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May 23, 2011

BP Unfiltered

Catcher Interference Leaders

by Mike Fast

In the eighth inning of Sunday night's game against the Chicago Cubs, Carl Crawford reached base on a catcher interference call against Welington Castillo. That marked the twelfth time Crawford had reached via catcher interference in the last five seasons. He easily leads the major leagues over that time frame.

The following table shows the batters who have reached at least twice by catcher's interference. I included data from spring training for the three years I have it in my database.

Batter Reg. Season 2007-11 Playoffs 2007-11 Spr. Training 2009-11
Carl Crawford 12 0 2
Hideki Matsui 7 0 2
Ryan Ludwick 6 0 1
David Murphy 5 0 3
Jacoby Ellsbury 4 1 1
Lyle Overbay 4 0 1
Edwin Encarnacion 4 0 0
Travis Hafner 3 0 0
Andre Ethier 2 0 0
Jose Guillen 2 0 0
Darin Erstad 2 0 0
Miguel Tejada 2 0 0
Ryan Freel 2 0 0
Jeff Clement 1 0 1
Andres Torres 0 0 2

Those 15 batters account for 60 percent of the 93 catcher's interference calls in the majors over the last five seasons, and they account for half of the 26 catcher's interference calls in spring training the last three years. Crawford alone accounts for 13 percent of the regular season calls.

Here are the leading catchers involved.

Catcher Reg. Season 2007-11 Playoffs 2007-11 Spr. Training 2009-11
Brian McCann 5 0 0
Gregg Zaun 5 0 0
Jeff Mathis 4 1 0
Gerald Laird 4 0 0
Jorge Posada 4 0 0
Koyie Hill 3 0 1
Mike Napoli 4 0 0
Humberto Quintero 3 0 0
Miguel Montero 3 0 0
Ronny Paulino 3 0 0
Ivan Rodriguez 2 0 1
Yorvit Torrealba 0 0 3

These 12 catchers accounted for 43 precent of the regular-season calls and 19 percent of the spring training calls. Since there are many fewer catchers than batters, we would expect individual catchers to account for a larger share of the calls than individual batters, all else being equal. The lower totals among individual catcher leaders, as compared to the batters, suggest that batters have more influence on the occurrence of catcher interference than do the catchers themselves.

Just for completeness, let's look at the leaders among pitchers.

Pitcher Reg. Season 2007-11 Playoffs 2007-11 Spr. Training 2009-11
Brian Bannister 3 0 0
Shaun Marcum 3 0 0
Ian Snell 3 0 0
Brad Penny 2 0 0
Heath Bell 2 0 0
Zack Greinke 2 0 0
Ervin Santana 2 0 0
Jered Weaver 2 0 0
John Lackey 1 1 0
Cliff Lee 1 0 1

The pitchers don't seem to have as much of an impact as the other two parties. Snell is on the list mainly because of April 11, 2010, when Adam Moore committed catcher's interference on David Murphy twice in one game. Marcum probably owes his spot on the list to Zaun, who committed two of the offenses. Bannister had the honor with three different catchers: John Buck, Miguel Olivo, and Brayan Pena.

So should we count those bases toward Crawford's on-base percentage?

(This article by Bob Timmermann is a good resource on catcher interference totals prior to 2007.)

Mike Fast is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

Related Content:  Interference

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