For the love of cats, get a GRIP, people!

Pudge is underperforming, Pudge isn’t hitting at all, Pudge is a drain on our team, Pudge is sitting too often, whine whine whine etc.

These numbers are comparing catchers over all of MLB, mind you, not just the AL. I’ve knocked out all the catchers with less than 100 ABs, because it only seems fair, you know. All stats taken from the official MLB site, so if they’re wrong, blame Bud Selig, not me.

Batting Average
League leader: .306, Robert Fick, Padres.
Pudge: .294, good for 6th place.

Slugging Percentage
League leader: .569, Javier Valentin, Reds.
Pudge: .466, good for 6th place.

Home runs
League leader: 16, tie between AJ Pierzynski (Wrong Sox) and Jason Varitek (Red Sox)
Pudge: 9, good for a 10th place tie with Sal Fasano (Os), Jason LaRue (Reds), Mike Lieberthal (Phillies), Javy Lopez (Os), Mike Matheny (Giants– Michigan Wolverine!), and poor astigmatic begoggled Jason Phillips (Dodgers).

Triples
League leader: 4, Pudge.
OK, so Comerica probably has something to do with that.
Next best: 2, tie between Michael Barrett (Cubs) and Robert Fick.

Doubles
League leader: 27, Pudge.
I don’t think Comerica has much to do with this one. Pudge has always been a doubles hitter, and it’s not hard to believe that he’s the best double-hitting catcher in baseball right now.
Next best: 25, Mike Matheny.

RBI
League leader: 53, Victor Martinez, Indians.
Pudge: 40, good for 12th place.

Runs
League leader: 57, Pudge.
That’s leading all catchers in baseball, you do realize.
Next best: 49, tie between Jason Kendall (As) and Jason Varitek.

Hits
League leader: 109, Pudge.
Next best: 106, Jason Kendall.

Stolen Bases
League leader: 8, Joe Mauer, Twinkies.
Pudge: 6, good for a second place tie with Jason Kendall.

Number of at-bats
League leader: 391, Jason Kendall.
Pudge: 371, good for second place.

This is really the only gaping hole in his game:
OBP
League leader: .384, Jason Varitek.
Pudge: .304, good for 30th place.

So, basically, everyone needs to calm the hell down. You can’t say that Pudge is sitting too often, because he demonstrably is not. He’s playing in more games than almost every single other catcher in baseball. If you want to whine about him sitting at the same time as a bunch of other big bats, rather than spreading out the off-days, by all means, go ahead. But you can’t say he’s sitting too much.

You can’t say that he’s some sort of terrible offensive presence, because he very obviously is not. Say you’re somehow able to move his contract… who the hell do you put in there? There isn’t any other catcher in baseball like Pudge; there isn’t anyone who is putting numbers up like Pudge, even this year, when Pudge is underperforming from his usual Pudge levels. Cripes, what do you people want? He’s got to bat .400 and slug .600 before we’re satisfied with what he’s doing out there? Now, if you want to whine about the complete and utter lack of walks he’s taking, feel welcome to do so. I’ll whine with you.

But to talk of trading him for what is basically a guaranteed downgrade at the catcher position… you cats are wicked insane.

13 responses to “For the love of cats, get a GRIP, people!

  1. “OBP
    League leader: .384, Jason Varitek.
    Pudge: .304, good for 30th place.”
    Interestingly enough, this is why people complain

  2. >>Batting Average
    League leader: .306, Robert Fick, Padres.
    Pudge: .294, good for 6th place.

  3. I know that’s why people complain. I complain about it. But, eh. It still comes down to the fact that, nearly anyone else you slot in there, you’re going to have a dropoff in production.

  4. Hey Sam, I did some follow up on Pudge’s number from a fantasy standpoint. He ranks fifth in overall points scored by a catcher with 217.
    He trails only Victor Martinez (248) Paul LoDuca (235), Jason Varitek (234), and Jason Kendall (227).

  5. Hey, cool, thanks Michael! I know not these ‘fantasy points’ of which you speak, but it’s great to see the point borne out. Not surprised about Varitek or Kendall, and I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting Victor Martinez to top it out.
    For the ladies in the audience, Paul LoDuca is quite cute.

  6. I think people think about trading Pudge in part because his numbers, though they’re still decent (as you point out) are his career worst and are likely only to get worse as he ages. His back won’t get any better, his knees won’t get any better, things like his broken fingers won’t heal any quicker. His salary, though, at least that’s one thing that’s not going to diminish.
    I think everyone should be on the trading block, all the time. Billy Beane-style. As soon as we start winning, fans will love whoever is on the team. If we keep winning with a new batch of players, fans will love them, too.

  7. Jeff, I agree that he’s in a decline, but the point remains: who do you put in there? I simply can’t see a replacement anywhere in the league. Boston is not parting with Jason Varitek anytime soon, and there’s not much else I would consider in place of Pudge, even a slightly diminished Pudge.

  8. Well, I might rather have a platoon of 2 young catchers who make a total of $500K. Players like Dave Ross or Yadier Molina or someone. I might especially prefer that if we got other players back for Pudge and had $ to spend in free-agency. But you’re right — a good player in the hand is worth a lot of potential good players in the bush.

  9. Varitek is a lot like Pudge — expensive and likely to decline. I wouldn’t be that excited to get him.

  10. I’d rather have one pretty good catcher than a platoon of two decidedly more mediocre ones.

  11. I don’t know why everyone’s so down on Pudge. I think he’s a great player, especially considering the fact that he’s still catching at his age.

  12. Well, everyone’s down on him because he refuses to take walks worse than a hack-happy rookie. But I’d still rather have him than a platoon of lukewarm guys.

  13. Using the OPS measure for offensive production (which does not consider base running) Pudge ranks 15th for catchers with more than 100 AB’s. Thats’ squarley in the middle of the pack. For the 9 regular Tiger starters, Pudge is 9th. People see him as the team leader, but with the bat he is the team caboose. And yes, his inability to draw walks is the reason. The last stat you listed, OBP, in which he ranks 30th cancels all the 6th place ranking in all other categories.
    Of course you can argue about which stats, SABR’s OPS or fantasy league points, are actually a better measure of a player’s worth, but you asked why some people are so down on him. While I don’t necessarily think he should be traded (Who would we get for him?), he has performed better in previous years and he should be doing better this year.

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