federowicz_2014-04-17

Catching Nothing But Grief

It’s been a tough few games for Dodger catchers, but then again, it’s been a tough season for Dodger catchers. Tim Federowicz not only went 0-5 in the loss to Arizona, he let the go-ahead run score when he couldn’t handle Chris Withrow‘s wild intentional walk throw (which, to be fair, is largely on Withrow as well), let another Withrow pitch get past him — his second Withrow passed ball in four days — and then ended his night by taking a ball off the groin after committing catcher’s interference against Paul Goldschmidt.

I’m not writing an entire post about Federowicz’ night, because Eric Stephen already did that, and he did it well. But what it does make me need to do is point out just how ineffective the Dodger backstops have been over the first few weeks of the season. Here’s how the three catchers have performed at the plate:

A.J. Ellis: 29 PA, .167/.310/.167 53 wRC+
Federowicz: 29 PA, .074/.107/.111 -42 wRC+ (not a typo!)
Drew Butera: 11 PA, .200/.273/.200 40 wRC+

Immediately, this is unfair, and I know that. Ellis more than likely was affected by his knee before he actually had surgery, and judging the second and third catchers against the first and second catchers of other clubs isn’t really fair, in addition to these being minuscule sample sizes.

But… 

MLB catching stats by team:
1) Reds — .375.438/.643 187 wRC+
2) Brewers — .350/.435/.500 161 wRC+
MLB AVG — .248/.316/.396 99 wRC+
29) Nationals — .161/.224/.258 29 wRC+
30) Dodgers — .131/.221/.148 11 wRC+

Right there, you can see how much losing your starting catcher hurts, because Washington lost Wilson Ramos on Opening Day, forcing them to go with Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon. And we knew that Butera was never going to hit, and we were pretty certain that Federowicz wouldn’t either. They haven’t, and this team wasn’t built around requiring offense from behind the plate, so it’s just a disappointment, not a surprise.

But what is disappointing is what’s happening on defense. Butera has built an entire career around being a superb defensive catcher, but pitch framing just hates him. Federowicz is here almost entirely because he’s supposedly a solid defensive catcher, but we’ve seen several times in the last week alone where he’s cost the team back there — and framing doesn’t love him either. As catchers across the sport are hitting better than ever, the black hole from behind the plate in Los Angeles looks even worse, and the seeming lack of defensive value isn’t helping.

The good news? Ellis is progressing well in his return from surgery, participating in all baseball activities other than running, and it seems like he may be back on the low end of the original four-to-six week estimate. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it can’t happen soon enough.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


391 comments
Tired Math Cat
Tired Math Cat

I saw a guy wearing a paco Rodriguez jersey. It took a little restraint not to go talk to him.

KMT59
KMT59

PENS' score a shorty

KMT59
KMT59

1-0 PENS already

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Reddick didn't really get shredded.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Chad Qualls is... not good.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

I am nearly indifferent to the explosion of new tasting rooms in the South Bay.

I'll keep to the first wave like Strand, El Segundo, Monkish, and even Smog City.

I'll revisit King Harbor and Absolution during the summer to see their progression

DBrim
DBrim moderator

The Astros' sideline reporter is holding a foot-long corndog.

KMT59
KMT59

@Dustin Nosler I figured out that Zack Greinke gave up his 5th home run of the season after pitching 58 innings in 2013

and 22.1 this year which is an increases of 262%....TIME TO FRET!!!!

FRET 

FRET

FRET

moneynow27
moneynow27

The other night, Mattingly let Crawford hit in a key situation vs. a LH, rather than SVS.  Last night, Mattingly PH Crawford for SVS vs. a RH......And tonight, Puig sits.

Bash me if you want, but I'm through with Donny.

KMT59
KMT59

punto hustle ^_^

P_F_P
P_F_P

@KMT59  I bet a Ducks fan at a local bar 5 beers that the Pens would last longer in the playoffs.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@DINGERS!  I've heard good things about El Segundo.

Matt Kemp's Bath Towel
Matt Kemp's Bath Towel

@moneynow27  not to defend Mattingly, because Ethier and Crawford have both been terrible... but Puig hasn't exactly been killing the ball either.

KMT59
KMT59

used the pitcher as a blocker to make it safe into 1st base head first

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

They have SNLA and their quality and service is good.

KMT59
KMT59

@DBrim @KMT59  hey brim do you know a program where I can find out how many innings was played by zack before he gave up the 5th bomb...I'm really curious

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

And now I want to go there for GAME THREAT