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.


373 comments
Tired Maths Cat
Tired Maths 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! (more valuable than cheesecake)
DINGERS! (more valuable than cheesecake)

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 ^_^

KMT59
KMT59

From the previous article @Dustin Nosler wrote this about Zack Greinke

"But it was the fifth homer he’s allowed this season in 22 1/3 innings. Last season, he didn’t give up his fifth home run until June 27. Not sure what it means — other than a higher-than-average FIP — but it’s something to watch going forward."

This doesn't take in the fact that FYCQ put greinke on the shelve for quit a long period of time....Measuring this with innings pitch vice date would make it more like comparing apples to apples than apples to oranges

DBrim
DBrim moderator

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

Sad Towel
Sad 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

KMT59
KMT59

@Dustin Nosler  Anybody know how to determine how many innings Zack had pitched last season when he gave up his 5th bomb...I don't know f I should be fretting or not

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

Raul Franklin
Raul Franklin

@DBrim @Catfishin "Harper has a reputation for respecting the game. When asked if he felt bad about the situation, Harper said, "No ... it's how it is."

This sort of writing is just so bullshitty. WTF is "respecting the game"?