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As Long As We’re Voting, Vote For Chooch – He Deserves It

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, May 07, 2012 04:00 PM | Comments: 11
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In case you haven’t noticed, Major League Baseball is already encouraging its fans to vote for their choices as All-Stars. For most teams, the All-Star game is approximately 58 games away, with 1/3 of the time between the start of the season and the games already completed. While completing All-Star ballots 29 games into the season can be no doubt silly considering sample sizes, the conversation can officially started of who should be voted to what.

What you see above is a blind comparison of the current standout catchers in the National League. Per FanGraphs, their WARs are 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, and 0.9 respectively, and their stats are about as close as they get. All four are having around the board standout years, with each having their own specialty stat. Catcher 1 leads NL catchers in runs scored, doubles, and steals; catcher 2 gets on base in nearly half of his plate appearances but strikes out nearly as much; catcher 3 is a close second among NL catchers in BA and leads NL catchers in HR, SLG%, and ISO; and catcher 4 has the most consistent triple-slash, leading NL catchers in BA and wOBA.

You may be surprised who these catchers are as you begin to fill out your initial All-Star ballots.Catcher 1 is three-time All-Star Yadier Molina who appears to be on pace for his fourth consecutive NL All-Star appearance. Molina is well regarded as both an offensive and a defensive threat. Since 2008, Molina has hit .291 with four straight Gold Gloves. Catcher 2 is LA Dodger AJ Ellis, who, prior to this season, has never had more than 128 PA in a season. The 31-year-old journeyman already has a career high in home runs (2) and walks (18). Ellis has a career .267 BA in the Majors but has hit .280 BA in the Minors; with consistent playing time, he may fall right around the .280 mark but it is important to note that he has consistently struck out as much as he has walked throughout his career. Ellis is a good story but likely will not be in this group at the end of the year.

Catcher 4 is 2010 Rookie of the Year and World Series winner Buster Posey. There were many questions regarding Posey’s return from a gruesome ankle injury he suffered in 2011 but so far the 25-year old Posey has returned better than he started. It may be surprising to hear but the Phillies’ own Carlos Ruiz is Catcher 3.

Ruiz is currently 7th in the NL in SLG% (.565) and 1st among NL catchers. His 6 2Bs are tied for the Phillies team lead and leads all NL catchers in RBIs. Ruiz’s numbers are good enough to put him in the top tier of catchers exactly 1/3 of the way to All-Star voting. The Phils have played 29 games with 58 remaining before the All-Star break.

A closer look at some advanced stats, cements Chooch’s status as a premium catcher in the NL. Of note is the increase in power, demonstrated in his ISO. This undoubtedly is a product of a small sample size as his career ISO is .133. However, even a sharp regression toward that number would likely see Chooch topple his career highs in HR (9) and 2B (29). Chooch’s defense should not be underestimated either: he has picked off nine runners and has not allowed a passed ball. His work behind the plate has limited opposing hitters to the second least BB/9 IP and has guided a staff to the second most cumulative WAR. After seeing these numbers, a vote for Chooch is a valid vote, even if we are less than 30 games into the season.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 746 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 George

    Sadly, right now Ruiz is probably the only Phils position player worthy of being an All Star. That doesn’t say much for the rest of the team’s performance.

    Sadly, too, is that Ruiz probably won’t get votes enough to start.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Cole was suspended. First he is dumb to admit it. Also baseball is
    For pssys. Anybody see what Alex o did to giradi. Russian pig

     
  • Posts: 2949 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    No, Jeff, he wasn’t wrong to admit it. He had the balls to answer the reporter’s question honestly…like a man,,,,not a “pssy”

     
  • Posts: 0 devin

    It might be a good idea to edit in a link to where we can vote, while you’re asking us to do so. Otherwise, nice, quick read. Definitely convinced me (not that it takes much).

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Unless he get cold with the bat i think Chooch deserves a all star nod. Besides the bat one had to wonder (behind the scenes) dealing with Papelhead shaking off pitches, and dealing with 3 of the top pichers in baseball in Cole, Lee and Roy.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think we should all vote for Utley just to keep showing how dumb the fan vote /popularity contest is

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I wouldn’t vote for Utley, but there are three ways to view who should be voted in:

      a) Who is having the best first two months of the season (or best April, if you’ve voted already)
      b) Who is the best at the position — i.e. who will likely be the best player at the position this season (regardless of how they’re doing so far)
      c) Who has been the best player the past several years, even if they may no longer be the best this year
      (any two or even all three could be the same player)

      a) rewards one or two good months and I’m afraid is an all-too common way for people to vote
      c) is the popularity contest, but if you want a game of established “legends”, rather than people you’ve never heard of before, I can see why one might vote this way
      b) is my personal preference

      A vote for Utley based on c) makes sense obviously.

      A vote for him based on b) also makes sense, since he was arguably the best overall second baseman in the NL last year while on the field, IF you believe that he can still be as effective as last year.

      Personally, I think that’s a lot to assume until he comes back and demonstrates it.

       
      • Posts: 2949 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        I’m pretty sure Don was being sarcastic.

         
      • Posts: 0 c schreiber

        How you like that “middling” Middlebrooks so far? Wouldn’t he have looked good at 3b instead of “pumpkin head”.

         
  • Posts: 0 c schreiber

    the Middlebrooks comment is for Schmenkman. Mr talent evaluator.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Yes, he looks good so far. It’s early yet but sure, I’d like to have him. Of course as with anything it depends on the price.

       
 
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