Like the 300-inning starting pitcher, should the 1100-inning catcher be a affair relegated to baseball’s past?
The position has acquired into a added ambitious position than anytime before. Catchers are beneath greater analysis in agreement of angle framing at a time when:
All of this contributes to greater brainy and concrete action over the advance of the season. The only advantage I can anticipate of that catchers accept acquired over the years is a abatement in the cardinal of day games. But alike aback then, the aphorism of comatose a catcher for a day bold afterwards a night bold existed.
It is no admiration abhorrent assembly out of the catcher position is advancing almanac lows. Check out this article by Mike Petriello on why J.T. Realmuto is such a hot article this offseason at a time aback few teams avowal a catcher that is alike semi-competent with a bat in his hands. Catchers are actuality affected to apply added activity on the arresting end than any added position and again asked to bolt up with high-90s acceleration on a approved basis. It is a big ask, and actual few athletes are able of captivation up on both ends.
Why do I accompany this up? The Cubs are absolutely not activity to accompany a barter with the Marlins for Realmuto ‘s services, not with Willson Contreras around. But as I discussed a abeyant backlash division from Willy in 2019 yesterday, I stumbled beyond his acceptance patterns from aftermost season, and apparent how out of band they were, not aloof from his antecedent career norms, but additionally in comparison to how generally the blow of baseball is utilizing their top backstop.
Contreras set a career high with 138 amateur played in 2018. His antecedent mark was the 131 he logged amid AAA Iowa and Chicago in 2016. But a added attending at the numbers shows why his 2018 total represented a all-inclusive aberration in agreement of possible abrasion and breach that could accept contributed to his abhorrent assembly bottoming out during the additional bisected of aftermost division (126 wRC above-mentioned to the break, 63 wRC after):
Contreras led MLB catchers with 1,109.2 innings abaft the bowl in 2019. He was the alone catcher to hit the 1,100 mark and one of aloof four that logged aloft 1,000. At a time aback teams are application any and all agency to advantage agenda architecture and amateur acceptance in the best benign manner, it would behoove the Cubs to appraise why they were so out of band with the blow of the league, alike those with aristocratic catchers.
There accept been just 60 added 1,100-inning seasons from catchers over the accomplished 15 years, 46 of which are accounted for by the 13 players who managed the feat more than once:
Only four from that accumulation (Molina, Posada, McCann and Martinez) were able to consistently sustain aloft alliance boilerplate abhorrent assembly (wRC aloft 100) while logging so abounding innings. Kendall would additionally qualify, but alone above-mentioned to 2004. Martinez began logging time at added positions after bristles or so years of abundant acceptance abaft the dish, which may accept enabled him to accumulate up his assembly able-bodied into his 30s. Weiters and Montero had abbreviate 2-3 year abhorrent peaks which they never managed to echo alike as their arena time decreased after in their careers. Martin recovered to abide accidental offensively but only after his arena time was scaled aback a bit once he larboard the Dodgers.
While there is consistently a adventitious that Contreras develops into an outlier like Molina or Kendall, the allowance are ample adjoin him, admitting the actuality he is a actual acceptable amateur who did not ache abundant abrasion and breach during his Minor Alliance career. He did not activate catching with any regularity until three years afore authoritative his MLB admission in 2016 but he will already be 27 years old abutting division and acceptable has accomplished (or aloof surpassed) his concrete peak.
One big name you may accept noticed was absent from the account aloft is that of Buster Posey. Not alone has Posey never accumulated 1,100 innings abaft the bowl during any season, he has alone topped 1,000 alert (Posey has averaged aloof over 925 innings at C over the accomplished 7 seasons). The Giants accept wisely accustomed him to log on boilerplate about 185 innings per division at 1B in an accomplishment to accumulate his bat in the lineup. That works out to about 20 starts per division or 1 out of every 8 games. There is no acumen the Cubs could not do the aforementioned with Contreras, abnormally aback his versatility allows him to breach time amid LF and 1B. This would accredit them to sit Schwarber adjoin the casual boxy lefty while additionally comatose Rizzo already every added week.
Peak Buster Posey (career-high 164 wRC in 2012, a division I ability add which occurred afore he anytime logged a 1,000 inning division abaft the plate) may be a tad affluent to apprehend from Contreras as an abhorrent contributor, but in 7 of Posey’s 9 seasons his wRC has sat amid 115-135. Contreras accomplished 126 and 122 in his aboriginal two years, afore falling aback to 100 aftermost season. I don’t believe acquisitive for that akin of addition from Contreras is out of band with his aptitude level. But I do accept that his best adventitious of accomplishing it on a approved base will crave the Cubs rethinking his deployment affective advanced and I feel the Giants accept already mapped out the adapted arrangement to use.
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