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by Derek Smart
Mike Kiley did a Spring Training piece on Michael Barrett's defense yesterday, and unlike most dispatches from Mesa, the opening caught my eye:
The Cubs' Michael Barrett wants to invent a new category for rating catchers.
"I wish baseball would design a catcher rating system like a quarterback rating system,'' he said.
How would it work?
"Your catcher ratio would be based off your percentage of throwing guys out, your percentage of wild pitches vs. passed balls and all the things added together," he said. "Then you would get a real glimpse of where I'm at."
Well, well, it looks like we've got a budding stat-head on our hands. Not that it sounds like he's got a real methodology in place, but it's interesting that he's even thinking in these terms. In fact, he goes on later to talk about, of all things, catcher ERA.
Barrett tied the San Francisco Giants' Mike Matheny in catcher ERA last season at 4.45. Since Matheny won the Gold Glove, Barrett takes pride in that similarity.
"For whatever reason, there is no reflection in winning the Gold Glove in your catcher earned-run average. You would think that would have an impact."
Barrett suspects that his catcher ERA might be worse this season than last year because of the uncertain health of some pitchers.
"...for me personally to have expectations to improve my catcher earned-run average is not fair to those guys coming off injuries."
It's not that I don't expect players to pay attention to their numbers, but of all things for a catcher to keep an eye on, catcher ERA seems...well...odd. I suppose it makes some sense, in that they don't have much else to lean on statistically to measure things like game-calling skills, but to be honest, I didn't think anyone noticed catcher ERA, let alone an actual catcher. I guess I'll just put that in my "learn something new every day" box.