Comments on: Red Sox should keep Jason Varitek http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/912 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 By: JohnnyTwisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/912/comment-page-1#comment-5773 Wed, 10 Dec 2008 00:47:12 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/sotd/?p=912#comment-5773 Counting 20/75 seasons seems a blunt tool when you can just check the league batting splits pages to see exactly what an average catcher hits. (Admittedly B-R only has this back until 1956.) Catcher OPS+ last season was 91. Catchers hit below average and pretty much always have, but that doesn't mean a team should carry a completely incompetent bat there.

I don't know of any good way to measure a catcher's complete defensive contribution. I don't know if the Red Sox have some internal determination of Varitek's value in that regard. Considering how many minor league catchers are moved to another position before they reach the majors, I don't think there are any major league catchers who simply can't handle a pitching staff. While it's possible Varitek is amazing in this regard, I question how much added value he has over a typical major league catcher. I doubt it's enough to make up for his bat. From my amateur scouting perspective, he looks cooked. I'm honestly surprised he hit as "well" as he did this season. He has to cheat to catch up to any fastball. I doubt he can last another full season as a regular catcher.

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By: David in Toledo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/912/comment-page-1#comment-5772 Wed, 10 Dec 2008 00:43:36 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/sotd/?p=912#comment-5772 Your analysis is interesting and I agree that the Red Sox should keep Varitek unless the price tag is exorbitant.

However. . . a 37-year-old catcher is probably going to contribute less than he did the year before. Over the past three years, Varitek has averaged 407 ab, not the 450 of "an average catcher." So the Red Sox should prepare themselves to rely more on their second catcher, and Kevin Cash (though he did better in 2008) has a career batting average of .184. If they keep Varitek, the Sox should either be very confident of Cash's continued improvement, or they should get a better backup.

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