Sullivan: Alex Avila, catchers and foul-tip data

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on October 18, 2013:

Spend enough time around the Detroit Tigers and you’re certain to see Alex Avila take an absolute beating. He took a beating in Thursday’s Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox, and was removed during the game in favor of Brayan Pena. The main issue? Avila got run over at the plate by fellow catcher David Ross and wound up with a knee injury. Shortly thereafter, Avila took a foul tip right off the chin, with Ross this time standing in the batter’s box. Ross, of course, didn’t intend to knock Avila out. Surely, catchers are more sympathetic when they inflict pain on other catchers. But talk to the Tigers and they’ll tell you this is a pattern. They’ll tell you Avila get knocked around more than any catcher they’ve seen.

For example:

After struggling through a season of more foul tips than coaches and teammates have seen any other catcher endure, Detroit Tigers starter Alex Avila is out of commission with delayed concussion symptoms.

It’s the foul tips, really, that Jim Leyland laments more than anything else. There are plenty of ways for catchers to get injured, but they say Avila seems to have a knack for catching baseballs with his body or his face.

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Originally published: October 18, 2013. Last Updated: October 18, 2013.