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Article: Young Guns

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:48 PM
Over the six-year period from 2011 through 2016, during which the Twins won at a miserable .419 clip and finished last in the division fo...
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Eduardo Escobar Watch

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:47 PM
Time to start the Eddie Esckie watch. Unless they really need two utility infielders, Adrianza looks like the #1 option. Escobar has...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ Orioles, 5/22@6:05pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:47 PM
After piling up doubleheaders the Twins travel to Baltimore and it seems like the weather might follow them. There is a 90% chance of rai...
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Hughes to the DL

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:48 PM
Shoulder issues Uh oh
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Cuban Luis Robert is a FA

Other Baseball Today, 12:48 PM
19 year old Cuban OF Luis Robert was cleared by the MLB and is now an IFA... If he signs before July 2nd, he will not be subject to the n...
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Recent Blogs


Kurt Suzuki - Signed to be the starter?

Attached Image: Suzuki_Kurt_Face_US_720.jpg Mike Berardino reported this weekend that Terry Ryan expected Kurt Suzuki to start this year for the Minnesota Twins at catcher. At the time of the signing, it appeared that Suzuki was signed to give the Twins a veteran backup. On this site, there were certainly questions about his defense and concern about the workload he carried early in his career. At the time, the best available options other than Suzuki were John Buck or retaining Doumit. While Suzuki has been a poor pitch framer, Doumit and Buck are at the bottom.

Does it matter that Suzuki is a poor at framing pitches? Perhaps he makes up for it in working with pitchers and pitch selection.

If a catcher has an impact on pitcher performance, how might it show up in the stats? FIP uses the defense independent stats of strikeouts, walks and home runs. I am not sure how much a catcher might impact home runs, but if he impacts anything it will be strikeouts and walks. Suzuki's has worked for two clubs in each of the last two years. Add 2011 and there is a sample of over 12000 batters faced. How does he compare to the 12 other catchers who caught for Oakland or Washington in the last three years?

[TABLE="width: 576"]

Year
Team
Suzuki
Others
Suzuki
Others
Suzuki
Others





k/bb
k/bb
K%
K%
BB%
BB%
BF


2013
OAK
1.86
2.84
17.06%
19.66%
9.19%
6.91%
381


2013
WSN
2.78
3.31
19.68%
21.15%
7.08%
6.38%
2795


2012
WSN
2.6
2.69
20.88%
21.80%
8.02%
8.13%
1547


2012
OAK
2.15
2.75
17.54%
19.32%
8.16%
7.04%
2720


2011
OAK
2.13
2.67
18.46%
20.18%
8.67%
7.51%
4811













3yr
TOT
2.31
2.84
18.79%
20.45%
8.13%
7.20%
12254

[/TABLE]

Over the last three years, the other 12 catchers have a 23% better strikeout walk ratio, a strikeout rate that is 9% better and a walk rate that is 11% lower.

Every year over the last three and on every team, pitchers who happen to be throwing to Suzuki strike out fewer batters and walk more batters. Small sample size? It is over 12000 batters. Maybe he has had teammates who are very good catchers? It was 12 different guys on two different teams.

The Twins needed a backup catcher. The free agent and trade market for catchers dried up quickly and only the catchers with poor framing numbers remained. Suzuki appears to be the best of what was left. Signing a veteran catcher to start in 40-50 games seemed a good move. Before spring training, Ryan has said he expects him to start. It seems the plan all along was to seek a starter. If that is the case, is Suzuki the right guy?


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