Comments on: Worst Batting Seasons By Catchers Since 1973 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Mike Thu, 04 Aug 2011 16:37:26 +0000 @49: I remember several of Bill James' rants and there were few better than on Sullivan. I think he may have even ranted on the spelling of his name by calling him "Marckie" or "Marcie"

Speaking of ranting on spelling of backup catchers' names, anyone remember Bill James wondering if former Reds' catcher Billardello's nickname was Dannnny? (Now there's an inept hitting trio....mid-80s Red's catchers Dann Billardello, Steve Christmas and Dave Van Gorder.)

By: Kahuna Tuna Tue, 02 Aug 2011 23:56:39 +0000 One more thing (promise). I ran a search for lowest-OPS+ seasons by players with 100+ plate appearances who played at least half their games at catcher. Bill Bergen, 1911, is fifth lowest with his –4. What nonplusses me, though, is that the second- and fourth-lowest spots are held by Ben Egan (1915 Indians, –12) and Tom Egan (1974 Angels, –6), respectively. How strange that two different players with the same (relatively unusual) surname would appear at the very top of the same list for seasons 59 years apart!

By: Kahuna Tuna Tue, 02 Aug 2011 23:18:02 +0000 Y'know, even if we broaden Steve's query to include all seasons of 80+ games at catcher going back to 1901 (which pulls in the incomparable career of Bill Bergen), Fosse's 1975 is still fourth worst. (Bergen has the three worst, at –4 [!!] [1911], 1 [1909], and 6 [1910].) Putting a .140 batting average in the lineup — it's as if Fosse's team were reverting to pre-DH days.

Leave us not forget how thoroughly Bergen dominates this category, though. He holds the three lowest OPS+ spots, four of the lowest five, eight of the lowest fifteen — and he played 80+ games at catcher in only eight seasons! He had one other season where he played 76 games at catcher, and if he had qualified in that season, his OPS+ would have tied for sixteenth worst.

One of my new favorite trivia questions: How few games played at catcher do you have to go before you find an OPS+ season worse than Bill Bergen's 1911? Answer: 58, Tim Spehr, 1996 Expos (OPS+ of –9). And in exactly half of Spehr's games at catcher that season (29), he had zero plate appearances.

By: Neil L. Tue, 02 Aug 2011 22:18:19 +0000 @64
Gosh, thanks for posting to BBRef.

I'm not quite sure what your post is in response to Could you tell us?

By: Neil L. Tue, 02 Aug 2011 22:15:25 +0000 @63
Darn, a reverse sort of your list, JT, doesn't make Molina look very good. You know what team I bleed for, so maybe his presence on my team's roster makes my point about bad-offense catchers.

However, Jose Molina, is having an anomalously good year with a line of 0.302/.372/.431 in limited playing time.

By: Gosh Tue, 02 Aug 2011 20:31:31 +0000 sorry but I am unable to figure out how to post my own stats so I will have to quietly appear at the end of this posting.Thank You and Good Nite. Gosh.
Pitchers with 20 wins but an ERA+ below 100.
Only 6 pitchers since 1970 but Stan Bahnsen appears on both lists.
yr. pitcher ERA+ W-L ERA
1972 Stan Bahnsen 88 21-16 3.60
1980 Joe Niekro 93 20-12 3.55

Pitchers with 20 losses but an ERA+ above 100.
yr. pitcher ERA+ W-L ERA
1979 Phil Niekro 120 21-20 3.39
1973 Wilbur Wood 116 24-20 3.46
1973 Stan Bahnsen 113 18-21 3.57
1977 Phil Niekro 111 16-20 4.03
1977 Jerry Koosman 107 8-20 3.49

By: Johnny Twisto Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:52:26 +0000 Neil/61, I ranked that list by ascending order of OPS+, so Molina has the worst of any catcher with at least 500 games in the past decade.

(And I forgot about your Timmy altercations, but those can hardly be counted...)

Nash/62, agreed about Piazza in the '80s. On the other hand, if he had caught in the '40s/'50s, when hardly anyone ran, I wonder if he'd even have a negative defensive rep.

By: Nash Bruce Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:39:11 +0000 Just an opinion, but I think that Piazza might have been fortunate, to play in a higher-scoring era, where giving up a stolen base, might not have been as damaging, as in other eras. Also, teams just didn't run quite as much, in Piazza's day, as they had in the years previous.
If Piazza had needed to go up against the Running Redbirds of the 1980's, for example, his defensive liabilities would have been much more of a burden to bear. On the other hand, it would still be incredibly difficult to pass up a chance to put a guy who could hit like that, at the catcher position, rather than at 1B or LF.
So, maybe it wouldn't have mattered after all.

By: Neil L. Tue, 02 Aug 2011 18:37:01 +0000 @59
JT, thank you. I was impatient with Timmy P in here twice in my posts and I did accuse Andy of being East-Coast centric in BBRef once. I'll confess now that my rant at Andy was after three beer. So I have stepped out out of line before.

Amazing list, Johnny, from my point of view. I've clicked on it and will need a while to absorb the information. Gotta go water the garden and lawn but ....... Jose Molina ranked so highly? I realize the list is only since 2002, but still ......

By: Johnny Twisto Tue, 02 Aug 2011 17:17:59 +0000 Below is a link of everyone who caught at least 500 games in the past 10 seasons. The worst hitters who get to keep playing have OPS+ around 65, are worth about 28 runs below average per 600 PA, and are all rated as plus defenders.

This does not include Jeff Mathis, who has only caught 379 games so far. He has been a worse hitter than anyone on this list.