Reader Nutlaw took my point about Motte’s tied-for-worst nine home runs allowed this season and dug a bit deeper. He discovered that Motte’s last five home runs given up occurred with reserve catcher Tony Cruz behind the plate.
I checked with researcher Tom Orf as to the granularity of pitching stats broken out by catchers. He was able to provide the following view of the Cardinals catching corps since Molina became a major leaguer in 2004.
|Pitching Stats||Pitching Stats|
|2012||Yadier Molina||29||4151||77.7%||3.66||3.97||2007||Yadier Molina||24||3729||59.4%||4.29||4.78|
|2012||Tony Cruz||25||1153||21.6%||4.38||4.58||2007||Gary Bennett||35||1648||26.2%||5.20||5.88|
|2012||Bryan Anderson||25||39||0.7%||4.50||4.50||2007||Kelly Stinnett||37||902||14.4%||5.14||5.76|
|2012||League Average||3.98||4.34||2007||Brian Esposito||28||4||0.1%||0.00||0.00|
|2012||Team Total||5343||100.0%||3.82||4.10||2007||League Average||4.43||4.80|
|2011||Gerald Laird||31||900||14.5%||3.80||4.31||2006||Yadier Molina||23||4477||72.3%||4.52||4.76|
|2011||Tony Cruz||24||415||6.7%||3.00||3.45||2006||Gary Bennett||34||1691||27.3%||4.60||4.90|
|2011||League Average||3.81||4.17||2006||Mike Rose||29||28||0.5%||3.86||3.86|
|2011||Team Total||6211||100.0%||3.74||4.26||2006||League Average||4.49||4.88|
|2010||Jason LaRue||36||688||11.2%||5.45||5.87||2005||Yadier Molina||22||3975||65.7%||3.39||3.80|
|2010||Matt Pagnozzi||27||440||7.2%||3.06||3.40||2005||Einar Diaz||32||1303||21.5%||3.76||4.39|
|2010||Bryan Anderson||23||257||4.2%||6.38||6.87||2005||Mike Mahoney||32||769||12.7%||3.56||3.99|
|2010||Steven Hill||25||15||0.2%||2.25||2.25||2005||League Average||4.22||4.57|
|2010||Nick Stavinoha||28||2||0.0%||27.00||27.00||2005||Team Total||6047||100.0%||3.49||3.95|
|2010||Team Total||6137||100.0%||3.57||3.97||Pitching Stats|
|Pitching Stats||2004||Mike Matheny||33||4120||67.5%||3.88||4.21|
|2009||Yadier Molina||26||4931||81.0%||3.48||3.72||2004||Cody McKay||30||539||8.8%||3.00||3.41|
|2009||Jason LaRue||35||1109||18.2%||4.46||5.28||2004||League Average||4.30||4.69|
|2009||Matt Pagnozzi||26||39||0.6%||3.00||3.00||2004||Team Total||6104||100.0%||3.75||4.08|
My first observation is that Molina has caught about the same share of opposing hitter plate appearances this season as he did in the last three or four years – just short of 80 percent.
However, apparently because there has been no third catcher this season until very recently, Cruz has been behind the plate for more plate appearances than the normal Cardinal reserve – at least recently. His 21.7% rate is the most for the Cardinals non-starter since Jason LaRue in 2008.
Unfortunately, we cannot see number of home runs allowed or total runs scored while each catcher was behind the plate. We can tell the overall result. Cruz’ “catcher’s ERA” of 4.38 is not only higher than Molina’s, it is above the league average.
That is not unusual, however. While Gerald Laird’s catcher’s ERA last season was equivalent to Molina’s, just as often, the backup catcher had a much higher catcher’s ERA than Molina.
The far right column includes unearned runs. I don’t have any conclusions to draw about that, other than to note that Cruz’ numbers do not seem out of line.
In summary, I don’t see enough here to hang anything more on Cruz. Even if more home runs are being scored during his time in the game, which we don’t know, total runs scored don’t look unusual.