is.
    Nope, not on page 1…
    There he is on page 2…no wait, that’s just Donny Lucy.
    Not on page 3…
    Aw heck I bet he’s on the last page {goes to page 6}
    Yup, there’s AJ. 166 out of 177.

    Comment by MikeS — February 29, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  13. Yadier Molina is very good. More news at 11.

    Comment by Voxx — February 29, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  14. He’s better than two thirds of the Molinas though. That has to count for something.

    Comment by statszombie — February 29, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  15. so Catcher fielding for WAR on Fangraphs is a) Dewan’s SB runs saved +b) Bojan’s PB runs saved. I note that Dewan’s final run saved rating for catcher also includes Catcher ERA. I take it this is NOT included in WAR fielding.

    Comment by Darren — February 29, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  16. Correct. Catcher ERA is definitely not included in WAR.

    Comment by David Appelman — February 29, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  17. PP in this case stands for Passed Pitch. So, I think CPP is counted Passed Pitches (as in the expected passed pitch count) and then R is runs.

    Comment by David Appelman — February 29, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  18. you should adjust for knuckleballers like with Saltalamacchia

    Comment by BoSoxFan — February 29, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  19. Barkey, it’s a very valid concern, but the author has limited the data to situations where a past ball could make a difference. Obviously with no runners on and less than 2 strikes a catcher has no reason to even reach for a bad pitch, let alone try hard to block it.

    Comment by mcbrown — February 29, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  20. We also need to take into account catchers that still block the plate. It can literally be a run saved if they put their body on the line to get the runner out.

    Comment by Brofessor — February 29, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  21. Exactly. With “c” being “calculated”.

    Comment by Bojan — February 29, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  22. Well, at present there aren’t 3 cameras tracking every MLB throw to 1st base. Bill James Online had a brief John Dewan writeup in August featuring some video scout data from Baseball Info Solutions that examined how well each 2011 first baseman was at scooping balls in the dirt (search “first baseman scoops”). I don’t think that the full data set has been published yet.

    Comment by reillocity — February 29, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  23. Any chance you can throw up a graph showing how each catcher’s WAR was impacted by this change?

    Comment by dropkicksam — February 29, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  24. Nifty, Brian McCann’s career WAR went up like by like one and a half WAR.

    Comment by Ghost of Future Stats — February 29, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  25. I wonder how many Mariner fans are surprised by the next to last name on the list.

    Comment by Gary York — February 29, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  26. But he was worth a pick to the Jays.

    Comment by bluejaysstatsgeek — February 29, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  27. Be interesting to see if Salty can get those terrible numbers up now that he doesn’t have to catch Wakefield.

    Comment by Ari Collins — February 29, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

  28. Watching Brian McCann on a daily basis, he really is very good at blocking pitches. He has good hands and almost always uses his body when he should. Some catchers are relatively horrible at catching balls that go astray on their throwing hand side.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — February 29, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  29. Neat!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — March 1, 2012 @ 2:35 am

  30. That will help his burgeoning Hall of Fame chances, in the long run.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 5:58 am

  31. I’m down with RPP.

    Comment by The Ted, Section 437 — March 1, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  32. It took me a while to figure out that you get RPP by taking the differential between CPP (the expectation) and WP+PB (the actual), and multiplying by the run value. This could be made much more intuitive, partly by putting actual PP in the same table as CPP and RPP. (I’d also suggest changing CPP to XPP, but that might just be me.)

    As it is, it’s easy to look at a player’s page and think that CPP is a measure of performance rather than opportunity, because there’s no measure of performance with it.

    Comment by Tim — March 1, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  33. This just in, Matt Wieters is better

    Comment by Kyle — March 1, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  34. But gold gloves! The reputation! The legend!

    Comment by wat — March 1, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  35. this is all great stuff …i would like to see a simplified version of WAR for the general population to value mlb and college players ..
    the point of a backstop ball being practice…..My son is a D1 catcher and always throws a few into the back stop out past is normal blocking range to see where it rolls. he regularly throws out runners on base by bare handing the rebound on hard short backstops . he throws out over 50% of all runners with a best pop time is 1.73 verified by mlb …. a cannon for a arm and team mates that expect a throw helps

    Comment by adam smith — April 17, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

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