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More on Doumit's Defense

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:23 PM

Fangraphs.com's Jeff Sullivan re-examines Ryan Doumit's career and his catching abilities. The results, like Mike Fast's framing study which started this line of thinking, are not good. Using CERA (minus the "earned" portion), Sullivan found that dating back to 2005 when Doumit was catching his team allowed 5.37 runs per game (CRA). When he wasn't catching, his team allowed 5.00 runs per game.

Here's Sullivan's analysis:

That’s a straight-up, un-weighted average. On average, when Doumit’s been behind the plate, his team’s allowed 5.37 runs per nine innings. On average, when Doumit hasn’t been behind the plate, his team’s allowed 5.00 runs per nine innings. This does not adjust for playing time or for pitchers caught, so of course it isn’t perfect. There’s a lot of potential error in here. But this could also be capturing everything — throwing arm, pitch-blocking, pitch-framing, game-calling. CRA is a hopelessly flawed statistic, but for whatever it’s worth, it isn’t kind to Ryan Doumit, which goes along with his defensive reputation.

Teams throw about 1,440 innings a season. Over 1,440 innings, a 0.37 RA difference is equal to about 59 runs. If we’re in any way capturing Ryan Doumit’s true defense as a catcher, he’s really not good at it, and his bat probably isn’t good enough to make things much better.





#2 LoganJones

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

Since 0 teams throw 100% of their innings to one catcher, we'd have to factor that in, but that don't look good for Dooms.

#3 jorgenswest

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:54 PM

One take...

Our pitchers need any advantage they can get. Doumit needs to leave the catcher glove at home.




Second take...


Maybe through video study Steinbach can work with Doumit and they can correct and improve his ability to frame pitches.




Third take...


Maybe the Twins management realizes that this data is meaningless and they have found tremendous value in Doumit where others teams were not interested last winter. So much value that they extended him two years. He will continue to catch many games for the Twins.




In any case, Otis more important than ever that Mauer remains healthy all season.

#4 mcrow

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:24 PM

This is probably the reason Butera makes the team. Doumit isn't a guy you really want out there a lot if Mauer goes down. Then again you don't really like having Butera's bat in the lineup either.

#5 FrodaddyG

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:56 PM

"Over Ryan Doumit’s career, his team has won an average of 40.1% of the games he’s started (at any position, not just catcher). Over Ryan Doumit’s career, his team has won an average of 40.7% of the games he hasn’t started."

So I guess we can also assume that given this stat, Doumit is a born loser.

#6 Kobs

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:14 PM

This is probably the reason Butera makes the team.


There is no reason for Butera to make the team. The Twins are not restricted in any way to choosing between Ryan Doumit and Drew Butera. If Ryan Doumit is, indeed, such a liability as a catcher that he should not be allowed to play that position, the Twins should identify or acquire a different player who is acceptable defensively as a catcher, and also possesses enough ability as a hitter to produce at a level that, while poor, is above a reasonable minimum threshold.

#7 mcrow

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

There is no reason for Butera to make the team. The Twins are not restricted in any way to choosing between Ryan Doumit and Drew Butera. If Ryan Doumit is, indeed, such a liability as a catcher that he should not be allowed to play that position, the Twins should identify or acquire a different player who is acceptable defensively as a catcher, and also possesses enough ability as a hitter to produce at a level that, while poor, is above a reasonable minimum threshold.

You realize catchers like that don't grow on trees?

Pretty much all catchers that can both catch and hit are starters. The Twins also could use a couple starting pitchers, some infielders ....ect. Backup catcher is probably not as high on the list as pitching and middle infield and they didn't exactly splurge on those positions.

#8 Kobs

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:27 PM

You realize catchers like that don't grow on trees?

Pretty much all catchers that can both catch and hit are starters. The Twins also could use a couple starting pitchers, some infielders ....ect. Backup catcher is probably not as high on the list as pitching and middle infield and they didn't exactly splurge on those positions.


I didn't say that this catcher would be able "to hit," as you've interpreted it. Drew Butera does not meet the very lowest standards of a major league player. On the scale of major league hitters, he is not on the scale. He is not a "no hit catcher." He is significantly worse than a player who would earn that distinction. Drew Butera's bat does not approach the level at which a player should be considered for a spot on a major league roster.

#9 70charger

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

I think that, while the stats don't seem to favor Doumit here, the better question is a relative one. I.e., how bad is he compared to the next option? (Sort of like an opportunity cost kind of thing.)

Given that his bat doesn't make up for his poor defense, does Drew Butera's lack of a bat make up for his good defense in such a way that the balance tips to Butera?

I think we have some inkling of what the answer to this question might be. Seems as though Doumit doesn't look so bad in this light...

#10 old nurse

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:34 AM

If Doumit's stats improve defensively as a catcher than the hiring of Stienbach over Molitor was a good one. A question on the 40.1 vs 40.7. How many times was he catching the worst starters on the team? How many other regulars got the day off. Doumit was only the primary starter two years so he wasn't the front line player. Wins are a team stat, not an individual one, so who else was on the field also matters.

#11 glunn

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:11 AM

It seems to me that Doumit has a better chance of improving his defense than Butera has of improving his offense. That said, I hope that by 2015 the Twins can develop someone who can provide above-average offense and defense, because Mauer's defense seems to be declining.

#12 jokin

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:17 AM

It seems to me that Doumit has a better chance of improving his defense than Butera has of improving his offense. That said, I hope that by 2015 the Twins can develop someone who can provide above-average offense and defense, because Mauer's defense seems to be declining.


The Twins missed on outbidding the As and acquiring Jaso from expendable assets. Right now, the non-multitasking front office only has eyes for Hermann and then later, Josmil Pinto, a mixed bag, to be sure, of same-old-same-old. (The Padres, of all teams, had some catching depth, Nick Hundley would have been a nice pickup on a rebound from surgery before Grandal got suspended, but there are others like Hundley out there if the Twins would try to seek it out)

Edited by jokin, 01 February 2013 - 01:36 AM.


#13 glunn

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:51 AM

The Twins missed on outbidding the As and acquiring Jaso from expendable assets. Right now, the non-multitasking front office only has eyes for Hermann and then later, Josmil Pinto, a mixed bag, to be sure, of same-old-same-old. (The Padres, of all teams, had some catching depth, Nick Hundley would have been a nice pickup on a rebound from surgery before Grandal got suspended, but there are others like Hundley out there if the Twins would try to seek it out)


Isn't there some reason to be hopeful about Hermann? His minor league stats seem decent to me.

#14 jokin

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:06 AM

Isn't there some reason to be hopeful about Hermann? His minor league stats seem decent to me.


I'm actually somewhat optimistic about Hermann. His debut did show that he still has a way to go and the Twins appear to want to block him with Butera until SalJr has a fully vested pension. A Hundley or Jaso type as the main C for the next 4-5 years with Hermann as 3rd Catcher in 2014 and Mauer playing C/3B/1B/DH would work for me and have the plate set (sorry for the pun!) for the next wave's arrival.

#15 stringer bell

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:55 AM

Doumit is another example of a team littered with one-dimensional talents. He isn't a full-time starter because he isn't a good enough hitter to outweigh his poor defense. He is a far better player than Butera and is versatile. I'd rather the club went with two catchers, but it sure looks like there will be three. That will limit Doumit's catching, which actually increases his value.

#16 Craig in MN

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

"Over Ryan Doumit’s career, his team has won an average of 40.1% of the games he’s started (at any position, not just catcher). Over Ryan Doumit’s career, his team has won an average of 40.7% of the games he hasn’t started."



There's an impossibly high level of other factors involved to make that a useful stat, but I wonder what that stat is for Butera. That's kind of the real nut of the issue, if you remove all the other factors.,,,who hurts their team more. Simple math says .6% of the games worse over the course of a 162 game season is 1 win worse than otherwise, for what it's worth.

#17 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:22 AM

I've actually been working on some research that proves Doumit's lack of supreme catching skills are actually caused by his managers. You see, any pitcher who stares directly at Ryan Doumit becomes so terrified, he can't throw strikes (Liriano and Deduno just wouldn't look away). Thus to compensate, Doumit covers his face with his glove, and leaves him at a disadvantage defensively. This may be satire, but for my money, don't stare directly at Ryan Doumit.....

Doumit-Ryan.jpg

#18 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

Doumit is another example of a team littered with one-dimensional talents. He isn't a full-time starter because he isn't a good enough hitter to outweigh his poor defense. He is a far better player than Butera and is versatile. I'd rather the club went with two catchers, but it sure looks like there will be three. That will limit Doumit's catching, which actually increases his value.



Yes, the Twins have had a lot of players like that it seems. Butera, Doumit, Kubel....ect

I think that is probably the worst thing to have on the team when team hitting isn't good. You feel like yo need to put these guys out there to have a chance to score some runs but sometimes they are so bad in the field or in Butera's case at the plate that it might be a wash at times.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:34 AM

Yes, the Twins have had a lot of players like that it seems. Butera, Doumit, Kubel....ect

I think that is probably the worst thing to have on the team when team hitting isn't good. You feel like yo need to put these guys out there to have a chance to score some runs but sometimes they are so bad in the field or in Butera's case at the plate that it might be a wash at times.


Did you really just compare Doumit and Kubel to Drew Butera?

Flawed players are just that, flawed. If they weren't, they'd be "superstars". Guys like Doumit and Kubel are vital to the success of an organization. You litter a lineup with those guys and throw in a Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer at the core of the team and you have a playoff contender. Complementary players are important, even if they have flaws. The key is that the player does something significant to help the team win. Kubel and Doumit do that with the bat. Butera... doesn't.

#20 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

I didn't say that this catcher would be able "to hit," as you've interpreted it. Drew Butera does not meet the very lowest standards of a major league player. On the scale of major league hitters, he is not on the scale. He is not a "no hit catcher." He is significantly worse than a player who would earn that distinction. Drew Butera's bat does not approach the level at which a player should be considered for a spot on a major league roster.


I never said he belonged on the MLB roster. I'm just saying you have Mauer who is one of the best in the game as a starter and the team has many other needs where they need a 1st line player including starting pitcher and middle infield. They threw some money at some subpar players in the rotation and traded for another but they didn't address the infield at all which is more of a priority right now than backup catcher. I think with Doumit, Mauer and Butera they'll be fine though it would be nice to have more of a complete backup catcher on the roster.

If I had it my way they Butera wouldn't be on the roster but on the other hand I'd rather have an infielder and some better pitcher first.

#21 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:40 AM

Did you really just compare Doumit and Kubel to Drew Butera?

Flawed players are just that, flawed. If they weren't, they'd be "superstars". Guys like Doumit and Kubel are vital to the success of an organization. You litter a lineup with those guys and throw in a Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer at the core of the team and you have a playoff contender. Complementary players are important, even if they have flaws. The key is that the player does something significant to help the team win. Kubel and Doumit do that with the bat. Butera... doesn't.


They are comparable in that they are pretty one dimensional players. Kubel wasn't very good at all in the field but could hit, same for Doumit. Butera is a good defensive catcher but coulding hit the ball to save his life. Butera is a more extreme example but the basic comparison is true.

#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:12 AM

They are comparable in that they are pretty one dimensional players. Kubel wasn't very good at all in the field but could hit, same for Doumit. Butera is a good defensive catcher but coulding hit the ball to save his life. Butera is a more extreme example but the basic comparison is true.


Except that Butera is so completely one dimensional that any good he brings to the team is so overshadowed by the rest of his game that he's still a terrible baseball player. Doumit offsets his bad catching by playing a lot of DH and hitting at an .800 OPS (the average catcher hits around .680). Kubel's defense was bad but it was at a corner outfield spot where it had a minimal impact on the team and his hitting offset his deficiencies.

On second thought, Drew Butera is closer to a zero-dimensional player because what he does well is so completely overshadowed by what he does at a historically awful level (basically, every part of his game that doesn't involve putting on a mask and crouching behind the plate). He's not just bad at hitting, he's one of the worst hitters in the history of Major League baseball.

#23 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

Except that Butera is so completely one dimensional that any good he brings to the team is so overshadowed by the rest of his game that he's still a terrible baseball player. Doumit offsets his bad catching by playing a lot of DH and hitting at an .800 OPS (the average catcher hits around .680). Kubel's defense was bad but it was at a corner outfield spot where it had a minimal impact on the team and his hitting offset his deficiencies.

On second thought, Drew Butera is closer to a zero-dimensional player because what he does well is so completely overshadowed by what he does at a historically awful level (basically, every part of his game that doesn't involve putting on a mask and crouching behind the plate). He's not just bad at hitting, he's one of the worst hitters in the history of Major League baseball.


Like I said, Butera is a more extreme example.

#24 twinsnorth49

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:24 AM

Wilson Ramos...we hardly knew ye. Matt Capps continues to haunt my dreams.

#25 worm33

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:29 AM

Back to the original article....Baseball Prospectus | Spinning Yarn: Removing the Mask Encore Presentation

If you go right under the first big table with all the qualifying catchers there is a link that says "data for all catchers is available here".

Scroll down to #68

#26 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:29 AM

Wilson Ramos...we hardly knew ye. Matt Capps continues to haunt my dreams.


Ramos, good example of a bad trade. Ramos could have been the perfect backup for Mauer.

#27 Willihammer

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

Except that Butera is so completely one dimensional that any good he brings to the team is so overshadowed by the rest of his game that he's still a terrible baseball player. Doumit offsets his bad catching by playing a lot of DH and hitting at an .800 OPS (the average catcher hits around .680). Kubel's defense was bad but it was at a corner outfield spot where it had a minimal impact on the team and his hitting offset his deficiencies.


How can you say that? Are you just not buying these negative defensive takes on Doumit's defense, and neutral or positive takes on Butera's? I admit, I don't know how much confidence to put in a stat like CERA, but there is aalmost 1/2 run difference between Doumit's 4.91 and Butera's 4.50. That's 67 runs difference, over the course of a 1440 Inning season.

Now, bring in the offense. Butera's career wRC is .040 runs / PA. Doumit's is .128 / PA. Assume there are about 700 PAs per 1440 innings caught. Multiply that out and you have for Butera

wRC: 28.0
Doumit: 89.6

A difference of 61.6

A wash.

#28 mcrow

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

How can you say that? Are you just not buying these negative defensive takes on Doumit's defense, and neutral or positive takes on Butera's? I admit, I don't know how much confidence to put in a stat like CERA, but there is aalmost 1/2 run difference between Doumit's 4.91 and Butera's 4.50. That's 67 runs difference, over the course of a 1440 Inning season.

Now, bring in the offense. Butera's career wRC is .040 runs / PA. Doumit's is .128 / PA. Assume there are about 700 PAs per 1440 innings caught. Multiply that out and you have for Butera

wRC: 28.0
Doumit: 89.6

A difference of 61.6

A wash.


Yes, he seems to be over estimating Doumit's catching and under estimating Butera's catching. I still think Doumit is clearly the better overall player but I think Butera being on the roster is justified given Doumit's lack of catching ability and lack of better defensive options on the roster or in the minors.

#29 70charger

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

How can you say that? Are you just not buying these negative defensive takes on Doumit's defense, and neutral or positive takes on Butera's? I admit, I don't know how much confidence to put in a stat like CERA, but there is aalmost 1/2 run difference between Doumit's 4.91 and Butera's 4.50. That's 67 runs difference, over the course of a 1440 Inning season.

Now, bring in the offense. Butera's career wRC is .040 runs / PA. Doumit's is .128 / PA. Assume there are about 700 PAs per 1440 innings caught. Multiply that out and you have for Butera

wRC: 28.0
Doumit: 89.6

A difference of 61.6

A wash.


Very interesting, and exactly the kind of analysis I was hinting at in my earlier post (not that I was gonna do it...).

Your skepticism of CERA is probably well-founded; I think it's pretty well accepted that hitting is easier to comprehend, and thus easier to create meaningful stats for. Butera doesn't really pass the eyeball test, and until we have some more reliable defensive metrics, and some better way of accounting for the randomness inherent in the defensive game, I think I'd prefer Doumit as the regular backup catcher, with Butera used only in a time of extreme need.

#30 Willihammer

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

Back to the original article....Baseball Prospectus | Spinning Yarn: Removing the Mask Encore Presentation

If you go right under the first big table with all the qualifying catchers there is a link that says "data for all catchers is available here".

Scroll down to #68


This is newer: Subjectively Speaking: Catcher Framing Runs, Part 1

Its probably impossible to place a value on Butera at this point. But what we can say with a high degree of confidence, I think, is that Doumit is bad, and possibly really bad. If Butera is even average, then the difference between these two overall, at least starts to approach zero and may even favor Butera.



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