PDA

View Full Version : In Defense of Drew



Seth Stohs
07-22-2012, 03:34 PM
Watching the Samuel Deduno's performance today is just a reminder of the value that Drew Butera brings to the Twins roster.

I know. I know. He can't hit. And that's fine. That's certainly not his role. His role is to allow Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit to be on the field at the same time.

And his primary role appears to be working with struggling pitchers. It it clear from watching Deduno's first couple of starts that he has some "stuff." He just had no idea from pitch-to-pitch where the stuff would go. Enter Drew Butera.

This is no knock on Joe Mauer (who has won Gold Gloves, for what that is worth) or Ryan Doumit (who has been much better defensively than I would have thought coming into the season). But defensively, neither comes close to Butera. And that makes sense because those two need to hit, they need their legs. When it comes to blocking balls in the dirt, Butera is the best.

But the things that he does so well, in my opinion, that help a struggling pitcher are a little more subtle.

First, he is more talkative and energetic behind the plate. He appears to be very encouraging and uses his hands and glove very well. He seems able to find little things that the pitcher is doing and quickly visits the mound to discuss or encourage. That's the leadership.

The other is probably even more subtle, and I'm not going to look into the stats, but I think that Butera is more willing to call different pitches. When Mauer or Doumit are behind the plate, it is generally a lot of fastballs, and when the pitcher is struggling with control, they call even more changeups. Butera isn't afraid to call curveballs and offspeed pitches. He definitely seems to think more outside the box with his pitch calls. That is a good thing.

When Francisco Liriano was at his low point and being used in the bullpen and then came back to the rotation, Gardenhire had no problem putting Butera out there to work with him. Sure, now that Liriano is back to his old self, which catcher goes with him doesn't really seem to matter much, so they might as well use the one that hits more.

I know many will disagree with this thread, but it is clear in my mind what the value of Drew Butera is to a team beyond just letting Doumit and Mauer play almost every day.

mike wants wins
07-22-2012, 03:41 PM
But he also gets 4-5 at bats, right? So his role does involve "hitting". So you are saying he's better than Mauer as a catcher?

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 03:51 PM
I have issues with Butera getting credit for Liriano's success when Francisco's best season came with Mauer behind the plate in 2010. Liriano is a better pitcher because he's throwing his fastball harder and he's throwing more sliders (which is more of a "game plan" decision, not one a catcher should be winging behind the plate). Why do guys like Butera get credit for being behind the plate when a pitcher does well but none of the blame for when a pitcher falls on his face?

And there is no denying that Drew Butera is one of the worst (and often, the very worst) MLB player with the stick. He'd have to literally work magic behind the plate to offset his horrendous hitting and I have yet to see him turn an opposing batter into a frog so I'm skeptical that's within his skill set.

Seth Stohs
07-22-2012, 03:53 PM
But he also gets 4-5 at bats, right? So his role does involve "hitting". So you are saying he's better than Mauer as a catcher?

I can't imagine that comes across in any way in what was written.

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 04:01 PM
Also, it should be noted that Drew started nearly half of this team's games in 2011 (and played in well over half) and the pitching staff was 29th in ERA.

JB_Iowa
07-22-2012, 04:03 PM
The good thing is that he is being used appropriately this year -- as a 3rd catcher. Not someone who is out there 3-4 days a week.

I wish he would hit better (although he is marginally better so far this year than in the last 2 years). Limiting Mauer's catching duties seems to be keeping him fresher at the plate -- and that's a good thing.

If Mauer can catch 3-4 times a week, Doumit 1-2 and Butera 1-2, that would be a good combination. There's room for Doumit at other positions so they can keep his bat in the line-up. Mauer hasn't quite hit that target this season but I have to think that the Twins are being extraordinarily cautious with him given last year and the team's overall performance this year.

All-in-all, having 1 defensive catcher on the roster isn't bad as long as you limit his at bats over the course of the season. And yes, Butera does seem to have some 'indefinable intangibles" in working with pitchers. Pavano has been at this a long time -- I have to think that there was a reason he preferred Butera.

IdahoPilgrim
07-22-2012, 04:06 PM
I've felt all season that he's gotten a raw deal from posters. I think it is clear he's the best we have defensively. Yes, hitting is a weak spot, but even that is improved over last year. I think a lot of people gave up on him based on previous years' performances and haven't given him a shot this year.

mike wants wins
07-22-2012, 04:11 PM
I can't imagine that comes across in any way in what was written.

I guess it was this sentence:

" But defensively, neither comes close to Butera"

Seth Stohs
07-22-2012, 04:15 PM
I guess it was this sentence:

" But defensively, neither comes close to Butera"

Oh, I'll stand behind that... if just talking defense, I'll take Butera... but as an overall catcher, of course Mauer is better.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 04:16 PM
FWIW he has shown some improvement at the plate this year, while a .634 OPS, 75 OPS+ isnt going to turn any heads it should be noted you CAN live with that sort of production from a back up/3rd catcher, especially when said catcher is:
1. Excellent defensively, Butera might be the best defensive catcher in baseball.
2. There is nobody better to replace him with. (Towles has struggled and everyone else is too far away)
3. It's not like he is keeping someone off the bench, i.e. when Parmelee was on the roster he was basically rotting on the bench.

I'm not the largest fan of "personal catchers", however its hard to deny his success with Liriano and no DeDuno, perhaps he is the latin pitcher whisperer after all?

Either way, I will root for the guy, he is a master of his craft defensively and has made it to the bigs for 2+ years now possesing hitting skills the majority of NCAA players could match, its kind of a neat story.

If he can somehow continue to post an OPS+ above 70 (I'm not saying he will) then he is an acceptable back up catcher in the major leagues.

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 04:22 PM
Francisco Liriano made 24 starts in 2011. Drew Butera caught 10 of them, more than any other catcher.

Liriano posted an ERA+ of 80.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 04:25 PM
I still think Liriano's resurgence is due more to his ability to throw his faster 3 MPH faster since the demotion and his ability to throw the slider more often.

Is Drew potentially calling for the slider? Perhaps.

Though most of the credit should be given to Anderson for fixing whatever he did with Liriano.

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 04:47 PM
Though most of the credit should be given to Anderson for fixing whatever he did with Liriano.

Ding Ding Ding!

People are quick to bash Anderson for a myriad of perceived failures but are often unwilling to give him credit when something goes right.

If you honestly believe a pitching coach has that much influence over how a player performs on the field, you can't have it one way but not the other. Anderson deserves credit for Liriano and probably deserves a little credit for Diamond as well. Not to mention Perkins, Burton, Burnett, and the rest of the Twins pen this season.

spideyo
07-22-2012, 04:49 PM
Butera is not a #1 catcher, that's clear. He was thrown into a position last year where he was waaay over his head. But the role he is in now is fantastic. Coincidental or not, Liriano has done great with Butera. Deduno did great with him today. Thanks to the position flexibility of Doumit and Mauer, his catching isn't keeping them out of the lineup, but it DOES allow Gardy to keep those two in the lineup and/or PH them more readily in close games, knowing that he won't have to throw a mask on Mastorianni if the game goes 18 innings.

If the twins can get their starters to the point where we can go back to a 4-man bench, that would be ideal of course. But I for one am very comfortable with having Drew on our 25-man roster.

Seth Stohs
07-22-2012, 05:11 PM
Maybe that's another good point. With the temps in KC around 100 today, I wouldn't have wanted Mauer or Doumit behind the plate today.

Clyde
07-22-2012, 05:24 PM
But he also gets 4-5 at bats, right? So his role does involve "hitting". So you are saying he's better than Mauer as a catcher?
If Butera at the bottom of the order is getting 5 at bats then the Twins would have to be winnng. It is when he only gets three at bats in a game you should be complaining.

Jim H
07-22-2012, 05:31 PM
I don't know if Butera is a better defensive catcher than Mauer. I doubt if that is the point. He is clearly a solid defensive catcher with a good arm. Since he doesn't hit well, if he is going to stay in the majors, he must do the little things well. One of those little things is perhaps to spend a little more time preparing for his limited catching opportunities. His legs are likely fresher than either Doumit or Mauer so he bounces around back there, maybe blocks a few more pitches in the dirt, perhaps runs out to talk to his pitcher a little more often. It is what backups do. I suspect it is a good thing if he can help Liriano with his mechanics or his confidence.

None of this is or should be a knock on Mauer. He has to be an anchor in the middle of the lineup. While I doubt if he neglects his catching duties, he certainly can't devote as much time to them as Butera likely does.

While there is a lot thought and blog space spent on what a waste it is to have a Butera on your 25 man roster, I believe most people have that wrong. Butera is exactly the kind of player you need on the bench. Since benches are so short nowadays because of the extra pitchers, it is important to select your bench people carefully. You are never going to have backups as good as starters so what you do is select guys with specialized skills.

When one of your backups has to play, at least then there won't be a drop off across the board at that position. Usually that skill will be defense, though you can justify a left handed masher like Thome or even the ability to play many positions. Right now as pointed out by a previous poster, Butera is not blocking a potentionally more useful backup from being in the majors. He also appears to be doing well in his limited appearances. Perfect.

johnnydakota
07-22-2012, 06:00 PM
why do the twins need 3 catchers?if mauer is the dh and doumit gets hurt, then we lose the dh ...not forever , just for the rest of that game.... 13 pitchers and 3 catchers?wow just friggin wow this stupidity is not only allowed but some of the kool-aid drinking bloggers actually believe this is a way to improve our team ....

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 06:12 PM
If Butera at the bottom of the order is getting 5 at bats then the Twins would have to be winnng. It is when he only gets three at bats in a game you should be complaining.

If its a close game then it could be two at bats since you could just PH for him and put Mauer or Doumit behind the plate late in the game.

70charger
07-22-2012, 06:24 PM
why do the twins need 3 catchers?if mauer is the dh and doumit gets hurt, then we lose the dh ...not forever , just for the rest of that game.... 13 pitchers and 3 catchers?wow just friggin wow this stupidity is not only allowed but some of the kool-aid drinking bloggers actually believe this is a way to improve our team ....

Good thing Doumit is the only one who will ever get hurt. Ever. Right?

Or perhaps your concern is only applicable to one discrete situation.

-

Your point is not well thought out, your grammar, syntax, and writing style are atrocious, I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 06:45 PM
To be fair there is typically no reason to carry 3 catchers on a roster, however with Doumit and Mauer both being used as part time catchers this season it's not the worst idea in the world.

However in seasons past when they carried 3 catchers....no comment!

Top Gun
07-22-2012, 06:54 PM
I think Drew has earned his place on the team.

J-Dog Dungan
07-22-2012, 07:00 PM
While my dad may not agree with me, having that catcher that can come out and tell you what he is seeing and working with you on staying comfortable and relaxed on the mound is one of the greatest luxuries in baseball. The Twins are fortunate enough that they have catchers who are proficient at several different positions in the field so that they can still be in the lineup if Drew is the pitcher's "personal catcher" and getting 2-3 AB's at the bottom of the order. When Drew is working with certain pitchers, they seem to be slightly more effective than when others are catching him, not that Doumit and Mauer call bad games. This is why Gardy kept putting with Pavano the last few years, because Pavano felt the most comfy with him. Gardy is clearly comfortable sending Butera out to work with a pitcher that he feels isn't as comfortable with Doumit or Mauer, and he does call a good game.

Clyde
07-22-2012, 07:09 PM
If its a close game then it could be two at bats since you could just PH for him and put Mauer or Doumit behind the plate late in the game.
Generally if the number 9 hitter on the Twins gets only three plate appearances the team did not do well that day. That is why you should be upset if the number9 hitter gets only three at bats. They have bigger problems than a part time number 9 hitter that can't hit the batboy's weight. If the pitchers on the team perform much better with Butera behind the plate, then play Butera. If Mauer is not as engaged as a catcher then perhaps it is time to move him.

Riverbrian
07-22-2012, 07:23 PM
Butera on the roster keeps Doumit out of RF and puts him in the DH spot when Doumit isn't catching himself.

So... Stretching for a point I know. Butura on the roster improves this team by improving OF defense indirectly.

I think the 3 catcher thing is unnecessary and I still do... but Gardy doesn't... So... if Butera makes it better... His presence on the roster is necessary.

Going into the season... I wished real hard to never see Butera again.

Right now... I can live with his current plate production and 3rd catcher role. Catchers do have an effect on pitcher performance... I won't go as far to say that Butera has positively improved pitcher performance but you can't discount Seth's point either.

Go Drew!!! I apologize to you for my lack of patience earlier this year.

Next year... There will most likely be a different context to consider... Not sure how I we feel about Drews role with the organization next year.

spideyo
07-22-2012, 07:24 PM
Anyone wanna crunch the numbers and see what the average start IP is with Drew vs. without him? If Liriano gets 3+more outs with Butera, I'd say that's worth 3 sub-par ab's

Don't forget too, that having that 3rd catcher keeps a good hitting catcher in the DH spot most of the time, rather than going back to those dark days of having Brendan Harris be our best DH option

clutterheart
07-22-2012, 07:37 PM
Drew is a fine back-up to the back-up catcher.
But the fact that the team is carrying so many pitchers and so many catchers makes the roster very limited. If this team was a contender he could not be on the team as his bench spot would be needed for an actual bat.
Since the team stinks, its fine to keep him there and keep the wear and tear off Doumit and Mauer.

Seth Stohs
07-22-2012, 07:50 PM
Like Riverbrian, at the beginning of the year, i didn't really want to see Butera on the roster. For seemingly two years now, I have agreed with the sentiment that two catchers could play and if someone got hurt, Butera (or someone) could be up the next day. Now, when Mauer and Doumit are playing pretty much every single day, Butera is literally the backup catcher, so he's not wasting a roster spot.

And finally, the point of this post was really just to give credit where credit is due... Deduno deserves credit. Anderson deserves credit. But Drew Butera also deserves a lot of credit as well.

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 08:06 PM
But Drew Butera also deserves a lot of credit as well.

Why? I brought up some of Drew's "accomplishments" earlier in the thread but nobody has responded to them. Why does Drew get credit for Liriano's resurgence but not the blame for his atrocious 2011 when he caught Liriano in ten of his awful starts? Why does Drew get credit for one good start from Deduno but not the blame for catching a 29th ranked pitching staff last season?

Drew Butera is certainly a good defensive catcher. I don't think anyone here will argue that. But he is flat-out awful with a bat and he is not some kind of magical Latino Pitcher Whisperer. He doesn't work magic behind the plate; if he did, he would have worked some of that "magic" in previous seasons. On the other hand, he is a massive liability with the stick. Despite pitching like Cy Young over the past two months, Liriano is 3-9 on the season. In Liriano's ten starts since the demotion, the Twins have scored two or less runs four times.

It's hard to make an argument that Butera is more of an asset behind the plate than he is a liability with the bat without putting on some serious blinders and ignoring what has happened on this team for the past 2 1/2 years.

Mr. Ed
07-22-2012, 08:13 PM
Butera is helpful behind the dish.

On a team with a short bench to start with, he's an unnecessary luxury.
How many times has Dozier(who I support) or Carroll come up and the situation screams pinch-hitter?

And who do you have on the bench.

Casilla
Mastro
Butera.

THE WORST BENCH IN BASEBALL.

diehardtwinsfan
07-22-2012, 08:21 PM
Francisco Liriano made 24 starts in 2011. Drew Butera caught 10 of them, more than any other catcher.

Liriano posted an ERA+ of 80.

This, and the other stats you've posted... Perhaps there's something where his personality might work with one pitcher and not another, but I think a 1 game sample size with Deduno is hardly the evidence I need to say that Butera needs to be out there more often... If that's all it is, give the guy a coaching job and call it a day.

snepp
07-22-2012, 08:23 PM
This thread makes me sad.

Bark's Lounge
07-22-2012, 08:29 PM
This thread makes me sad.

Ditto.

greengoblinrulz
07-22-2012, 08:30 PM
My arguement, no way of knowing, is that if Drew were to be DFA....would a single team claim him? NO...& if they did, it would be to be a AAA C. He does not belong in the majors.
Of course, its Drew is magic & there isnt a better defensive C in baseball right now....how cant we see how lucky we are???

70charger
07-22-2012, 08:35 PM
Francisco Liriano made 24 starts in 2011. Drew Butera caught 10 of them, more than any other catcher.

Liriano posted an ERA+ of 80.

I get what you're trying to say, but it seems like a composition error unless it can be further fleshed out. Just because Butera caught a plurality of Liriano's starts last year, and just because Liriano was bad last year, doesn't mean that Liriano is or isn't worse when Butera is behind the plate. If Liriano had a total ERA+ of 80 last year, and we later found out that when Butera was catching it was 120 and when others were catching it was 50, then your point wouldn't hold.

All of this isn't to say that it's a necessarily invalid point, but if someone were to crunch some numbers (fair warning: I'm not gonna), we would have a definitive answer as to Butera's effectiveness viz. Liriano.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 08:40 PM
I get what you're trying to say, but it seems like a composition error unless it can be further fleshed out. Just because Butera caught a plurality of Liriano's starts last year, and just because Liriano was bad last year, doesn't mean that Liriano is or isn't worse when Butera is behind the plate. If Liriano had a total ERA+ of 80 last year, and we later found out that when Butera was catching it was 120 and when others were catching it was 50, then your point wouldn't hold.

All of this isn't to say that it's a necessarily invalid point, but if someone were to crunch some numbers (fair warning: I'm not gonna), we would have a definitive answer as to Butera's effectiveness viz. Liriano.

In 2011 Butera caught 10 of Lirianos games. Liriano had a 5.85 ERA
In 2011 Mauer caught 8 of his games. Liriano had a 5.31 ERA.

Unless Butera taught Liriano how to add 3 MPH suddenly to his fastball, I can't give him that much credit for Liriano's turnaround this year. Could he effect it a bit? Sure, but not by large significant amount.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 08:42 PM
Add on to last post:
In 2010 Butera caught 8 of his games: 3.60 ERA
In 2010 Mauer caught 20 of his games: 3.37 ERA

Bark's Lounge
07-22-2012, 08:47 PM
I do not think Drew Butera exists. I think this is some kind of classified government experiment to test the extremes of a baseball enthusiast's loyalty to their team. I feel assured we have been slipped some kind of drug that has long term lasting mental effects or have been implanted with a mind altering micro-chip. We as a whole need to rise above and fight our oppressors and regain 100% control of our mental functions. If we can achieve this victory, I believe we can all go back to living an enjoyable life that is free of the Fictional Drew Butera.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 08:47 PM
In 2012:

Mauer caught him 7 games(all of which before the "comeback" from the pen): 8.75 ERA
Doumit 2 games: 10.57 ERA
Butera: 12 games (10 of which were starts after he came back from the pen the other 2 were in the pen): 2.73 ERA

Thus we can conclude 2 things from the all the numbers I posted in the past 3 posts:

1. Mauer suddenly lost the ability to call a clean game.
2. Butera isn't the main reason(or even close to the main reason) why Liriano is pitching well again.

Brock Beauchamp
07-22-2012, 08:51 PM
I get what you're trying to say, but it seems like a composition error unless it can be further fleshed out. Just because Butera caught a plurality of Liriano's starts last year, and just because Liriano was bad last year, doesn't mean that Liriano is or isn't worse when Butera is behind the plate. If Liriano had a total ERA+ of 80 last year, and we later found out that when Butera was catching it was 120 and when others were catching it was 50, then your point wouldn't hold.

All of this isn't to say that it's a necessarily invalid point, but if someone were to crunch some numbers (fair warning: I'm not gonna), we would have a definitive answer as to Butera's effectiveness viz. Liriano.

To add on to Dave's posts, Drew was the primary catcher for the Twins last season (started 75 games, played in over 90) and the team ranked 29th in ERA despite playing in a ballpark that plays pretty damned big.

Basically, people are just making up stuff so they feel better about the blight that is Drew Butera being in the lineup.

70charger
07-22-2012, 08:52 PM
In 2012:

Mauer caught him 7 games(all of which before the "comeback" from the pen): 8.75 ERA
Doumit 2 games: 10.57 ERA
Butera: 12 games (10 of which were starts after he came back from the pen the other 2 were in the pen): 2.73 ERA

Thus we can conclude 2 things from the all the numbers I posted in the past 3 posts:

1. Mauer suddenly lost the ability to call a clean game.
2. Butera isn't the main reason(or even close to the main reason) why Liriano is pitching well again.


Well, there you have it.

That makes it easier to stand by my earlier opinion, which is that having Butera on this roster isn't a terrible idea, given that, of the other 2 catchers, exactly zero of them is a full-time catcher. That said, we have to be honest about Butera's abilities. He's not magical behind the plate, but he's a perfectly competent option. It would certainly be better if he could hit well, but couldn't we say that about nearly every other bench player in all of the major leagues?

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 08:56 PM
It would certainly be better if he could hit well, but couldn't we say that about nearly every other bench player in all of the major leagues?

The problem with Butera though is that before this year he was literally one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball. If he can keep a 70+ OPS+ going, he isn't going to kill you. But if he hits like he did in 2011 .167/.210/.239 24 OPS+ (worse then several pitchers) over 250 PA (ugh) he is going to cost your team wins, no doubt about it.

The question is: Can he continue to hit for at least a .625-.660 OPS? If so, he's not going to kill you.

gil4
07-22-2012, 09:25 PM
Like Riverbrian, at the beginning of the year, i didn't really want to see Butera on the roster.

Butera signed a ball for one of my kids, so I kind of root for him. It's fun to hear my son tell his friends that he has a ball signed by the Twins' catcher. Of course, they assume it's Joe Mauer, so he has to tell them, "No, it's ... Dad what's his name again?" We've had that same conversation at least three times.

greengoblinrulz
07-22-2012, 09:38 PM
To add on to Dave's posts, Drew was the primary catcher for the Twins last season (started 75 games, played in over 90) and the team ranked 29th in ERA despite playing in a ballpark that plays pretty damned big.

Basically, people are just making up stuff so they feel better about the blight that is Drew Butera being in the lineup.
Drew is part of the country club atmosphere here.....scholarship program as TRyan put it.
After Frankie is gone, he either succeeds with another C or he doesnt & Drew is the answer. Think of the amount of talent we can get if we deal Drew to the team Frankie signs with!!!! Of course, by then, Drew will have turned Sam Deduno into the next version of Dave Stewart & we can get a boatload for him!!! Drew never stops givin

YourHouseIsMyHouse
07-22-2012, 09:50 PM
Butera should be the Twins pitching coach. He can pitch well and call a game.

spideyo
07-22-2012, 10:22 PM
Butera should be the Twins pitching coach. He can pitch well and call a game.

That ain't a half bad idea.



I like Butera where he is, but I don't think he should play more. I think if you play him everyday, he is going to get overwhelmed like he did last year.

He is well suited to being a backup catcher, and catching 1-2 times a week. Nothing wrong with that.

70charger
07-22-2012, 10:23 PM
The problem with Butera though is that before this year he was literally one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball. If he can keep a 70+ OPS+ going, he isn't going to kill you. But if he hits like he did in 2011 .167/.210/.239 24 OPS+ (worse then several pitchers) over 250 PA (ugh) he is going to cost your team wins, no doubt about it.

The question is: Can he continue to hit for at least a .625-.660 OPS? If so, he's not going to kill you.

Now, this I get. His numbers at bat last year were worthy of a Greek tragedy. That said, he was a rookie, and his game was never offensively oriented to begin with. I think he probably took some lumps last year but will end up being better. Maybe not .650, but certainly not .450. I think he'll probably normalize some 10-20 points over the Mendoza line, with an OPS of .600 or so.

greengoblinrulz
07-22-2012, 10:30 PM
Now, this I get. His numbers at bat last year were worthy of a Greek tragedy. That said, he was a rookie, and his game was never offensively oriented to begin with. I think he probably took some lumps last year but will end up being better. Maybe not .650, but certainly not .450. I think he'll probably normalize some 10-20 points over the Mendoza line, with an OPS of .600 or so.
Problem is that Drew is entrenched as Gardy's backup C no matter what he hits. Some will say as long as he hits .200 with OPS of .600, but its already proven that Gardy will keep him with a .450OPS. He doesnt care since its his guy. Drew doesnt need to answer to anyone about his play.

70charger
07-22-2012, 10:34 PM
Problem is that Drew is entrenched as Gardy's backup C no matter what he hits. Some will say as long as he hits .200 with OPS of .600, but its already proven that Gardy will keep him with a .450OPS. He doesnt care since its his guy. Drew doesnt need to answer to anyone about his play.

I don't know that you can extrapolate that from one year. Who was behind Butera at that point that was a better option? Mauer had bilateral testicle weakness or whatever it was, and the Wilson Ramos trade took place in 2010. What, pray tell, were the 2011 options that Gardenhire so stupidly passed over in favor of Butera?

Or perhaps it's possible that Butera was a guy who was marginally ready for the big leagues and was thrust into the role because of lack of options in the system. And if so, maybe we shouldn't judge him solely on his 2011 stats?

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-22-2012, 10:40 PM
Now, this I get. His numbers at bat last year were worthy of a Greek tragedy. That said, he was a rookie, and his game was never offensively oriented to begin with. I think he probably took some lumps last year but will end up being better. Maybe not .650, but certainly not .450. I think he'll probably normalize some 10-20 points over the Mendoza line, with an OPS of .600 or so.

He wasn't really a rookie in 2011 though (just under the 150 at bat threshold but you get the point), in 2010 he produced a similar line in 155 PA (.197/.237/.296)

Even with his 2012 campaign his lifetime OPS is still at .505 (39 OPS+) in AAA he had a .582 OPS and in AAA a .616 OPS. As much as I hope he can get to that .620-.650 threshold of "ok we can live with this offensive production out of a third catcher" everything but his 2012 sample size points to this not being likely.

The Greatest Poster Alive
07-22-2012, 11:18 PM
wasn't last year all about Rene Rivera "fixing" liriano... because he could whisper sweet nothings in spanish into frankie's ear?

BrentMpls
07-23-2012, 12:21 AM
I agree 100%, I hope he stays on the team for a long, long time.

He got a lot of heat in the media after 2010 - Reusse in particular was threatening to drop his 4 legends club tickets on air if he is with the team the following season (he didn't drop them) and he is often the butt of on air jokes.

It's clear his defense is superior to Mauer, and as you pointed out he seems to have a knack for brining out the best in our pitchers and takes more risks with calling pitches. One has to wonder if some of the initial success of veteran Pavano was due to having Butera as his 'personal' catcher. And while it is still sub par, his batting is better this year - if that can only pick up a bit more.

This team has a lot of holes - I really don't think they should focus on getting a better swinging catcher and hope Butera is with this time for the long run when they might be competitive again.

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 06:20 AM
The problem with Butera though is that before this year he was literally one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball. If he can keep a 70+ OPS+ going, he isn't going to kill you. But if he hits like he did in 2011 .167/.210/.239 24 OPS+ (worse then several pitchers) over 250 PA (ugh) he is going to cost your team wins, no doubt about it.

The question is: Can he continue to hit for at least a .625-.660 OPS? If so, he's not going to kill you.

This pretty much sums up the situation. Personally, I don't think he can maintain a respectable OPS. His May numbers are inflating a really awful June where he OPSed at .476. So far so good in July... He's OPSing at .643.

If Son of Sal can keep it around .650, I actually have very few problems with him being on the roster. I just don't think he can do it.

But no matter how he hits, we need to stop artificially giving him credit for magically curing the woes of the Twins pitching staff.

CDog
07-23-2012, 10:32 AM
One has to wonder if some of the initial success of veteran Pavano was due to having Butera as his 'personal' catcher.

One could probably stop wondering, though, if they realized that Pavano's first half-season here was 2009 when Butera didn't appear for the Twins. And in 2010, Mauer caught 14 of Pavano's first 17 starts (Ramos caught one, also). After the first week of July, Butera started catching Pavano regularly (13 of his final 15 starts)...and Pavano's ERA stayed about the same (actually ticked up a tiny bit).

Dilligaf69
07-23-2012, 10:41 AM
Seth.....Butera will NEVER get credit for anything in this or any other forum. He is considered a borderline AAA player by most. What he is is almost exactly what a backup C should be, solid defensively who works well with the pitching staff and who actually is not a black hole offensively this season. What makes it better is he's a 3rd catcher.

diehardtwinsfan
07-23-2012, 11:00 AM
I'm more disturbed that everyone seems to think that having a 3rd catcher on the roster is OK.

JB_Iowa
07-23-2012, 11:14 AM
I'm more disturbed that everyone seems to think that having a 3rd catcher on the roster is OK.

This should only disturb you if your #1 and #2 catchers play ONLY catcher. Given that Mauer and Doumit also play elsewhere in the field, having a #3 catcher on the roster makes sense.

Given the continuing horrendous heat this summer, having 3 catchers makes quite a bit of sense to me. Despite improvements, that gear has to awfully hot. It really doesn't make sense to wear down 2 good hitters by constantly putting them behind the plate.

USAFChief
07-23-2012, 11:16 AM
One could probably stop wondering, though, if they realized that Pavano's first half-season here was 2009 when Butera didn't appear for the Twins. And in 2010, Mauer caught 14 of Pavano's first 17 starts (Ramos caught one, also). After the first week of July, Butera started catching Pavano regularly (13 of his final 15 starts)...and Pavano's ERA stayed about the same (actually ticked up a tiny bit).

Personally I think Gardy started putting Butera behind the plate in Pavano's starts in an attempt to slow down opponents running games just a bit. Butera was gonna give Mauer a break once or twice a week anyway, might as well be with Pavano, who gets run on. Mauer's arm ain't in the same league as Butera.

It just became a routine, sorta like this year with Frankie.

Boom Boom
07-23-2012, 11:21 AM
I like Butera. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm, like every game might be his last (and if he was playing for any other team, that might very well be the case).

Thing is, he's a minor league catcher. That's not a crime. If the Twins really need a third catcher, they could probably find a defensive specialist who hits better than Butera.

CDog
07-23-2012, 11:37 AM
Personally I think Gardy started putting Butera behind the plate in Pavano's starts in an attempt to slow down opponents running games just a bit. Butera was gonna give Mauer a break once or twice a week anyway, might as well be with Pavano, who gets run on. Mauer's arm ain't in the same league as Butera.

It just became a routine, sorta like this year with Frankie.

Agree with the routine part. I don't follow other teams closely enough to know if they follow the same pattern, but it's long been a Twins move to have the #1 catcher get days off regularly by having the backup associated with a certain pitcher. Way back to Ortiz catching Scott Erickson I remember that happening. I don't know if it's true, but I always felt like it was often the "best" pitcher that got the offensively-less-adept catcher with the thinking that the better pitcher would need less run support.