Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2010 Red Sox Projections - Catcher

This is post two in a series of posts previewing the 2010 Red Sox.

2009 vs. 2010 Red Sox - Catcher:
2009 - Jason Varitek, Victor Martinez, George Kottaras
2010 - Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek

The 2009 Red Sox started the season with Jason Varitek as the everyday catcher, and George Kottaras caddying for Tim Wakefield. Varitek, who had struggled badly in 2008, showed some early power, hitting 10 HR and slugging .522 through the end of May. Over the next two months, however, he hit .233/.363/.380/.743 with only 3 HR, and while the walks raised his OBP, it was still painful to watch him bat. Needing an upgrade, Boston traded three young pitchers to the Indians for Victor Martinez, who was outstanding the rest of the way, hitting .336/.405/.507/.912. There was some concern about a defensive difference between the two, but, aside from that aspect of Varitek's game being apparently overrated, it was fairly obvious at the end of the year that there wasn't a problem there.

On the season, the Red Sox got a .239/.333/.417/.750 line from the catching position, fourth best OPS in the AL, vs. a league average of .253/.315/.406/.721.

Boston enters 2010 with Victor Martinez as its everyday catcher, and Jason Varitek back (probably for his last season) as the backup. While Terry Francona has not yet made public the planned catcher usage patterns for the year, one would expect Martinez to also get some at-bats at first base and DH, while Varitek gets a few more at-bats than Red Sox backups have gotten in recent years.


The 2009 Red Sox got 578 at-bats from their catchers. I've adjusted the projections to give 578 at-bats to the 2010 catchers, with 75% going to Victor Martinez and the remaining 25% to Jason Varitek. Here are the projections using the Marcel The Monkey and PECOTA projections, as well as last year's numbers.

Red Sox 2009 vs. 2010 - Catchers
Victor Martinez (marcel)434591242501473494361100513.287.361.452.81368.705.21
Jason Varitek (marcel)14515327051819113800013.225.321.385.70617.973.84
Victor Martinez (PECOTA)433531202301672474365000513.278.350.448.79865.964.96
Jason Varitek (PECOTA)14412326031418113600013.226.320.355.67516.343.50

2009 Catchers (actual)5787113843020858363124100810.239.333.417.75083.004.53
2010 Catchers (marcel)5797515732119916865100210617.272.351.435.78686.644.85
2010 Catchers (PECOTA)5786615329119876565101000617.265.342.425.76782.274.58
Bottom Line:

PECOTA and Marcel differ on the amount of improvement they expect to see at catcher, but both agree that the Red Sox have improved offensively at the catcher position. As for defense, I haven't seen any reason to think that there will be much difference.

2010 Catcher Projection: Small Net Improvement

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