Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Flores And The Winning Percentage Correlation

Jesus Flores's skills as a catcher are fairly obvious. He hits for power (.522 SLG). He hits with runners in scoring position (.316 career AVG). He's a better game-caller than either of his back-ups, as evidenced by the staff's 5.12 ERA when he's behind the plate. (The staff ERA is 5.56 when Josh Bard is catching; 6.56 when Wil Nieves is catching.)

But all those numbers measure Flores's individual skills in isolation; they don't quite give the complete picture of his value. When I heard yesterday that Flores will miss at least three months (and maybe the season) with a stress fracture, I had a quick gut sense of that injury's costliness. (As in, very.) I'd watched enough Nats baseball, after all, to know intuitively that Flores improves every aspect of this team. He strengthens the bottom of the lineup, improves the pitching staff, improves the defense, etc.

Today, though, I wanted to test my intuition.

Just what kind of difference does Flores really make?

Before I continue, let me throw out the obligatory caveats. Baseball is loaded with complex metrics that measure a player's value. In my numbers-digging this morning, I skipped all that stuff. I went straight to the bottom line: When Player X is in the starting lineup, what is the team's record?

By no means do I offer this as some definitive measurement. Brighter baseball minds probably see it as foolish to connect a single player with a team's W-L record; too many players have a hand in any given outcome to really draw a correlation. Plus, guys like Ryan Zimmerman are playing every day. In other words, there is no data available that even tells you how the Nats play without Zimmerman.

So, I am foolish. Consider it established.

That said, I found the data to affirm -- on some level -- my hunch about Flores.

Here is Washington's W-L record, depending on the starting catcher:

JESUS FLORES (23 starts) -- 9-14
WIL NIEVES (17 starts) -- 3-13-1 ("tie" = suspended game)
JOSH BARD (11 starts) -- 2-9

OK, so the Nats play .391 baseball when Flores is in the lineup. (Rejoice!)

Here is Washington's W-L record when each of the following players is in the starting lineup. (Again, I don't know if these numbers deserve much interpretation. But I'm throwing 'em out there.) Please note, I am only listing position players with at least 10 starts this year. They are ranked by winning percentage. I've reinserted the catchers into this list, for the sake of comparison.

JESUS FLORES (23 starts) -- 9-14 (.391)
ELIJAH DUKES (28 starts) -- 10-17-1 (.370)
ANDERSON HERNANDEZ (32 starts) -- 10-21-1 (.323)
AUSTIN KEARNS (28 starts) -- 9-19 (.321)
JOSH WILLINGHAM (27 starts) -- 8-18-1 (.308)
ALBERTO GONZALEZ (13 starts) -- 4-9 (.308)
CRISTIAN GUZMAN (36 starts) -- 10-25-1 (.286)
RYAN ZIMMERMAN (51 starts) -- 14-36-1 (.280)
ADAM DUNN (50 starts) -- 13-36-1 (.260)
NICK JOHNSON (46 starts) -- 11-34-1 (.244)
WILLIE HARRIS (18 starts) -- 4-14 (.222)
RONNIE BELLIARD (14 starts) -- 3-11 (.214)
WIL NIEVES (17 starts) -- 3-13-1 (.188)
JOSH BARD (11 starts) -- 2-9 (.182)

OK, so grand conclusions? Probably too dangerous. But it's worth noting that no position player's presence/non-presence in the lineup has a bigger impact on the Nats' winning percentage than Flores.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 3, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Reading List
Next: Tonight's Lineups And Quick Notes (Updated)

Comments

This proves it! We need to play Anderson Hernandez more. And I need to close the garage door when I start my car, and take a nap!

Posted by: soundbloke | June 3, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Chico, because I'm a jerk, what happens when you include games that Flores pinch hits in?

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Praise Jesus!

Posted by: 08Cubs | June 3, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Is Derek Norris in Low-A or High-A?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Can you expand to previous years? That might make the numbers somewhat more meaningful.

Posted by: brothbart | June 3, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

And the Nats are undefeated on games that I wear wear a blue shirt with a red tie and have a greek salad at lunch.

Time to hurry home and change!

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 3, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"Can you expand to previous years? That might make the numbers somewhat more meaningful."

It won't.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 3, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

http://xkcd.com/552/

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | June 3, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Derek Norris: Hagerstown - Low A
Sean Rooney: Potomac - High A

Note, the Nats are 4-19 when Dukes doesn't start.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 3, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

In Flores's starts last year, the Nats played to a 56-win pace.

This is meaningless drivel that's going to get blown up and used as if it's something valuable.

Of course the team's worse off with Nieves and Bard than Flores. You're just not going to find it in these stats.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 3, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how those two progress. If I remember correctly, Jesus was up initially because he was a rule 5 guy, and then at the end of spring training last year, was supposed to be sent to Double A. They couldn't send him down, though, because he played so well. Might we see one of those guys in September if they progress to Double A shortly?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

i like the +/- idea. would be interesting see runs for/against also. difficult to build out with pinch runners, etc. i'm sure. i have to believe, though, the differential favors when flores is in the game.

of course flores and dukes "record" stats look good having missed out on the flop of the past two weeks.

chicken or egg? i'll have both, thank you.

Posted by: longterm | June 3, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

scott_in_shaw: Three points for xkcd reference in Nationals Journal forum (third point for being cool)!

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 3, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it weird that the 9-14/.391 numbers after Flores's name actually look good?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | June 3, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Derek Norris, Hagerstown. Single A as opposed to Advanced A: the Potomac Nats. Solano in AA can hit. Montz is now in AA, may be dropped if he doesn't get his head together and start hitting.

Posted by: periculum | June 3, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are 0-5 career at Nationals Park when I attend.

I have tickets for this Saturday against the Mets. Call your bookies.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 3, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd never seen that comic before. Looks pretty funny, even to a liberal arts major. I need to show the link to my husband, who is closer to the target demographic.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Bookies, heck, I'm getting a restraining order, gilbert.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The geeks who actually understand this stuff will have to weigh in, but isn't this situation what VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is for?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Just an additional observation: the top four on that list - Flores, Dukes, Hernandez, and Kearns - are all considered the better defensive players at their positions on this team. While the bottom three are generally considered relatively worse. Also Flores and Dukes have missed essentially the same games.

Not only does Flores call a better game, receive a better game, and hit better, he's got the best arm of the three.

Also we bat .251 vs. LHP and .275 vs. RHP.

Also, we're 1-0 with McCatty as pitching coach.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 3, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"This is meaningless drivel that's going to get blown up and used as if it's something valuable."

The afore-posted comic (which is hilarious: http://xkcd.com/552/) actually does a lot to illustrate why it's not meaningless drivel anymore than it's highly significant.

What the data show is that IN 2009 GAMES, there is a correlation between when Flores is starting and the Nationals winning. What the data do not show is that in 2009 games Flores causes the Nationals to win.

What I would guess you're seeing here is a "brink" effect in our lineup. We don't have quite enough good batters to have any depth, so if even one person is missing from the lineup, everyone else suffers.

Control for when Dukes is in the lineup, for example, and I bet you'd see the Flores effect disappear. Having that one more guy makes a world of difference.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the most important stat for Jesus is the staff ERA. Having a steady hand behind the plate is crucial for our young staff. Despite Bard's play last night, I think they should keep him because of his offense, dump Nieves who has lost all usefullness, and call up one of the prospects to see what they can do.

This is a big loss all the way around.

Posted by: sec307 | June 3, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"The geeks who actually understand this stuff will have to weigh in, but isn't this situation what VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is for?"

Check.

Love, the Geeks.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"If I remember correctly, Jesus was up initially because he was a rule 5 guy, and then at the end of spring training last year, was supposed to be sent to Double A. They couldn't send him down, though, because he played so well."

Actually, no. They were going to send Flores to AA last year and go with LoDuca and Estrada, but then Estrada got hurt before Opening Day and they had to keep Flores up.

But I really do wish I hadn't had cause to remember that.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry in advance for the negativity, but this post is one of those Billy Madison "we're all stupider" moments.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | June 3, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Nats VORP stats:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=469787

VORP definition:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=vorp
or
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_over_replacement_player

Posted by: joemktg2 | June 3, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Sorry natsfan1a1, I don't think you can get a restraining order. But maybe you can get the Lerners to open up their wallets a little and pay me - and my wife - to stay away from games for the rest of the season. We can be bought off for the price of two Lexus Presidents season tix. That would be 81 x $300 x 2, or $48,600.

Since a lot of games have already been played, we'd be willing to pro-rate it. We're not greedy. Hell, it's a lot less money than they're paying Daniel Cabrera - we're a comparative bargain, IMHO.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 3, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha, I see the statistics line has been drawn.

For stats geeks, this falls into the category of "insignificant, but curious."

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Got ya, nunof. Then he actually played well even though he was thrown into the fire. Just a little confused.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

There are lies. There are damn lies. Then there are statistics.

I'm not just sayin' that. Someone else already did. Just can't remember who.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!!

Jim Bowden Breaks His Silence Tonight On 9NEWS NOW @ 11PM

Posted by: Intrudr | June 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Traditionally ascribed to Benjamin Disraeli, nunof, though there's some doubt to that. It was made famous, though, by Mark Twain. A favorite quotation of stats nerds.

There is, actually, a book (one of my favorites) on statistics called "Damned Lies and Statistics" that is a must for anyone who feels their head spinning at them. It does a great job explaining what statistics are and aren't good for. And it's well written.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm interested in how, exactly, does Flores "call a better game" than the others. Does he know the hitters better, or know his own pitchers better? Does he just make different and better decisions on what to call, or does Nieves call the same pitches Flores would, mainly, but get shaken off more, presumably because the pitchers don't have as much confidence in him (or in themselves, compared to when Flores is catching)? I don't know the answers, I'm just asking.

Which methinks is not the same thing as "just sayin" ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Half of the people can be part right all of the time, Some of the people can be all right part of the time, But all of the people can't be all right all of the time.
I think Abraham Lincoln said that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the analysis, Chico...

Someone above pointed out that Flores and Dukes have missed almost the same games... and I think that is important (not to minimize the importance of Flores). But especially against left handed pitching, when you take Flores and Dukes out, the Nats lineup becomes pretty anemic:

Guzman (S) - he isn't going to walk, so throw him junk that he'll hit on the ground
Johnson (L) - lefty-lefty
Zimmerman (R) - pitch around him
Dunn (L) - throw him curves, lefty-lefty
Willingham or Kearns (R) - just don't give Willingham a pitch to hit over the fence
Harris (L) - probably isn't going to take you deep
Pick two of three: Bard or Nieves, Hernandez - guys you want to pitch to, but can pitch around, cause you have the pitcher coming up next.

Compare that to this:

Guzman
Johnson
Zimmerman
Dunn
Dukes
Willingham
Flores
Gonzales
(pitcher)


That lineup is very different, and very difficult to pitch around. Add to it that our starting pitchers can bunt, for the most part (forget about Stammen's bunt last night). I don't think that it is any coincidence at all that Dunn and Zimmerman's slumps started when Dukes and Flores left the lineup. All of the sudden you can pitch around them. Of course, my comments above were assuming left handed pitching, but against right handed pitching, you get Guzman batting left, where he is weaker, and a string of right handed bats at the bottom of the order, so you have righty-righty matchups.

Of course, it isn't all about the offense... the errors and sloppy play in general lose games... but even in games where the Nats have played reasonably good fundamental baseball, they haven't hit with Flores and Dukes out of the lineup.

I think it is notable that the Nats scored 10 runs on Dukes first night back.

Posted by: wigi | June 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

(I didn't mean Gonzales, I meant Hernandez)

Posted by: wigi | June 3, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

And just to beat a dead horse - Me thinks natsguy needs to lighten up...just sayin'

Posted by: Intrudr | June 3, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Google search finds all:

"After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, 'Lies - damned lies - and statistics,' still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of." - Leonard Courtney, speech, August 1895, New York, "To My Fellow-Disciples at Saratoga Springs," printed in The National Review (London, 1895)

Posted by: OldDude | June 3, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

And whatever you do, don't call him Francis!

Posted by: Intrudr | June 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

on NJ (the planet, not the first baseman), we march to the beat of a different dead horse.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"And whatever you do, don't call him Francis!"

Is that "beating a dead rented mule"?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

or a red dented mule ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

OK, put down the pickle--I'll go quietly.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

One last thought on this...

The bottom of the order, 8-9-1 is weak without Dukes and Flores, because you have a way around 2-3-4. But with Dukes and Flores, 8-9-1 becomes a strength, because you have speed, a bunt, and a guy that puts the ball in play, and if you (the pitcher) don't get out of the inning, you have to face five guys that can kill you.

Posted by: wigi | June 3, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

i'll let you be in my dream if i can be in yours. i said that.

Posted by: longterm | June 3, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

i'll let you be in my dream if i can be in yours. i said that.

Posted by: longterm | June 3, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Nice Dylan reference! You have to be over 50 to know that one.

Posted by: NoVaSnow | June 3, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

or a red-headed stepchild

Posted by: Intrudr | June 3, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

A far more encouraging stat: I've been to 8 home games (on 21-game plan) at which Nats are 5-3. And I'm going tonight: sorry, Randy Johnson. (Maybe Nats will comp me for the rest of the season?)

Posted by: JamesWebster | June 3, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Flores is a nice player, but he is not more than an average C in MLB. The loss of the guy for the season is not some damning thing to a team playing ball at a .280 clip anyway.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 3, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Flores is a nice player, but he is not more than an average C in MLB. "

Average NL Catcher:
.260/ .341/ .401

Jesus Flores:
.311/ .382/ .522

If he's an average catcher, then this post is going to win a pulitzer.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 3, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Nice Dylan reference! You have to be over 50 to know that one.

Posted by: NoVaSnow | June 3, 2009 1:58 PM
________________________________________

Nice indeed. Baseball it ain't, but nonetheless a welcome change from the overheated angst and vitriol that featured prominently on this blog yesterday.

Posted by: sposforever | June 3, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@ I'm interested in how, exactly, does Flores "call a better game" than the others. Does he know the hitters better, or know his own pitchers better? Does he just make different and better decisions on what to call, or does Nieves call the same pitches Flores would, mainly, but get shaken off more, presumably because the pitchers don't have as much confidence in him (or in themselves, compared to when Flores is catching)? I don't know the answers, I'm just asking.

Which methinks is not the same thing as "just sayin" ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa |
-----
Good question. Wd anyone like to answer? Chico, wd this be a good subject for an article?

And here's another question, maybe a really ignorant one. Does every pitcher-in-training want to be a starter, or do some guys really see themselves as relievers? Is being a reliever second best in most wanna-be pitchers' eyes, or just different? Is being a closer more acceptable if being a starter seems unrealistic?

Posted by: Section109 | June 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Let me know how the proposal to the Lerners works out for you, gilbert. Good luck to you as well, James. ;-)

And a win will do that, spos.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

credit sec3mysofa:

Half of the people can be part right all of the time, Some of the people can be all right part of the time, But all of the people can't be all right all of the time.
I think Abraham Lincoln said that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 3, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

33, brown hair, m/w/c.

Posted by: longterm | June 3, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Are all you stat-heads GS 1 and a-halves at the Agriculture Department? Or just 85 percent of you? My god, what drivel! Of course, the team wins more with Kid Flores in the lineup: he's a far superior player to Bard/Nieves. But so would virtually any catcher who's standing vertically with a heartbeat. You don't have to overanalyze to know this.

This organization has mishandled Kid Flores from the get-go. He outplayed (or at worst, was a draw) with Schneider (very overrated, in my book) in 2007. JimBo's pipedream of sending him to AA last year never made any sense to me. But then PLoD and that god-awful Estrada both got hurt, and they had to play Flores up here. He was their best hitter in the clutch, and adequate behind the plate.

So now he's hurt, and there's really no big-league replacements, Montz is a joke and the organization has little or nothing on the farm after him. So drafting or trading for a catcher should be high on the FO's lengthy to-do list. But do we hear Rizzo (whom I'm really beginning to think is just another stooge lifer) talking about any of this? Of course not.

So we go with Nieves/Bard, which is a disaster behind the plate. This team should challenge the 40-and-120 Mets for worst team ever. Only one difference: The Mets knew they were a joke; this bunch seems to think it's on the verge of greatness.

Despite StanK's proclamations (which have been few lately-got the resume updated, StanK?), there is no plan, other than to run a team on the cheap and milk as much out of our pocketbooks as possible.

After this year, I'm out of our five-year-old full season syndicate. Why bother? That's it, fellas, I'm done.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 3, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"does Nieves call the same pitches Flores would, mainly, but get shaken off more"

How often do we ever even see a Nationals pitcher shake off the sign from the catcher? Hardly ever - especially with the young starters. That's why the catcher's calling of the game is important. The young pitchers may not know enough or be assertive enough to insist on the correct pitch for a particular situation/batter. The pitching coach has a general philosophy (which is changing radically with the move from St. Claire to McCatty) but it's the catcher's calling of the game that implements it. Then of course it is up to the pitcher to execute and throw the pitch that was called.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Obvious conclusion: with Flores out, we should not start a catcher . . .

Posted by: slewis1 | June 3, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 3, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse"

Did this post make sense? I'm not sure, it feels like one of those Magic Eye posters. Everytime I start looking at it closer I lose it, but if I just stare through it I seem to get a picture, but one that looks like it was cut from construction paper left over from a fiesta.

Maybe I was supposed to be insulted?

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

JFlor = ARod
Nats win the NL East (next year)

Posted by: tomfoc31 | June 3, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Or, in keeping with the fiesta theme, perhaps like a piƱata that's been been subjected to a number of flailing, blind hacks. I took it more as a generalized venting, but that's just me.

---

Everytime I start looking at it closer I lose it, but if I just stare through it I seem to get a picture, but one that looks like it was cut from construction paper left over from a fiesta.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz,

I disagree with the fact that we need to trade for a catcher at this point. We are 14-36 for crying out loud, what's the point of giving up the prospects.

Nieves and Bard are not that bad, they not that good either but, they are just good enough to keep losing with at this point.

This brings me back to my comments about FA. The minor league system is shakey and they need to fill in the ML roster with some legit players. What if Bard or Nieves goes down we bring up Luke Montz? Not good.

It may be that best thing for this organization to have another 100 loss season for the Lerner's and Kasten to see the light. If attendance goes down enough and they are embarrassed enough they may just start pumping some money into actual players and not the Red Porch or to pay down the debt of purchasing the team.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 3, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Uncle teddy: Get a grip. Flores is a career .260 hitter -- average NL catcher; his 90 AB's this season are not exactly telling us that he's going to the HOF.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 3, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I was supposed to be insulted?

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 2:49 PM


....I thought the department of agriculture shot was witty but not damning (with all due respect to SoCH, I prefer the stats that you and Chico present because they're graspable by my tiny brain).

In my experience on planet NJ, parting rants tend to be the most entertaining. :)


Also: even Luke Montz is not Matt LeCroy.

I'm just sayin'

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 3, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"even Luke Montz is not Matt LeCroy."

__________________________

Good Point.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 3, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How is LeCroy doing in Harrisburg, Brian? Is he any better as a manager than as a catcher?

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Sec3, Sec109:

"Calling a better game" is a product of several things. Some of it is knowing the hitter, a ton of it is knowing your pitcher, and the major part, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, is mental.

Whitey Ford once said "hitting is about timing. Pitching is about upsetting timing." What Flores does better than Bard or Nieves is put his pitcher in a position to excel. It's not just about knowing how well a guy throws his fastball versus a breaking ball or a changeup, it's also about understanding the hitter's approach. Think of catching like playing a chess match against nine other people, each of whom has his own strategy. So the catcher has to devise nine different ways to use his pieces -- in this case his pitcher's arsenal -- to win those nine contests. The sequence of pitches -- not just the pitches themselves -- help determine who wins. Equally important to the pitch selection is location. Just as it is in real estate, the 3 most biggest factors in successful pitching are location, location, and location. Ultimately the goal in each matchup is to get the hitter to swing at a pitch of YOUR choosing versus his own. A catcher who calls a good game typically has his pitcher in a position to, if he makes the pitch to the spot the catcher asked for, make the batter swing at a pitch he shouldn't.

As for the intangibles... when pitchers BELIEVE in their catcher, they believe in their own "stuff" and thus commit more to those pitches the catcher calls. Thus, if the catcher is aggressively challenging hitters with his pitch selection, pitchers are more likely to have a bulldog mentality rather than nibbling on the corners as our bullpen seems to. Conversely, if the pitcher questions his catcher's choices he may subconsciously take something off, or at least not put everything into it. That's as bad a throwing a batting practice fastball down Broadway. The pitcher must believe in every pitch he makes. And if the catcher is a brick wall back there the pitcher doesn't fear that nasty bender in the dirt with men on: the catcher will block it. Finally, when a pitcher and catcher are locked into the same mindset -- when they intuitively know what the other is thinking -- that's when really special stuff starts to happen. It's no accident that the first person praised by the pitcher after a particularly impressive outing is his catcher. Fun stuff...

Hope this helps...

Posted by: outsider6 | June 3, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Chico has a lineup post up. Carry on.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"even Luke Montz is not Matt LeCroy."

We need Robert Fick, again.

Posted by: JamesWebster | June 3, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Where is Roberto Ficko these days?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I applaud your effort, Chico. But you're never going to convince me that Anderson, Kearns, Willingham and Gonzalez are all more important to the team than Zimmerman, Dunn and Johnson. Too many variables. That said, I do accept the premise that Flores is a very important piece of this ballclub and they will be worse off without him, perhaps significantly so.

Posted by: Aterio | June 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

That would be Hernandez, Kearns, Willingham and Gonzalez. Damned AH has two last names. Can't keep 'em straight.

Posted by: Aterio | June 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours,"
I said that.

D'oh! Apparently, Longterm said that, too.

And you do not have to be Over 50 to know that.

H295R, "Talkin Jesus' Shoulder Broke Blues"

"I wouldn't worry about it none, though, they were my own dreams and their only in my head."

And Cheeks, I love you, buddy, but that's junkstats at its finest way up there - Dukes was out for a lot of the same games, and you can't really say that Flores was the factor, because Guzman and Zimm was streaking when Flores was playing and they both slumped when he was out - VORP isn't a "complex metric" that's different from the "bottom line" of W-L - for this kind of calculation, VORP and WARP are the bottom line, since they tell you what the individual's actual contribution to the bottom line was.

Enough of that - More Dylan Lyrics!

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 3, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

When a reporter writes, "there is no data," is the baseball performance analogue a fielder making an error?

Julian in Placitas

Posted by: jutepper1 | June 3, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

506 and Cosmo,

VORP does not equal what Chico was trying to get at, as VORP does not include defensive attributes. No position player contributes (or detracts) as much to the defense as does the catcher. Flores has a high VORP. Maybe he calls a good game, I don't know. I'm not too impressed with him defensively as a catcher. But the team is worse without him, no question.

Many people here love to us 'just sayin.' Just what does it mean?

Posted by: JLNash819 | June 3, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Beware journalists doing math!

Posted by: paulkp | June 3, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@Outsider6--sorry I cdn't get back yesterday--very very illuminating post. Thanks very much.

Posted by: Section109 | June 4, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company