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01-13

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13

State of the Position: Catchers
by
Bret Sayre

08-19

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0

The Call-Up: Travis d'Arnaud
by
Mark Anderson and Bret Sayre

04-24

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7

Overthinking It: Yadier Molina's Maybe-Amazing Powers of Defensive Positioning
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-30

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 92: Why the Twins' New Prospect Isn't Their Type/Why Didn't Russell Martin Make More Money?
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-16

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BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 84: Jose Molina and What the Quantification of Catcher Framing Might Mean
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-13

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25

Overthinking It: The 50-Run Receiver
by
Ben Lindbergh

09-14

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20

Pebble Hunting: The Best Story of 2012
by
Sam Miller

09-10

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 38: The Greatness of Yadier Molina and the Not-So-Greatness of Omar Vizquel
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-30

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 32: Joe Mauer and his Contract Clear Waivers/The Demise of Erik Bedard
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

04-20

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13

Prospectus Hit and Run: Pudge Retires
by
Jay Jaffe

02-27

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31

Resident Fantasy Genius: Fantasy Tier Rankings: Catchers
by
Derek Carty

02-10

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14

The Stats Go Marching In: What Are the Rays Expecting from Jose Molina?
by
Max Marchi

02-03

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35

Future Shock: Giants Top 11 Prospects
by
Kevin Goldstein

12-16

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5

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Men Behind the Men Behind the Plate
by
Jonathan Bernhardt

09-24

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71

Spinning Yarn: Removing the Mask Encore Presentation
by
Mike Fast

06-03

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24

Baseball ProGUESTus: Can Baseball Expertise Be a Bad Thing?
by
Sam Miller

05-30

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10

Prospects Will Break Your Heart: U Got the Look: Fielding, Part II
by
Jason Parks

02-21

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11

Fantasy Focus: Catcher Rankings
by
Marc Normandin

02-16

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59

Spinning Yarn: The Real Strike Zone
by
Mike Fast

05-13

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24

Checking the Numbers: Caught Quantifying
by
Eric Seidman

05-05

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15

Checking the Numbers: Catchers on Catching
by
Eric Seidman

12-20

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19

Baseball Therapy: Will You Be My Mentor?
by
Russell A. Carleton

09-18

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5

You Could Look It Up: Mauer's Tower of Accomplishment
by
Steven Goldman

04-07

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19

Catcher Fatigue
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-04

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0

Prospectus Q&A: Josh Paul
by
David Laurila

03-23

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0

2006--Setting the Stage
by
Keith Woolner

06-23

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0

You Could Look It Up: Infinity Edition #4
by
Steven Goldman

02-01

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0

Prospectus Roundtable: Top 50 Prospects - Catchers
by
Baseball Prospectus

06-09

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0

You Could Look It Up: Draft Edition
by
Steven Goldman

05-17

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0

The Catcher Arms Race
by
Michael Wolverton

04-09

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0

Transaction Analysis: March 25-April 6, 2003
by
Christina Kahrl

05-29

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0

Aim For The Head: Simulating Catcher's ERA
by
Keith Woolner

02-15

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0

Controlling the Running Game
by
Michael Wolverton

01-10

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0

Field General or Backstop?
by
Keith Woolner

01-07

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Transaction Analysis: December 2-28
by
Dave Pease and Christina Kahrl

12-02

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Transaction Analysis: November 11-December 12
by
Dave Pease

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This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

January 13, 2014 6:00 am

State of the Position: Catchers

13

Bret Sayre

A fantasy-oriented look at the present and future behind the dish.

The beginning of each week of pre-season positional coverage here at BP is going to kick off with a high-level view of that position before we start diving too deeply into rankings, individual players and the like. And as a reminder, here is what the rest of the week’s schedule will look like:

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August 19, 2013 12:00 am

The Call-Up: Travis d'Arnaud

0

Mark Anderson and Bret Sayre

The arrivalof John Buck's baby boy precipitates the arrival of baseball's best catching prospect.

The Situation: Mets starting catcher John Buck is away from the team to welcome a baby boy into his family, and to replace him the club will turn to the top catching prospect in the system, calling up Travis d’Arnaud.

Background: Originally selected in the first round by the Phillies in 2007, d’Arnaud had already established himself as a top-flight catching prospect at the time he was dealt to Toronto as a piece in the Roy Halladay trade. After rising to Low-A as a 20-year old with the Phillies, d’Arnaud posted a .259/.315/.411 line in the High-A Florida State League in 2010 and then broke out with a massive .311/.371/.542 slash line for Double-A New Hampshire in 2011. Following that explosive season, d’Arnaud battled through injuries to hit .333 in just 67 games in the high-octane Pacific Coast League in 2012. Last winter, d’Arnaud was the centerpiece in a deal that sent knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, and he has followed up that trade with a nifty .304/.487/.554 line across 19 Triple-A games after returning from injury.

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Is the Cardinals' catcher even better than we think?

Several months after Yadier Molina made his major-league debut, we panned his career prospects in Baseball Prospectus 2005. “He’s every bit a Molina,” we said, “like his brothers in Anaheim: admirable defensive skills, inadequate bat.” Molina was 21 at the time, and catchers tend to peak later than players at other positions, so we acknowledged that there was “hope for improvement.” But not much improvement, evidently: “Expect Matheny levels of production with maybe a handful more homers.” Matheny levels of production are pretty terrible, even with a handful more homers. Given that pessimistic offensive projection, the comment’s conclusion didn’t come as a shock: “best suited to a backup role.”

Well, we nailed the part about the defensive skills. The rest seems silly now. But it didn’t start to look silly for a few seasons, and it took a few seasons more for it to become outright wrong. Through his age-27 season, Yadier’s career TAv (.237) was lower than his brother Jose’s through the same age (albeit in many more plate appearances).

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Ben and Sam discuss why prospect Alex Meyer isn't the Twins' usual type, then wonder why teams didn't think Russell Martin was worth more than the Pirates paid him.

Ben and Sam discuss why prospect Alex Meyer isn't the Twins' usual type, then wonder why teams didn't think Russell Martin was worth more than the Pirates paid him.

Episode 92: "Why the Twins' New Prospect Isn't Their Type/Why Didn't Russell Martin Make More Money?"

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Ben and Sam discuss the finding that Jose Molina's receiving was worth 50 runs and talk about what it's implications for baseball might be.

Ben and Sam discuss the finding that Jose Molina's receiving was worth 50 runs and talk about what the implications for baseball might be.

Episode 84: "Jose Molina and What the Quantification of Catcher Framing Might Mean"

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Is Jose Molina a stealth MVP candidate? Ben looks for photographic evidence.

The Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated from playoff contention on October 1st, falling short of their fourth playoff appearance in five seasons, but it wasn’t because of their pitching. The staff’s walk rate fell from 3.1 per nine innings in 2011 to 2.9 in 2012, and its strikeout rate rose from 7.1 strikeouts per inning to 8.5, good enough to set a single-season AL strikeout record. Granted, it wasn’t exactly the same group of pitchers in both seasons, and the strikeout rate rose across the league. But the pitching improvement wasn’t just maturation on the part of the pitchers or another manifestation of the game’s trend toward more strikeouts. There was also a Molina in the machine.

In March, I mentioned the Rays’ Jose Molina signing as one of my favorite moves of the offseason, writing “Molina for $1.5 million (plus an option for 2013 at the same price) might be the best value any team got from the free agent market this winter.” The month before, Max Marchi had summarized Molina’s weaknesses (hitting and blocking) and strengths (framing and throwing) in a piece called “What Are the Rays Expecting from Jose Molina?” Like Mike Fast, Max found that Molina was among the best backstops in baseball at the things he was good at and among the worst where he struggled. But according to Max’s calculations, Molina’s framing skill was so superlative that it made him the best pitch-for-pitch defensive catcher of the past 60 years, which more than made up for his flimsy bat. That’s why the Rays wanted him, and that’s why it looked like they’d gotten a good deal.

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Erik Kratz is having a weird and wonderful season. Here is everything you need to know about Kratz, and several more things besides.

Last year was one heckuva year for individual storylines. Tom Wilhelmsen and Steve Delabar returned from retirements to make impressive big-league debuts in the Mariners' bullpen. Jerome Williams did a poor-man’s Ryan Vogelsong act. Ryan Vogelsong just did the regular-man's Ryan Vogelsong act. A dog played first base. Crazy year.

This year’s best stories have been mostly about teams: Orioles, Pirates, A’s. Lew Ford is a story, but more weird than inspiring. Tom Wilhelmsen is I guess still a story, because of how good he is now, but the backpacking-through-Europe part of it is no longer fresh. Miguel Gonzalez, whose comeback from injuries took him through the Mexican League, and who wears a glove given to him by former teammate Nick Adenhart, is certainly a good story. But the best story, I submit, is in Philadelphia. 

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Ben and Sam discuss Yadier Molina's career year, catcher defense, and catcher aging, then talk about Omar Vizquel and the point at which clubhouse chemistry can't cancel out poor on-field production.

Ben and Sam discuss Yadier Molina's career year, catcher defense, and catcher aging, then talk about Omar Vizquel and the point at which clubhouse chemistry can't cancel out poor on-field production.

Episode 38: "The Greatness of Yadier Molina and the Not-So-Greatness of Omar Vizquel"

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Ben and Sam discuss whether a team should have claimed Joe Mauer, what he's worth, and what his future will look like, then talk about the end of Erik Bedard's stay in Pittsburgh and how sad it is when a guy who's always either good or injured goes bad.

Ben and Sam discuss whether a team should have claimed Joe Mauer, what he's worth, and what his future will look like, then talk about the end of Erik Bedard's stay in Pittsburgh and how sad it is when a guy who's always either good or injured goes bad.

Episode 32: "Joe Mauer and his Contract Clear Waivers/The Demise of Erik Bedard"

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It's the end of a catching era; Pudge Rodriguez is hanging up the spikes.

Ivan Rodriguez is scheduled to announce his retirement on Monday, closing the curtain on a 21-year career in which he set standards for all-around play and longevity among catchers. Rodriguez played just 44 games with the Nationals last year, and while his name surfaced as a potential stopgap for the Royals when Salvador Perez went down with a knee injury in mid-March, the 40-year-old backstop apparently did not receive a formal offer from the club. No matter, his career is as complete as a Cooperstown résumé need be without crouching around waiting for Jonathan Sanchez to find the strike zone.

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February 27, 2012 3:00 am

Resident Fantasy Genius: Fantasy Tier Rankings: Catchers

31

Derek Carty

Who should you be aiming to draft as a backstop in your fantasy leagues?

These are the catcher fantasy rankings for 2012. Check out our previous closer installment here.

My pre-season fantasy rankings return this week, and the rest of the positions will be coming fast and furious over the next couple of weeks to help get you ready for draft day.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

A comprehensive look at catcher defense by BP's latest addition reveals that the Rays may be getting plenty of bang for their buck from their new backstop.

For more about Max, see his introductory post here.


At the end of the 2011 season, the Tampa Bay Rays declined catcher Kelly Shoppach’s $3.2 million option for 2012, setting him free to explore the market for his services. On November 28th, they signed Jose Molina as his replacement for one year and $1.8 million.


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