Weinstein: The overrated value of catchers’ throwing arms

From Max Weinstein at FanGraphs on November 18, 2013:

If you are familiar with my previous studies on the battery, I have often struggled with preconceived notions regarding the relationship between the pitcher, the catcher and the running game. I have previously concluded that it is the pitcher who has more influence on the caught stealing percentage of the battery than the catcher. In addition, I’ve concluded that it is the pitcher who has more of an impact on the passed ball. Meanwhile, in box scores and in broadcast booths all around the country we continue to reward caught stealing and responsibility for the passed ball to the catcher. Fact is, there are many variables at play and as a result, there is a battery effect that must be considered.

In my continuing study on the relationship between the pitcher and the catcher, this article addresses one specific area of the battery effect and will question the conventional wisdom that the catcher’s arm is the determining factor in the outcome of a would be base stealer.

While there are many variables in play, for today we will solely look at timing of the battery and the past success of the battery, the pitcher, and the catcher in controlling the running game.
There is no question that having a catcher with a great arm has great value in the battery dynamic, but is that enough to constitute a battery combination that will prevent the running game? It comes down to timing on both sides of the rubber, but whose speed, or lack thereof has greater influence on the outcome?

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-overrated-value-of-catchers-throwing-arms/

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