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Wednesday 16th Aug 2017

Even before his injury that may keep him out ‘till September, Jason Castro was not high on anyone’s draft list. Most likely he would not have been drafted even in deeper mixed leagues. Nevertheless his injury should not go unnoticed.

Castro is a catcher. Catchers tend to get hurt proportionally more than any other players, even more than pitchers. And yet, when we draft we tend to load our bench with pitchers while at the same time we tend to overlook catchers. And why not? Any catcher still available at the end of the draft is not worth picking up.

The following charts, all based on Mastersball 2011 projections, show that one is better off picking a reserve catcher before loading on those last outfielders and pitchers. Let’s look at the following stats, since numbers are better than a 1,000 words.

Jason Castro is coincidentally the 31 rated catcher in the Mastersball’s mixed league projections. His stat line (2011 projections before the injury) is:

HR

Runs

RBI

SB

BA

6

46

19

2

.259

 

Jason Castro is the guy who one would pick up as free agent upon the injury to a primary catcher (assuming, for example, a 2 catcher /15 team league). Let’s look at projected stat lines for J.P. Arencibia and John Buck, a couple of decent and solid but not spectacular catchers:

 

HR

Runs

RBI

SB

BA

JP Arencibia

17

47

51

0

.262

John Buck

17

52

67

0

.251

 

The difference is 11 HRs and 32 and 48 RBI’s. That difference is close to the delta, i.e. mathematical difference, between Pujols and Fielder, the 26th rated overall player or between Ryan Braun, top rated outfielder and Alex Rios, the 12th rated outfielder.  

Let’s look at the projected stat lines of outfielders and pitchers who are rated around 60th, 70th and 80th respectively for their position.

 

HR

Runs

RBI

SB

BA

 

W

SV

K

ERA

WHIP

Chris Coghlan

9

89

46

12

.283

Ricky Nolasco

9

0

165

4.029

1.203

David DeJesus

10

60

57

5

.282

Ervin Santana

13

0

171

4.048

1.292

Kosuke Fukudome

9

53

41

7

.263

Brain Matusz

12

0

179

4.161

1.302

 

Overall, these guys look the same. There is a loss in Runs and BA between Coghlan and Fukudome as well a deterioration of ERA and WHIP between Nolasco and Matusz, but a small gain in WINs. Maybe your team could gain in standings thanks to these extra WINs. Should you wonder about it, MastersDraft application can help you visualize how your team is doing versus other teams in your league. One thing is certain: the difference in production between any one of these players is much smaller than the difference between a 2nd and a 3rd tier catchers.

Independently of individual draft strategies and specific league rules, from a strictly statistical production perspective, a team would gain by picking up a reserve catcher instead of the 5th or 6th outfielder or pitcher. The real problem is that is not easy to get excited about a reserve catcher.

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