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  • Chadwick
    replied
    No word on the street about Martin's 2021 plans, but Joel Sherman reported back in February that (to that point), Martin hadn't signed due to a "family matter". The matter may have resolved by now and COVID-19 became the new obstacle, or not.

    A few weeks ago, the usually comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors published a preview of this winter's free agent catchers. Martin wasn't mentioned and the site hasn't had an update on Martin since Sherman's story broke in mid-February.

    Martin will be 38 entering next season. While he was still a solid pitch framer and league average at avoiding outs at the plate, in 2021 it will be 5 years since he was truly a full-time player. That doesn't mean Martin can't find work in MLB (necessarily) if he wanted it, but will he seek out a reduced role at a minimal wage or will his family concerns remain predominant?

    Only time will tell, but at this point, I think it's reasonable to conclude that Martin's career is more likely over than that it will be continue and absolutely that he won't be adding significantly to his career numbers even if he does play again.

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  • Jar of Flies
    replied
    Will Russ get the call in 2021 from a team in need of a vet catcher?

    Came across this article today from a year ago, Ben Lindbergh always a good read: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.the...-nlds-catchers

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Well said, BA.

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  • Bothrops Atrox
    replied
    Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
    Does pitch framing have any correlation with catcher ERA? Logically it should. I seem to remember Bothrops posting some start differential regarding ERA with and without Molina.
    Molina has suppressed his staff ERAs by almost a half-a-run per game compare to backups over 14 seasons. That number is staggering and unprecedented among catchers with available data. A little of that is controlling the running game and plate blocking and other things currently being quantified by BBRef and FG. The rest is 1. disposable noise, 2. framing, and 3. staff handling. The exact breakdown is hard to nail down - but we should all be in agreement that WAR as currently published sells great defensive catchers WAY short defensively. So I would also give boosts to guys with great defensive reputations like Sundberg and Schalk and Schang.

    New data allows us the ability to raise the statistical status of those we have data for and gives us the confidence to boost the status of those we do not...on faith and common sense. This data DOES help the old guys. It provides evidence that the "intangible" things they were rumored to do were both very real and very impactful. But I certainly won't ignore the quality data for modern guys just because it isn't available for the older guys. That would be foolish.
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 10-20-2017, 05:47 AM.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Schang was a poor man's Yogi Berra. But the Schalk vs Schang view is an interesting one in light of pitch framing. Schalk had the defensive rep. Rightly or wrongly, it was part of the narrative that sold his Hall of Fame case to the voters. Great defender, long career, honest guy on a crooked team.

    Logically, I would suppose that a good defender would have a bigger bump from pitch framing while an average or worse defender would likely see his value stagnate or drop were we able to add pitch framing to it. I'm not at all sure that this assumption is an accurate one. Who's to say that Wally Schang wasn't a good pitch framer for his teams while Ray Schalk might have been great in other aspects of his glovework, but pitch framing wasn't a skill he ever mastered? What I would like to know is this:

    1 - Is there any hope to ever add pitch framing data for earlier seasons?
    2 - Is there some pitch framing estimate we could apply to earlier seasons that, while less accurate than hard data, would at least provide the best available estimate?
    3 - Are there truisms we can extrapolate from existing data that we could apply on a case-by-case basis to individual candidates from years past?

    I don't know the answer to these questions. I'm hoping the better-informed pitch framing advocates around here can shed some light.

    Touching on Toledo's points a bit more, I am for incorporating all available data, but we have to keep the principle of "apples to apples" everpresent in our mind. Too many people, for example, would look no further than career WAR and go down that list and say "oh look,...Russell Martin is 10 WAR higher than Jim Sundberg; he must have been vastly superior" but the difference is mostly (or entirely) dependent on the fact Russell has a huge boost thanks to pitch framing data. The human brain naturally gravitates towards shortcuts like that and it would be an unfortunate (and all-too common) unintended consequence of incorporating pitch framing into a total "WAR" metric where pre- and post-PF data aren't distinguished.

    Unfortunate, but not to the point that it wouldn't be worth having that data combined and available (i.e. I wish rWAR and fWAR incorporated pitch framing).

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  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
    That brings up the point, perhaps with pitch framing into maybe a guy like Ray Schalk is seen as a solid hall of famer while we understand why wally Schang did not get in. (note I use Schang because he is linked to Schalk in a Bill James Abstract or so I recall).
    Schang most likely didn't get in because he was a part time catcher. I investigated him, had him in my HOF for a while, and eventually dropped him when I realized he only started 85 games or more as a catcher five times in his career. In the other seasons, he was starting 60-75 games at catcher. I don't know that is the reason the people who saw him play left him out, but I suspect that it is. He had a tremendous reputation from the literature.

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  • PVNICK
    replied
    Does pitch framing have any correlation with catcher ERA? Logically it should. I seem to remember Bothrops posting some start differential regarding ERA with and without Molina.

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  • PVNICK
    replied
    That brings up the point, perhaps with pitch framing into maybe a guy like Ray Schalk is seen as a solid hall of famer while we understand why wally Schang did not get in. (note I use Schang because he is linked to Schalk in a Bill James Abstract or so I recall).

    Leave a comment:


  • Toledo Inquisition
    replied
    This is an interesting topic for me, as I have mixed feelings. While more information is good and I'll always look at it (even if it only comes to me disagreeing), I'm not sure how to apply it to rankings relative to historical players versus the current group.

    Let's say we have pieces of information A and B about really old time players; A, B and C for semi-old players; and A, B, C, D and E for current players. Is it fair to the older players to rank them in a system which they may have been much better if we had D and E (or conversely much worse)?

    I'm not sure the best way to proceed. We can't ignore the data about the skills of current players, but we shouldn't penalize older players. What I've been attempting to do is "slot" in players in a list to where I think they might (or could) rank defensively. This is especially true of catchers. I know it is not a purely mathematically accurate solution, but I'm wary of granting modern players "bonus" stats which the older players can't be given or taken from. Yet the modern guys shouldn't be denied either.

    It is a quandary which I haven't solved yet, and likely won't solve to my own satisfaction. How to answer questions such as comparing a Ray Schalk to a Jim Sundberg to Yadier Molina?

    I do feel that these modern analytics do help define players relative to their contemporaries and should be looked at.


    EDIT: I didn't see Chadwick's post #45 whilst typing, but it agrees with a lot of my thoughts.
    Last edited by Toledo Inquisition; 10-19-2017, 09:47 AM.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Part of why I look at rWAR and fWAR as much as WARP is because we can compare apples-to-apples with catcher defense. If pitch framing gives recent catchers like Molina, Martin, McCann and Posey a bump, is it a safe assumption similar bumps would be forthcoming for catchers from earlier eras, even if we limit that to catchers with a great defensive reputation and great (though less accurate) defensive stats?

    I wonder, with the years we can measure, to what degree pitch framing reinforces pre-existing perceptions of defensive catchers. Is there a correlation between great defenders by other measures and great pitch framers or is it a unique skill with no correlation to other great defensive abilities that we could measure.

    What I'm trying to get at is whether we can even assume a bump to Sundberg (for example) for pitch framing credit or if that's not a logical leap at all. Martin's and Molina's Hall cases don't occur in a vacuum - it's very much relative to those around them.

    I suppose the easier way to ask this is: why don't you have Sundberg - who has a stellar defensive rep and good defensive stats without pitch framing - over the line?

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  • Bothrops Atrox
    replied
    Originally posted by Chadwick View Post
    His career isn't over yet, but it's safe to say that over half of it is in the books and more than likely the better half. That said, he's been a league-average hitter who carries an outstanding glove at a premium defensive position. That's comfortable Hall of Fame territory for people over the course of a career.

    Just curious, BA, where does Martin rank for you in relation to Yadier Molina and Jim Sundberg?
    Slightly ahead of Molina (better hitter) and both a few catcher spots ahead of Sundberg. I do not have Sundberg in my HOF - just because we really have no way of knowing how good defensively he was. I may be selling him short.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    His career isn't over yet, but it's safe to say that over half of it is in the books and more than likely the better half. That said, he's been a league-average hitter who carries an outstanding glove at a premium defensive position. That's comfortable Hall of Fame territory for people over the course of a career.

    Just curious, BA, where does Martin rank for you in relation to Yadier Molina and Jim Sundberg?

    Leave a comment:


  • Bothrops Atrox
    replied
    Martin's case is actually a simple one:

    If one puts stock into his CSAA defensive numbers (the most elaborate catcher defensive system available which includes framing), Martin is a comfortable HOFer. If one choses to look at baseball cards or BBref/FG WAR (and the defensive systems they use), he is not.

    I do look at CSAA first and foremost for catcher defense - so he is a HOFer for me.

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  • Chadwick
    replied
    Russell Martin is in my top 15 catchers outside the Hall of Fame, but he's somewhere in the #11-15 area, depending on what day you ask me. Right there in a group with Darrell Porter, Jason Kendall, Elston Howard, etc. That doesn't mean he won't belong in the Hall of Fame some day, but at this point it's an academic exercise, not a battle worth fighting.

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    He's got 36.5 WAR. Martin reminds me of Sherm Lollar with a little more power, and Sherm had only 30.4 WAR, while Martin isn't done.

    Martin has turned out to be better than Lollar, and better than I thought I'd be, but he's still not really a star, and never has been. He's a quality regular in an era where catchers last longer and have more games logged than in the days of Lollar and Crandall.

    There are so many catchers I'd rate ahead of Martin, not just based on what he's done so far, but what he could project out to optimistically. Ted Simmons and Jorge Posada come to mind as better players. Joe Mauer had a much higher peak and was a better player. Thurman Munson easily ranks ahead of Martin, and so does Elston Howard. Lance Parrish and Bill Freehan rank ahead of Martin. There are simply too many guys not in the HOF that are better than Martin.

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