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Thread: top WAR seasons for catchers

  1. #1

    top WAR seasons for catchers

    Can someone give me the top 50 or so WAR seasons in which the player played more than half time at catcher? Or we can do it for guys who caught at least 80 games if that works. Maybe we could get all the 7+ seasons that qualify?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I found this, though it only lists top-25. Also, it was done mid-September so Yadier's should read 6.7 & Posey's 7.2 - which shoots him into the top-10.

    Top 25 War Seasons For Catchers Since 1901
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  3. #3
    Here are some more, below Carter's 6.2 in 1980:

    Mickey Cochrane 1933 6.1
    Yogi Berra 1956 6.1
    Bill Dickey 1937 6.0
    Mike piazza 1995 6.0
    Carlton Fisk 1978 5.6
    mickey Cochrane 1932 5.3
    Yogi Berra 1950 5.3
    Yogi Berra 1952 5.3
    Mike Piazza 1998 5.2
    Mickey Cochrane 1931 5.2
    Gabby Hartnett 1930 5.2
    Mickey Cochrane 1930 5.1
    Mike Piazza 1996 5.1
    Bill Dickey 1936 5.0
    Bill Dickey 1938 5.0
    Roy Campanella 1955 5.0

    I'm sure there are some others interspersed here- I only checked some of the biggest names.

  4. #4
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    Add in...

    Gene Tenace 1979 5.7
    Tony Pena 1974 5.7
    Bill Freehan 1967 5.7
    Mickey Tettleton 1991 5.4
    Ted Simmons 1978 5.3
    Ted Simmons 1973 5.3
    Ernie Lombardi 1938 5.3
    Bill Freehan 1964 5.1
    Jim Sundberg 1978 5.0
    Ted Simmons 1977 5.0
    Last edited by Ben Grimm; 01-03-2013 at 02:47 PM.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

  5. #5
    As the lists have progressed, I note that initially no catcher prior to 1951 qualified at all. Subsequently they appear but are still rather scattered. I see Gabby Hartnett listed only for 1930. Being neither a fan nor practitioner of WAR, I can't qualify to calculate WAR for Hartnett; but it's hard to believe he doesn't fit in at least the following seasons, when he excelled with the bat and was a clear leader defensively behind the plate:

    1928: .1767 RC/PA vs LG average of .1204

    1934: .1602 RC/PA vs LG average of .1210

    1935: .1974 RC/PA vs LG average of .1218

    1937: .2049 RC/PA vs LG average of .1178

    In each of these seasons, had there been GG Awards, he would have won or been a top contender behind the plate. For such combined offense + defense,
    I can't see him not being in the top 25 or whatever list one compiles at least more than once.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    As the lists have progressed, I note that initially no catcher prior to 1951 qualified at all. Subsequently they appear but are still rather scattered. I see Gabby Hartnett listed only for 1930. Being neither a fan nor practitioner of WAR, I can't qualify to calculate WAR for Hartnett; but it's hard to believe he doesn't fit in at least the following seasons, when he excelled with the bat and was a clear leader defensively behind the plate:

    1928: .1767 RC/PA vs LG average of .1204

    1934: .1602 RC/PA vs LG average of .1210

    1935: .1974 RC/PA vs LG average of .1218

    1937: .2049 RC/PA vs LG average of .1178

    In each of these seasons, had there been GG Awards, he would have won or been a top contender behind the plate. For such combined offense + defense,
    I can't see him not being in the top 25 or whatever list one compiles at least more than once.
    Without commenting on my opnions of WAR, I'll speculate that Hartnett was handicapped somewhat in the referenced seasons by his playing time:

    1928 464 PA 4.3 WAR
    1930 577 PA 5.2 WAR
    1934 487 PA 3.8 WAR
    1935 461 PA 4.8 WAR
    1937 405 PA 4.6 WAR

    In a 154 games schedule most top flight players (non-catchers) were collecting more than 600 PAs unless they missed more than a few games. Only in 1930 did Hartnett play in what comes close to a "typical" season for position players. This, of course, is part of the dilemma for catchers. The nature of their job makes it extremely difficult to play "every day". When they're not in the lineup they can't contribute value. This results in lower WAR or Win Share totals. Unfair? Who knows?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    As the lists have progressed, I note that initially no catcher prior to 1951 qualified at all. Subsequently they appear but are still rather scattered. I see Gabby Hartnett listed only for 1930. Being neither a fan nor practitioner of WAR, I can't qualify to calculate WAR for Hartnett; but it's hard to believe he doesn't fit in at least the following seasons, when he excelled with the bat and was a clear leader defensively behind the plate:

    1928: .1767 RC/PA vs LG average of .1204

    1934: .1602 RC/PA vs LG average of .1210

    1935: .1974 RC/PA vs LG average of .1218

    1937: .2049 RC/PA vs LG average of .1178

    In each of these seasons, had there been GG Awards, he would have won or been a top contender behind the plate. For such combined offense + defense,
    I can't see him not being in the top 25 or whatever list one compiles at least more than once.
    My personal remedy is to give catchers an additional 1.1 war per 162 games caught by lowering the replacement level, because if a catcher goes out, a team will likely split time between a replacement and a sub replacement level player. In addition I think that the positional value should be adjusted. Hartnett only gets 4 positional runs in 1933 for catching 140 games. Modern catchers are given more like 9-10 per 162 games caught. Cochrane is getting only 4. Anyone know what's the issue there? I am not sure why catchers got a smaller adjustment back then and if anything, based on games caught they should probably get even more of a replacement bonus, like maybe 22 runs per 162 EXTRA because of the toll and likelyhood of a team needing 2-3 guys to make up the difference.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    My personal remedy is to give catchers an additional 1.1 war per 162 games caught by lowering the replacement level, because if a catcher goes out, a team will likely split time between a replacement and a sub replacement level player. In addition I think that the positional value should be adjusted. Hartnett only gets 4 positional runs in 1933 for catching 140 games. Modern catchers are given more like 9-10 per 162 games caught. Cochrane is getting only 4. Anyone know what's the issue there? I am not sure why catchers got a smaller adjustment back then and if anything, based on games caught they should probably get even more of a replacement bonus, like maybe 22 runs per 162 EXTRA because of the toll and likelyhood of a team needing 2-3 guys to make up the difference.
    I've also noticed a lot of volatility. Berra was scooping up about 6 runs a year, while contemporary catchers are getting 9 or 10.

    One reason could be that catchers catch more nowadays. (But they also put in more time at negative defensive positions.) At the time, I thought it was just the nature of the catching personnel and their level of batting varying from year to year. But if there's a steady increase from Cochrane to Berra to Piazza, probably not. Maybe the presence of a real third string catcher (your replacement level replacement) in the old lineups makes some difference. They had a real quadruple A player on the team instead of a triple A call up.
    Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 01-03-2013 at 09:22 PM.
    Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

  9. #9
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    Here you go:

    Most WAR, 50% or more of games played at catcher

    Code:
    Rk  Player            Year  Tm    WAR
     1  Mike Piazza       1997  LAD  8.46
     1  Johnny Bench      1972  CIN  8.46
     3  Gary Carter       1982  MON  8.30
     4  Johnny Bench      1974  CIN  7.69
     5  Joe Mauer         2009  MIN  7.58
     6  Darrell Porter    1979  KCR  7.40
     7  Buster Posey      2012  SFG  7.17
     8  Gary Carter       1984  MON  7.15
     9  Johnny Bench      1970  CIN  7.09
    10  Carlton Fisk      1972  BOS  6.95
    11  Thurman Munson    1973  NYY  6.94
    12  Gary Carter       1983  MON  6.84
    13  Mike Piazza       1993  LAD  6.83
    14  Roy Campanella    1953  BRO  6.81
    15  Yadier Molina     2012  STL  6.75
    16  Darren Daulton    1992  PHI  6.73
    17  Carlton Fisk      1977  BOS  6.66
    18  Gary Carter       1985  NYM  6.62
    19  Javy Lopez        2003  ATL  6.59
    20  Chris Hoiles      1993  BAL  6.51
    21  Bill Freehan      1968  DET  6.46
    22  Rick Wilkins      1993  CHC  6.45
    23  Johnny Bench      1975  CIN  6.40
    24  Roy Campanella    1951  BRO  6.32
    25  Thurman Munson    1975  NYY  6.26
    26  Gary Carter       1980  MON  6.21
    27  Ivan Rodriguez    1997  TEX  6.20
    28  Joe Torre         1966  ATL  6.17
    29  Yogi Berra        1956  NYY  6.11
    29  Ivan Rodriguez    1998  TEX  6.11
    31  Ivan Rodriguez    1999  TEX  6.10
    32  Mickey Cochrane   1933  PHA  6.05
    33  Mike Piazza       1995  LAD  6.04
    33  Bill Dickey       1937  NYY  6.04
    35  Johnny Bench      1969  CIN  6.03
    36  Mike Piazza       1998  3TM  5.97
    37  Ivan Rodriguez    1996  TEX  5.85
    38  Tim McCarver      1967  STL  5.80
    39  Gary Carter       1979  MON  5.76
    40  Bill Freehan      1967  DET  5.72
    40  Gene Tenace       1979  SDP  5.72
    42  Tony Pena         1984  PIT  5.66
    43  Jorge Posada      2003  NYY  5.63
    44  Roger Bresnahan   1908  NYG  5.62
    45  Gary Carter       1978  MON  5.61
    46  Carlton Fisk      1978  BOS  5.60
    47  Joe Mauer         2006  MIN  5.55
    48  Joe Mauer         2010  MIN  5.53
    49  Mickey Tettleton  1991  DET  5.38
    50  Yogi Berra        1950  NYY  5.35
    50  Johnny Bench      1979  CIN  5.35
    50  Jason Kendall     1998  PIT  5.35
    50  Russell Martin    2007  LAD  5.35
    54  Ernie Lombardi    1938  CIN  5.34
    54  Elston Howard     1964  NYY  5.34
    56  Brian Downing     1979  CAL  5.33
    57  Yogi Berra        1952  NYY  5.31
    57  Ted Simmons       1978  STL  5.31
    59  Joe Mauer         2008  MIN  5.28
    59  Mickey Cochrane   1932  PHA  5.28
    61  Mike Napoli       2011  TEX  5.27
    61  Thurman Munson    1970  NYY  5.27
    61  Ted Simmons       1973  STL  5.27
    64  Brian McCann      2008  ATL  5.26
    65  Joe Torre         1970  STL  5.24
    66  Gabby Hartnett    1930  CHC  5.23
    67  Jorge Posada      2000  NYY  5.22
    68  Mickey Cochrane   1931  PHA  5.19
    68  Gary Carter       1977  MON  5.19
    70  Rich Gedman       1985  BOS  5.16
    71  Mike Scioscia     1985  LAD  5.14
    71  Mike Piazza       1996  LAD  5.14
    71  Mickey Cochrane   1930  PHA  5.14
    74  Elston Howard     1961  NYY  5.13
    75  Bill Freehan      1964  DET  5.11
    76  Joe Torre         1964  MLN  5.10
    77  John Stearns      1978  NYM  5.09
    78  Walker Cooper     1947  NYG  5.08
    79  Gene Tenace       1978  SDP  5.05
    79  Jorge Posada      2007  NYY  5.05
    81  Elston Howard     1963  NYY  5.03
    81  Jim Sundberg      1978  TEX  5.03
    81  Yogi Berra        1954  NYY  5.03
    84  Bill Dickey       1936  NYY  5.02
    84  Bill Dickey       1938  NYY  5.02
    86  Ted Simmons       1977  STL  5.01
    87  Roy Campanella    1955  BRO  5.00
    88  Thurman Munson    1976  NYY  4.99
    89  Ray Fosse         1970  CLE  4.95
    90  Gene Tenace       1975  OAK  4.92
    91  Bill Dickey       1939  NYY  4.91
    91  Joe Torre         1967  ATL  4.91
    93  Mike Piazza       2000  NYM  4.90
    93  Ted Simmons       1980  STL  4.90
    93  Deacon White      1875  BOS  4.90
    96  Art Wilson        1914  CHF  4.89
    97  Johnny Bench      1968  CIN  4.88
    98  Alex Avila        2011  DET  4.87
    99  Gabby Hartnett    1935  CHC  4.83
    99  Charles Johnson   2000  2TM  4.83
    99  Lance Parrish     1982  DET  4.83
    Last edited by Nerdlinger; 01-03-2013 at 09:51 PM.
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  10. #10
    The list, while neatly presented, is essentially a copy of the link provided by poster Grimm [post 2 of this thread]. If those are final figures, I know for certain why I have had no use for WAR to date.

    Once again the list reverts to a flat out allegation that there was no great catching done prior to 1951. Anyone wanting to buy into that ... I've got a bridge to sell.

    I recently forced myself to review WAR, just to be sure that I was not harboring some ill-advised bias against something I hadn't read carefully enough. No, I believe I had a fair grasp of it to begin with:

    -A player is judged essentially from a model of 600 PA;

    -A player falling short of that standard is penalized because his PA below 600 forces his team to use someone else, less qualified than he, to make up the shortage;

    -The shortage is taken to be filled in WAR-world by an individual who qualifies as a Replacement Player, available in the MLB recycling market for about $400,000 [of player value in a full season];

    -Replacement Players are predestined, like Calvinists. They are presumed to cost 20 runs per 600 PA, before donning a glove; and their performance is then applied to the regular catcher's line as an albatross for not playing every inning. Therefore, if a LG average per 600 PA is .12 or 72 runs of value, a guy who plays 440 PA worth at .18 [vs. LG average of .12] is shackled with 20 runs less that average, like 52/600 = .0867.

    His line would be like this: 440*.18 = 79.2 runs + 160 * .0867 = 14 = 93.2/600 = .155. Add in a pre-determined position number diminished in like fashion for playing time and a preset position "value" and you end up with a first string catcher who plays [when he plays] like a HoF candidate, but is valued more like an also ran because his is Replacement Level when he sits. [Even at .155, how low on a greatest "x" number of slots for catcher seasons would that be?]

    Catchers get cruel treatment in this scenario; but the entire approach is too "cute" in its precise watering down of positions and player values. Teams prior to 1950 were lwell represented with catchers like Frankie Pytlak and Buddy Rosar ... scattered especially between 1921 and 1949 who were a far cry above the Replacement concept.

    The value I do see for WAR is in the front office during budget time. Then I can see bean counters evaluating the cheapest players in the current market, who might just fill a much-needed backup niche for a club with an open spot or two on the roster[s].
    Last edited by leewileyfan; 01-03-2013 at 08:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    The list, while neatly presented, is essentially a copy of the link provided by poster Grimm [post 2 of this thread]. If those are final figures, I know for certain why I have had no use for WAR to date.
    Hey, it's what Brett asked for. I expanded the list just now to the top 100, and there seems to be a greater frequency of pre-'50s seasons. If a perceived dearth of pre-'50s catchers in these lists is indicative of a genuine problem (and just not a small sample size or simply because there were fewer players before the expansion era), it may be just a matter of adjusting the formula for WAA/WAR to account for runs created/saved by catchers that haven't yet been accounted for. No need to pooh-pooh the whole concept.

    For what it's worth, here's a list by WAA instead of WAR. I've come to prefer comparing players to the average rather than to replacement.

    Code:
     Rk  Player            Year  Tm    WAA
      1  Mike Piazza       1997  LAD  6.79
      2  Johnny Bench      1972  CIN  6.61
      3  Gary Carter       1982  MON  6.36
      4  Joe Mauer         2009  MIN  5.76
      5  Johnny Bench      1974  CIN  5.71
      6  Buster Posey      2012  SFG  5.54
      7  Darrell Porter    1979  KCR  5.42
      8  Carlton Fisk      1972  BOS  5.28
      8  Javy Lopez        2003  ATL  5.28
     10  Thurman Munson    1973  NYY  5.26
     11  Yadier Molina     2012  STL  5.24
     12  Mike Piazza       1993  LAD  5.22
     13  Johnny Bench      1970  CIN  5.19
     14  Darren Daulton    1992  PHI  5.15
     14  Gary Carter       1984  MON  5.15
     16  Rick Wilkins      1993  CHC  5.11
     17  Gary Carter       1983  MON  5.03
     18  Chris Hoiles      1993  BAL  4.99
     19  Roy Campanella    1953  BRO  4.87
     20  Carlton Fisk      1977  BOS  4.82
     21  Mike Piazza       1995  LAD  4.78
     22  Gary Carter       1985  NYM  4.73
     23  Bill Freehan      1968  DET  4.69
     23  Johnny Bench      1975  CIN  4.69
     25  Yogi Berra        1956  NYY  4.53
     26  Roy Campanella    1951  BRO  4.48
     27  Gary Carter       1980  MON  4.36
     28  Mickey Cochrane   1933  PHA  4.34
     29  Mike Piazza       1998  3TM  4.32
     30  Thurman Munson    1975  NYY  4.31
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1998  TEX  4.26
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1997  TEX  4.26
     33  Art Wilson        1914  CHF  4.24
     34  Ivan Rodriguez    1999  TEX  4.22
     35  Gary Carter       1979  MON  4.16
     36  Bill Dickey       1937  NYY  4.15
     37  Joe Torre         1966  ATL  4.13
     38  Johnny Bench      1969  CIN  4.07
     39  Gene Tenace       1979  SDP  4.05
     40  Bill Freehan      1967  DET  4.02
     41  Tim McCarver      1967  STL  4.00
     42  Mike Napoli       2011  TEX  3.95
     43  Roger Bresnahan   1908  NYG  3.90
     44  Tony Pena         1984  PIT  3.88
     45  Gary Carter       1978  MON  3.86
     46  Jorge Posada      2003  NYY  3.85
     46  Ivan Rodriguez    1996  TEX  3.85
     48  Johnny Bench      1979  CIN  3.82
     48  Elston Howard     1961  NYY  3.82
     50  Ernie Lombardi    1938  CIN  3.80
     51  Brian McCann      2008  ATL  3.75
     52  Joe Mauer         2010  MIN  3.74
     53  Russell Martin    2007  LAD  3.72
     54  Joe Mauer         2006  MIN  3.71
     55  Yogi Berra        1952  NYY  3.70
     56  Jason Kendall     1998  PIT  3.69
     56  Elston Howard     1964  NYY  3.69
     58  Carlton Fisk      1978  BOS  3.68
     59  Yogi Berra        1950  NYY  3.62
     59  Thurman Munson    1970  NYY  3.62
     59  Gabby Hartnett    1930  CHC  3.62
     62  Rich Gedman       1985  BOS  3.60
     63  Brian Downing     1979  CAL  3.58
     63  Elston Howard     1963  NYY  3.58
     63  Bill Dickey       1936  NYY  3.58
     66  Mickey Cochrane   1931  PHA  3.57
     67  Ted Simmons       1978  STL  3.56
     67  Mike Scioscia     1985  LAD  3.56
     69  Bill Freehan      1964  DET  3.55
     69  Gene Tenace       1978  SDP  3.55
     71  Mickey Tettleton  1991  DET  3.54
     72  Gary Carter       1977  MON  3.51
     72  Gabby Hartnett    1935  CHC  3.51
     74  Mike Piazza       1996  LAD  3.47
     74  Mike Piazza       2000  NYM  3.47
     76  John Stearns      1978  NYM  3.46
     77  Charlie Bennett   1883  DTN  3.45
     78  Buck Ewing        1884  NYG  3.44
     78  Gabby Hartnett    1937  CHC  3.44
     80  Jack Clements     1895  PHI  3.43
     81  Ivan Rodriguez    2000  TEX  3.42
     82  Charles Johnson   2000  2TM  3.40
     83  Mickey Cochrane   1930  PHA  3.39
     83  Ray Fosse         1970  CLE  3.39
     85  Art Wilson        1915  CHF  3.38
     86  Joe Mauer         2008  MIN  3.37
     86  Jorge Posada      2000  NYY  3.37
     88  Lance Parrish     1982  DET  3.36
     89  Mickey Cochrane   1932  PHA  3.35
     89  Bill Dickey       1938  NYY  3.35
     89  Ivan Rodriguez    2001  TEX  3.35
     89  Buck Ewing        1883  NYG  3.35
     93  Ted Simmons       1973  STL  3.31
     93  Ted Simmons       1977  STL  3.31
     95  Jim Sundberg      1978  TEX  3.30
     96  Yogi Berra        1954  NYY  3.29
     96  Bubbles Hargrave  1923  CIN  3.29
     98  Roy Campanella    1955  BRO  3.28
     99  Jorge Posada      2007  NYY  3.27
    100  Joe Torre         1970  STL  3.26
    Last edited by Nerdlinger; 01-03-2013 at 10:00 PM.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by DJC View Post
    Hey, it's what Brett asked for. I expanded the list just now to the top 100, and there seems to be a greater frequency of pre-'50s seasons. If a perceived dearth of pre-'50s catchers in these lists is indicative of a genuine problem (and just not a small sample size or simply because there were fewer players before the expansion era), it may be just a matter of adjusting the formula for WAA/WAR to account for runs created/saved by catchers that haven't yet been accounted for. No need to pooh-pooh the whole concept.
    I realize that your response was gracious and not defensive, and I appreciate your realizing that I was not launching a personal attack oon you or your post. I see the expanded 100 list for WAA; and the sparse [and low] scatteringss of 1901-1950 catchers, with a nearly equal representation of pre 1900 receivers just sets me off, personally against WAR ... especially with how wide and diverse a representation it purpordedly establishes.

    In just the 1901-1950 period, concentrating on back-up catchers, I can reasonably ask, "Was HE a Replacement player when he backed up Y?" Any metric model that is so fixed on so base a comparison has to have limitations. Perhaps part of the trouble is a mis-application of WAR by some who have exaggerated convictions about its general practicality or who misapply it in debate.

    I just know that it is not my cup of tea, except for the guys in the front office sweating over spreadsheets at budget time and trading seasons.

    For what it's worth, here's a list by WAA instead of WAR. I've come to prefer comparing players to the average rather than to replacement.

    Code:
     Rk  Player            Year  Tm    WAA
      1  Mike Piazza       1997  LAD  6.79
      2  Johnny Bench      1972  CIN  6.61
      3  Gary Carter       1982  MON  6.36
      4  Joe Mauer         2009  MIN  5.76
      5  Johnny Bench      1974  CIN  5.71
      6  Buster Posey      2012  SFG  5.54
      7  Darrell Porter    1979  KCR  5.42
      8  Carlton Fisk      1972  BOS  5.28
      8  Javy Lopez        2003  ATL  5.28
     10  Thurman Munson    1973  NYY  5.26
     11  Yadier Molina     2012  STL  5.24
     12  Mike Piazza       1993  LAD  5.22
     13  Johnny Bench      1970  CIN  5.19
     14  Darren Daulton    1992  PHI  5.15
     14  Gary Carter       1984  MON  5.15
     16  Rick Wilkins      1993  CHC  5.11
     17  Gary Carter       1983  MON  5.03
     18  Chris Hoiles      1993  BAL  4.99
     19  Roy Campanella    1953  BRO  4.87
     20  Carlton Fisk      1977  BOS  4.82
     21  Mike Piazza       1995  LAD  4.78
     22  Gary Carter       1985  NYM  4.73
     23  Bill Freehan      1968  DET  4.69
     23  Johnny Bench      1975  CIN  4.69
     25  Yogi Berra        1956  NYY  4.53
     26  Roy Campanella    1951  BRO  4.48
     27  Gary Carter       1980  MON  4.36
     28  Mickey Cochrane   1933  PHA  4.34
     29  Mike Piazza       1998  3TM  4.32
     30  Thurman Munson    1975  NYY  4.31
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1998  TEX  4.26
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1997  TEX  4.26
     33  Art Wilson        1914  CHF  4.24
     34  Ivan Rodriguez    1999  TEX  4.22
     35  Gary Carter       1979  MON  4.16
     36  Bill Dickey       1937  NYY  4.15
     37  Joe Torre         1966  ATL  4.13
     38  Johnny Bench      1969  CIN  4.07
     39  Gene Tenace       1979  SDP  4.05
     40  Bill Freehan      1967  DET  4.02
     41  Tim McCarver      1967  STL  4.00
     42  Mike Napoli       2011  TEX  3.95
     43  Roger Bresnahan   1908  NYG  3.90
     44  Tony Pena         1984  PIT  3.88
     45  Gary Carter       1978  MON  3.86
     46  Jorge Posada      2003  NYY  3.85
     46  Ivan Rodriguez    1996  TEX  3.85
     48  Johnny Bench      1979  CIN  3.82
     48  Elston Howard     1961  NYY  3.82
     50  Ernie Lombardi    1938  CIN  3.80
     51  Brian McCann      2008  ATL  3.75
     52  Joe Mauer         2010  MIN  3.74
     53  Russell Martin    2007  LAD  3.72
     54  Joe Mauer         2006  MIN  3.71
     55  Yogi Berra        1952  NYY  3.70
     56  Jason Kendall     1998  PIT  3.69
     56  Elston Howard     1964  NYY  3.69
     58  Carlton Fisk      1978  BOS  3.68
     59  Yogi Berra        1950  NYY  3.62
     59  Thurman Munson    1970  NYY  3.62
     59  Gabby Hartnett    1930  CHC  3.62
     62  Rich Gedman       1985  BOS  3.60
     63  Brian Downing     1979  CAL  3.58
     63  Elston Howard     1963  NYY  3.58
     63  Bill Dickey       1936  NYY  3.58
     66  Mickey Cochrane   1931  PHA  3.57
     67  Ted Simmons       1978  STL  3.56
     67  Mike Scioscia     1985  LAD  3.56
     69  Bill Freehan      1964  DET  3.55
     69  Gene Tenace       1978  SDP  3.55
     71  Mickey Tettleton  1991  DET  3.54
     72  Gary Carter       1977  MON  3.51
     72  Gabby Hartnett    1935  CHC  3.51
     74  Mike Piazza       1996  LAD  3.47
     74  Mike Piazza       2000  NYM  3.47
     76  John Stearns      1978  NYM  3.46
     77  Charlie Bennett   1883  DTN  3.45
     78  Buck Ewing        1884  NYG  3.44
     78  Gabby Hartnett    1937  CHC  3.44
     80  Jack Clements     1895  PHI  3.43
     81  Ivan Rodriguez    2000  TEX  3.42
     82  Charles Johnson   2000  2TM  3.40
     83  Mickey Cochrane   1930  PHA  3.39
     83  Ray Fosse         1970  CLE  3.39
     85  Art Wilson        1915  CHF  3.38
     86  Joe Mauer         2008  MIN  3.37
     86  Jorge Posada      2000  NYY  3.37
     88  Lance Parrish     1982  DET  3.36
     89  Mickey Cochrane   1932  PHA  3.35
     89  Bill Dickey       1938  NYY  3.35
     89  Ivan Rodriguez    2001  TEX  3.35
     89  Buck Ewing        1883  NYG  3.35
     93  Ted Simmons       1973  STL  3.31
     93  Ted Simmons       1977  STL  3.31
     95  Jim Sundberg      1978  TEX  3.30
     96  Yogi Berra        1954  NYY  3.29
     96  Bubbles Hargrave  1923  CIN  3.29
     98  Roy Campanella    1955  BRO  3.28
     99  Jorge Posada      2007  NYY  3.27
    100  Joe Torre         1970  STL  3.26
    [/QUOTE]

  13. #13
    50% Games as Catcher, .0333333333 WAR per Schedule Game

    Code:
                            
    Player      Year WAR/pos
    Cal McVey   1871     1.7
    Nat Hicks   1872     2.2
    Deacon White   1873     2.9
    Deacon White   1875     4.9
    Deacon White   1876     3.5
    John Clapp     1876     3.0
    Cap Anson    1877     2.1
    Cal McVey    1877     2.5
    John Clapp   1877     2.1
    Deacon White   1878     2.3
    Lew Brown      1878     2.0
    Silver Flint      1879     3.1
    Deacon White      1879     3.6
    John Clapp        1880     3.4
    Emil Gross        1880     2.8
    Charlie Bennett   1881     4.1
    Charlie Bennett   1882     4.0
    Charlie Bennett   1883     4.7
    Buck Ewing        1883     4.6
    Charlie Bennett   1884     3.9
    Buck Ewing        1884     4.5
    Jack Rowe         1884     4.5
    Charlie Bennett   1885     4.3
    Buck Ewing        1885     3.9
    Jack Clements   1895     4.5
    Roger Bresnahan   1908     5.6
    Gabby Hartnett    1930     5.2
    Mickey Cochrane   1930     5.1
    Mickey Cochrane   1931     5.2
    Mickey Cochrane   1932     5.3
    Mickey Cochrane   1933     6.1
    Bill Dickey       1937     6.0
    Ernie Lombardi    1938     5.3
    Walker Cooper     1947     5.1
    Yogi Berra        1950     5.3
    Roy Campanella    1951     6.3
    Yogi Berra        1952     5.3
    Roy Campanella    1953     6.8
    Yogi Berra        1956     6.1
    Joe Torre          1966     6.2
    Bill Freehan       1967     5.7
    Tim McCarver       1967     5.8
    Bill Freehan       1968     6.5
    Johnny Bench       1969     6.0
    Johnny Bench       1970     7.1
    Carlton Fisk       1972     7.0
    Johnny Bench       1972     8.5
    Thurman Munson     1973     6.9
    Johnny Bench       1974     7.7
    Johnny Bench       1975     6.4
    Thurman Munson     1975     6.3
    Carlton Fisk       1977     6.7
    Carlton Fisk       1978     5.6
    Gary Carter        1978     5.6
    Gene Tenace        1979     5.7
    Darrell Porter     1979     7.4
    Gary Carter        1979     5.8
    Gary Carter        1980     6.2
    Jim Sundberg   1981     3.8
    Gary Carter    1981     3.6
    Gary Carter        1982     8.3
    Gary Carter        1983     6.8
    Tony Pena          1984     5.7
    Gary Carter        1984     7.2
    Gary Carter        1985     6.6
    Mickey Tettleton   1991     5.4
    Darren Daulton     1992     6.7
    Mike Piazza        1993     6.8
    Rick Wilkins       1993     6.5
    Chris Hoiles       1993     6.5
    Mike Piazza        1995     6.0
    Ivan Rodriguez     1996     5.8
    Ivan Rodriguez     1997     6.2
    Mike Piazza        1997     8.5
    Mike Piazza        1998     5.9
    Ivan Rodriguez     1998     6.1
    Jason Kendall      1998     5.4
    Ivan Rodriguez     1999     6.1
    Javy Lopez         2003     6.6
    Jorge Posada       2003     5.6
    Joe Mauer          2006     5.6
    Russell Martin     2007     5.4
    Joe Mauer          2009     7.6
    Joe Mauer          2010     5.5
    Yadier Molina      2012     6.7
    Buster Posey       2012     7.2
    Sparsest eras: 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1940s

    1871-1949 : 18 individual catchers
    1950-2012 : 27 individual catchers
    I think if we consider the length of these time spans and how many teams existed in these years, the rate comes out relatively even.
    Last edited by dgarza; 01-04-2013 at 05:44 AM.

  14. #14
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    Lee why the beef on a counting number, when catchers has a shorter schedule and split time much more frequently back in the days of yore? Surely a single season hit, runs, RBI board would be similarly skewed as well. If someone did a WAR/PA or G and it was skewed against pre-50s catchers I would jump on board with you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    I realize that your response was gracious and not defensive, and I appreciate your realizing that I was not launching a personal attack oon you or your post.
    Why, of course. That's what Mr. Winky () implied....
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by DJC View Post
    Hey, it's what Brett asked for. I expanded the list just now to the top 100, and there seems to be a greater frequency of pre-'50s seasons. If a perceived dearth of pre-'50s catchers in these lists is indicative of a genuine problem (and just not a small sample size or simply because there were fewer players before the expansion era), it may be just a matter of adjusting the formula for WAA/WAR to account for runs created/saved by catchers that haven't yet been accounted for. No need to pooh-pooh the whole concept.

    For what it's worth, here's a list by WAA instead of WAR. I've come to prefer comparing players to the average rather than to replacement.

    Code:
     Rk  Player            Year  Tm    WAA
      1  Mike Piazza       1997  LAD  6.79
      2  Johnny Bench      1972  CIN  6.61
      3  Gary Carter       1982  MON  6.36
      4  Joe Mauer         2009  MIN  5.76
      5  Johnny Bench      1974  CIN  5.71
      6  Buster Posey      2012  SFG  5.54
      7  Darrell Porter    1979  KCR  5.42
      8  Carlton Fisk      1972  BOS  5.28
      8  Javy Lopez        2003  ATL  5.28
     10  Thurman Munson    1973  NYY  5.26
     11  Yadier Molina     2012  STL  5.24
     12  Mike Piazza       1993  LAD  5.22
     13  Johnny Bench      1970  CIN  5.19
     14  Darren Daulton    1992  PHI  5.15
     14  Gary Carter       1984  MON  5.15
     16  Rick Wilkins      1993  CHC  5.11
     17  Gary Carter       1983  MON  5.03
     18  Chris Hoiles      1993  BAL  4.99
     19  Roy Campanella    1953  BRO  4.87
     20  Carlton Fisk      1977  BOS  4.82
     21  Mike Piazza       1995  LAD  4.78
     22  Gary Carter       1985  NYM  4.73
     23  Bill Freehan      1968  DET  4.69
     23  Johnny Bench      1975  CIN  4.69
     25  Yogi Berra        1956  NYY  4.53
     26  Roy Campanella    1951  BRO  4.48
     27  Gary Carter       1980  MON  4.36
     28  Mickey Cochrane   1933  PHA  4.34
     29  Mike Piazza       1998  3TM  4.32
     30  Thurman Munson    1975  NYY  4.31
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1998  TEX  4.26
     31  Ivan Rodriguez    1997  TEX  4.26
     33  Art Wilson        1914  CHF  4.24
     34  Ivan Rodriguez    1999  TEX  4.22
     35  Gary Carter       1979  MON  4.16
     36  Bill Dickey       1937  NYY  4.15
     37  Joe Torre         1966  ATL  4.13
     38  Johnny Bench      1969  CIN  4.07
     39  Gene Tenace       1979  SDP  4.05
     40  Bill Freehan      1967  DET  4.02
     41  Tim McCarver      1967  STL  4.00
     42  Mike Napoli       2011  TEX  3.95
     43  Roger Bresnahan   1908  NYG  3.90
     44  Tony Pena         1984  PIT  3.88
     45  Gary Carter       1978  MON  3.86
     46  Jorge Posada      2003  NYY  3.85
     46  Ivan Rodriguez    1996  TEX  3.85
     48  Johnny Bench      1979  CIN  3.82
     48  Elston Howard     1961  NYY  3.82
     50  Ernie Lombardi    1938  CIN  3.80
     51  Brian McCann      2008  ATL  3.75
     52  Joe Mauer         2010  MIN  3.74
     53  Russell Martin    2007  LAD  3.72
     54  Joe Mauer         2006  MIN  3.71
     55  Yogi Berra        1952  NYY  3.70
     56  Jason Kendall     1998  PIT  3.69
     56  Elston Howard     1964  NYY  3.69
     58  Carlton Fisk      1978  BOS  3.68
     59  Yogi Berra        1950  NYY  3.62
     59  Thurman Munson    1970  NYY  3.62
     59  Gabby Hartnett    1930  CHC  3.62
     62  Rich Gedman       1985  BOS  3.60
     63  Brian Downing     1979  CAL  3.58
     63  Elston Howard     1963  NYY  3.58
     63  Bill Dickey       1936  NYY  3.58
     66  Mickey Cochrane   1931  PHA  3.57
     67  Ted Simmons       1978  STL  3.56
     67  Mike Scioscia     1985  LAD  3.56
     69  Bill Freehan      1964  DET  3.55
     69  Gene Tenace       1978  SDP  3.55
     71  Mickey Tettleton  1991  DET  3.54
     72  Gary Carter       1977  MON  3.51
     72  Gabby Hartnett    1935  CHC  3.51
     74  Mike Piazza       1996  LAD  3.47
     74  Mike Piazza       2000  NYM  3.47
     76  John Stearns      1978  NYM  3.46
     77  Charlie Bennett   1883  DTN  3.45
     78  Buck Ewing        1884  NYG  3.44
     78  Gabby Hartnett    1937  CHC  3.44
     80  Jack Clements     1895  PHI  3.43
     81  Ivan Rodriguez    2000  TEX  3.42
     82  Charles Johnson   2000  2TM  3.40
     83  Mickey Cochrane   1930  PHA  3.39
     83  Ray Fosse         1970  CLE  3.39
     85  Art Wilson        1915  CHF  3.38
     86  Joe Mauer         2008  MIN  3.37
     86  Jorge Posada      2000  NYY  3.37
     88  Lance Parrish     1982  DET  3.36
     89  Mickey Cochrane   1932  PHA  3.35
     89  Bill Dickey       1938  NYY  3.35
     89  Ivan Rodriguez    2001  TEX  3.35
     89  Buck Ewing        1883  NYG  3.35
     93  Ted Simmons       1973  STL  3.31
     93  Ted Simmons       1977  STL  3.31
     95  Jim Sundberg      1978  TEX  3.30
     96  Yogi Berra        1954  NYY  3.29
     96  Bubbles Hargrave  1923  CIN  3.29
     98  Roy Campanella    1955  BRO  3.28
     99  Jorge Posada      2007  NYY  3.27
    100  Joe Torre         1970  STL  3.26
    that's what I was going to suggest: looking at wins above average, because when players produce in a more concentrated fashion their WAA will go up, and also we know what average was. In fact, if a player plays an average amount of playing time for his position, then WAA might be a valid method of evaluation.

  17. #17
    here is an example of what I am talking about with regard to extra positional value for catchers, but instead in terms of pitchers. If a pitcher pitches 200 innings and we rate the replacement level as being 32% winning percentage (winning rate) for those innings, he is picking up 18% of a "win" per 9 innings by being above replacement, but what if a player pitched 350 innings? Or 80 innings. Are we to assume that a team would get the same 32% winning percentage for the 80, 200, and 350 innings if each of those pitchers had to be replaced?

    For the same reason, the "next" replacement level game for a team at catcher might be at a 32% winning percentage, but if you have to replace a guy who caught 120 games, by the time you are replacing games 80-120 for example, you may be getting only an 18% level.

    Another question I have about the calculations is this. If a catcher puts up say 3 WAA in 120 games, plus 1.5 (15 runs) above replacement then he is getting 4.5 war. If he had played at an average level for the other 40 games he would have picked up another .5 war or gotten 5.0. He didn't though, but somebody else did. If the average #1 catcher is catching 120 games, then the first 40 games caught by someone else on average is actually contributing to the AVERAGE level for catchers so its not really replacement level.
    Last edited by brett; 01-04-2013 at 07:11 AM.

  18. #18
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    Brett, I like your idea of redistributing more wins from non-catchers to catchers because the latter play a more physically demanding position and thus allow other players to not suffer from having to catch. This would be in addition to the positional adjustment catchers already get, and would place catchers on a more even scale with other players. The trick is how to quantify the catcher bonus without being arbitrary about it. Have you mentioned your idea to Sean Smith or Forman?
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  19. #19
    These are just my observations, as an interested observer who sees himself as unqualified [sabermetrically, meaning acceptable level of statistical regression options to fit universally accepted models that inform the structure of WAR.

    1. Why should any position carry an automatic +/- value simply for being THAT particular position? Why can't defensive evaluations be based on individual player performance as measured against a unique position-defined template? In other words, each position would start out neutral as far as +/- runs are concerned, with player performance "earning" individual ratings that may be +, - or neutral against the position model.

    The position limitations would be position-experience unique; and template value would be governed by these limitations without making the position value a negative from the start.

    2. Purely from the perspective of budgets, it seems to me that WAR is better suited to finacial planning and asset allocation than to player evaluation performance. Behind the plate, I can cite many examples illustrating that back up catchers were far above Replacement level in actual performance. Replacement is a concept universally applied, when the reality of roster management has many instances of utility men who were more nearly "average" than Replacement when put into lineups.

    3. I see mixed metaphors in the various claims for what WAR can do. Is it that a concept is being universally applied when it should not be? I realize it makes for more work; but why not measure each roster player/position/activity against seasonal average in category and let player "value" stand on that?

    Perhaps, specific to catchers, a regressed model of playing time could be developed that constitutes a "season" for catchers only. Just for the sake of an example, if that model came to 140 games then that would constitute a "season" behind the plate. Beyond that amount of playing time, a catcher would have no extra credits. However, the "other" 10, 15, 20 or whatever number of games might be applied at "replacement" formula.

    Just thinking out loud here and trying to be as unbiased as possible.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    These are just my observations, as an interested observer who sees himself as unqualified [sabermetrically, meaning acceptable level of statistical regression options to fit universally accepted models that inform the structure of WAR.

    1. Why should any position carry an automatic +/- value simply for being THAT particular position? Why can't defensive evaluations be based on individual player performance as measured against a unique position-defined template? In other words, each position would start out neutral as far as +/- runs are concerned, with player performance "earning" individual ratings that may be +, - or neutral against the position model.
    The problem here is that an average fielding SS and an average fielding first baseman who both hit the same, (lets say league average) are not equally valuable to a team. The shortstop is giving his team about 10 runs compared to an average SS, and the first baseman is losing his team about 10 runs compared to an average hitting first baseman. While the defensive positions have unique defensive needs, they also have unique offensive needs (you need more offense from first base than SS all else being equal AND one of the reasons SSs don't hit as well may be that they stay a little smaller, and quicker to field their position).

    And I think that an average fielding ss who hits as well as an average fielding first baseman is a better player. If we give the players defensive value for what they do in the field above a LOWER baseline, we could plausibly do what you are saying. An average shortstop would be making say 40 more plays than a low baseline, while an average first baseman might be making 20 more than the low baseline for first base. If we set a below average baseline for each position, we could eliminate the positional adjustment.

    And by the way, the positional adjustment is generally in line with the OFFENSIVE differences in production by position, but not completely in line (DHs are -14 while first basemen are -10 even though they hit/run better for example.)

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    Perhaps, specific to catchers, a regressed model of playing time could be developed that constitutes a "season" for catchers only. Just for the sake of an example, if that model came to 140 games then that would constitute a "season" behind the plate. Beyond that amount of playing time, a catcher would have no extra credits. However, the "other" 10, 15, 20 or whatever number of games might be applied at "replacement" formula.

    Just thinking out loud here and trying to be as unbiased as possible.
    I like the idea of an adjusted full season for a catcher. They should get the full value between an average and a replacement player IF they play an average number of games for their position. Though it depends a little on the meaning of the terms average and replacment. If average is actually the league average rates then it would mean that no replacement level player has ever played an inning at the major league level.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    The problem here is that an average fielding SS and an average fielding first baseman who both hit the same, (lets say league average) are not equally valuable to a team. The shortstop is giving his team about 10 runs compared to an average SS, and the first baseman is losing his team about 10 runs compared to an average hitting first baseman. While the defensive positions have unique defensive needs, they also have unique offensive needs (you need more offense from first base than SS all else being equal AND one of the reasons SSs don't hit as well may be that they stay a little smaller, and quicker to field their position).
    I have no problem at all in recognizing the higher demands defensively at SS over 1B. However, I have a problem with an evaluation model that starts one position off as a positive value and another with a negative value. Both contribute in a positive way to the defense, although the 1B position has limitations of opportunity, challenge and individual play value in run prevention. It see it a bit like two 1939 Ford sport coupes ... one souped up, the other with a governor on the speed control. One can go 110 mph, while the other is held to a maximum of 60 mph. Both move. Both will get you where you're going. The capacity is different.

    :And I think that an average fielding ss who hits as well as an average fielding first baseman is a better player. If we give the players defensive value for what they do in the field above a LOWER baseline, we could plausibly do what you are saying. An average shortstop would be making say 40 more plays than a low baseline, while an average first baseman might be making 20 more than the low baseline for first base. If we set a below average baseline for each position, we could eliminate the positional adjustment.
    I don't believe you can get much lower than the Replacement Level as a ML concept, unless you take a scrawny kid from the stands [always the last one picked chosing sides] and put him in the field. [Slight exaggeration, that!]

    Since we're talking catchers more specifically, I "get" the concept of Replacement; but as applied as a model it gives a distorted sense of value with a very low standard.

    And by the way, the positional adjustment is generally in line with the OFFENSIVE differences in production by position, but not completely in line (DHs are -14 while first basemen are -10 even though they hit/run better for example.)[/QUOTE]

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by leewileyfan View Post
    I have no problem at all in recognizing the higher demands defensively at SS over 1B. However, I have a problem with an evaluation model that starts one position off as a positive value and another with a negative value. Both contribute in a positive way to the defense, although the 1B position has limitations of opportunity, challenge and individual play value in run prevention. It see it a bit like two 1939 Ford sport coupes ... one souped up, the other with a governor on the speed control. One can go 110 mph, while the other is held to a maximum of 60 mph. Both move. Both will get you where you're going. The capacity is different.



    I don't believe you can get much lower than the Replacement Level as a ML concept, unless you take a scrawny kid from the stands [always the last one picked chosing sides] and put him in the field. [Slight exaggeration, that!]
    [/QUOTE]

    The most common WAR methodologies only rate defense relative to "average" at a position. They assume that playing an entire team of replacement level players will produce a team with a 32% winning percentage. They assume that putting a replacement level player at any position in the field will cost an average team about 2 wins overall but do not parse it out over offense or defense (a replacement shortstop will lose a lot of runs on defense, but a replacement first baseman is going to lose a ton on offense).

    There are WAR methods that set a replacment level for offense and defense separately so that an average fielder would get a positive score.

    In fact a way to look at it is that a first baseman gets -10 for position, while a shortstop gets +7, but they BOTH get about 22 runs above replacement level with about 25% of the contribution coming from defense and 75% from offense. That would mean theoretically that they BOTH are getting about 5.5 defensive runs above replacement for their positions. Still leaves the first baseman at -4.5 and the shortstop at 12.5 versus a neutral replacement fielder, and it implies that a replacement third baseman or centerfielder is a better fielder than an average fielding first baseman.

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