Catching Comparison, Offense

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, since April 17th (chosen as it was the first game played after taxes were paid, literally no other reason – unscientific) 18-64, .281/.500/.824, 3HR, 10RBI, .369WPA

Russell Martin, since April 17th – 24-87, .276/.494/.900, 5HR, 15RBI, .621WPA

Offered without comment or judgment.

35 comments… add one
  • Beat me to the punch.
    Other selective end points:
    Since April 8:
    Salty: .266/.310/.456 (.765 OPS)
    Martin: .257/.380/.455 (.836 OPS)
    Since April 30:
    Salty: .283/.327/.565 (.892 OPS)
    Martin: .246/.377/.386 (.763 OPS)
    Red Sox catchers for the season now have a .279 wOBA, ninth in the league. The Yankees are first.
    In the last 30 days, they have a .332 wOBA, fifth in the league. The Yankees are second.
    In May, they have a .360 wOBA, essentially tied with Toronto for second in the league. The Yankees are fifth.

    Paul SF May 23, 2011, 2:18 pm
  • An even better one:
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia now has the same OPS+ as Dustin Pedroia.

    Paul SF May 23, 2011, 2:47 pm
  • you guys have picked enough cherries to bake a pie…i like cherry pie ;)
    so does the much better WPA for martin suggest that he’s “clutch-ier” than salty?…and yeah paul, any theories on what’s up with pedroia?…

    dc May 23, 2011, 4:10 pm
  • “Red Sox catchers for the season now have a .279 wOBA, ninth in the league. The Yankees are first”.
    That one.

    IronHorse (YF) May 23, 2011, 6:11 pm
  • IH: still no argument about which team has superior catching. But the narrative early in the season wasn’t about which team is better at the position (nor is that the narrative now), but rather that the Sox aren’t in the grips of failure due due to catching. Nor, as has been screamed at this site by others, has Theo gone and done something irresponsible by relying on Saltalamacchia.
    The goalposts are moving for YFs, from “Theo made a grievous error” to “we’re better at the position”.

    SF May 23, 2011, 6:27 pm
  • I was wondering why there was a sudden bidding war for Salty’s services in my fantasy league.

    Nick-YF May 23, 2011, 7:13 pm
  • SF, that may very well be true re: goalpost-shifting by some YFs here. My view has been that if the moves made by Theo this past off-season qualify as “grievous errors”, I wouldn’t mind some more grievous errors by Cashman. And while I still feel Cashman bested Theo on the catching front and perhaps on the bench, I’m in no doubt about which team did a better job filling their gaps.
    I say that all assuming that Carl Crawford re-emerges as the star player we all know he is. If he plays the rest of this season the way he has so far, I’ll really be shocked.

    IronHorse (YF) May 23, 2011, 7:16 pm
  • I haven’t shifted my goalposts one bit.
    It was a grievous, dumb, and wholly unnecessary error for Theo not to go harder after Russell Martin. Sure, you can shift the blame onto the faulty Boston medical staff for not clearing him, but even so, there was so little risk involved for such a natural fit it’s not even funny.
    Sorry, you’re still not going to convince me otherwise.

    AndrewYF May 23, 2011, 7:36 pm
  • What’s up with you guys and your small sample fetish? It’s perhaps the most distorting feature of being a baseball fan and you guys take it to a whole new level. I mean, we all love ten game samples and one month splits. That’s part of the fun of the sport.
    But ranking players based on them? After all, Carl Crawford makes Julio Lugo look like a genius signing. And if you believe defensive stats, Jed Lowrie is six times worse as shortstop than Derek Jeter. Live and die by small samples.
    I’m not shifting any goalposts either. Salty isn’t a major league catcher. I don’t need one month of data to tell me differently when we have his whole career. 1000 plate appearances >> one month. Then again, go nuts if you want to cheer for a guy with a .312 career OBP. He’s going to disappoint you, but enjoy the streakiness while it lasts.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 6:19 am
  • yeah, my goalposts are firmly planted where they were when we started this conversation…not trying to sign martin seemed like an unnecessary risk by theo…it still seems that way…he only got 1 yr $4m from the yanks so it’s not like he was unaffordable for the sox…it’s a nice touch throwing the sox med staff under the bus…it’s kind of like cashman making sure everybody knows he had nothing to do with signing sorry-ano…if the sox med team hasn’t been fired yet, they should be…like i keep saying, it’s early, martin could end the season a big bust, and salty could be the 2nd coming of tek…i don’t have any hangups with cherry-picking stats as long as they’re wrapped in the proper context…in 1998 shane spencer was one of the most efficient power hitters, not just in yankee history, but in all of baseball history, slamming a homer every 6.7 ab’s…oh, it was only for 1 month, but that’s just a detail…the rest of his career? zzzzzzz

    dc May 24, 2011, 9:18 am
  • “It was a grievous, dumb, and wholly unnecessary error for Theo not to go harder after Russell Martin. Sure, you can shift the blame onto the faulty Boston medical staff for not clearing him, but even so, there was so little risk involved for such a natural fit it’s not even funny.”
    I think this is more or less what Yankee fans have been saying all along SF, I know I have. Whether or not we think Salty and Tek are better than Martin and Franky really isn’t the question. The question all along (for most of us) has been why didn’t Theo sign Martin? Salty may eventually get it. It may one day click, but that just seemed like a risky move when you already had the Rolls Royce of baseball teams surrounding him. All in all who gives a rats patootie we are better at catcher and you are better where it matters: PITCHING. That’s what I’d focus on if I were a Sox (gulp) fan.

    John - YF May 24, 2011, 9:28 am
  • It was a grievous, dumb, and wholly unnecessary error for Theo not to go harder after Russell Martin. Sure, you can shift the blame onto the faulty Boston medical staff for not clearing him
    These two statements, when put together, destroy any semblance of sense that your questioning of Theo might have had. If the medical staff felt there was medical risk and the front office wouldn’t pay for more than a certain amount of risk then the case is closed, and that’s that. It isn’t “grievous, dumb, and wholly unnecessary”. That’s hyperbole of the highest degree and shows very little understanding of how these business entities work.
    We covered this in an earlier thread, so I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole. None of us know anything about what happened with Martin and the Sox, other that he declined to accept some sort of offer from them.

    SF May 24, 2011, 11:57 am
  • “…It was a grievous, dumb, and wholly unnecessary error for Theo not to go harder after Russell Martin. Sure, you can shift the blame onto the faulty Boston medical staff for not clearing him…”
    i had a feeling that would draw a reaction from one of you…perhaps excessive, but the message is the same…it appears that for the moment theo may possibly have made a bad decision…there’s nothing wrong with that…it’s not his first, and it won’t be his last…i’m not about throwing stones when i consider some of the blunders the yankee fo has made…don’t be so dang defensive buddy…
    “…None of us know anything about what happened with Martin and the Sox…”
    sure we do…theo got bad advice from his medical team and didn’t want to risk more than the 1yr $4m the yankees offered…what else is there to know?…ok, i’m done…climbing back out of the rabbit hole…

    dc May 24, 2011, 12:16 pm
  • “These two statements, when put together, destroy any semblance of sense that your questioning of Theo might have had.”
    Oh please. Unless you want to believe that the Sox medical staff is so completely inept that they thought Russell Martin would never play baseball again, even a diagnosis that Martin still wasn’t fully recovered from knee problems shouldn’t have prevented a rich team like the Sox from giving Martin a pretty much risk-free one-year $X-million contract.
    And even if they thought Salty would be better, it’s not like signing Martin would have precluded a Saltalamacchia signing. Salty was a minor league deal after all. They could have had both of them, not to mention saddling the Yankees with massive defensive problems behind the plate.
    It’s okay to admit Theo made an obvious mistake. All GMs do. Hell, just last year Cashman missed a humongous opportunity to get Dan Haren for peanuts. I just honestly believe this is one of Theo’s biggest blunders, given the degree of control he had over the situation (unlike the Teixeira saga), the amount of risk involved (nil), and the massive hole he had to fill at the position.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 1:45 pm
  • shouldn’t have prevented a rich team like the Sox from giving Martin a pretty much risk-free one-year $X-million contract.
    And what if Martin didn’t want that contract? Should he have kept offering more until Martin signed? Even against what might have been bad medical advice?
    Theo’s made plenty of mistakes. God knows we haven’t had a shortstop in a while. Oh, and John Lackey. But in this case there is mounting evidence that he hasn’t made a mistake. So the hyperbole you deploy just makes it clear you have total bias on this issue and can’t assess it intelligently.

    SF May 24, 2011, 2:01 pm
  • I actually don’t care about the Sox missing out on Martin. He’s a great player who the Yanks got very cheaply.
    The real problem is the Sox didn’t get him and had nothing else remotely resembling a major league catcher. That’s the problem. I don’t see how a team can be a championship contender without even an average catcher.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 2:28 pm
  • On Martin, he did say that the Yankees came after him the hardest. What that really means, who knows? Obviously though if the Sox wanted him, they would have gotten him. They’ve shown they’ll pay absurd prices if they want a player.
    So it clearly wasn’t the money. But whatever decision making evaluated Salty a higher priority than Martin, really needs to be re-examined. That they didn’t go after him seriously is more egregious than if they did and he still went elsewhere.

    James YF May 24, 2011, 2:34 pm
  • The real problem is the Sox didn’t get him and had nothing else remotely resembling a major league catcher.
    Statements like this are exactly what SF is referring to. For one week in April, Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not resemble a major league catcher. I think a .768 OPS resembles a major league catcher; in fact, I know it does, because that would rank fifth among all full-time major league catchers, ahead of certified major-league catchers Buster Posey, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann and Carlos Santana. If it doesn’t, then Martin hasn’t resembled a major league catcher since April 30.
    Perhaps you meant that Saltalamacchia’s been so good since April 30 (OPS near .900) that his offense resembles a major league first baseman or a designated hitter, rather than a catcher? I’m sure that’s what you meant.

    Paul SF May 24, 2011, 3:13 pm
  • Next up, who sucked worse, Rick Cerone or Gary Allenson? Your thoughts!

    attackgerbil May 24, 2011, 3:41 pm
  • Marc Sullivan, Gerb.
    Marc Sullivan.

    SF May 24, 2011, 3:53 pm
  • I take this post as a compliment to Russell Martin. Who would have known that at this point in the season that anyone would be using him as a comparison to show that another catcher has been good?

    DustyDrB - YF May 24, 2011, 5:27 pm
  • “Perhaps you meant that Saltalamacchia’s been so good since April 30 (OPS near .900)”
    Paul, you’re embarrassing yourself. Jarrod’s last 23 plate appearances have included 3 homeruns, that’s always nice. But to even those out toward the beginning of the month to make it look like he’s had a month-long streak is duplicitous. Why don’t you mention that from May 1st to May 11th he had a .450 OPS in the same amount of plate appearances?
    And seriously? You think Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been productive except for one week in April? I can’t even find a cherry-picked period of time where that is even remotely true. He did have one week in April where his OPS was .757. And then in the next 10 games he had a .457 OPS. You are being absolutely ridiculous. What has happened to you, man?

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 5:32 pm
  • YFs really have it out for Theo over this Saltalamacchia kid. It’s very weird, frankly.
    The corollary invective from us SFs would be constant blathering about how Cashman is the worst GM EVAH!!!!111!!!! because he counted on Phil Hughes to be effective after his horrid record from June through the end of the season in 2010, and his innings increase, etc. I mean, how could Cashman be SO GROSSLY NEGLIGENT in expecting Hughes to DO ANYTHING OF USE for his team? It’s absurd, the Yankees can sign anyone, they could have signed EVERY FREE AGENT available to make up for Hughes’ inevitable suck if they wanted to.
    See how rational you guys sound?

    SF May 24, 2011, 5:49 pm
  • Well, to counter that imagined analogy, I would say he had covered himself quite well by signing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia ;)
    In any case, I would counter that it’s the SFs on this site who would move mountains to make Saltalamacchia look better than he has been. We’ve already seen Paul’s attempt. I’m just a little miffed that otherwise intelligent people are stooping to such levels to try and defend such an eroded position. I don’t care a whit about Jarrod Saltalamacchia – he’s simply continuing a career that has defined Replacement Level.
    I do give more of a whit about Theo, someone who I think is an intelligent person, making such an obvious error in relying on a player who has never shown much of anything at the major league level, over a guy who even at his worst still managed to provide significant positive value.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 5:59 pm
  • The issue is that there is a contingent that is portraying Theo’s decision as indefensible. It is being put in that stark a manner.
    This charge is utter hyperbole, and it is foolishly rampant. The decision to stick with Saltalamacchia (for this year or longer) may prove in the short term to be less than the best move possible. But it is entirely defensible.

    SF May 24, 2011, 6:31 pm
  • I don’t think it is.
    I think we’ve found the root of our problem: we don’t agree!

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 6:39 pm
  • If Russell Martin’s hip blows up at any stage this season, I don’t want to be around to catch the SF/Paul vindication-blowback.
    Having said that, I do think you guys (SF/Paul) started this with this post and the first comment in the thread and I think it is fair for others to point out that it feels a little tortured (as in twisting-SSS’s-into-pretzels to make a shaky point).
    As for whether Theo made a mistake in not going harder after Martin, I agree that no one here knows how hard he did go. I do know Cashman went hard enough to land him and at what appears at this early stage of the season to be a real bargain. I suspect Theo could have also, but I certainly don’t know and therefore am not asserting it.
    And to John’s broader contextualization point, why are you guys (Paul/SF) so hung up on this comparison? Your team is demonstrably better in the much more important category of starting pitching. It’s understandable why YFs would want to discuss this at length – it’s one of very few areas, maybe the only one, where the Yankee FO seems (again, so far) to have bested the Boston FO this past off-season. Woo-hoo! And as a result of a crappy off-season relative to Boston’s, I remain nothing more than hopeful that the Yanks can keep the Sox within striking distance come salary-dump time.

    IronHorse (YF) May 24, 2011, 6:42 pm
  • Andrew, if the point is to find the largest sample sizes possible, isn’t the one from April 8 to today more convincing than the one week within that sample you just pulled?
    Twice in the same post, you decried my use of small sample sizes (since April 8, since April 30) by using even smaller sample sizes than I did (10 games in April, 22 plate appearances in May). And to prove what? That Salty, like every other player in baseball, has had bad stretches while compiling decent OPS totals over the past several weeks.
    So let me be clear: are you in agreement that an OPS above .750 from April 8-May 23 does not resemble the production of a major league catcher? Because that’s the point I was arguing.
    At this point, trying to argue against the fact of Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s decent performance over the majority of the season to date is, to borrow a word, embarrassing.

    Paul SF May 24, 2011, 6:44 pm
  • I retract “to make a shaky point” — in fairness, you did not argue that Salty > Martin.

    IronHorse (YF) May 24, 2011, 6:45 pm
  • Yes Paul, but then again even more convincing are his season numbers, which agree nicely with his career numbers, which agree with his portrayal as truly Nothing Special, a replacement-level player in every sense of the word. Like you said, Saltalamacchia has had a few good stretches mixed in with many more poor stretches to compile a below-average OPS even for a catcher.
    And your cherry-picked analysis would only be valid, Paul, if you removed the worst week from every other catcher in baseball. It’s only fair. Get back to me with those numbers.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 7:16 pm
  • Was Theo sticking with Salty before the season started defensible or not? That is all I want to know. If YFs think it was indefensible on any level that is fine. But then I know what kind of debate I am dealing with at least, and can just give up. And I can also set my expectations really low the next time we start in on a new issue.
    I can see all sorts of reasons why going with Salty might be the wrong move. But I can’t find a scenario whereby it was wholly indefensible, which is the crux of the criticism. In fact, it easier to understand why he did it than not.

    SF May 24, 2011, 7:40 pm
  • SF, my opinion doesn’t have much to do with Saltalamacchia, he simply represented the best of the internal options for the Red Sox. However, whatever process that led them to choose to not sign Martin (and if the best offer was $4M, then it was indeed a choice not to sign him) was, to me, an indefensible one.
    I’m sorry if calling the decision not to spend $4M on a young catcher indefensible lowers your opinion of me. I don’t really know what else to tell you. I called it a dumb move when it happened, and that position has only been solidified since then. I don’t know why you would expect me to change my opinion.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 8:09 pm
  • I find the opinion entrenched and extreme. There are all sorts of defenses of the move, just as there are all sorts of defenses of many bad decisions.
    And it is only May, too.

    SF May 24, 2011, 8:13 pm
  • I don’t know, I don’t find the Rafael Soriano signing defensible either. I might just be an extreme person.

    AndrewYF May 24, 2011, 8:53 pm
  • “…YFs really have it out for Theo over this Saltalamacchia kid. It’s very weird, frankly. …”
    not all yf’s…go back and read my comments…usually you object when we lump all fans together, but here you are doing the very same thing…you guys need to stop being so defensive, and then getting personal about it…i think the points questioning theo’s wisdom on this decision are very intelligent and well supported…look you guys have one of the best gm’s in baseball, but he has made mistakes and he will make more…i still think this is one of them, but who knows, there’s a lot of season left to be played…if the gamble pays off and salty is even just average, then i’ll tip my cap to theo for saving the $4m…your cashman example re. hughes is off because the yankees did try to go hard after starting pitching in the off season…cliff lee decided to take less money to play elsewhere…remember?…and there’s no way cashman could have forseen that hughes would have arm trouble…relying on him as a #3 or #4 starter was a very smart move considering hughes’ track record pre-injury…i don’t know if the martin situation was similar to lee’s and he would have turned down more money from the sox just to play for the yankees, but i doubt it…no, the story is that the sox med team said don’t risk any money, or any more money assuming they did make some offer, on a guy that’s likely to be reinjured, and theo listened to their advice…with regard to cherry picking, i still think my shane spencer example is classic…or we could talk about jeter’s 4 hit 2 homer game now that he’s gone 0-5 in each of the last 2 games…by the way, martin was 2-4 last nite with a homer and 2 rbi [even though we don’t count rbi around here, i still like them]…salty’s last game 0-3 :-)

    dc May 25, 2011, 9:50 am

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