As we all know by now, Yadi won his first Gold Glove yesterday. I’m happy for him, of course. I do believe that he is the best defensive catcher in the NL, and probably the game. Nevertheless, his defense this year was lacking in comparison w/ his defense in previous years.
As the table in the first link points out, Yadi committed more errors this year than ever before. His CS% was the lowest of his career and his WP + PB per game was the highest of his career. All this does not mean, however, that he was worse than any other catcher in the league. Perhaps it’s true that he’s set such a high standard that he can have his worst defensive season and still be the best in the league. I hope that’s the case.
Compared to his peers, Yadi’s CS% was 3rd in the NL – his brother, Bengie, finished 2nd. Jason freaking Kendall finished first. Can anyone believe that? It’s true. WP + PB/G? 4th in the NL behind Russell Martin, Brian McCann, and Kendall. Only Martin made more errors than Yadi; McCann had 9 as well. There’s enough evidence to tell me that catchers do not have a material impact on ERA. Nevertheless, Yadi’s ERA was 4.22 – 6th in the NL. Like I said, I attribute that to our pitching staff and not to Yadi but if you’re looking for a compelling reason why Yadi is the best defensive catcher in the NL, that ain’t it.
Sky Kalkman over at beyond the boxscore evaluated the best catchers in baseball a few days ago. Now, Sky’s evaluations included offensive numbers as well but, by using the table toward the end of the thread, you can pretty easily determine Yadi’s defensive ratings versus his peers. He’s basing his evaluations on the aforementioned PB/WP rates and SB/CS ratio as calculated by Justin Inaz’s total value spreadsheet. Compared to other catchers in the NL, Yadi ranks 5th defensively – behind…guess who… Kendall, Chris Snyder, Bengie, and Soto. So far I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Yadi was the best defensive C in the NL.
So let’s go to bill james online to look at John Dewan’s fielding bible awards. When comparing the rankings of the so-called "experts" – Yadi finished first going away. 5 of the 9 experts chose Yadi as the best catcher, not just in the NL, but in baseball. Yadi finished first in Tom Tango’s fan poll. Two experts had him 2nd in baseball. John Dewan, founder of the Fielding Bible Awards, had Yadi 8th. All of those plaudits gave Yadi his 2nd straight Fielding Bible Award.
The Fielding Bible Awards do a pretty damned good job of selecting the best fielders in the league. Look at that list – some really good fielders on that list, including a first baseman who deserved a Gold Glove, BTW. (It wouldn’t be an offseason, I guess, w/o a Card being snubbed for a major award.)
Now I don’t see a clear cut, most deserving catcher from this list. Molina’s got a great reputation and it’s well-earned for his defensive work so far in his career, but I see nothing that tells me that he was the most deserving candidate this year. Was this a "make-up call" for last year’s snub? Was it more of a lifetime achievement award based on his reputation? Maybe to both. Maybe voters fell back on Yadi simply b/c no one else stood out. The thing that stands out to me, however, is that Albert was the more deserving gold-glover. I’m glad for Yadi. It’s about time he got one and I can’t point to anyone who was obviously snubbed by his selection but he wasn’t clearly deserving either.
On another note, Toronto claimed Kelvin Jimenez on waivers. I find this troubling. Who’s Tony going to turn to when we’re down 6 runs in the 5th inning? Who’s going to continue to throw batting practice while Aaron Miles warms up down in the pen? Can we expect such futility from Brad Thompson or even Mark Worrell? I think not. Mo – you’re on notice for this one.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that there’s been some discussion between the Cards and Braves about Kelly Johnson but that the Cards interested in giving up Ryan Ludwick in order to get him. I’m glad to hear that. Johnson’s a nice player but I really think that Ludwick’s worth considerably more than Kelly Johnson. If Johnson were a SS – now we’re getting somewhere.
And, oh yeah, Carp had surgery on his elbow yesterday. The good news is that it’s not related to his shoulder problems. Boy, that’s a relief!