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Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 12:36 PM
Before you laugh, consider the following--

Joe Mauer has started 42 games at catcher. The starting pitchers in those games have pitched an average of less than 5.1 innings, while compiling a 6.53 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP, and given up a homer every 4.2 innings. Meanwhile, they have compiled 5.4 K/9, a 2.0 K/BB ratio, and the team is 17-25 in those games, despite averaging 5 runs a game, a figure that would put us 3rd in all of baseball for runs scored.

Ryan Doumit has started 33 games at catcher. The starting pitchers in those games have pitched an average of slightly more than 5 innings, while compiling a 6.12 ERA, a 1.59 WHIP, and given up a homer every 5.1 innings. Meanwhile, they have compiled 4.5 K/9, a 1.5 K/BB ratio, and the team is 12-21 in those games, despite averaging 5.5 runs a game, a figure that would put us 1st in all of baseball for runs scored.

Drew Butera has started 20 games at catcher. The starting pitchers in those games have pitched an average of slightly more than 6 innings, while compiling a 3.34 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and given up a homer every 12.1 innings. Meanwhile, they have compiled 8.2 K/9, a 3.0 K/BB ratio, and the team is 11-9 in those games, despite averaging only 4 runs a game, a figure that would put us 24th in all of baseball for runs scored.

Before you say this is simply an effect of Butera catching Liriano, consider some of the other pitchers on the staff. Scott Diamond, in 2 starts with Butera, has pitched an average of 7 innings, with a 0.00 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 10 K/BB, and not given up a homer. With Mauer, it's 8 games, less than 6.1 IP, 4.35 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, 3.2 K/BB and a homer every 6.1 innings. With Doumit, it's better than 6.2 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.6 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, homer ever 27.3 IP.

With Pavano, Butera's 5 starts have yielded an average of 5.1 IP, 6.15 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and 4.8 K/9. While all of these numbers are slightly worse than Pavano with Mauer (6.2 IP, 5.93 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 2.6 K/9 in 2 games), and Doumit (5.2 IP, 5.87 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 5.9 K/9 in 4 games), the following two numbers are WAY in Butera's favor; 14 K/BB and a homer every 26.1 IP. Those numbers dwarf both Mauer (2 K/BB, homer every 6.2 IP) and Doumit (3 K/BB, homer every 3.2 IP).

What Butera has done exceptionally well is limit hits and homeruns, which is directly leading to his success as a catcher. Does Liriano's hot run skew these results? Yes. But I think the evidence is compelling enough that its worth running Butera out there 3-4 times a week, and see if this continues. After all, I'm fine giving up 1 to 1.5 runs of offense a game, if it means saving 2-3 runs a game.

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 12:37 PM
Drew Butera caught lots of games last season and the Twins were 29th in ERA.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 12:44 PM
Drew Butera caught lots of games last season and the Twins were 29th in ERA.

And of course it's unthinkable that Drew Butera might have improved his game from last year, or that Liriano, Diamond, Deduno, Walters, or DeVries (none of whom were either with the Twins last year, or were caught consistently by Butera) might be responding better to him this year.

alarp33
07-23-2012, 12:47 PM
This is laughable. I think he's serious too

Seth Stohs
07-23-2012, 12:49 PM
No, Butera should not be the starter, but I agree that Butera certainly does a nice job behind the plate.

snepp
07-23-2012, 12:52 PM
No.

And your usage of tiny sample sizes should be criminal.

rnw24
07-23-2012, 12:56 PM
no way. he's lucky to even be on a major league roster

JB_Iowa
07-23-2012, 01:02 PM
While I don't think that these numbers say anything about making him the #1 catcher, it might be reason to split the games a little more closely between Doumit and Butera. Expecially when there are other ways to keep Doumit's bat in the line-up.

I also think that might makes sense because Butera is probably a little fresher than either Mauer or Doumit -- and the dog days of summer started really early this year.

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 01:07 PM
And of course it's unthinkable that Drew Butera might have improved his game from last year, or that Liriano, Diamond, Deduno, Walters, or DeVries (none of whom were either with the Twins last year, or were caught consistently by Butera) might be responding better to him this year.

Catchers don't make pitchers throw harder. They don't make them suddenly command their pitches with more accuracy. They don't make the pitcher get more downward movement on their pitches, causing batters to pound the ball into the turf.

Give the credit where it's due and that is squarely on the pitchers who are better baseball players this season. Butera is a fine defensive catcher but he's not some kind of magic worker.

This entire line of thinking really irritates me. Do you honestly think that Butera has a higher baseball IQ than Joe Mauer? Mauer, one of the best pure hitters in the game, is a master of understanding the opposing pitcher, breaking down his game, and waiting for the right pitch. There's a reason he has the highest OBP in the AL. Do you honestly not think that understanding of baseball transitions to his time behind the plate? Hell, I think a significant part of the reason why Mauer is such a good hitter is because he's a catcher.

mike wants wins
07-23-2012, 01:07 PM
How many threads on the same topic can we have? Unreal. And I agree with the comment above on sample sizes.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-23-2012, 01:08 PM
I have no words for this thread.

diehardtwinsfan
07-23-2012, 01:12 PM
If you want to go SSS, let's see what Butera's numbers are when he's not catching Liriano... If you want to be intellectually honest, you need a mult-year sample size and should probably compare it by the pitcher, and not by a ridiculously small season sample size.

JB_Iowa
07-23-2012, 01:18 PM
This entire line of thinking really irritates me. Do you honestly think that Butera has a higher baseball IQ than Joe Mauer? Mauer, one of the best pure hitters in the game, is a master of understanding the opposing pitcher, breaking down his game, and waiting for the right pitch. There's a reason he has the highest OBP in the AL. Do you honestly not think that understanding of baseball transitions to his time behind the plate? Hell, I think a significant part of the reason why Mauer is such a good hitter is because he's a catcher.


I have no idea if Butera has made Frankie better but I do take a little issue with the paragraph above -- NOT the premise about Mauer having a higher baseball IQ. I'm sure he does and I'm sure he takes that behind the plate and I'm sure that he takes what he has learned as a catcher to the plate with him.

But human nature being what it is, I do think that some pitchers probably work better with some catchers. Just as I'm sure most of us have had colleagues (whether at work, in school or in volunteer activities) with whom we "mesh" better.

We've heard it said (on TV at least and sometimes in the press), that one of Liriano's problems is that he "overthinks" at times. Maybe Butera is just better than Mauer or Doumit at keeping it simple for Liriano.

It isn't a knock on any of the three. It's just an acknowledgment that baseball players are human -- and that there may be some people with whom they work better than others.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 01:20 PM
Catchers don't make pitchers throw harder. They don't make them suddenly command their pitches with more accuracy. They don't make the pitcher get more downward movement on their pitches, causing batters to pound the ball into the turf.

Give the credit where it's due and that is squarely on the pitchers who are better pitchers this season. Butera is a fine defensive catcher but he's not some kind of magic worker.

This entire line of thinking really irritates me. Do you honestly think that Butera has a higher baseball IQ than Joe Mauer? Mauer, one of the best pure hitters in the game, is a master of understanding the opposing pitcher, breaking down his game, and waiting for the right pitch. There's a reason he has the highest OBP in the AL. Do you honestly not think that understanding of baseball transitions to his time behind the plate? Hell, I think part of the reason why Mauer is such a good player is because he's a catcher.

So in otherwards, all credit goes exclusively to the pitcher? A catcher running out to the mound, or a pitching coach noticing something in his mechanics makes no difference to the pitcher? If so, Rick Anderson shoudl go to jail for stealing from the Twins organization for years.

I'm also not debating the relative baseball IQ's of Mauer and Butera, simply pointing out a group of numbers, in almost every meaningful way, indicates over a short time-frame that the Twins starting pitching is much better with Butera behind the plate calling the game than Mauer, almost laughably so. At what point does this stop being coincidence, and start being causation? And in an undeniably lost season for this organization, doesn't it behoove them to find out? Perhaps Butera simply relates better to our current staff. As an example, no one would deny that Mike Martz is an offensive genius when it comes to the NFL. However, his inabalitiy to work with others led directly to him being largely a failure during his career.

I should also mention I'm not advocating for Butera to start 6 times a week, just wondering if maybe it's worth finding out if this success is sustainable long-term. In the scope of only the 2012 season, how exactly does it hurt the organization to do this experiment? Worst case scenario, Butera can't continue this level of success with the staff, the line-up produces a few less runs, and we lose 90 games and finish 4th or 5th in the Central (which might actually be the best long-term scenario, as it could improve our draft standing for 2013). Best case scenario, the staff continue to excel with Butera behind the plate, the Twins sneak past the 70 win mark, and Justin Morneau and his 14m salary become that much more expendable (since Doumit and Mauer would now be splitting 1B and DH duties), freeing up money to sign starting pitching FA's in the offseason.

Again, what is the downside here, other than having to watch Butera bat an extra 5-10 times a week? Although that is certainly excruciating, isn't it worth it to find out if the numbers I posted above are small-sample-size fluke, or emerging trend?

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 01:22 PM
I have no idea if Butera has made Frankie better but I do take a little issue with the paragraph above -- NOT the premise about Mauer having a higher baseball IQ. I'm sure he does and I'm sure he takes that behind the plate and I'm sure that he takes what he has learned as a catcher to the plate with him.

But human nature being what it is, I do think that some pitchers probably work better with some catchers. Just as I'm sure most of us have had colleagues (whether at work, in school or in volunteer activities) with whom we "mesh" better.

We've heard it said (on TV at least and sometimes in the press), that one of Liriano's problems is that he "overthinks" at times. Maybe Butera is just better than Mauer or Doumit at keeping it simple for Liriano.

It isn't a knock on any of the three. It's just an acknowledgment that baseball players are human -- and that there may be some people with whom they work better than others.

I'm not a fan of personal catchers. I'll get that out of the way immediately.

With that said, I'm sure some guys like working with some catchers more than others. But if Butera and Francisco were such great partners, why were both so awful last season? Why did Liriano have his best season with Mauer behind the dish most of the time?

I'm not saying it's impossible that some catchers can make certain pitchers slightly better. But there's no reason to think that's the case here. Liriano is pitching better because he's a better pitcher this season. He's throwing harder, has better control, and throws his devastating slider more often.

greengoblinrulz
07-23-2012, 01:27 PM
I certainly like the use of numbers to back up a take....well done....but numbers work better over a longer sample size. If the Drew-toids want to impress me/others, have him catch Blackburn & turn him into a serviceable pitcher.....cant be done

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 01:27 PM
So in otherwards, all credit goes exclusively to the pitcher? A catcher running out to the mound, or a pitching coach noticing something in his mechanics makes no difference to the pitcher? If so, Rick Anderson shoudl go to jail for stealing from the Twins organization for years.

I'm also not debating the relative baseball IQ's of Mauer and Butera, simply pointing out a group of numbers, in almost every meaningful way, indicates over a short time-frame that the Twins starting pitching is much better with Butera behind the plate calling the game than Mauer, almost laughably so. At what point does this stop being coincidence, and start being causation? And in an undeniably lost season for this organization, doesn't it behoove them to find out? Perhaps Butera simply relates better to our current staff. As an example, no one would deny that Mike Martz is an offensive genius when it comes to the NFL. However, his inabalitiy to work with others led directly to him being largely a failure during his career.

I should also mention I'm not advocating for Butera to start 6 times a week, just wondering if maybe it's worth finding out if this success is sustainable long-term. In the scope of only the 2012 season, how exactly does it hurt the organization to do this experiment? Worst case scenario, Butera can't continue this level of success with the staff, the line-up produces a few less runs, and we lose 90 games and finish 4th or 5th in the Central (which might actually be the best long-term scenario, as it could improve our draft standing for 2013). Best case scenario, the staff continue to excel with Butera behind the plate, the Twins sneak past the 70 win mark, and Justin Morneau and his 14m salary become that much more expendable (since Doumit and Mauer would now be splitting 1B and DH duties), freeing up money to sign starting pitching FA's in the offseason.

Again, what is the downside here, other than having to watch Butera bat an extra 5-10 times a week? Although that is certainly excruciating, isn't it worth it to find out if the numbers I posted above are small-sample-size fluke, or emerging trend?

No, it's not worth finding out. Butera has been part of this team off-and-on for three seasons now. Liriano throws harder and has more success. He throws more strikes and has more success.

What does Rick Anderson have to do with this? Did he help Liriano? Possibly, but it was Francisco Liriano who is out there throwing harder and throwing more stirkes. Unless Butera is using his off-days to study film of Francisco's mechanics and working out the kinks, your comparison is laughable.

In the Defense of Drew thread, Dave posted a slew of statistics that point out how Butera has not been any better as a catcher than Mauer or Rivera over the past few seasons. You're completely ignoring multiple years of statistics in favor of using a SSS to make Drew look good. If a guy primarily catches the best pitcher on the team and no one else, of course he's going to look better in the short-term. Unless you look at previous years' statistics, of course...

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 01:28 PM
If you want to go SSS, let's see what Butera's numbers are when he's not catching Liriano... If you want to be intellectually honest, you need a mult-year sample size and should probably compare it by the pitcher, and not by a ridiculously small season sample size.

Ask and you shall receive. Butera's numbers without Liriano.

10 games, 58 IP (average of better than 5.2 IP/start), 3.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 5.3 K/9, 3.8 K/BB, 1 homer every 8.1 innings, and the Twins have a 6-4 record in those games. In other words, even without good Frankie, Butera gets pitchers deeper in the game, with an ERA more than 2 runs below Mauer and Doumit, while allowing almost .4 fewer baserunners per inning, a K/9 rate similar to Mauer but better than Doumit, a K/BB ratio almost double Mauer's, and almost quadruple Doumit's, and about half the homeruns.

Again, I mentioned in my opening post, and all since, that I am aware this is a small sample size, but at some point, every thing is. My question with this thread was to ask two simple questions; when does this SSS stop being a SSS, and why is it not worth determining the answer to that question?

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 01:31 PM
Again, I mentioned in my opening post, and all since, that I am aware this is a small sample size, but at some point, every thing is. My question with this thread was to ask two simple questions; when does this SSS stop being a SSS, and why is it not worth determining the answer to that question?

It's not worth determining because Drew Butera is an awful hitter and because we have multiple years of statistical evidence that directly conflict your incredibly SSS.

More Data That Says Drew Has Little/No Impact>>>>>>>>>Less Data That Says Drew Has Ridiculous 2+ ERA Impact Unheard Of In History Of Major League Baseball

snepp
07-23-2012, 01:35 PM
My head hurts.

70charger
07-23-2012, 01:36 PM
This whole thread seems like a retread. Start reading here: http://twinsdaily.com/showthread.php?2366-In-Defense-of-Drew

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 01:41 PM
[QUOTE=rocketpig;36816]No, it's not worth finding out. QUOTE]

Would you care to elaborate on why not? You seem to disregard the possibility that players get better, relationships between players become better, and numbers can improve? What if Frankie has more confidence with Butera behind the plate, so he throws harder? What if Butera has spent hours upon hours breaking Frankie down before and after games, and did find a mechanical hitch, and that discovery fostered this confidence? I'm not saying either of those things are true, I'm just saying they very well could be.

I state it again. This Twins season is going nowhere. Can anyone give me a reason other than "Butera isn't good", or "Butera was bad in the past" as to why this isn't worth looking into. If we went only off of prior years results, Danny Valencia would be starting at 3B, not Trevor Plouffe. Michael Cuddyer would be in right field instead of Josh Willingham in left. At some point, ESPECIALLY if you're just playing out the string, find out which players have gained in value, and which have not.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-23-2012, 01:43 PM
The real question we need to ask ourselves is Mauer Overpaid?

snepp
07-23-2012, 01:47 PM
The real question we need to ask ourselves is Mauer Overpaid?

Yes, he isn't even capable of whispering sweet nothings into Frankie's ear.

jorgenswest
07-23-2012, 02:11 PM
Catcher ERA has been studied and debated for several years and is seen as a problematic in measuring catcher performance. Current research using pitch f/x data may lead to better results. If you are interested in this stuff, you can read a comparison of Rays catchers below.

http://theraysway.com/articles/jose-lobaton-dues-ex-machina--2

It would be interesting to see a similar comparison of the three Twin catchers at the end of the season. It could be that Butera has significant value that has gone unmeasured.

CDog
07-23-2012, 02:19 PM
Before you laugh, consider the following--


I didn't laugh before...or after. I did kind of sadly shake my head from side to side in a bit of dazed wonder, though.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 02:29 PM
I didn't laugh before...or after. I did kind of sadly shake my head from side to side in a bit of dazed wonder, though.

Any particular reason? Or is this nothing more than an attempt to pad your post count total, for whatever reason?

twinswon1991
07-23-2012, 02:40 PM
Did Gardy start this thread?

CDog
07-23-2012, 02:54 PM
Any particular reason? Or is this nothing more than an attempt to pad your post count total, for whatever reason?

As precious as my post count is to me...OK, wait, now I'm laughing because that is pretty funny...but as precious as that is, no, that's not it. It was some of the shakiest "analysis" I've seen (and that's saying something), and THEN the terrible "analysis" got you to the conclusion that Drew Butera should be the most frequent starting catcher on a team that includes Joe Mauer. And Ryan Doumit.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 03:04 PM
As precious as my post count is to me...OK, wait, now I'm laughing because that is pretty funny...but as precious as that is, no, that's not it. It was some of the shakiest "analysis" I've seen (and that's saying something), and THEN the terrible "analysis" got you to the conclusion that Drew Butera should be the most frequent starting catcher on a team that includes Joe Mauer. And Ryan Doumit.

Then pray tell me, what part of my analysis was shaky? Do you dispute the numbers I presented? Am I inaccurate in concluding (in the SSS of 2012 I'm using) that the starting pitching has been historically awful with either Mauer or Doumit behind the plate, but playoff-caliber with Butera behind the plate? And did I not state that all I was interested in was expanding the sample size to see if the current disparity of staff performance based on starting catcher would bear out over a large sample size?

Again I ask, since no one seems to have an answer, what is the problem with using the last 67 games of this lost season (we're 11 behind Baltimore and Oakland, who are tied for the second wild card. If even one of them goes 33-34, we would have to go 44 and 23 just to tie them. And that's assuming Toronto, Tampa or Boston don't heat up) to explore this? Especially since the worst case scenario (the staff doesn't maintain these numbers with Butera behind the plate, leading to us losing a ton of games) actually helps us, as we get a better draft pick.

I'll ask one more time--what is a tangible, feasible downside to starting Butera at catcher 3-4 times a week?

Boom Boom
07-23-2012, 03:05 PM
Well, for one thing, those numbers for each of Mauer, Doumit, and Butera are skewed because they're not catching the same pitchers.

Butera's caught every game Liriano has started since he was promoted from the bullpen. I think Gardy keeps putting Butera behind the plate for Liriano's starts as one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" things.

I think Butera has about as much to do with Liriano's recent success as the "M" logo caps do.

Boom Boom
07-23-2012, 03:13 PM
Drew Butera hasn't caught Nick Blackburn once this season. That may result in some unfair catcher ERA numbers for Doumit and Mauer.

ChiTownTwinsFan
07-23-2012, 03:14 PM
Drew Butera caught lots of games last season and the Twins were 29th in ERA.

Maybe if you say this enough times people will actually read it and understand it. Ever feel like you are beating a dead horse?

mike wants wins
07-23-2012, 03:18 PM
Because 67 games is not enough of a sample size to draw accurate conclusions using statistical analysis. Because you are ignoring all the data that does not support your conclusions (years of data prior to those 67 games). Because you are drawing causal relationships, where there is no evidence of causation, making perhaps the most common logical fallacy in existence.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 03:19 PM
Well, for one thing, those numbers for each of Mauer, Doumit, and Butera are skewed because they're not catching the same pitchers.

Butera's caught every game Liriano has started since he was promoted from the bullpen. I think Gardy keeps putting Butera behind the plate for Liriano's starts as one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" things.

I think Butera has about as much to do with Liriano's recent success as the "M" logo caps do.

If you noticed on page 1, I gave Butera's numbers minus Liriano. Still ridiculously better than Mauer/Doumit. I also provided the numbers for Diamond and Pavano, who are the only pitchers all 3 guys have caught. While Pavano's numbers are largely a wash. Diamond's are much better with Butera, especially versus Mauer. This also doesn't address the question of why not let Butera catch some more of these guys to find out? What if Blackburn can be a serviceable starter when pitching to Butera? There's only one way to find out...

snepp
07-23-2012, 03:21 PM
Drew Butera hasn't caught Nick Blackburn once this season. That may result in some unfair catcher ERA numbers for Doumit and Mauer.

Nonsense, Blacksie would have had a sub-4 era all season if Butera had been catching him. Butera is also fully responsible for Liriano throwing harder, more accurately, and with a monster slider. He even single-handedly willed Deduno into having a decent start, which couldn't have happened with anyone else behind the plate.

Boom Boom
07-23-2012, 03:26 PM
If you noticed on page 1, I gave Butera's numbers minus Liriano. Still ridiculously better than Mauer/Doumit. I also provided the numbers for Diamond and Pavano, who are the only pitchers all 3 guys have caught. While Pavano's numbers are largely a wash. Diamond's are much better with Butera, especially versus Mauer. This also doesn't address the question of why not let Butera catch some more of these guys to find out? What if Blackburn can be a serviceable starter when pitching to Butera? There's only one way to find out...

I'm not convinced that, even if Butera turned Blackburn into a serviceable starter, that the difference would offset the offensive hit the lineup would take from removing either Mauer or Doumit and inserting Drew.

I get what you're saying, and I admit that Butera is a better defensive catcher than Mauer and a much better catcher than Doumit. I do think there is some truth to catchers' ERA, but I don't think it's nearly as big a difference as the numbers you've presented would posit to suggest.

Mr. Ed
07-23-2012, 03:30 PM
When the Twins trade Liriano and he does well for someone else, am sure the FSN broadcasters will continue to credit Drew for Liriano's level of success as well.:rolleyes:

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 03:30 PM
Because 67 games is not enough of a sample size to draw accurate conclusions using statistical analysis. Because you are ignoring all the data that does not support your conclusions (years of data prior to those 67 games). Because you are drawing causal relationships, where there is no evidence of causation, making perhaps the most common logical fallacy in existence.

So obviously you skipped over my post where I asked when coincidence becomes causation. So obviosuly you've missed all my points where I'm asking why not expand the sample size. So obviosuly you didn't notice where I said this was only in the context of this year. So obviously you believe players can't improve or worsen from the year prior--after all, it's not like Andrew McCutcheon, MVP candidate, hit .259 last year. Jose Reyes clearly is the best-hitting shortstop in either league, since he was last year. Melky Cabrera's ceiling is obviously a guy who's going to hit around .270/.320/.370 with single digit homers, since those are his approximate numbers over FIVE years.

I'm not saying any of those three instances mean Butera is suddenly the greatest catcher to pitch to ever. I'm just saying there is an incredible statistical anomaly that has now hit a level where it moves beyond short-lived blip on the radar, and becomes, let's see if there's anything to this.

Oh and by the way, I used 95 games, or about 60% of the season. If 60% of something is not a large enough sample size to draw a conclusion, why is 40% of something enough to wreck a conclusion?

LaBombo
07-23-2012, 03:32 PM
[QUOTE=rocketpig;36816]No, it's not worth finding out. QUOTE]

Would you care to elaborate on why not? You seem to disregard the possibility that players get better, relationships between players become better, and numbers can improve? What if Frankie has more confidence with Butera behind the plate, so he throws harder? What if Butera has spent hours upon hours breaking Frankie down before and after games, and did find a mechanical hitch, and that discovery fostered this confidence? I'm not saying either of those things are true, I'm just saying they very well could be.

I state it again. This Twins season is going nowhere. Can anyone give me a reason other than "Butera isn't good", or "Butera was bad in the past" as to why this isn't worth looking into. If we went only off of prior years results, Danny Valencia would be starting at 3B, not Trevor Plouffe. Michael Cuddyer would be in right field instead of Josh Willingham in left. At some point, ESPECIALLY if you're just playing out the string, find out which players have gained in value, and which have not.

How about a breakdown of the quality of lineups that Butera's pitchers have faced? He seems to get the 'day game after night game' starts fairly often, along with the other scrubs of both the Twins and their opponents. Maybe it's just me.

As for being useful as Liriano's personal catcher, well, the idea that Liriano needs a replacement-level catcher to be effective sounds like another reason to trade Liriano, not elevate Butera to near-everyday status.

That leaves the 10 starts with non-Liriano pitchers. Given that CERA is already suspect at best for career-sized samples, those 10 starts represent no discernible analytical value to me.

I agree with you the Twins are out of it. I even agree with you that Butera should catch more, though not for the reason you suggest, and not nearly to the same extent. I'd just like to see Butera out there a little more just to save wear and tear on Mauer and even Doumit.

That being said, the idea that there's no risk to elevating Butera to near-regular status isn't really true. The Twins still need to put butts in the seats, and it's not going well. Selling already disenchanted fans on Butera catching more than Mauer based on what's likely no more than a statistical anomaly would be an ugly PR undertaking.

But let's say you throw attendance caution to the winds, keep running Butera out there the rest of the season, and get similar non-Liriano numbers. Now you're going to dump Morneau, convert an already-expensive Mauer to a much less valuable position , and insert a replacement-level bat into the starting lineup based on what's still a microscopic sample size of one of the weakest predictive stats in baseball? Pass.

Cap'n Piranha
07-23-2012, 03:35 PM
I'm not convinced that, even if Butera turned Blackburn into a serviceable starter, that the difference would offset the offensive hit the lineup would take from removing either Mauer or Doumit and inserting Drew.

I get what you're saying, and I admit that Butera is a better defensive catcher than Mauer and a much better catcher than Doumit. I do think there is some truth to catchers' ERA, but I don't think it's nearly as big a difference as the numbers you've presented would posit to suggest.

Actually, in looking at the numbers, the Twins offense is most inept when Doumit catches (I was incorrect in one calculation I made earlier, concerning the average number of runs the Twins offense puts up when Doumit catches, which I have since corrected, in addition to verifying all other calculations). The Twins score, on average, 5 runs per game with Mauer catching. They drop a whole run, to 4, when Butera catches. They drop another half run, to 3.5, when Doumit catches.

I also don't see any reason why the Twins can't trade Morneau for prospects and to open up spending space for next year, then switch Doumit, Mauer and Willingham between 1B, LF and DH. With Mauer, and once in a while Doumit catching, you could even play Parmelee some more, instead of letting him rot on the bench.

LaBombo
07-23-2012, 03:41 PM
Also, from an Occam's Razor angle, what's more likely...

that Butera's defensive value is being inflated by a tiny sample of a shaky stat or two...

or that he's found a new ability to handle pitchers that produces overwhelming, repeatable results, but he's refusing to even explain the breakthrough, let alone teach the new ability set to Mauer and Doumit, all with the apparent total disregard of on- and off-field management?

Boom Boom
07-23-2012, 03:45 PM
I was partially agreeing with you before, Cap'n, but "average runs scored based on whom the starting catcher was", or ARSBOWTSCW, is a new statistic to me that needs more research before I would consider such numbers to be meaningful.

mike wants wins
07-23-2012, 03:46 PM
Great use of Occam's razor, awesome.

Fire Dan Gladden
07-23-2012, 03:53 PM
Drew Butera caught lots of games last season and the Twins were 29th in ERA.

How many times have you used this quote in your arguments against Butera. I swear I've seen it at least 4 times.

rickyhawaii
07-23-2012, 04:01 PM
With Butera in the line up it would be too many easy outs and rally killings. I'd rather see Chris Hermann as third catcher - utility, over Butera.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-23-2012, 04:06 PM
How many times have you used this quote in your arguments against Butera. I swear I've seen it at least 4 times.

And yet some people choose to ignore it time and time again. It's like a parent telling his child to clean his room 4 times.

ChiTownTwinsFan
07-23-2012, 04:12 PM
How many times have you used this quote in your arguments against Butera. I swear I've seen it at least 4 times.

Maybe he'll keep using it until some of you get it.

CDog
07-23-2012, 04:17 PM
How many times have you used this quote in your arguments against Butera. I swear I've seen it at least 4 times.

If you're setting the line at 4, I'm taking the over. For sure.

scottz
07-23-2012, 04:21 PM
Starting Catcher W-L
2010
Mauer - 66-41 (.617)
Butera - 22-24 (.478)
Other* - 7-7 (.500)

2011
Mauer - 21-25 (.457)
Butera - 30-61 (.330)
Other* - 18-32 (.360)

2012
Mauer - 17-25 (.405)
Butera - 16-9 (.640)
Other* - 12-21 (.364)

2010-2012
Mauer - 104-91 (.533)
Butera - 68-94 (.420)
Other* - 37-60 (.381)

* Doumit, Rivera, Holm, Morales, or Ramos

Small sample size likely to blame for Butera's dominance this year, especially when you consider that the Twins are playing better recently than earlier in the year. For example, if you look at the last 19 games caught by any of these 3 categories, Mauer is 10-9, Doumit is 10-9, Butera is 12-7. Still small samples, but less Butera dominance. Factor in that Butera has more frequently caught our "better" pitchers than the others would slant the records to be in his favor. I'll take the long term average and leave Mauer behind the plate.

Brock Beauchamp
07-23-2012, 04:52 PM
How many times have you used this quote in your arguments against Butera. I swear I've seen it at least 4 times.

I'm going to keep using it until people start reading it and comprehending what it means (basically, that catchers only have a marginal impact on how a pitcher performs).

Pius Jefferson
07-23-2012, 05:01 PM
Yes, he isn't even capable of whispering sweet nothings into Frankie's ear.

He's also would like to go back in time and play with Ty Cobb. No wonder he can't catch Liriano or Deduno like Butera.

GCTF
07-23-2012, 06:01 PM
Will Doumit catch Blackburn's next start? He seemed to get throught to him as one facial-haired player to another.

All the Twins need to do is find some tall, clean shaven, soft spoken starters for Joe to handle.

diehardtwinsfan
07-23-2012, 06:13 PM
I'm just saying there is an incredible statistical anomaly that has now hit a level where it moves beyond short-lived blip on the radar, and becomes, let's see if there's anything to this.



You might have a statistical anomoly, except that you really are only dealing with 10 starts, but I'm not sure that the word incredible should be attached to this at all. He has 2 years worth of data that you have repeatedly ignored. He's had the luxury of catching Liriano during his resurgence, which might be on Drew, accept for the small problem that Liriano has had long stretches of dominance not unlike this stretch... and not surprisngly, the big corresponding peripheral changes when Liriano dominates is increased velocity on the FB and decreased walks.

No reasonable person would argue that Drew can somehow coax and extra 3-4 MPH on Liriano's fastball, and no reasonable person should be suggesting that Drew is the reason Liriano finds the plate more consistently... It's Liriano's job to hit the target that the catcher sets... I'm fairly certain the catcher has little if any control over the pitcher's ability to hit the catcher.

Drew caught a ridiculous number of games last season. If he was some magic worker, than the Twins wouldnt' have had the second worst record in baseball... their pitchers would have kept them in every game, and while the offense was bad,it wouldn't have been 99 losses bad.

Highabove
07-23-2012, 06:25 PM
There have been some bad threads put up lately coupled with ridiculous comments.
Maybe things will improve once the trade deadline passes.

ashburyjohn
07-23-2012, 06:36 PM
Actually, in looking at the numbers, the Twins offense is most inept when Doumit catches (I was incorrect in one calculation I made earlier, concerning the average number of runs the Twins offense puts up when Doumit catches, which I have since corrected, in addition to verifying all other calculations). The Twins score, on average, 5 runs per game with Mauer catching. They drop a whole run, to 4, when Butera catches. They drop another half run, to 3.5, when Doumit catches.

Put a measurably better hitter in the lineup and fewer runs score: doesn't this little side-investigation cause one to reflect on the merit of this style of analysis? Guess not.

diehardtwinsfan
07-23-2012, 08:48 PM
wonder what tonights line just did to that SSS.

jm3319
07-23-2012, 08:55 PM
"insert token comment about blaming this loss on Butera since he (Butera) clearly deserves all the credit for Liriano's recent success..." oh boy 2.2 IP 7ER and 3HR...not what the doctor ordered for the Twins tonight...

The Greatest Poster Alive
07-23-2012, 09:05 PM
http://i.imgur.com/bMtqO.jpg

CDog
07-23-2012, 10:53 PM
Will Doumit catch Blackburn's next start? He seemed to get throught to him as one facial-haired player to another.

All the Twins need to do is find some tall, clean shaven, soft spoken starters for Joe to handle.

Blackburn was shaved for his latest start. But maybe he felt like he wasn't? "Now" things are getting ridiculous.

stringer bell
07-23-2012, 11:08 PM
Well, Drew had a nifty hit-and-run single today and a walk but his pitcher allowed almost as many runs as he got outs, so there's that. If the Twins have a staff that needs to be "handled" by their catcher, it probably doesn't matter anyway.

Oxtung
07-24-2012, 12:34 AM
How did this thread get to 4 pages?

Shane Wahl
07-24-2012, 12:50 AM
How did this thread get to 4 pages?

Haha. No idea. Totally insane. Anyway, I think the Twins should give Drew a nice salary to be the catcher at whatever level in the minors has the most valuable pitching prospects from 2013 forward. I am not joking. He is good with that aspect, but it is time for a Mauer-Doumit-Herrmann roster situation.

Brock Beauchamp
07-24-2012, 07:02 AM
Haha. No idea. Totally insane. Anyway, I think the Twins should give Drew a nice salary to be the catcher at whatever level in the minors has the most valuable pitching prospects from 2013 forward. I am not joking. He is good with that aspect, but it is time for a Mauer-Doumit-Herrmann roster situation.

I think Drew Butera has "AAA to help young pitchers and then bullpen catcher after retiring" written all over him.

Which is actually a compliment, believe it or not. I think Drew is a fine catcher who does a good job behind the dish.

But he can't make guys throw harder, have more movement on their fastballs, or throw more strikes.

SpiritofVodkaDave
07-24-2012, 07:45 AM
Debbie Gots....?

Riverbrian
07-24-2012, 08:06 AM
Catchers contribute a bunch to pitchers.

Work done in the film room prior to the game.
Work done in the bullpen prior to the game.
The calling of pitches during a game.
The recognition of what is and what is not working during the game.
Knowing What good looks like for each pitcher and what bad looks like for each pitcher.
The setting up of hitters.
Knowing the hitters.
The trips to the mound to steady a pitcher. Knowing which pitchers want the visits and when to not visit when the pitcher looks like he needs one.
Knowing which pitchers will tell you to stay the hell away and when its time to go visit the mound anyway.

Catchers do not get nearly enough credit for their role in every game.

Catchers don't make pitchers throw harder but they can make them seem harder... if they do a nice job setting up the pitch.

With all of that... A couple things.

Joe Mauer should be capable of all of the above. Ryan Doumit as well. They are Veteren catchers. Drew is less experienced behind the plate. If Drew is better at it... It doesn't mean that Drew is amazing.

If true... What it does is speak badly for Joe and Ryan and that's "IF true".

If true... I'd be more concerned about Joe and Ryan.

That's where the coaches come in. They should have a handle on... Who does all of this well.

I don't think you can prove anything with stats on this subject but it's fun to watch some try.

Personally I don't think Butera should play at all. He should just be that 3rd catcher backup that makes Gardy feel better and keeps Doumit out of the OF.

The coaches have more information than I do.

Brock Beauchamp
07-24-2012, 08:28 AM
Catchers do not get nearly enough credit for their role in every game.

Catchers don't make pitchers throw harder but they can make them seem harder... if they do a nice job setting up the pitch.

With all of that... A couple things.

Joe Mauer should be capable of all of the above. Ryan Doumit as well. They are Veteren catchers. Drew is less experienced behind the plate. If Drew is better at it... It doesn't mean that Drew is amazing.

True. I don't mean to downplay the role the catcher plays in the game. My point is more "all of these catchers are professionals and have been doing this for most of their lives". Mauer is one of the smartest, if not the smartest, hitter in the big leagues right now. No one has ever questioned his ability to call a game. I've never heard anyone say anything bad about him at all, really (talking about professionals, not forum trolls and talking heads).

If a catcher makes it to the big leagues (particularly in the persnickety Twins org), he can call a game. He knows how to set up hitters. He understands the game.

Catchers affect the game. After all, they call the game. But there's no evidence that Drew Butera is better at this than one of the smartest guys playing baseball right now. Is he a better defensive catcher than Mauer? Sure, I might buy into that but if there's a difference, it's a small one and it has more to do with Drew's arm and ability to block balls than it does any magical pitcher whispering ability he might have.

Riverbrian
07-24-2012, 09:34 AM
True. I don't mean to downplay the role the catcher plays in the game. My point is more "all of these catchers are professionals and have been doing this for most of their lives". Mauer is one of the smartest, if not the smartest, hitter in the big leagues right now. No one has ever questioned his ability to call a game. I've never heard anyone say anything bad about him at all, really (talking about professionals, not forum trolls and talking heads).If a catcher makes it to the big leagues (particularly in the persnickety Twins org), he can call a game. He knows how to set up hitters. He understands the game.Catchers affect the game. After all, they call the game. But there's no evidence that Drew Butera is better at this than one of the smartest guys playing baseball right now. Is he a better defensive catcher than Mauer? Sure, I might buy into that but if there's a difference, it's a small one and it has more to do with Drew's arm and ability to block balls than it does any magical pitcher whispering ability he might have.

No Argument here... Although, you can't dismiss it out of hand.

Gardy obviously thinks differently. I have no way of knowing... I can only make assumptions based upon on how Gardy sets his lineup. Drew brings something to the team in Gardy's opinion.

Based on what I know... I wouldn't play Butera at all... Gardy is in the position to see hear and feel something else.

The fact that Butera is catching Liriano exclusively is a telling sign of something. I don't know what it is but I won't dismiss it cuz the Catcher is the captain of your defense. Big Job... Important Job.

I believe that Butera catching says more about the job that Doumit and Mauer are doing while working with the pitchers or certain pitchers.

Mauer and Doumit hit much better so why is Gardy willing to absorb the offensive loss to catch Butera. That's the question that needs to be answered in my mind.

I think it's crazy to be afraid of DH'ing your catcher and driving yourself to the need of having a third catcher. I don't think it's crazy at all to match up your battery combo.

twinscowboysbulls
07-24-2012, 12:00 PM
Debbie Gots....?

Can I retweet that Dave?

mrmpls
07-25-2012, 04:32 PM
Drew butera is simply not a major leauger. never has been or will .all he does is give GARDY a excuse. its a wasted bench spot!!

greengoblinrulz
07-27-2012, 09:39 PM
Drew did a spectacular job of calling the game from the bench tonight for Diamond/Mauer (cause we know that Joe cant do it on his own)

70charger
07-28-2012, 11:42 PM
Drew did a spectacular job of calling the game from the bench tonight for Diamond/Mauer (cause we know that Joe cant do it on his own)

Game, set, match.

greengoblinrulz
07-29-2012, 12:19 AM
Drew was single handidly responsible for getting us the 2 C level prospects......Thank you Drew
As if I coldnt respect you more!!!