SL 2001 Catchers Preview

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Steve Swinea indicating that he believed the APBA stat of RC/G was an even better indicator of APBA offensive success than offensive winning percentage. I have no reason to doubt Steve, notwithstanding the fact that he seems to ignore RC/G when drafting and instead simply drafts the fastest players available at each position. I too believe that RC/G is a good number to use when drafting, but it is not readily available on any of the online statistical sources that I have found. The closest I can get is RC/27 outs (which I suppose is pretty darn close), a stat that is available (but not ranked or sorted by position) in my handy-dandy STATS Inc. 2001 Major League Handbook and was mentioned earlier in my shortstop preview.

Without the ability to sort electronically, as far as I can tell the top regular catchers in MLB 2000 ranked by RC/27 outs are as follows:

Piazza      8.18  (136 games)
Posada      7.74  (151 games)
C. Johnson  7.64  (128 games)
Kendall     6.98  (152 games)
Fletcher    5.72  (122 games)
J.  Lopez   5.33  (134 games)

Semi-regulars who deserve mention are as follows:

Hundley     8.41  (90 games)
Meluskey    8.27  (117 games)
IvRod       7.58  (91 games)
Estalella   6.38  (106 games)
Mayne       5.98  (117 games)
Lieberthal  5.45  (108 games)

Of course, picking a catcher based only on offense is like picking Steve to bring the snacks to a SL meeting: the snacks will be there, but they may arrive too late (after everyone has already bloated themselves on Oke-Doke popcorn). Baseball experts believe that defense "up the middle" is key, and SL GMs seem to agree. The APBA defensive and arm ratings tell us what we need to know in this regard, but they are not largely available yet. The APBA chats suggests that Hundley will be a 7, Piazza a 7, Kendall an 8, and IvRod a 9. Unfortunately, this does not tell us who can throw out baserunners.

STATS, Inc. provides caught stealing percentages for catchers. The catchers listed above rank as follows:

IvRod         41 percent
Lieberthal    35 percent
Estalella     30 percent
Posada        30 percent
Kendall       28 percent
C.  Johnson   27 percent
Mayne         24 percent
Meluskey      22 percent
Fletcher      22 percent
Lopez         21 percent
Hundley       20 percent
Piazza        13 percent

Honorable defensive mention goes to Henry Blanco at 58 percent, Mike Matheny at 51 percent, and Brad Ausmus at 43 percent.

Finally, if you are looking for a super sub catcher, you might take a look at Hector Ortiz of KC. Although he played in only 26 games, Ortiz has a RC/27 outs number of 10.04.