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Eric Chase Blog

Don't Block The Plate.

 
Don't Block The Plate.

Runners will no longer be able to steamroll catchers in hopes of jarring the ball loose so that they can score A run. Yep, I know that letter is capitalized, and we're gonna come back to that. I promise it isn't one of my unintended typos. 

If the MLBPA approves the measure, the anti-collision rule will be instituted next year. If they do not, MLB can make it a decree without the Player's Association the following year. 

Runners must slide or evade. 

Catcher's can't block the plate. They mean that this time. 

Save me the 'WUSSIFICATION' idiocy, on that grounds that it wasn't until 1970, 50 years after the beaning death of Ray Chapman, that baseball began to strictly enforce the rule of mandatory helmets. In '56 and '58, for the NL & AL respectively, the leagues mandated use of batting helmets. Though obviously it was mostly ignored. The last player not to wear a helmet was just 34 seasons ago. In my lifetime, some moron decided to face 90+ mph pitches without protective headgear. Idiot. Read the batting helmet Wiki for more. 

From Chapman's Wiki, 'The sound of the ball smashing into Chapman's skull was so loud that Mays thought it had hit the end of Chapman's bat, so he fielded the ball and threw to first base. I'm sure nearly 100 years ago some baboon called Chapman a pu**y and told him to get his ass up. 

Progress towards improved health, in all walks of life seemingly, and rightly, always wins out. 

To be clear, even if this rule hadn't been instituted I would've instructed my catcher to make sure he doesn't absorb one of those Ray Lewis-type blows. Practice fielding balls and taking throws in front of the plate to make swipe tags. I'd make one exception though. Don't give up the run in October, or in an early fall game that could cost you October baseball.

Think about it. It's one run. 

If my math is correct, 20,250 runs were scored during the 2013 MLB season. And you want your catcher to try to prevent A run, not even two months into the season as Buster Posey attempted to do on May 25th, 2011? You're a G0d damned fool.

Sure, it was a 12th inning game, and Scott Cousins' Urlacher impression won the game for the Marlins. But it was May. San Francisco was 27-20 at that point. If the World Champion Giants had finished at that pace they would've won 91 games. Instead they finished in 2nd place with 86 wins. 8 games behind Arizona and 3 games short of St. Louis for the wild card. If Posey had remained healthy that year, perhaps the Giants would've pulled off a feat that few have; three straight World Series. Instead, Posey can break bread with Mike Gundy. 

It's just one run, in a season of hundreds of them scored and allowed. Your home plate valor might preserve a win, but at what cost? What's that idiom about valor? Not THAT one, I like this one, It is good to be brave, but it is also good to be careful.; If you are careful, you will not get into situations that require you to be brave.

Let's try to further analyze the impact of losing one's catcher. WARNING. We're stepping into sabermetrics, so depart if you must. My point above was proven with enough clarity. This next step will just be a more meticulous, Holmes-ian investigation of catchers + numbers. 

Sabermetric Godfather Bill James developed a very simple, yet advanced statistic. Runs created. Duh. Yep, it endeavors to do exactly what you'd think. How many runs did Player X create for him team?

ESPN.com tracks RC like this: [(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF)

Please note that defense isn't factored into that daunting and nightmarish SAT math riddle. 

Got it?

2013's leaders in RC went like this: Santana (puhhlease, he's a DH, 1B. FT C's only please.), Posey, Molina, Lucroy, Castro, Saltalamacchia. The list goes on here

If you're still with me, Posey created 86.5 runs for the Giants last year. For a little context, that number provided the reigning NL MVP with a offensive WAR of 4.85. Good for 18th best in MLB. If you choose to ignore that link, Cabrera unsurprisingly was 2nd at 8.99, and Longoria was just ahead of Posey at 4.87. 

Still here? Is this making sense; are you seeing the value of a player? Do you still want him ready to embrace an impact that only an NFL player wearing a number in the 50s would deliver?

Thanks to a steel trap like mind, and a modest social life, I know far too much about baseball. I had no fucking clue who Hector Sanchez and Guillermo Quiroz were. If you told me they were illegal immigrants who'd trepassed American borders. I'd believe you. If you told me they were the studio hosts for futbol broadcasts on Univision, I'd believe you.

Quiroz and Sanchez (Hispanic law firm?!?) were actually backup catchers for the Giants in 2013.

Posey created 86.5 runs for the 76 win Giants in 2013. He contributed plenty, but his pitching staff was quite horrific. The Giants didn't finish 16 games back of the Dodgers because of lack of contributions from their MVP catcher.

In February of 2012, Posey's manager, Bruce Bochy, told his recovering catcher not to block the plate any longer. "I've already talked to Buster about this. There are ways to make the tag without putting yourself in jeopardy,'' Bochy said, according to USA Today. "I don't want him to block the plate right now."

Parroting Lt. Daniel Kaffee, what if Posey had said 'the old man's wrong'?

BOOM, there goes Posey in a June 2013 game and he's out for an extended period time.

A chunk of those 86.5 runs evaporate in the aftermath of Posey's rediscovered, foolish courage. 

Hector Sanchez created 13.8 runs in a 129 at bats last year. Quiroz created 4.7 runs in 86 at bats. Their combined offensive WAR was .3. POINT THREE

Let's pretend Sanchez had the same 520 at bats that Posey did. The extrapolation would show 520/129 = 4.03 x 13.8, for a total of 55.6 runs created for the Giants. 

Good thing Posey stopped blocking the plate. 

Remember, that doesn't even account for Posey, or any other catcher's defensive prowess, as opposed to their back up. You know that a quality defensive catcher can weaken an opponents running game and sometime masterfully manage a pitching staff. Included in the latter is the emerging recognition of the art of pitch framing. Jose Molina is the best in the game at the practice. What he does defensively - pitch framing isn't even measured by WAR - more than makes up for this pathetic .594 OPS. His WAR by the way in 2013 was POINT ONE. The innovational Joe Maddon would engage io no debate about Molina's WAR, nor would the hurlers that throw to him. 

While you swing from a tree, screaming about WUSSIFICATION, I'm going enjoy the production of my starting catcher, healthier all seasong long than he would be if he misguidedly tried to save A run (Again, at a meaningless point in the season. And yes, I know that's subjective. But it's like porn; you'll know it when you see it!).

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