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Thread: Mike Piazza - Can an argument be made that he's the best catcher ever?

  1. #101
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    Here are the top 10 OPS+ seasons for various catchers(100+ games per season):

    Bench 166 143 141 140 133 129 129 123 123 119 avg 134.6
    Piazza 185 172 166 155 153 152 148 140 138 135 avg 154.4
    Berra 142 141 137 136 135 130 125 120 120 119 avg 130.5
    Pudge 137 128 126 125 120 120 114 100 98 98 avg 116.6
    Gabby 158 151 144 142 138 129 126 116 115 113 avg 133.2
    Mickey 158 149 138 134 134 129 124 122 117 108 avg 131.3

    Piazza murders the above in hitting. He's in a different league altogether, when it comes to hitting. Piazza, unfortunately, gave back his advantage and then some with his muscle-bound throwing arm.

    Piazza allowed 139 SB while thowing out 42 runners per 162 games caught for his entire career. Pudge, on the other hand, allowed only 52 SB while throwing out 44 runners per 162 games caught. I.e, Piazza allowed 87 more bases per 162 games while creating a similar amount of outs. If we subtract those 87 extra bases from Piazza's total bases created offensively, then Pudge actually edges him out(by 22 points in OPS). To be fair, Pudge had arguably the best arm in history. He consistently threw out 50% more runners than the league average. Only Campanella comes close to making that claim. No other Hall of Famer comes remotely close in throwing dominance. Cochrane had a mediocre arm compared to his peers. Thus, I'll take Piazza over Cochrane.

    I'd hate to play the 1980s Cards with Piazza as my catcher. Similarly, I wouldn't want to play Ty Cobb's Tigers with Piazza as my catcher. Giving up a stolen base during that low-scoring era is much more likely to cost you a ball game. But like I said earlier, in eras where SB are way down(1920-1950s), I'll take Piazza over anyone. When considering all eras, I still think he ends up around 3rd.

  2. #102
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    Similar to pheasant's list. Most years 130+ OPS+, minimum 75 G at catcher and 90 G played overall.
    Code:
    Rk                   Yrs From   To   Age
    1        Mike Piazza  10 1993 2002 24-33
    2     Ernie Lombardi   7 1932 1945 24-37 H
    3        Bill Dickey   6 1933 1939 26-32 H
    4        Ted Simmons   5 1975 1980 25-30
    5        Gene Tenace   5 1974 1980 27-33
    6       Carlton Fisk   5 1972 1990 24-42 H
    7       Johnny Bench   5 1970 1977 22-29 H
    8         Yogi Berra   5 1950 1956 25-31 H
    9     Roy Campanella   5 1949 1955 27-33 H
    10   Mickey Cochrane   5 1930 1935 27-32 H
    11    Gabby Hartnett   5 1924 1937 23-36 H
    12         Joe Mauer   4 2006 2010 23-27
    13      Jorge Posada   4 2000 2007 28-35
    14      Todd Hundley   4 1995 2000 26-31
    15       Gary Carter   4 1977 1985 23-31 H
    16         Joe Torre   4 1964 1970 23-29
    17      Wally Schang   4 1914 1926 24-36
    Eradicate, wipe out and abolish redundancy.

    Free El Duque!(and Mark Mulder) -- discover how the HOF rules are cheating this renowned member of Torre's Yankees dynasty and ask the HOF to include him on the ballot for the next BBWAA election.

  3. #103
    your data is wrong bench had six years and 2 at 129 which is almost as good

    OPS+ is one small way to rank a player and does not include a large portion of the game (defense, base running, leadership, clutch etc.)



    QUOTE=Freakshow;2005617]Similar to pheasant's list. Most years 130+ OPS+, minimum 75 G at catcher and 90 G played overall.
    Code:
    Rk                   Yrs From   To   Age
    1        Mike Piazza  10 1993 2002 24-33
    2     Ernie Lombardi   7 1932 1945 24-37 H
    3        Bill Dickey   6 1933 1939 26-32 H
    4        Ted Simmons   5 1975 1980 25-30
    5        Gene Tenace   5 1974 1980 27-33
    6       Carlton Fisk   5 1972 1990 24-42 H
    7       Johnny Bench   5 1970 1977 22-29 H
    8         Yogi Berra   5 1950 1956 25-31 H
    9     Roy Campanella   5 1949 1955 27-33 H
    10   Mickey Cochrane   5 1930 1935 27-32 H
    11    Gabby Hartnett   5 1924 1937 23-36 H
    12         Joe Mauer   4 2006 2010 23-27
    13      Jorge Posada   4 2000 2007 28-35
    14      Todd Hundley   4 1995 2000 26-31
    15       Gary Carter   4 1977 1985 23-31 H
    16         Joe Torre   4 1964 1970 23-29
    17      Wally Schang   4 1914 1926 24-36
    [/QUOTE]
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9RoyHobbsRF View Post
    The hitting difference in the two men is not as close as WAR would make it seem. In 1979, for instance, Bench hit 22 80 .276 and managed 5.0 WAR. In just the first HALF of 2000, in 74 games, Piazza went 24 78 .348. His half a season's worth of stats is superior to all but maybe 5 of Bench's entire seasons.

    and 2000 was surrounded by a bunch of seasons where guys hit 60, 66, 70 and 73 home runs

    big deal

    the eras were different

    you seem to have a hard time including this in your evaluation
    I do include this in my evaluation. Should I penalize Piazza because he could not keep up with guys who took steroids? I give him MORE credit, because his relative stats are unfairly skewed due to being compared to players who juiced.

    He may have been the best CLEAN hitter of his era.

    If Bench gets 5+ WAR in a season that would be a half a seasons worth of production for Piazza, and Piazza gets less, then it is a flaw with the stat.

    I give Bench all the credit in the world for his defensive work..he has a good case as a better overall career than Piazza. But please do not try to compare them offensively. Even being in much worse lineups, and competing against roiders, Piazza still beats him by a significant margin in relative rates. He batted over .300 9 years in a row, in Dodger and Shea stadiums.....Bench NEVER did. Piazza has more 100 RBI seasons, despite losing 2 due to the strike, and having nobodies in the lineup...I cant imagine what he would have hit with Morgan, Rose, Foster, Perez, etc in the lineup with him.

    In terms of hitting, Jorge Posada is a better match for Bench than Piazza is.
    Last edited by willshad; 04-28-2012 at 10:57 AM.

  5. #105
    Piazza is among the very short list of players who is highly suspected of steroids

    calling him 100% clean is a leap

    I am also sorry you dont like the way WAR works

    then you have to resort to personal opinions

    a dime a dozen

    my opinion (and WAR) is Bench is better than Piazza both career and peak

    does not leave much else



    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I do include this in my evaluation. Should I penalize Piazza because he could not keep up with guys who took steroids? I give him MORE credit, because his relative stats are unfairly skewed due to being compared to players who juiced.

    He may have been the best CLEAN hitter of his era.

    If Bench gets 5+ WAR in a season that would be a half a seasons worth of production for Piazza, and Piazza gets less, then it is a flaw with the stat.
    Last edited by 9RoyHobbsRF; 04-28-2012 at 10:56 AM.
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
    2. Strat-O-Matic Baseball Player, Collector and Hobbyist since 1969, visit my strat site: http://somgamersparadiseforum.smfforfree4.com/index.php

  6. #106
    Just something to add:

    Bench played other positions outside of catcher throughout his whole career.

    Like in his best offensive season 1972, he played about 30 games in the OF, 1B, and 3B.

    Piazza never moved from catcher until he was old. Even then, it was only briefly for half a season in 2004.
    Last edited by redban; 04-28-2012 at 12:36 PM.

  7. #107
    At the end of the day, here's my take. In terms of peak measurable performance and career measurable performance, Bench, Berra, and Piazza are the top 3. Piazza grades out in WAR and Win Shares as well as Bench and Berra in peak performance. BUT, he's more skewed than the others. Piazza is the best hitting catcher in ML history, and that drives his values. Bench and Berra were both fine hitters, though not at Piazza's level. But, they were both A defenders, or near to it, while Piazza, when you integrate all his defense, was a C defender or at best a C+ defender.

    Bench and Berra were more well rounded, and that wins the day for me. Based on what they accomplished in MLB, Bench narrowly edges Berra, with Piazza in third place. But, I still believe that Roy Campanella, had he been allowed to come to the Majors 5 years earlier, would be on equal footing with Bench and Berra.

  8. #108
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    I agree with BigRon almost completely, although I might flip Berra over Bench when adding in his postseason performance. Not sure whether I'd consider Piazza a C or C+ defender. It varied so much throughout his career. I'd like to put Piazza higher, but don't think that's where he rates. He's from my area of Pennsylvania, and even played in a semi-pro (I guess you'd call it that) summer league against a number of my friends, whose team had Jamie Moyer and John Smiley as two or their three starting pitchers. It was a really good team. Jamie was at St. Joseph's at the time.

  9. #109
    There's so much more to the significance of excellence as a catcher [and ultimate value] that I started rooting around for whatever evidence there might be to evaluate top catchers and lose the Piazza "big bat" "no defense" image.

    Recently, there have been studies on B-P [and elsewhere] attempting to put a defense runs value on catcher "framing" of pitchers, the argument being that Piazza might excel here. It's all sabermetric pitch plotting on scatter plots, ball vs, strike swaying of umpires, pitch trajectory and debate over umpire psychology and batter knowledge of the strike zone.

    From that I took the idea of using PB + WP as a percentage of on-base situations against League rates. Since a WP or a PB are recorded when damage is done due to runner[s] on base, there can indeed be a run value put to that. I use .47 for a working model; and Piazza, applying that value, gets out of negative defense runs territory and into the plus column, slightly. However, most great catchers under consideration also gain defense runs from this perspective.

    Here's how the catchers come out, in terms of total production, defense + offensive run creation, with Plate Appearances as the denominator. The references I use for batting runs created are those in B-R. For average, runs created per PA, I use .125, which converts to 75 runs created in 600 PA. Ultimately that is equivalent to a 4.51 runs per game scoring environment per team over a 162 game schedule.

    Listed are the catchers, the net sum of batting runs +/- defense runs; the quotient of dividing that net total by total plate appearances. For the sake of ease and uniformity, I use 125 games catching as a catching "season." The plate appearances for batting runs are career, at any/all positions. The four decimal figure i net overall productivity in RUNS/Plate APPEARANCE.

    Catcher..................Defense Runs..........Total Runs.............PA..............Productivity..... .....Career, Runs Above AVG

    Tenace......................37.................... ...841...................5527.............. .1522................... 177.8
    I-Rod........................136.................... .1568.................10270.............. .1527................... 335.6
    Hartnett....................385................... ..1546...................7297.............. .2119................... 670.4
    Bench.......................143................... ..1382...................8674.............. .1593................... 341.1
    Piazza........................62.................. ....1396..................7745.............. .1802....................466.6
    Carter.......................310.................. ...1470..................9019............... .1630...................387.7
    Berra........................292.................. ....1557..................8359............... .1863...................553.9
    Dickey......................251................... ...1415..................7064............... .2003...................567.3
    Cochrane..................174..................... .1246..................6207............... .2007.................501.2
    Campanella................185..................... ..942..................4816............... .1956..................364.1

    All defense runs numbers include addition of defense runs for PB+WP rates versus League, which benefits Piazza, along with others noted for defensive ability. I figure that's equitable, since nothing is done out of context or weighting that would diminish offense.

  10. #110
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    There's so much more to the significance of excellence as a catcher [and ultimate value] that I started rooting around for whatever evidence there might be to evaluate top catchers and lose the Piazza "big bat" "no defense" image.

    Recently, there have been studies on B-P [and elsewhere] attempting to put a defense runs value on catcher "framing" of pitchers, the argument being that Piazza might excel here. It's all sabermetric pitch plotting on scatter plots, ball vs, strike swaying of umpires, pitch trajectory and debate over umpire psychology and batter knowledge of the strike zone.

    From that I took the idea of using PB + WP as a percentage of on-base situations against League rates. Since a WP or a PB are recorded when damage is done due to runner[s] on base, there can indeed be a run value put to that. I use .47 for a working model; and Piazza, applying that value, gets out of negative defense runs territory and into the plus column, slightly. However, most great catchers under consideration also gain defense runs from this perspective.

    Here's how the catchers come out, in terms of total production, defense + offensive run creation, with Plate Appearances as the denominator. The references I use for batting runs created are those in B-R. For average, runs created per PA, I use .125, which converts to 75 runs created in 600 PA. Ultimately that is equivalent to a 4.51 runs per game scoring environment per team over a 162 game schedule.

    Listed are the catchers, the net sum of batting runs +/- defense runs; the quotient of dividing that net total by total plate appearances. For the sake of ease and uniformity, I use 125 games catching as a catching "season." The plate appearances for batting runs are career, at any/all positions. The four decimal figure i net overall productivity in RUNS/Plate APPEARANCE.

    Catcher..................Defense Runs..........Total Runs.............PA..............Productivity..... .....Career, Runs Above AVG

    Tenace......................37.................... ...841...................5527.............. .1522................... 177.8
    I-Rod........................136.................... .1568.................10270.............. .1527................... 335.6
    Hartnett....................385................... ..1546...................7297.............. .2119................... 670.4
    Bench.......................143................... ..1382...................8674.............. .1593................... 341.1
    Piazza........................62.................. ....1396..................7745.............. .1802....................466.6
    Carter.......................310.................. ...1470..................9019............... .1630...................387.7
    Berra........................292.................. ....1557..................8359............... .1863...................553.9
    Dickey......................251................... ...1415..................7064............... .2003...................567.3
    Cochrane..................174..................... .1246..................6207............... .2007.................501.2
    Campanella................185..................... ..942..................4816............... .1956..................364.1

    All defense runs numbers include addition of defense runs for PB+WP rates versus League, which benefits Piazza, along with others noted for defensive ability. I figure that's equitable, since nothing is done out of context or weighting that would diminish offense.
    Lee, I haven't been following the arcana of the defensive dsiscussion in great detail. I see that you give Bench relatively modest defensive numbers, at least in comparison to the "control" group. Everything I've ever seen/read rates Bench very high defensively. What is it that brings him down defensively in your evaluation. I'm not arguing that you're wrong, I'm interested in what data that you consider which downgrades him.

  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    There's so much more to the significance of excellence as a catcher [and ultimate value] that I started rooting around for whatever evidence there might be to evaluate top catchers and lose the Piazza "big bat" "no defense" image.

    Recently, there have been studies on B-P [and elsewhere] attempting to put a defense runs value on catcher "framing" of pitchers, the argument being that Piazza might excel here. It's all sabermetric pitch plotting on scatter plots, ball vs, strike swaying of umpires, pitch trajectory and debate over umpire psychology and batter knowledge of the strike zone.

    From that I took the idea of using PB + WP as a percentage of on-base situations against League rates. Since a WP or a PB are recorded when damage is done due to runner[s] on base, there can indeed be a run value put to that. I use .47 for a working model; and Piazza, applying that value, gets out of negative defense runs territory and into the plus column, slightly. However, most great catchers under consideration also gain defense runs from this perspective.

    Here's how the catchers come out, in terms of total production, defense + offensive run creation, with Plate Appearances as the denominator. The references I use for batting runs created are those in B-R. For average, runs created per PA, I use .125, which converts to 75 runs created in 600 PA. Ultimately that is equivalent to a 4.51 runs per game scoring environment per team over a 162 game schedule.

    Listed are the catchers, the net sum of batting runs +/- defense runs; the quotient of dividing that net total by total plate appearances. For the sake of ease and uniformity, I use 125 games catching as a catching "season." The plate appearances for batting runs are career, at any/all positions. The four decimal figure i net overall productivity in RUNS/Plate APPEARANCE.

    Catcher..................Defense Runs..........Total Runs.............PA..............Productivity..... .....Career, Runs Above AVG

    Tenace......................37.................... ...841...................5527.............. .1522................... 177.8
    I-Rod........................136.................... .1568.................10270.............. .1527................... 335.6
    Hartnett....................385................... ..1546...................7297.............. .2119................... 670.4
    Bench.......................143................... ..1382...................8674.............. .1593................... 341.1
    Piazza........................62.................. ....1396..................7745.............. .1802....................466.6
    Carter.......................310.................. ...1470..................9019............... .1630...................387.7
    Berra........................292.................. ....1557..................8359............... .1863...................553.9
    Dickey......................251................... ...1415..................7064............... .2003...................567.3
    Cochrane..................174..................... .1246..................6207............... .2007.................501.2
    Campanella................185..................... ..942..................4816............... .1956..................364.1

    All defense runs numbers include addition of defense runs for PB+WP rates versus League, which benefits Piazza, along with others noted for defensive ability. I figure that's equitable, since nothing is done out of context or weighting that would diminish offense.
    Asside from getting an assist, how do you account for catchers allowing more or fewer stolen bases (since that is not one of the factors you mentioned using in your analysis). Bench had a year where he threw out 31 and allowed only 24 steals. Piazza had one where he allowed well over 100 and only threw out only in the 20s. My guess is you count assists, but not stolen bases allowed. A basic sabermetric estimate is that Piazza gave up aroung 130 runs more than an average catcher on all steal attemps and that Bench saved about 130 more than average.
    Last edited by brett; 04-29-2012 at 12:56 PM.

  12. #112
    ^ people that create their own method of rating something based on far-fetched assumptions usually have an agenda

    he had a similar rating for 2B where Rogers Hornsby was rated much higher than Eddie Collins, which goes against almost any normal analyses (and historical ranking by any and all experts) of their defensive prowess

    Piazza was a good hitter in a good hitting era but he is among suspected users and his defense was a detriment to his value
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
    2. Strat-O-Matic Baseball Player, Collector and Hobbyist since 1969, visit my strat site: http://somgamersparadiseforum.smfforfree4.com/index.php

  13. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Asside from getting an assist, how do you account for catchers allowing more or fewer stolen bases (since that is not one of the factors you mentioned using in your analysis). Bench had a year where he threw out 31 and allowed only 24 steals. Piazza had one where he allowed well over 100 and only threw out only in the 20s. My guess is you count assists, but not stolen bases allowed. A basic sabermetric estimate is that Piazza gave up aroung 130 runs more than an average catcher on all steal attemps and that Bench saved about 130 more than average.
    I tried to distill the data I used for the listing. Yes, I do use stolen bases and caught stealing rates in my defensive metric for catchers, as might have been deduced from the relative defense runs listed for the 10 named catchers.

    In spite of this, the CS% is far from the total essence of catcher evaluation, amounting to about 30%, + or -, in part determined by the catcher's individual CS%.

    EDIT: I am well aware that Piazza, who nailed only 423 would-be stealers, while allowing 1,400 to succeed [23%], he would, by sabermeric measure be at +254 for the ones caught and -560 for the ones that got away, being -306 bases [[NOPE, -60 defense runs in the process. My metric overall gives him a rating of .921 versus an average MLB catcher at .930-.937 per season or, based upon games played, about -60 career [otherwise, average]

    Sabermetric studies on "framing" which grant Piazza up to +250 defense runs for that nebulous skill, would still have him in minus territory. I can see his WP+PB rates getting him very slightly into above average defense territory; but some greats listed also benefit from that category.

    My point was that total catcher value must weigh both defensive and offensive contributions; and I have no problem with making PA a credible denominators for net productivity.

    I listed the catchers in no order of ranking. However, by whatever perspective one chooses, there is a factual presentation of the results that would not have Piazza as #1 of all catchers [1901 to Present].
    Last edited by leewileyfan; 04-29-2012 at 07:20 PM.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I do include this in my evaluation. Should I penalize Piazza because he could not keep up with guys who took steroids? I give him MORE credit, because his relative stats are unfairly skewed due to being compared to players who juiced.

    He may have been the best CLEAN hitter of his era.
    And you know that he is clean because...?


    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I give Bench all the credit in the world for his defensive work..he has a good case as a better overall career than Piazza. But please do not try to compare them offensively.
    I don't think anyone is compareing them offensively; clearly Piazza is the better hitter.


    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    In terms of hitting, Jorge Posada is a better match for Bench than Piazza is.
    Bench is a better hitter than Posada.

  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by 9RoyHobbsRF View Post
    ^ people that create their own method of rating something based on far-fetched assumptions usually have an agenda
    This hanging chad bit seems to have been used as a referenced source for the observation that followed it. However, the original source of 'far-fetched assumptions usually hav[ing] an agenda,' is not identified.

    THEN, this:

    he had a similar rating for 2B where Rogers Hornsby was rated much higher than Eddie Collins, which goes against almost any normal analyses (and historical ranking by any and all experts) of their defensive prowess
    "He" has a name on the board. The name is leewileyfan. He [lwf] indeed posted a rating for Rogers Hornsby at 2B that was superior to Eddie Collins' defensive rating. That came with a detailed explanation, year-by-year, side-by-side comparisons to justify the findings and explain them thoroughly.

    1. They were in no way "similar" to Mike Piazza's rating information at all;

    2. There was no statement that was as undefined as "much higher." The comps were specific and mathematically precise. There was no exaggeration at all.

  16. #116
    Quote Originally Posted by BigRon View Post
    Lee, I haven't been following the arcana of the defensive dsiscussion in great detail. I see that you give Bench relatively modest defensive numbers, at least in comparison to the "control" group. Everything I've ever seen/read rates Bench very high defensively. What is it that brings him down defensively in your evaluation. I'm not arguing that you're wrong, I'm interested in what data that you consider which downgrades him.
    Big Ron: It's not that I rate Bench low defensively at all. It's just that, evaluating all primary catchers between 1901 and the Present, ther are several who come out ahead of him. Many of these guys were great defensive catchers who almost nevr get mentioned in any conversation about "great" catchers [at least, not much any more].

    Among my personal defensive favorites was Jim Hegan. To my surprise, I have Johnny Bench ahead of Hegan.

    I just ran numbers on some of the great defenders to see how many defense runs they's pick up [or lose], if I incorporated the WP + PB elements as a separate skill set to be injected into their overall defense ratings. Here's who they are and how they fared in +/-DR, along with their ratings vs. MLB average catcher [1901-Present]:

    Catcher.............Rating......... MLB C AVG.......... +/- WP+PB Element Runs, Career

    Hartnett............ .973........... .930.................... +59.8
    Dickey............... .966.......................................+149.1
    Cochrane........... .957........................................+ 49.9
    Campanella........ .961........................................+ 71.2
    Berra................ .960.......................................+130.8
    Piazza [this thread]... .921.......................................+ 61.9
    I-Rod..................... .950.......................................- 33.8
    Carter.................... .955......................................+153.0
    Bench.................... .953.......................................+ 22.0
    Tenace.................. .945........................................+ 1.1
    W. Schmidt............. .994.......................................+ 37.5
    Ruel....................... .983......................................+104.1
    Gowdy.................... .976......................................+ 74.0
    Killefer.................... .954......................................+ 40.8
    Rosar..................... .968.......................................+ 87.1
    Schalk.................... .970......................................+ 88.4
    J. Wilson................. .967......................................+ 27.7
    Tate....................... .964.....................................+ 26.2
    Ferrell..................... .964...................................... - 5.5
    A. Lopez................. .975....................................+ 159.0
    Sundberg................ .957.....................................+ 33.7
    C. Johnson.............. .955.....................................+ 17.7

    I am heartened by this exercise, especially with regard to the two catchers who LOST defense runs with the PB+WP element:

    1. I-Rod, a personal favorite, I have often heard criticized for one thing - lack of effective communication with pitchers;
    2. Rick Ferrell, who has had the unfortunate luxury of over exposure to knuckle ball pitchers throughout his career.

    Piazza gets lifted out of minus defense run territory into slight + numbers.

    Lots of great defenders, many not listed here, who are largely forgotten [or simply discounted] over the years.
    Last edited by leewileyfan; 04-29-2012 at 05:26 PM.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Asside from getting an assist, how do you account for catchers allowing more or fewer stolen bases (since that is not one of the factors you mentioned using in your analysis). Bench had a year where he threw out 31 and allowed only 24 steals. Piazza had one where he allowed well over 100 and only threw out only in the 20s. My guess is you count assists, but not stolen bases allowed. A basic sabermetric estimate is that Piazza gave up aroung 130 runs more than an average catcher on all steal attemps and that Bench saved about 130 more than average.
    Well, a "basic sabermetric estimate" of the amount of runs Piazza cost with his inability to throw out runners is around 60 to 70 runs while the amount of runs Bench saved is about 90 to 100 runs. Sean Smith puts Piazza's "Catch" at -61 and Bench's at 97 runs.

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    You're forgetting the most important thing: smaller PLAYERS in the 70s.
    For the most part, the players were not strong enough to hit for both power and average. Swinging for the fences would cause them to strikeout a ton, and bring down their average , so they had to choose to be power guys, or batting average guys. Guys like Reggie and Schmidt really stood out due to their athletic ability and power, but in the steroid era, they would have been just another slugger.
    Yet you assert that the even smaller guys from the 1930s were capable of doing both.

  19. #119
    One thing that had me scratching my head a bit was this: Piazza threw out 423 would-be base stealers but allowed 1,400 to succeed. Sabermetricians have devised formulas that indicate a success rate of 65% -73% [depending upon whom you are reading] necessary to make base stealing a worthwhile strategy. I GET that.

    I also "get" that the core of the numbers stems from the 24 base-outs run expectancy grids that are updated quite often to capture current run scoring climates.

    Here's the rub, for me. The 24 base-outs grid tells us [using a very basic example; runner on 1B and 0 outs] that we have a run expectancy of .413 [example only]. IF we had a runner on 2B with 0 outs, our run expectancy would be .482, an increase of .069, or an increase of 16.7% in the odds for us getting a run scored.

    However, it is a gamble. I we try and our "stealer" gets nailed, we have nobody on base and 1 out. Now our odds of scoring are .298, a drop of 27.85% in our likelihood of getting a run home. Yes, I get the steep penalty paid for failure at a theft attempt.

    Sabermetrics distills this to the following: a successful steal is +.18 and a nailed runner is -.47. Therefore, Piazza's 423 CS @ -.47 for his opponents [and to his credit], while his 1,400 runaways amount to only .18 apiece [1,400 * .18 = 252]. I see how, arithmetically, the whole base running drama costs Piazza only 60 or so defense runs or Catch -61. For me. this SEEMED counter-intuitive.


    The original situation, 1B and 0 outs [.413] became, in actuality .481 [+ .068] 1,400 times in Piazza's career. The reduction of 423 rub-outs, which I can see at .298 [after the fact] - .413 = -.115 per event = 423 * .115 = 48.65 runs saved for Piazza

    1,400 * .068 = 95.2 run expectancy improvements at Piazza's cost.

    However, at a cost of -.115 per event, the 423 he nailed = 48.65 runs prevented to his credit. Now, having walked it through this way I can appreciate the shorthand of .18 and -.47.

    While my metric has Piazza at -60 or so defense runs, I had thought his throw out rate was far more costly an element. The metric gets it right; but I learned something from this exercise. [Sometimes one has to take the long way home to appreciate the shortcut].
    Last edited by leewileyfan; 04-29-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenrir View Post
    I think most people can agree that he's the best hitting catcher ever for both peak and career. Is that enough to make him the best catcher ever? How much does his below average defense hurt his case?

    For what it's worth, I think his 9.3 WAR in 1997 may be the highest by a catcher ever.
    Not to me

    No player in the modern era, due to watered down talent, expansion, steroid allegations will ever be the best anything in my eyes

    Johnny Bench
    Yogi Berra
    Gabby Hartnett
    Ray Schalk
    Rogers Bresnahan
    Jim O'Rourke

    My top 5 favorites

    Campanella only left off due to his tragedy of not playing longer...but he was great

    and you CANNOT compare catchers of different eras with any sense of fairness.

    Of all the positions outside of Pitcher, Catchers have had different expectations/statistically variance depending on timeframe than any other position in MLB

    Billy Sullivan was a top notch catcher in deadball because he probably threw out 70% of baserunners, yet CS was enormous back then due to double steals to scratch one run out. He also had a huge amount of assists and putouts for fielding bunts Yet Billy only hit .212
    Last edited by Imapotato; 04-29-2012 at 08:03 PM.

  21. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Imapotato View Post
    and you CANNOT compare catchers of different eras with any sense of fairness.

    Of all the positions outside of Pitcher, Catchers have had different expectations/statistically variance depending on timeframe than any other position in MLB

    Billy Sullivan was a top notch catcher in deadball because he probably threw out 70% of baserunners, yet CS was enormous back then due to double steals to scratch one run out. He also had a huge amount of assists and putouts for fielding bunts Yet Billy only hit .212
    I have to disagree. My metric attempts to make exactly those kinds of cross generational comparisons. [And,, I believe it does just that]. Just refer to Post #116 above and see ratings I posted for Gabby Hartnett, Bill Dickey, Mickey Cochrane, Walter Schmidt, Hank Gowdy, Ray Schalk, Muddy Ruel, Bill Killefer, Jimmie Wilson and Rick Ferrell.

  22. #122
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    I looked up our Field Value numbers for Piazza, Bench, and Berra. FV is our defensive component in the PEVA player rating system. Not saying it's the best (just our attempt at the subject), but it does, as leewileyfan does, attempt to give a cross generation comparison. It compares four components Inning Played, Field Pct., Range Factor, and CS% (where available) in a MAX, AVE., MIN continuum for each season. The Max. value for a catcher is 2.10, minimum (if playing at least 1 inning per max games) is 1.55.

    S Piazza Bench Berra
    1 1.63 1.87 1.90
    2 1.97 2.03 1.66
    3 1.75 1.99 1.71
    4 1.91 1.90 2.05
    5 1.96 1.87 2.05
    6 1.86 2.10 2.05
    7 1.91 2.05 2.06
    8 1.88 2.09 1.89
    9 1.95 1.98 2.07
    10 1.82 2.10 1.97
    11 1.66 1.86 2.08
    12 1.55 1.95 2.10
    13 1.55 1.91 2.10
    14 1.80 1.80 2.10
    15 1.55 1.65 1.69
    16 DNP 1.63 1.92
    17 DNP 1.55 1.72
    18 DNP DNP 1.72
    19 DNP DNP 1.63
    Ave. 1.783 1.902 1.919
    High 1.97 2.10 2.10
    Low 1.55 1.55 1.63

    So Piazza is in the B and C category for most his career, but falls starting in 2001 down to a minimum level catcher defensively. Bench and Berra are in the A and B range most of their careers, with a few seasons at the end showing lower levels, but not as low as Piazza.

    Just thought I'd add our minor attempt to the subject. And I'm new here, so if I ever post something that's incorrect for the forum, please let me know. Thanks.
    Last edited by sgb; 04-30-2012 at 07:06 AM.

  23. #123
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    One thing that had me scratching my head a bit was this: Piazza threw out 423 would-be base stealers but allowed 1,400 to succeed. Sabermetricians have devised formulas that indicate a success rate of 65% -73% [depending upon whom you are reading] necessary to make base stealing a worthwhile strategy. I GET that.

    I also "get" that the core of the numbers stems from the 24 base-outs run expectancy grids that are updated quite often to capture current run scoring climates.

    Here's the rub, for me. The 24 base-outs grid tells us [using a very basic example; runner on 1B and 0 outs] that we have a run expectancy of .413 [example only]. IF we had a runner on 2B with 0 outs, our run expectancy would be .482, an increase of .069, or an increase of 16.7% in the odds for us getting a run scored.

    However, it is a gamble. I we try and our "stealer" gets nailed, we have nobody on base and 1 out. Now our odds of scoring are .298, a drop of 27.85% in our likelihood of getting a run home. Yes, I get the steep penalty paid for failure at a theft attempt.

    Sabermetrics distills this to the following: a successful steal is +.18 and a nailed runner is -.47. Therefore, Piazza's 423 CS @ -.47 for his opponents [and to his credit], while his 1,400 runaways amount to only .18 apiece [1,400 * .18 = 252]. I see how, arithmetically, the whole base running drama costs Piazza only 60 or so defense runs or Catch -61. For me. this SEEMED counter-intuitive.


    The original situation, 1B and 0 outs [.413] became, in actuality .481 [+ .068] 1,400 times in Piazza's career. The reduction of 423 rub-outs, which I can see at .298 [after the fact] - .413 = -.115 per event = 423 * .115 = 48.65 runs saved for Piazza

    1,400 * .068 = 95.2 run expectancy improvements at Piazza's cost.

    However, at a cost of -.115 per event, the 423 he nailed = 48.65 runs prevented to his credit. Now, having walked it through this way I can appreciate the shorthand of .18 and -.47.

    While my metric has Piazza at -60 or so defense runs, I had thought his throw out rate was far more costly an element. The metric gets it right; but I learned something from this exercise. [Sometimes one has to take the long way home to appreciate the shortcut].
    If you change the break even point just a little you get big effects though. Piazza had years where the break even point was over 70% and Bench had years where it was just about 60%. At 70% you have to steal 2.33 per CS to break even, but at 60% only 1.5 per CS, but should we rate the player in HIS time or in a neutral time?

    Also guys with great throwout rates tend to get run on by better runners and in situations where a steal is worth more in terms of runs and a run is worth more in terms of wins relative to a CS making the great thrower even better, while a terrible thrower tends to get run on by everyone is random situations making the overall rate less important.

    If Piazza played with Bench's break even rate and threw out at his actual numbers he would have cost over 150 runs, but he may have been run on much more as well given the premium on 1 run.

    Another issue is that looking at base runner advances on hits, sacs, and other contact, there is more variability (or about the same) in value created by non-steal running than steal running. And these correlate because catchers with good arms hold runners closer due to the risk of catcher pickoffs. Piazza had 6 career pickoffs. Bench over 60. I-Rod 88. If catchers hold down the "non-steal" advances then Piazza may have cost another 50% and Bench saved another 50%.

    Here is a question I have asked before though-if a base stealer played in an era with a 50% break even point and stole 2000 bases at a 60% rate would we rate him higher on our list or lower as a result of steal attempts considering that in a typical era he would have cost runs, or probably not run at all?

  24. #124
    Duplicate post
    Last edited by brett; 04-30-2012 at 08:15 AM.

  25. #125
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    Another issue is that looking at base runner advances on hits, sacs, and other contact, there is more variability (or about the same) in value created by non-steal running than steal running. And these correlate because catchers with good arms hold runners closer due to the risk of catcher pickoffs. Piazza had 6 career pickoffs. Bench over 60. I-Rod 88. If catchers hold down the "non-steal" advances then Piazza may have cost another 50% and Bench saved another 50%.
    Is there actually any evidence of this? I did a look at Molina and found that runners on first took the extra base at about the same rate on him as they did to his backups. True, it was only one year 's worth of data but I haven't come across anything that shows that this data was a fluke. Plus Thess in the stats I linked to found that oddly enough Piazza was above average in preventing baserunners advancements on balls in play.

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