Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Note for the Cibians

The Star's Richard Griffin took a lot of heat on Twitter last night when he posted a throwaway comment about Aaron Cibia's catcher ERA (It isn't good, unlike Griff's Jamaican flag twitter background, which is amazing.) While this tweet was surely accompanied by a knowing smirk, a small part of me worries he might not be all wrong.

Above is a screen grab (from Gameday, holla!) of Arencibia's target as Marcum prepared to deliver to J.D. Drew. The pitch, I don't think I need to remind you, traveled some 450 feet and put a sweet dent in the facing of the second deck. If you look closely you'll notice the target provided by Arencibia is no target at all.

The San Francisco Giants held can't-miss stud Buster Posey out of the big league lineup for far too long this season, citing his unpolished defensive skills. While the Giants generally operate on a "don't do what we do" basis, maybe they were on to something.

Scouts praise Arencibia's improved defense and the Jays don't seem too worried about it. Providing a strong target is a tiny, mostly insignificant piece of the defensive puzzle; but you do tend to hear ex-catchers and pitchers in the broadcast booth rave about certain catcher's ability to provide a big target.

Maybe it's nothing, maybe it's something. But given the results and the photographic evidence, this should be an easy fix to eliminate at least one possible cause of consecutive bad outings.


  1. was that consistent throughout the game? It seems like something marcum or one of the coaches would have said "WTF" (verbatim) about right away. Much like JP's accent.

  2. Here's another clip of Beltre's home run. He flashes the briefest of targets, seems like an afterthought.


  3. learn how to play baseball. this doesnt matter, these are pros bud. have you ever played? actually, not softball

  4. Learn how to post like a rational person. Learn how to not post like a hostility filled ass. Learn how to use proper spelling, punctuation, and grammer.

    Do you see how easy it is to criticize? But seriously, you definitely could have put together a post that has the same central idea without being a jerk.

  5. When I played I was, wait for it, a catcher.

    As I said more than once in the post; this is likely of little consequence. Though evidence exists (anecdotally from the aforementioned ex-player/broadcasters, the color-coded catching equipment meant to frame the plate & target) suggesting maybe this is something that could matter.

    Maybe some pitchers like a big, solid target. Maybe they like catchers that are very "quiet" behind the plate. Maybe you're a jackass.

  6. I think one of those "maybe's" is a likely.

  7. I think targets are irrelevant when Marcum's got nothing.

    But I need a bigger sample size.

  8. I agree with Joanna. We need to see more JPA starts and a couple of cycles in the rotation before any conclusions can be drawn. However, it is a little disconcerting that he has had 3 starts with 11, 7, and 10 runs scored respectively.

    I know it means nothing due to sample size, but it is not a good start in that respect all the same.

  9. You'd think that if this was really an issue it would have been dealt with by now. Hopefully it either doesn't matter or JPA slipped into some old habits when he was called up. I'm assuming that this has been happening at the lower levels too so I'm sticking with my first sentence.

  10. I asked a question of Mr. Wilner on this subject on his "Live Blog" the other night... basically asking if the high ERA was a coinicidence, or if there were things JP was doing that might lead to such a thing. I conceded that it's a small sample size, but was curious.

    Mr. Wilner's response was "Then why even bring it up?". Something like this is all I was curious about.

    Clearly, nothing is certifiable at this point, butits an interesting observation, and I'd love to know how it would compare to how Molina/Buck set up.

    Thanks, Drew.

  11. To follow-up on the comparison, here's Morrow's 17 Ks.

    Molina gets that glove up nice and early.

  12. Could be something to this, but it was NY and Boston. One of those teams hung like 11 up in one inning and JPA was nowhere near the dish that day. Against either team, it's going to be a tough day at work if the pitcher isn't locating. The question is, how much does putting the glove right where you want it matter?

  13. I don't think, in any way, JPA is the cause of the bad outings. I'm just looking for something - tiny as it may be. It doesn't mean to say giving a nice target as Molina does is all he needs to do, it was simply something I noticed.

    As for the value of the target? If it helps prevent a guy from missing spots (which isn't to say it does), it can certainly contribute to a bad outing. One of many, many, many things.

  14. I totally understand what you're getting at, and am of the same mindset in that it's probably a collection of things: inexperience with certain hitters, pitchers & umpires, poor outings by pitchers, poor framing and targets, the phase of the moon.... and it could be any or all of these things at any one time.

    I'm not down on the guy, and certainly don't think that it's "the" problem - things like this are to be expected from a young catcher.

  15. I think catcher ERA was proven to be bunk

  16. I think catcher ERA was proven to be bunk

    In terms of statistical significance I'm sure that's the case, but at the same time I'm sure that there are certain pairs of guys who just work better together (and others who don't -- see Burnett and Posada last year).

    That being said, obviously the "catcher's ERA" certain Richard Griffins have been referring to in JPA's first three games mean nothing in the long run.

  17. Catcher ERA in general may be bunk, but there are always specific scenerios where it does apply.

    A good example of this would be AJ Burnett last year with Posada and Molina.

  18. Holy crap Ty, is this the 2nd time we have posted the exact same comment at the exact same time (the other occasion being on DJF a while ago)?

  19. wicked sink last night......webbtastic even.....graph it for us uncky drew?

  20. Re: catchers mechanics.
    At first I didn't think that providing a target would be that big of a deal, at this high level, so I checked with an expert source.
    When catcher's mechanics are taught at a lower level, the catcher is always taught to provide a large target for the pitcher. As the pitcher progresses with larger movement and variety of pitches this becomes a lesser factor but still remains a factor.The pitcher at the major league level, locates primarily on the plate/batter relationship and secondarily to the catchers target.So while a good target isn't necessary, it helps. It should also be noted that the umpire can be affected by the flick of the glove( movement) in his calling of balls and strikes.That being said I still think the problem may be that the pitcher may not have had his best stuff.I am also assuming that pitch type/location was being called from the bench and relayed to JPA.

    My two cents.


Send forth the witticisms from on high