clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Indians catchers were among the best in the American League in 2014

New, 7 comments

The tools of ignorance were far from it for the Tribe’s collection of catchers in 2014.

The main catching duo of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez
The main catching duo of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Edit: I went back and readjusted the overall numbers (but not the text) to define the correct splits for the catching position. The number I provided before were for the whole season which skewed the numbers.  The biggest change is that the A's did squeak out the Tribe 4.7 to 4.6 in fWAR.

The platitudes for Yan Gomes have been very apparent at LGT this offseason, and with definite good reason to boot. But since Terry Francona is not Ned Yost, Gomes could not catch every game. He did start 121 of them, but Roberto Perez started 25, Carlos Santana ten during the first month of the season before settling in at first base and George Kottaras started six.

Additionally, Francona was pretty stingy with his substitutions regarding catchers as there were only eight "relief" appearances, with one of those belonging to Chris Gimenez. Those 170 catching appearances netted 647 plate appearances, of which Gomes netted 74%.

Here is how they individually performed as catchers:

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wRC+

Gomes

479

259

290

441

731

106

Perez

95

271

311

365

676

95

Kottaras

26

286

360

714

1074

195

Santana

46

088

326

118

444

57

Gimenez

1

000

1000

000

1000

365

So how did the Tribe catchers stack up against the rest of baseball? They were one of the most productive positions in all of baseball. Let's do a quick comparison to the AL Central teams.

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

wRC+

Indians

252

300

421

721

104

Twins

269

329

367

696

98

White Sox

239

293

395

688

91

Royals

252

279

395

673

87

Tigers

229

315

347

662

88

That 721 OPS by the Indians was second in the AL, with the A's catchers finishing a distant first at 783. The Indians also trailed the A's in wRC+ (121) but only four teams cracked 100 and the Rays way down at 55. The Indian catchers also totaled 30 doubles, good enough for a tie for fourth. The 22 home runs were just one shy of the Mariners. They scored 72 runs to lead the AL and the 72 driven in was tied for fifth. The 0.304 BAbip the Indians' catchers had was just a bit higher than the 0.290 average for all AL catchers.

So by traditional stats, the Indians catchers looked to be very strong. But we do have other data to peruse, specifically the components that make up Fangraphs WAR.

Batting

Baserunning

Fielding

Offense

Defense

WAR

Gomes

2.9

0.8

4.0

3.8

13.2

3.6

Perez

-0.6

-2.6

3.9

-3.2

5.8

0.6

Kottaras

2.7

0.2

-0.9

3.0

-0.4

0.4

Santana

-2.2

-0.1

0.3

-2.3

1.1

0.0

Gimenez

0.3

0.0

-0.5

0.3

-0.5

0.0

And here is how the Tribe stacked up with their AL foes:

Batting

Baserunning

Fielding

Offense

Defense

WAR

Indians

3.2

-1.6

6.6

1.6

19.2

4.6

Royals

-9.5

-1.6

4.7

-11.1

17.1

3.0

Twins

-1.5

-5.5

-9.0

-7.0

3.0

1.9

Tigers

-8.5

-10.2

5.0

-18.6

17.3

2.1

White Sox

-5.8

-3.6

-6.9

-9.4

5.4

1.7

That 12.8 Batting component was second best in the AL behind the A's (19.1!-Derek Norris and John Jaso were just that awesome) with the Angels (4.9), with the Yankees (1.1) the only other teams posting a positive number. From a baserunning standpoint, every AL team had a negative number. The Tribe finished in third.

Where the Tribe backstops excelled was the fielding component. There were only six AL teams with a positive number, with the Indians leading the pack. The Tigers were second and the Royals third, giving the AL Central a huge advantage over the rest of the league. Although the Twins were dead last too.

That excellence in fielding (even with Gomes horrific first month plus) completely negated the huge batting advantage the A's had. The Indians nudged ahead of the A's who had 4.6 WAR.

The Indians definitely have a strong catching tandem in Gomes and Perez, especially on the defensive side. Kottaras was that lightning in a bottle that didn't overstay his welcome and Santana finally found a home at first. None of this includes pitch framing which Gomes excels at it.

Unless Perez is dealt in a package this year, this position looks set for the foreseeable future as Gomes has a very team friendly deal and Perez still doesn't have a full year of service time yet. The Tribe also has a number of catching prospects in the pipeline too (Francisco Mejia, Tony Wolters, Eric Haase and Alex Lavisky) that can compete with Perez in the future, or be used as trade chips.