Category Archives: catchers

>Weekend Update: Ryan Doumit (Rotoworld.com Error)

>

I logged on to Rotoworld this morning and found an update for Ryan Doumit, reading:

“Doumit has his whole rehab process laid out, including a July 5 return. “We are very pleased with his progress,” GM Neal Huntington said last week. The catcher has been out since April 23.”

Just to be clear, the source for this blurb (the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) doesn’t clearly say that Doumit is coming back to the big club on July 5th. The arctile states the following of Doumit’s return:

“As catcher Ryan Doumit’s rehabilitation schedule stands, he will report Tuesday to Pirate City for a minimum of four days of catching and designated hitting in Gulf Coast League games followed by additional at-bats in simulated games.

Doumit, after late-April wrist surgery, projects to head north July 5 for the rest of his assignment if everything works out well. Then, he would report to Class AAA Indianapolis or Class AA Altoona, both of whom play at home that day. The rest will depend upon his progress, “how he feels and how he does,” Russell said. “Once we do send him down, we don’t want him to have really a scheduled day off.”

As far as I can tell, the Post-Gazette’s sources indicate the Doumit will BEGIN a Triple-A or Double-A rehab assignment on July 5th. My best guess (as well as the best guess of many others writing about this today) is that Doumit is (as he always was) looking at an All-Star Break return.
Here’s what some Pirates’ bloggers are saying about the Doumit situation:

“Ryan Doumit will start his rehab assignment next week for the GCL Pirates. He will alternate between C and DH. The plan is then to send him to Altoona or Indianapolis On July 5th, since the Baby Bucs have an off day. Manager John Russell says, ‘Once we do send him down, we don’t want him to have really a scheduled day off'” (Northside Notch Blog).

“Ryan Doumit will start his rehab on Tuesday, and is shooting for a return just before the All-Star Break, but will probably be back right after the break” (BuccoFans.com).

And here’s a DL-based blog talking about Doumit’s looong recovery:

“RYAN DOUMIT is set to go on a rehab assignment this week and has a tentative return date of July 5. This would put him just past the original 10-week recovery period for his broken right Scaphoid (wrist) bone. The fact that he is even able to return this soon is pretty impressive, as Scaphoid fractures tend to be one of most hit-or-miss fractures as far as good healing is concerned. The surgeon who performed the procedure to stabilize the fracture must have done an exceptional job stabilizing it. Those of you who held onto this catcher who can rake will be rewarded handsomely. He was dropped in many leagues, so take a quick look to see if he’s out there – he is easily a top-ten catcher” (Disabled List Informer).

Thanks to all the above bloggers/sites for clarifying this issue. Rotoworld’s vague report will probably result in a large quantity of teams grabbing Doumit sooner than necessary. I’m not for useless moves at such a pivotal point in the season, so please take note of the several caveats revolving around Ryan Doumit.

1 Comment

Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rotoworld, Ryan Doumit

>Fantasy Baseball Prep: Catchers

>
Using The Bill James Handbook as my primary resource, I calculated the point totals for each player in the Catcher position based on the table I posted earlier.  

In 2009, I feel like there’s going to be a number of new catchers entering the forefront.  For the most part, these players are those who were once in a platoon or are rookies/second-year players who finally reached the bigs.  In order to gauge what their “point-potential” may be for 2009, I created two new categories: “points per opportunity” and “points per plate appearance.”  
Essentially, points per opportunity (pts/opp.) is the number of points each player makes when doing something ASIDE from making an out.  This statistic divides the total number of points by the hits and walks of a given player.  For me, this statistic is the SLG% of a points-based fantasy league.  You’re able to see who does the most when they connect.  The average PTS/OPP. in this instance was 2.22.
Benjie Molina (2.22), Kenji Johjima (2.23), Ramon Hernandez (2.23), and A.J. Pierzynski (2.21) are all examples of an average player using this statistic.
While Johjima wasn’t a starting catcher in my fantasy league last year, I’m surprised to see players who were (Molina, Hernandez, and Pierzynski) lumped in the same group.  What does this tell us?  Not that Johjima is going to bounce back… rather, that 2009 may represent a changing of the guard at catcher.
This isn’t totally surprising to me.  The average age of starters at the catcher position has increased every year (I know, that sounds logical and stupid), rather than staying the same.  The reason that I suggest that it’s not as “stupid” as it seems is due to the fact that older catchers should be breaking down and younger catchers should be taking their spots.  A couple things prevent this from happening.  First, there are longer contracts being signed by catchers.  In the list above, Johjima, Hernandez, and Molina are all examples of this.  Let’s also not forget players like Jorge Posada, who signed a lucrative deal last off-season, and Jason Varitek, who’s about to do the same.  Second, catchers are losing their offensive ability before their defense ability.  Exemplifying this are Pudge Rodriguez, the aforementioned Benjie Molina, and Jason Kendell.
Moving to our second and, in my opinion, more-telling statistic, points-per-plate-appearance (PTS/PA) we take a look at the OPS of points-based leagues.  This statistic shows us the number of points each player should accrue each time they step to the plate.  To find this number, I divided the points total of each player by their at-bats (AB) and walks (BB).
The average, in this case, was .74 PTS/PA.  Jeff Clement, Chris Snyder, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the three players who represented the “average” in this category.  Personally, I’m so happy about one of the names that this formula spit out.  If you’re like me, you’ve considered Jarrod Saltalamacchia nothing but a long name and nothing else.  Year-after-year I see this guy drafted before the Ryan Doumit‘s and Chris Iannetta‘s of the league and can’t help but scratch my head…  This statistic has justified what I’ve thought all along, “Salty’s” nothing but an average player at this point in his career.
Toping this list is, not-surprisingly, Mike Napoli, who should get regular AB’s for the Angels in 2009.  The problem with Napoli has never been his consistency at the plate… in fact, he’s mashed whenever he’s been healthy-enough to do so.  Bill James’ projection reveals a .93 PTS/PA for Napoli.  To put that in perspective, the other players with a .93 PTS/PA are Manny Ramirez, Evan Longoria, and Chase Utley.  Household name much?
Of the top-tier of catchers, Brian McCann (.87) is the only player listed in the Top-5 (Russell Martin is #7, Victor Martinez is #14, and Jorge Posada is #13).  With this known, I would wait until Russell Martin is drafted to pick up McCann.  I say this because, I feel that people are beginning to sour on the injury issues surrounding Victor Martinez and Jorge Posada.  While both players bat in high-powered line-ups, I think their age and injury problems are enough to turn off a healthy portion of “informed” fantasy owners.

2 Comments

Filed under Bill James, Brian McCann, catchers, Chase Utley, Chris Snyder, Fantasy Baseball, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Mike Napoli, Ramon Hernandez, Russell Martin, Victor Martinez

>Jorge Posada’s Cranky Labarum

>The Journal News’ Peter Abraham has the play-by-play of Posada’s injury right here.  Apparently the injury bug decided to absolutely decimate my team this year.  As many of you already know, Posada has now joined a long list of players (John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, etc) who have made this season one of the more difficult ones to manage in recent memory.

However, the Posada injury definitely puts Posada owners in a weird situation.  On the one hand, Posada has been told that he needs surgery, in fact… it’s been recommended.  On the other hand, Posada wants to rest for about 10 days and try to come back as a 1B/DH.  Inside sources say that Posada’s being pressured to come back by Yankees brass due to his huge contract.
However, I live in New York and, as a result, watch the YES Network and Yankee games on a near nightly basis.  I can put to rest the notion that Posada is being pressured to play by Steve Swindell or any of the Yankee Brass.  Posada is one of the most prideful baseball players in Major League Baseball and the only reason Posada is considering a comeback is because he loves playing the game.
Enough about Posada’s pride.  Let’s take a look at a few replacement players if Posada realizes that he can’t hit either:
Chris Snyder (C, Diamondbacks) was incredible in the second half of 2007.  In 161 ABs, his OPS was .889.  He swatted 6 Homers and netted 31 RBI, while hitting to a tune of .292.  He’s a forgotten man in fantasy leagues as he’s been on the DL with a testicular fracture (I feel pain just typing that).  I would definitely give Snyder a scouting over the next few games while he re-wins the starting job back from Miguel Montero.
According to MLBTradeRumors’ Catcher Market, the Yankees may be interested in Gerald Laird (C, Rangers) and Ronny Paulino (C, Pirates).  However, I think that the Yanks executing a deal for Rod Barajas (C, Blue Jays) or Greg Zaun (C, Blue Jays) is more realistic.  Both Blue Jay Catchers would serve as rent-a-players because they’re both eligible for free agency at the end of the season (Barajas has a team option for 2009).  To me, both of those players aren’t worth it unless they’re streaking.
For this reason, Jose Molina (C, NYY)may end up being the best option for anyone who needs a Posada replacement this year.  The catcher position is so thin this season, that Molina may put up decent numbers for your fantasy team.  He’s never been a full-time starter, but he’s proven to be a doubles machine for the Yankees in 2008.  In the limited ABs over the past two years in the second half, Molina has actually put up better numbers than both Barajas and Zaun.  In 2006 he batted .273 with a .729 OPS.  In 2007 (his first season with the Yankees), it was more the same: .294 BA and a .738 OPS.
My official advice, for now, is to grab a guy like Molina or Barajas while you wait it out on Posada’s decision sometime next week (when he’s eligible to come off the DL).  While you’re doing this, scout out Chris Snyder as the best possible heir to Posada’s Catcher spot on your fantasy roster.
I just found this video of Brian Cashman talking about Posada’s injury: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/player.swf?mediaId=3499679
Seems kind of grim to me.  He’s talking about how the “hitting hasn’t been there” either.  As a Posada owner, I’m prepared for the worst…

Leave a comment

Filed under catchers, Chris Snyder, Fantasy Baseball, Gerald Laird, Gregg Zaun, Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, labarum, Peter Abraham, Rod Barajas, Ronny Paulina, YES Network