Also in the Post, sit down for this one, Boz is optimistic about the Nats. What are the chances of that? 93 percent? 96?
He makes the expected Boz move of fawning over Pudge despite the fact that when inquiring about Pudge an old man came out of a spooky house and said "Pudge? Why Pudge has been dead for 10 years." From the Spinmaster:
Sounds good but what we need to know is (1) is second-fewest really something noteworthy (2) is 35% good? (3) Jesus - homers (in Houston & Texas) and RBI? What about his more telling stats?
And, at 38, he can still play. Last year, ... The Astros allowed the second-fewest steals. Their catcher, until a mid-August trade, was Rodríguez. Even now, only the fastest dare to steal on him and 35 percent get thrown out. Also, Pudge is still a passable batter -- middle of the pack among catchers in homers (10) and RBI (47) last year.
(1) There is something here. Astros gave up 65 steals last year. While not Yadier Molina low (as Boswell imlpies in the full quote), it is in that next group a good 30-something steals below average. Teams also only attempted 94 steals against the Astros, again 2nd lowest in the majors, again not nearly Yadier good but well below average.
Of course this only matters based on the number of batters that COULD steal, the number of singles, walks, HBP. The Astros gave up the second number of hits (NATS #1, Woo!) and a moderate amount of walks (NATS #1, Woo!) and while they gave up a bunch of homers it wasn't a crazy amount. So my guess is yeah - the teams were respecting Pudge still. I guess... more on that in a minute.
(2) Is 35% good? Yes. Yes it is. The best close in on 40%, but the average is under 30% and the worst teams are under 25%. So 35% is not awesome, and Pudge probably won't hit that percentage this year, but even if he throws out 30% that's going to be in the top half of the league.
By the way - the Nats last year? 89 SBs, 38 CS, for a 30% CS rate. Pretty good actually, given the number of men that were standing on first last year... which brings me back to the "respect" point in part 1. Does anyone here think that teams weren't running over the Nats because they respected Josh Bard and Wil Nieves? Or do you think they didn't steal because they had no respect for the Nats pitching? Why steal second when the guy is likely to be driven home from first anyway? Two of the other "most respected" teams, Milwuakee and the New York Mets were among the worst pitching teams in the league as well. That's with the Brewers only throwing out 21% of all runners.
The Astros had horrible pitching last year. Not Nats bad but awful - both home and away. It's likely that that low steal number was in part because of that bad pitching.
So most likely the "respect" thing is overrated a bit BUT Pudge still is better than average at throwing these guys out.
(3) Out of 37 catchers with 250 PA or more, Pudge was 21st in average (blah), 24th in SLG (blah blah), and 35th in OBP (AH!). Not good, not good, and OMFG.
Of course I left out the most optimistic part of the column.
Yet the Nats merely signed him to be a $6 million sub who may play 70 games.
He's a sub. He's a sub. He's a sub. Just keep saying that.