Mets Going Through Catchers Like Kleenex at a Funeral, Find a Good One in Blanco
In the last few months, the Mets have gone through Brian Schneider, whom they
lost to the Phillies, Ramon Castro, who is now with the White Sox, Omir Santos, whom they sent down to the minors, Henry Blanco their new backup, and Rod Barajas, their new starting catcher. The question is, can any of these people throw out base stealers at a .400 or better pace? Henry Blanco can, and probably will in 2010.
Omir Santos was a good defensive catcher overall, but was not the best that ever played the game when it came to throwing guys out. In 2009 he threw out 15 out of the 50 runners who challenged his arm. That’s a .300 average, not bad as a batting average, but not good as a throwing percentage. Generally the great catchers kept their throwing stats 100 points higher than their batting stats, although that’s so approximate that the word ballpark doesn’t contain it. In Omir’s case, that.300 really was 100 points higher, but that’s not good news. He was a “Mendoza line” hitter.
His replacement, Rod Barajas has had a lifetime average of .340 when it comes to base-stealers; of 459 attempts, 155 have bit the dust. Barajas has been consistent over the years, hovering around that mark year after year. Ramon Castro had a remarkable .470 arm in 15 attempts in 2009 but was traded mid-season, but let’s not forget his lifetime average was .310.
The Phillies married our X, Brian Schneider, and they can have him, but only as a backup to Ruiz. I don’t have lifetimes on Schneider, but he slipped from a sensational .500 in 2004 to a poor to middling .345 in 2009. That means we run on him next time we’re in Philly.
Henry Blanco, who bumped the unlucky Santos as the backup catcher, outranked him for a reason; Blanco has a .404 arm lifetime, which is really sensational, especially for a guy I never heard of before (except that he replaced Michael Barrett after the “Who says Cubs can’t hit?” brawl of 2006). In fact, talk about
matching best seasons in 2010; In 2004 Blanco threw out 30 of 61 runners for a .492 gunning average. In 2005, he gunned down 19 of 39 for a .487 average. In ’06 it was .429, in ’08, .455. Last year he slumped to .400 in 45 attempts. That is still way ahead of most of the league’s active players, and ahead of a lot of catchers in the Hall. Mike Piazza had a lifetime throwing average of only .290, about the same as his worst season batting average. Jorge Posada to date also has a lifetime gunning percentage of .290. Bengi Molina lifetime is now at .320. J. Mauer has been stolen upon 204 times with 124 thrown out, for a .380 average. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, now with Washington, really is the one to beat; his throwing percentage is an amazing .460. Why isn’t he a Met?
Here’s a ranking of recent Hall of Fame catchers by gunning percentages. It’s surprising how Blanco measures up in this very important category.
Name …..steals ….caught ….percentage
J. Bench…. 610………471………440
Now if we could only find a catcher who could hit his throwing average!