Who’s Got the Golden Gun?

From SABR member Christina Kahrl at ESPN.com on August 30:

If you want to take a stab at who’s doing the best job of eradicating the running game from behind the plate, you can go in a few directions. Cut off playing time around 400 innings caught (we’ll cheat and keep Joe Mauer in the sample, because he just missed) and you can go with simple caught-stealing percentage. And voila, this year’s best catchers at getting caught stealings are the Indians’ Lou Marson and Kelly Shoppach of the Rays at 44 percent apiece. Raise your bar to include only the most regular receivers, and the Snakes’ Miguel Montero is your guy (40 percent). 

However, just running with SB/CS data doesn’t necessarily give us the whole picture, does it? Regardless of whether a play’s ruled a stolen base — and let’s set aside the anachronistic silliness of “defensive indifference” — what we’re interested in is results in terms of baserunners advancing or getting thrown out. Poor receiving skills on top of a weak arm can contribute to runners taking more extra bases on loose-ball plays (wild pitches, passed balls), but a strong arm can help deter runners from going anywhere lest they get gunned down. 

So, using Baseball-Reference’s Runner Bases Allowed (which include PBs and WPs as well as steals) and Runner Kills (outs of every fashion, whether they’re pickoffs, caught stealings, etc.), plus Baseball Info Solutions’ Catcher Runs Above Average (RsbC), let’s see if we can get a slightly more involved look at the best guys.

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/15556/whos-got-the-golden-gun

Originally published: August 31, 2011. Last Updated: August 31, 2011.