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Best Position Players of All Time - #27

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  • #31
    Originally posted by torez77
    I, for one, consider I-Rod probably the best all-around MLB catcher ever, Bill.
    This is plain crazy and probably a result of overrating I-Rod's defense due to how he looks in defensive metrics and such.

    Ivan Rodrguez may seem the best defensive catcher by defensive metrics, but there is one significant part of catching that it is probably impossible to quantify-dealing with the pitchers.

    By almost all accounts, Rodriguez does not handle his pitchers very well. There have even been complaints from pitchers who were his battery mates. I don't know, but perhaps this has something to do with the large number of pitching flops the Rangers had in that time? The park I'm sure had something to do with it too, but Pudge may have had a small part in it.

    Most catchers have a meeting with the pitchers before the game to go over matchups with hitters. What kind of pitches to thrown to them, where to locate pitches to get them out, that sort of stuff. From what I have heard, Pudge would never have meetings like that.

    He may have been the best ever at controlling the running game, but he was awful at the areas of catching which can't be numerically quantified. Calling him the best defensive catcher ever is ignoring a whole very important aspect of the position.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by jalbright
      You know I can't agree with ranking Nagashima over Oh. Here's what I wrote in my two-part analysis of Oh's qualifications for Cooperstown:



      Using my major league projections narrows the gap by taking more homers away from Oh than from Nagashima. Even so, Oh has 729 more AB, 209 more hits, 256 more homers (527 - 271), they're even in average, Oh's ahead in on base percentage by 44 points and in slugging by 33. I can't see Nagashima's edge with the glove outweighing all that. Look at the lists of the ten most similar major leaguers to the two projections: Oh's list has 11 names due to a tie for 10th and consists of 10 HOFers and one outsider (R. Jackson, E. Murray, McCovey, Ott, Baines, F. Robinson, B. Williams, D. Winfield, T. Perez, Mantle and Banks) while Nagashima's list isn't nearly as impressive (Joe Morgan, Sandberg, Pinson, Santo, Whitaker, K. Boyer, Brian Downing, Buddy Bell, Willie Davis and Chili Davis). Both men are better than the average member of their list.

      Jim Albright
      My ranking of Nagashima over Oh has at least one more qualifier....OH, great numbers and all, I still have ranked behind 10 other 1st basemen(although I have been considering moving him ahead of 3 of those...Greenberg, Thomas and Bagwell). Nagashima I have as the #4 all time 3rd baseman.... Also, I have Oh only a couple spots behind Nagashima all time, at 35 and 37. Oh was more valuable overall, Nagashima recieves a significant bump because he played a position where there are so few truly great players.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by 538280
        This is plain crazy and probably a result of overrating I-Rod's defense due to how he looks in defensive metrics and such.
        Ivan Rodrguez may seem the best defensive catcher by defensive metrics, but there is one significant part of catching that it is probably impossible to quantify-dealing with the pitchers.
        By almost all accounts, Rodriguez does not handle his pitchers very well. There have even been complaints from pitchers who were his battery mates. I don't know, but perhaps this has something to do with the large number of pitching flops the Rangers had in that time? The park I'm sure had something to do with it too, but Pudge may have had a small part in it.
        Most catchers have a meeting with the pitchers before the game to go over matchups with hitters. What kind of pitches to thrown to them, where to locate pitches to get them out, that sort of stuff. From what I have heard, Pudge would never have meetings like that.
        He may have been the best ever at controlling the running game, but he was awful at the areas of catching which can't be numerically quantified. Calling him the best defensive catcher ever is ignoring a whole very important aspect of the position.
        I didn't say Pudge was necessarily the best DEFENSIVE catcher ever, if we're ranking defense alone. Johnny Bench would probably take that honor. I said he was the best ALL-AROUND catcher, which means he has the best combo of defense, power, BA and speed of any catcher in recent memory, if not all time (I'm not including Negro Leagues) Perhaps I do judge his defense too much by the metrics. You're right when you say the Rangers had a large number of pitching flops in the '90s, as do the Tigers of today. I-Rod would be the LAST player on those teams I would blame for bad defense.
        Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by torez77
          I said he was the best ALL-AROUND catcher, which means he has the best combo of defense, power, BA and speed of any catcher in recent memory, if not all time
          Really? It's hard to see how Pudge is better offensively than Bench.

          Pudge has never led his league in any offensive category. Bench has led in home runs twice, RBI three times, extra base hits twice, andtotal bases once. Altogether he scores 20 on the Black Ink Test to zero for I-Rod.

          Bench has won two MVP awards and is 39th all time in MVP shares. Pudge did win one MVP award, but other than that has never came in higher than 10th, and is 227th in MVP shares.

          Pudge has a 115 OPS+ and that will go down soon. Bench is at 126. Bench has a .292 EqA, Pudge has a .274 EqA.

          How's Pudge better offensively?

          Comment


          • #35
            I didn't look at their OPS's and EqA's. Probably should have. I'll have to say, though, that I like Pudge's BA MUCH better than Bench's, without regard to era adjustments. I, like ElHalo, tend to be turned off by low BAs. Probably a weakness in my judgment and why I tend to be stand-offish towards '70s players. I'll admit it.

            However, Pudge IS one of the good baserunning catchers of all time. Bench had two sharp SB years in '75 and '76, so he wasn't bad, but not as good as I-Rod. I'd say that and the BA is what makes Pudge more attractive to me than Bench. They are pretty much equal with the arm. They are very close overall, and I may actually change my ranking sometime. My rankings on that Official Opinions thread are still rough.
            Last edited by torez77; 02-13-2006, 06:53 PM.
            Red, it took me 16 years to get here. Play me, and you'll get the best I got.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by [email protected]
              When I last compiled my Top 100 list, I was persuaded that I-Rod was a defensive superstar. And since I weight Defense so highly at both catcher/shortstop, I was top-loading my list with catchers. I have this thing about catchers. Almost a Camelot-like romance with them being my Lance-e-lots.

              And that was before the steroid-accusations from Jose Canseco. I don't know if Jose had first-hand, personal knowledge or merely hearsay.

              Anyway . . . you asked, and that's all I can say by way of how he ranks so high on my list. If it's ever established that he did, in fact, cheat, well, then, he would have to come down. Way down.

              Do you not consider Ivan a defensive superstar, far above Yogi & Mickey C.? Leaving aside for a moment the offensive side of things?

              Bill
              ARod is a great defesnive catcher and has an awesome arm. That said, he calls a lousy game and doesn't even partake in the review with the pitcher and pitching coach of how to pitch each hitter.
              But you seem to be weighting defense waaay too much in this case.
              I cannot for the life of me see IRod ahead of Yogi. Maybe Cochrane...maybe...but not Berra.

              Yankees Fan Since 1957

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by yanks0714
                ARod is a great defesnive catcher and has[...]
                IRod, not ARod

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by torez77
                  I didn't look at their OPS's and EqA's. Probably should have. I'll have to say, though, that I like Pudge's BA MUCH better than Bench's, without regard to era adjustments. LOW BA's, like ElHalo, tend to turn me off. Probably a weakness in my judgment and why I tend to be stand-offish towards '70s players. I'll admit it.

                  However, Pudge IS one of the good baserunning catchers of all time. Bench had two sharp SB years in '75 and '76, so he wasn't bad, but not as good as I-Rod. I'd say that and the BA is what makes Pudge more attractive to me than Bench. They are pretty much equal with the arm. They are very close overall, and I may actually change my ranking sometime. My rankings on that Official Opinions thread are still rough.
                  Yeah, I like Pudge's BA without an era adjustment too. So would everybody else. But that is a serious weakness in your evaluation. Not looking at the era they played is a major deficiency. If you looked it like that I suppose Larry Walker is better than Hank Aaron???

                  You like BA as an evaluation tool? Don't fall into the trap of using that as the 'key' to a player being a good hitter. I learned. It's not.

                  What about Bench's power over IRod? Even without an era adjustment. With an era adjustment Bench crushes IRod.

                  Speed is one of the last things and least important aspect for a catcher. If he has some speed that's nice but it's more like icing on the cake.

                  As for defense, both IRod and Bench were great. Both threw extremely well. But Bench controlled the game and the pitchers. IRod doesn't even bother with pre-game review of opposing hitters. He simply blows them off. That is, to me, totally irresponsible.

                  Another thing, IRod has been suspected of steroids...no proof....but the guy showed up at spring training 2005 significantly lighter/smaller than in previous years last year. His power production dropped significantly AND, even more distressing, his OBP plummeted. He made a LOT of outs last year.

                  Yankees Fan Since 1957

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Another thing to remeber in this Bench/IRod thing is that in IRod's time catcher's equipment had become better and it wasn't so hard anymore to catch 140+ games. Of course catching equipment was much more advanced in Johnny's day, but things have gotten even easier for the catcher in recent years. It was easier for IRod to last as long as he did. With the fact Bench is almost certainly going to end up with a longer career as it is (Pudge is almost done as a player at this point), I think that's a significant advantage.

                    And if you want BA, say hello to Yogi Berra. His relative BAs weren't quite as good as Pudge's, but his OBP and SLG were way better which made for a better OPS+.

                    IRod was a better thrower, but that is only half of catcher defense. Don't be fooled by defensive metrics. Yogi Berra had a reputation for being a great handler of pitchers, Pudge has always gotten much criticism in that department. As Yanks says, he never even meets with his pitchers to go over scouting reports. All the pitching busts the Rangers have had over the past few years may not be a coincidence. It is reasonable to claim Pudge may have had something to do with it.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by 538280
                      Another thing to remeber in this Bench/IRod thing is that in IRod's time catcher's equipment had become better and it wasn't so hard anymore to catch 140+ games. Of course catching equipment was much more advanced in Johnny's day, but things have gotten even easier for the catcher in recent years. It was easier for IRod to last as long as he did. With the fact Bench is almost certainly going to end up with a longer career as it is (Pudge is almost done as a player at this point), I think that's a significant advantage.
                      Trust me when I say I'd never dream of putting IRod in the same league as Yogi, Bench, or Cochrane. That much said, I think he's got a decent shot at being as good as anybody else (I'd probably throw Dickey in the fourth slot among MLB catchers, but I could also see Hartnett there). His numbers are pretty impressive, for a catcher. His 1999 season was something special (though Jeter still should have won MVP... grr...). There aren't too many catchers who can consistently hit .300 with 30+ doubles, 20+ HR's, and decent speed. He doesn't walk much, which I kind of admire in a strange way. But all told, he's not really in an offensive class with the truly top catchers, and there's only so much his defense makes up for.

                      As to your claim that he doesn't get along well with pitchers... tell that to Ugey Urbina.
                      "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                      Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by 538280
                        IRod was a better thrower, but that is only half of catcher defense. Yogi Berra had a reputation for being a great handler of pitchers, Pudge has always gotten much criticism in that department. As Yanks says, he never even meets with his pitchers to go over scouting reports. All the pitching busts the Rangers have had over the past few years may not be a coincidence. It is reasonable to claim Pudge may have had something to do with it.
                        This chat is intensely intriguing to me. I may have been misled as to how good Pudge really has been. To me, handling of your staff is the heart and soul of great defense. And that is why catcher evaluations are so difficult.

                        One of the reasons why I stump for Ewing is his legendary handling of his pitchers. Mickey Welch, Tim Keefe, Ed Crane, Amos Rusie (minimal), John Ward, Hank O'Day, John Ewing, Cannonball Titcomb were some of the guys he coaxed to winning efforts.

                        His pitch calling, his supreme finnesse, his legendary gun of an arm, (as evidenced by his assists/game being second in history), all convince me he was the best of history.

                        I may have to down-rate IRod if I hear more of this lack of his working closely with his staff. That is a very serious tarnishing of his record, if it is true.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by [email protected]
                          I may have to down-rate IRod if I hear more of this lack of his working closely with his staff. That is a very serious tarnishing of his record, if it is true.
                          I have heard the same things about Irod. Word on the street has been that his interests are nearly entirely offensive; which is very offensive when talking about a catcher.

                          He plays the one position where selflessness is a requirement, and the only position that can directly affect so much of the entire teams success. With so many young "throwers" coming into the game nowdays, a field general who shares knowledge and provides a calming influence could never be more important.

                          Irod is a great catcher no doubt, but it's the dealing with pitchers issue that lowered him significantly in my mind, even before the steroid talk. Not to get into steroids too much, but the stamina and strength gained, would greatly benefit a catcher more-so than any other position. On top of that he was playing in Texas where the heat always makes fatigue a factor. The recent size change doesn't look good either.

                          Anyway, Bill, this is why I like Schalk so much. Not only was the guy a tough little rock behind the dish, but he was beautiful at handling pitchers, along with doing the necessary psychological battling with hitters. Your boy Cobby would tell you as much

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            --I-Rod had a bad rep as a young catcher for not working well with pitchers or studying opposing batters. With runners on base he was also accused of calling for pitches that gave him a better shot at making a throw than concentrating on getting the batter out. I think he probably improved on that over time.
                            --In his year with the Marlins their young pitchers had good things to say about him. He was also given alot of credit for leadership in their championship run. When the Tigers signed him they talked alot about how he would help their young pitchers and provide veteren leadership. Not sure that really worked out like they hoped though.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              I have this thing about catchers. Almost obsess on their ability to help the team.

                              My theory is, that by cataloging the relative strengths/weaknesses of each batter, they relieve their entire staff of the necessity of memorizing the same for each batter. And in that way, your staff can focus 100% on their mechanics, of delivering just the perfect pitch called for, without having to waste all their time figuring out WHAT to throw. Just how to do it!

                              In that way, I give premium value to such a catcher. Most of the great ones could function in that capacity for their staffs, but the best ones did it to "perfection".

                              In that regards, I give the highest marks to Ewing, Bennett, Kling, Schalk, Cochrane, Bench, Mackey. I rate pitch calling the very highest art of the catcher.

                              And after that, I rate arm as the most essential catcher skill. And for arm, I give the highest marks to Ewing, Bennett, Archer, Bench, Snyder, Bushrong & Mackey.

                              I am also very aware that most Fever members will award hitting much higher value than any so-called defensive art. And I hold that to be reprehensible.

                              Pitch selection, when done right, will save a team many more runs, than any offense by your catcher! Pitch selection, when blown, will lose the game faster than anything else possible. But still, top bats go to Gibson, Piazza, Bench, & Santop. And just behind them, Campy, Cochrane, Dickey, & Yogi.

                              Now I am very aware that simply by calling for the correct pitch, does NOT mean your pitcher can deliver it. You can't pitch for him. That is where a good behind the plate "manner", psychologically settling him down, calming him in the face of a budding batting rally, instilling confidence, letting him know, in a fatherly way that you believe in his location, all go miles in allowing him to coax the best out of his arm.

                              And that is where Ewing, Bennett, Bench shone so brightly. They handled their staffs well, and cut off the running game as efficiently as it could humanly be done. Modern chroniclers all cite Bench's throwing efficiency, but forget Ewing did it even better 90 yrs. earlier.

                              I really wish you guys would really study Ewing's assists/game, and take him more seriously. Maybe the mound being closer allowed him to get the ball there faster, but I doubt it. More likely his slinging sideshot from his squat did the trick.

                              Bill Burgess
                              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-14-2006, 07:00 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by [email protected]
                                I really wish you guys would really study Ewing's assists/game, and take him more seriously. Maybe the mound being closer allowed him to get the ball there faster, but I doubt it. More likely his slinging sideshot from his squat did the trick.

                                Bill Burgess
                                Bill, assists from catcher were very, very high in the 19th century and have gone down since. Anyway, they really aren't a good way to determine catching excellence. Bill James did various studies in Win Shares about them. His general findings were that they do have a small correlation to caught stealing and catching excellence, but really can't be relied on.

                                I'm willing to accept for sure that Ewing was one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time, maybe even the best. But, it is impossible no matter how good he was while he was back there to have great value from the position. I understand catchers in his time didn't catch many games, but he caught significantly less innings than even all of the other great catchers at the time. Ewing caught about 5413 innings in his career. Deacon McGuire caught about 13460 innings. Wilbert Robinson and Chief Zimmer caught more than twice as many innings. Charlie Bennett and Roger Bresnahan caught about 300 more games. Johnny Kling caught almost twice as many games. Ewing, even in his own time, just didn't catch all that many games.

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