Saturday, November 2, 2013

On the AL Gold Glove for catchers

Salvador Perez was one of three Kansas City Royals
awarded Gold Gloves, which fits the notion that the
Royals were the best defensive team in the American League.
The process for awarding Gold Gloves has been at the least tinkered with, arguably overhauled, and one visible result is that there were three finalists named at each position in each league.

Joe Mauer was the only finalist from the Twins. When the awards were announced last week (Tuesday, an off day during the World Series), Mauer didn't win.

No real surprise there. For one thing, Mauer caught just 658.2 innings. The winner, Salvador Perez of Kansas City, caught 1,115.1; the other finalist, Matt Weiters of Baltimore, 1201. That's a sizable difference.

Perez is probably the best throwing catcher in the league these days, and Kansas City had the lowest runs allowed in the league, so presumably he wasn't hurting his pitchers with his pitch calls. He's not a terrible choice by any means. Still, I would have favored Weiters for the ugly trophy.

Late in September, I wrote a post using wild pitch rates to compare Mauer as a receiver to his Minnesota colleagues. Perez comes off quite poorly here.

Perez was behind the plate for 49 wild pitches in 2013. He was also charged with three passed balls. That works out to .40 wild pitches per nine innings, .42 WPPB/9.

Mauer, as described in the earlier post, was .22 WP/9 and .26 WPPB/9.

Weiters had 28 wild pitches, five passed balls, rates of .21 WP/9 and .25 WPPB/9.

The American League averages were .37 WP/9, .45 WPPB. So Perez was slightly worse than average in allowing wild pitches, slightly better in the combination — and Mauer and Weiters much better than the norm.

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