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Article: What has happened to Joe Mauer's defense?

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:42 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...Mauer-s-defense

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#2 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 11:18 PM

Ah, but will he earn another gold glove regardless?

#3 Shane Wahl

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 12:14 AM

Great analysis, Parker. That is something that can be worked on (and clearly should have already been addressed if the coaching staff and manager were competent).

The above is harsh, but I have to wonder if the Twins even have this simple video analysis available to them.

#4 COtwin

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:46 AM

Great work Parker. I love analysis like this. A couple questions. Is the data that shows Mauer's decline pitcher irrelevant. It seems like compared to Mauer's prime we have had a lot of guys throwing in high 80s low 90s. As opposed to low to mid 90. Santana, Baker, Garza, etc. That seems like it would play a roll. Also it looks like several of our pitchers are slow to very slow to home. Thoughts?

#5 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:00 AM

Great work Parker. I love analysis like this. A couple questions. Is the data that shows Mauer's decline pitcher irrelevant. It seems like compared to Mauer's prime we have had a lot of guys throwing in high 80s low 90s. As opposed to low to mid 90. Santana, Baker, Garza, etc. That seems like it would play a roll. Also it looks like several of our pitchers are slow to very slow to home. Thoughts?


I think it has something to do with it. Last season, Pavano put the hurt on catchers because his delivery is so slow. Liriano was the only guy who threw hard on the 2012 squad and his out pitch was a slider. Butera also caught him most of the time (and even Sweet Drew's SB/CS ratio is down this season).

But looking at those clips, it's not hard to see Mauer throwing flat-footed. It's probably a combination of things. Slow deliveries, slow pitches, bad pitch control (Deduno), and bad throwing form from Mauer.

#6 Rosterman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:42 AM

Can't figure out why he overthru the other Monday. That was so uncharacteristic Mauer. Part of it ahs to be lack of consistent playing time behind the plate. The other, working with nearly a dozen different starters who, on the whole, are pitching from behind and not setting the pace of a game.

#7 JB_Iowa

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:45 AM

The pitching has to be a factor -- Mackey also gave numbers showing that Butera's caught stealing rate was down (about 25% if I remember right) as is Doumits (about 10% I think). But neither of those approach Mauer's astronomical decline.

I'm sure there are things he can work on. I'm also sure that in a losing season he probably doesn't want to overwork his knees. But I also have to think that his knees/legs are simply never going to be the same.

#8 Rosterman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:01 AM

Over at baseball reference they show Mauer (63) at 49/6, Doumit (48) at 23/6 and Butera (33) at 18/6 for (games played) attempts/caught. The team as a whole has thrown out 17% of base stealers.

Starters are: Blackburn 5/1, Deduno 5/1, DeVries 2/1, Diamond 13/3, Duensing 4/1, Hendriks 5/2, Liriano 13/2, Marquis 2/1, Pavano 7/1, Walters 4/0, Swarzak 0/1.

Relievers have been awful: Burnett 7/0, Burton 5/0, Capps 3/0, Fein 2/0, Gray 5/1, Maloney 2/0, Manship 1/0, Perdumo 1/0, Perkins 2/2, Robertson 2/1.

#9 wavedog

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:31 AM

Rosterman, thanks for providing the stats on Doumit and Butera. That appears to indicate Mauer is our worst catcher and throwing out runners and the oppostion has picked up on this as there are more attempts against him if you normalize for the number of games caught. Someone can weigh in on if this is a large enough sample of data to make that assumption. Next we can look at catcher ERA's to see if there is a marked difference in calling games.

#10 Parker Hageman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:39 AM

Rosterman, what those numbers from B-R.com are missing is that those all runners caught stealing INCLUDING pick offs (those are marked in the catchers numbers too). If you dig a bit further, you will find that Mauer actually only "caught" 3 of those runners himself, Doumit caught 5 of 6 and Butera caught 4 of 6.

http://www.baseball-...-fielding.shtml

#11 Rosterman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:53 AM

Mauer pitchers have a 5.21 ERA, Butera 3.61 and Doumit 4.92
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#12 Rosterman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:54 AM

I'm unsure the wording of those extra three...an assist with the pitcher...were those pitch-outs? Noticed that Mauer is the only catcher with a bonafide pick-off of a runner on base.
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#13 Riverbrian

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:56 AM

Baseball is a game of inches. Stolen bases are razor thin from many different factors and they all add up.

The Runner's Jump... The Runner's speed... The Attention paid to the runner by the pitcher. The Quickness of the delivery to the plate. The Catcher's Footwork and the Catcher's accuracy. The SS or 2B catch and tag.

I look at the footwork shown in the video example's and you do see a slight delay in Joe's movement from crouch to throwing position.

The Footwork is consistent and correct. It's a slower start and it could be the body that causes the slow start but I contend it's probably the mind.

Complacency is the #1 enemy of the ball player. Pitch after Pitch... Inning after Inning... Game After Game... Year after Year. It's a slow game... Mental focus comes and goes.

If the case... It's disapointing that it happens at the catcher position. Of all positions... The Catcher and Pitcher are the most involved and should be easily more engaged.

I wish I could have seen his release point on example #1.

From the defensive side... If you want to catch a thief... It's starts with the pitcher perfecting his pickup move to hold runners close... make them second guess... and a quick delivery to the plate once committed. The outcome of the majority of stolen bases are decided right there. It's a game of inches and each inch matters.

Tack on a slow reacting catcher and you got a problem. The runners are getting faster... It's a game of inches. It makes baseball beautiful.

#14 Rosterman

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:03 AM

And sometimes you just want the pitcher to quit throwing over and let the guy steal if he wants...getting the batter out is more important. Yes, you like to keep a "possible" double-play in order. But, how many of those 90 stolen bases resulted in a run scored is the next question in play.
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#15 StormJH1

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:33 AM

And sometimes you just want the pitcher to quit throwing over and let the guy steal if he wants...getting the batter out is more important. Yes, you like to keep a "possible" double-play in order. But, how many of those 90 stolen bases resulted in a run scored is the next question in play.


First, let's get something clear about stolen bases - they're overrated. The primary commodity in offensive baseball is the out. You get 3 of them per inning and just like it makes little sense to bunt early in a game and trade one of those three outs out to advance a single runner one base, it's usually not a good idea to send a risk a 25 to 40% chance of being thrown out in exchange for one out. So while it's easy to beat up on Mauer, let's keep in mind that as bad as the numbers are, we're still only talking about a handful of additional runners that he should have thrown out over the course of a season.

That being said, I haven't really thought of Mauer as a "good" defensive catcher since at least mid-2010. There were times from 2006 to 2010 I felt he was an above average catcher. I think what's particularly alarming for a guy like Mauer, however, is that you look at 6'5" guy who is GIANT for a catcher, and you assume that his problems would be with blocking balls, moving around, etc. You wouldn't expect a former HS quarterback of that size to have trouble throwing out runners, but it's clear that he does.

And when you factor in the part time playing time, and recognize that it's September and Mauer's defense has resulted in only THREE caught runners all year, I think we can put to bed the argument that Mauer's offense has "added value" because of his defense.

#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:40 AM

And sometimes you just want the pitcher to quit throwing over and let the guy steal if he wants...getting the batter out is more important. Yes, you like to keep a "possible" double-play in order. But, how many of those 90 stolen bases resulted in a run scored is the next question in play.


Considering the lack of strikeout ability from the staff, more probably scored than we'd like to know.

That was great analysis, clearly he is not moving to get into position to make a throw before he recieves the pitch like he did in the past. As someone mentioned above, this should be easily fixable and I don't know why it hasn't been taken care of by now.

#17 stringer bell

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:45 AM

I haven't noticed anything major with Mauer's throwing, but I have seen more throws that don't have a lot of zip on them. As was pointed out above, stolen bases are a proposition with small margins all around. The Twins, as a staff, aren't very good at either checking baserunners or getting the ball to the plate quickly, so most of the blame needs to fall there.

#18 Riverbrian

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:48 AM

And sometimes you just want the pitcher to quit throwing over and let the guy steal if he wants...getting the batter out is more important. Yes, you like to keep a "possible" double-play in order. But, how many of those 90 stolen bases resulted in a run scored is the next question in play.


First, let's get something clear about stolen bases - they're overrated. The primary commodity in offensive baseball is the out. You get 3 of them per inning and just like it makes little sense to bunt early in a game and trade one of those three outs out to advance a single runner one base, it's usually not a good idea to send a risk a 25 to 40% chance of being thrown out in exchange for one out. So while it's easy to beat up on Mauer, let's keep in mind that as bad as the numbers are, we're still only talking about a handful of additional runners that he should have thrown out over the course of a season.

That being said, I haven't really thought of Mauer as a "good" defensive catcher since at least mid-2010. There were times from 2006 to 2010 I felt he was an above average catcher. I think what's particularly alarming for a guy like Mauer, however, is that you look at 6'5" guy who is GIANT for a catcher, and you assume that his problems would be with blocking balls, moving around, etc. You wouldn't expect a former HS quarterback of that size to have trouble throwing out runners, but it's clear that he does.

And when you factor in the part time playing time, and recognize that it's September and Mauer's defense has resulted in only THREE caught runners all year, I think we can put to bed the argument that Mauer's offense has "added value" because of his defense.


That's why they have stopwatches... No one wants to give up that out. They go when the stopwatch says go. All teams are a running on the same people. Guys Like Ben Revere can beat the stop watch... Everyone else waits for the stopwatch light to turn green.

From a defense side of things.... The Pitcher and Catcher have to beat the stopwatch. If you do that... Very few will go.

Make no mistake... High stolen bases is on the defense.

A more telling stat is not the percentage of throw outs... It would be the amount of attempts.

#19 powrwrap

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:54 AM

I really want to comment on this because I love analysis like this, but really, the relevant thing here is how long does it take from the time the ball is in Joe's mitt to the time he throws the ball. The footwork analysis is interesting but ultimately what matters is how long the exchange takes.

You have the video. If you have a video editing program it would be an easy matter to get the elapsed times from catch to release point. Can you post those elapsed times? If you don't have one, MS Moviemaker is a free download.
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#20 powrwrap

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 09:56 AM

First, let's get something clear about stolen bases - they're overrated. The primary commodity in offensive baseball is the out. You get 3 of them per inning and just like it makes little sense to bunt early in a game and trade one of those three outs out to advance a single runner one base, it's usually not a good idea to send a risk a 25 to 40% chance of being thrown out in exchange for one out. So while it's easy to beat up on Mauer, let's keep in mind that as bad as the numbers are, we're still only talking about a handful of additional runners that he should have thrown out over the course of a season.


Spoken like a true stat-head. Each situation is different. Each player has different skill sets. In most circumstances, unless you have a big lead, if you've got a guy that is a great base stealer it would be stupid not to have them attempt to steal.
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