catching

A fella and Ruiz

With the exception of the final game of the season, when Lou Marson caught Kyle Kendrick, Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz handled all of the duties behind the plate for the Phillies in 2008. For the five Phillies pitchers that made the most starts in ’08, here’s the percentage of their batters caught by each of the catchers and the numbers opposing hitters put up with each of them behind the plate:

 
RUIZ
  % of
batters caught
AVG/OBP/SLG OPS
Hamels 79.0 219/265/381 .646
Moyer 59.9 240/317/371 .688
Kendrick 63.2 316/385/484 .869
Myers 23.1 291/360/539 .900
Eaton 46.9 267/332/411 .743
       
Total 55.1 256/320/417 .737

And here are the numbers for Coste:

 
COSTE
  % of
batters caught
AVG/OBP/SLG OPS
Hamels 21.0 257/298/397 .695
Moyer 40.1 294/339/453 .792
Kendrick 34.6 286/353/478 .831
Myers 76.9 260/321/439 .760
Eaton 53.1 348/425/557 .981
       
Total 44.0 283/343/460 .802

You don’t want to compare the total lines — the .737 OPS with Ruiz behind the plate to the .802 OPS with Coste behind the plate. Each of the catchers did not catch the starters the same amount of the time. It is, for example, a big advantage to get to catch 79% of the batters Hamels faced.

Hamels, Moyer and Eaton all fared better pitching to Ruiz than they did to Coste. Kendrick had better luck pitching to Coste and Myers was much better pitching to Coste. Ruiz was behind the plate for Hamels nearly all of the time and Myers threw almost exclusively to Coste, but for the other three starters the catching was divided up more evenly.

A word about Adam Eaton. I think there’s not much chance you’re going to see Eaton pitch for the Phillies again. If he does, though, let’s hope it’s to Ruiz and not to Coste. If there’s a glimmer of hope for Eaton it’s got to be that his problem is not that he can’t pitch, it’s that he can’t pitch to Chris Coste. Eaton’s numbers for the season in 2008 were terrible (again), but the (267/332/411 (.743 OPS)) line that opponents posted against him when he wasn’t pitching to Chris Coste was far more encouraging. That line, for example, is very similar to the 263/337/409 (.746 OPS) that opponents hit against Randy Wolf and slightly less similar to the 287/328/410 (.739 OPS) put up against Aaron Cook.

The rumor of the day from the winter meetings has the Phils in a multi-team deal that winds up with them giving up JA Happ and Chris Coste and getting Mark DeRosa. I’m not going to be surprised if the Phillies trade Coste, but I will be a bit more surprised if they trade Happ. What to do with DeRosa after Utley returns is the big question in the deal for me. He’s had two nice seasons with the bat in a row, but I wouldn’t feel good about counting on him to see a lot of time in left field. The Phillies do need to add two right-handed bats — I would be thrilled if DeRosa was the second-best right-handed bat they add. Not so much if he was the best.

This suggests that Jamie Moyer wants two years, $18 million and that the Phillies have offered two years, $14 million.

This suggests the Phils are unlikely to bring back Tad Iguchi.

This suggests Mark Teixeira may sign with Boston. It has been suggested that the Angels may be interested in Burrell to play first base if they lose Teixeira.


Dream catchers

The Phillies have used five starting pitchers and two catchers this season. Here’s how many batters each of the pitchers has faced with each catcher behind the plate and what opposing hitters have done against the pitcher by the catcher he was throwing to, using OPS as the measure:


Pitcher

Catcher

BF

% BF

Opp OPS
Hamels Ruiz 414 93 661
Hamels Coste 32 7 354

Hamels has pitched almost exclusively to Ruiz this season, although he has fared very well against the small number of batters that he has faced with Coste behind the plate. In 2007, Hamels also threw rarely to Coste, but again his results against those batters by OPS were better than his results with Barajas or Ruiz behind the plate. In ’07, Hamels faced 60 batters with Coste behind the plate. Those batters posted a .612 OPS. The 470 batters he faced with Ruiz behind the plate posted a 666 OPS. The 213 batters he faced with Barajas behind the plate posted a .753 OPS.


Pitcher

Catcher

BF

% BF

Opp OPS
Myers Ruiz 165 37 943
Myers Coste 279 63 853

Myers has thrown more to Coste than to Ruiz this season and with better results. In ’07 he worked primarily as a reliever and threw most often to Ruiz. The 191 batters he faced with Ruiz catching posted a .733 OPS. The 67 batters he faced with Barajas catching posted a .848 OPS and the 35 batters he faced with Coste behind the plate posted a .261 OPS (4-for-35 with four singles).


Pitcher

Catcher

BF

% BF

Opp OPS
Moyer Ruiz 127 33 633
Moyer Coste 254 67 873

Moyer has fared better this year throwing to Ruiz. He pitched almost exclusively to Ruiz in 2007. Of the 867 batters he faced in 2007, 833 were with Ruiz behind the plate. Those hitters posted an .820 OPS. The 34 hitters he faced with Coste catching posted a .960 OPS.


Pitcher

Catcher

BF

% BF

Opp OPS
Eaton Ruiz 173 47 715
Eaton Coste 196 53 920

Eaton has pitched to Ruiz and Coste about equally this season, with better results with Ruiz behind the plate. In 2007 he pitched to Barajas most often. The 380 hitters he faced with Barajas behind the dish put up an .849 OPS, the 262 with Ruiz catching .897 and the 92 with Coste catching a 1.101.

That’s probably just a coincidence, but I think I’d let Ruiz catch him just in case.


Pitcher

Catcher

BF

% BF

Opp OPS
Kendrick Ruiz 280 79 845
Kendrick Coste 76 21 732

Kendrick has mostly pitched to Ruiz, but has fared a bit better with Coste catching. Kendrick threw to Ruiz most frequently in 2007 and had similar results pitching to all three catchers. 307 batters faced with a .763 OPS to Ruiz, 167 to Coste with a .796 and 25 to Barajas with a .769.

Jamie Moyer (7-4, 4.09) faces righty Joe Blanton (3-10, 4.81) tonight in Oakland. Blanton got bombed his last time out, allowing eight runs in just three innings against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Oakland has lost six of the last seven games he has started. Righties are hitting him hard — they’ve hit .326 against him this season compared to .248 for lefties. It’s not going to help the Phillies tonight, but away from hitter-friendly Oakland he has a 6.75 ERA in five starts. The Phillies have won six of the last seven games started by Moyer. He has a 1.96 ERA over his last three starts. He didn’t pitch well his last time out, though, walking five Red Sox in just five innings (the five walks was a season-high).

George Carlin on baseball.


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