Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Punxsutawney Powerhouse

There are good reasons the Reds will (and should) give Devin Mesoraco, despite all the injuries, every chance to succeed in 2017 (besides the $20 million he's still owed over the next two years). It was only three short years ago that he was the 2nd-best hitting catcher in all of baseball:

Rk Player Rbat Tm G HR RBI BA OBP
1 Buster Posey 30.3 SFG 147 22 89 .311 .364
2 Devin Mesoraco 27.0 CIN 114 25 80 .273 .359
3 Jonathan Lucroy 25.7 MIL 153 13 69 .301 .373
4 Russell Martin 22.0 PIT 111 11 67 .290 .402
5 Yan Gomes 11.6 CLE 135 21 74 .278 .313
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/15/2017.


Not only that, Devin had by far the best season by a Reds catcher in the AJB (After Johnny Bench) era. In the 86 years BJB (Before Johnny Bench), only Ernie Lombardi had a better season - once, and Lombardi won the batting title and the NL MVP.


Best Seasons by a Reds Catcher - BJB (Before Johnny Bench, 1882-1967)


Rk Player WAR/pos Year
1 Ernie Lombardi 5.7 1938
2 Ed Bailey 4.8 1956
3 Bubbles Hargrave 4.7 1923
4 Bubbles Hargrave 4.0 1926
5 Ernie Lombardi 3.9 1940
6 Ed Bailey 3.8 1959
7 Ray Mueller 3.8 1944
8 Ernie Lombardi 3.8 1936
9 Ed Bailey 3.6 1957
10 Johnny Edwards 3.5 1965
11 Ernie Lombardi 3.5 1935
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/15/2017.


Best Seasons by a Reds Catcher - AJB (After Johnny Bench, 1981-2016)


Rk Player WAR/pos Year
1 Devin Mesoraco 4.8 2014
2 Jason LaRue 2.8 2005
3 Jason LaRue 2.5 2004
4 Bo Diaz 2.4 1987
5 Ryan Hanigan 2.3 2010
6 Bo Diaz 2.3 1986
7 Ryan Hanigan 2.0 2012
8 David Ross 1.8 2006
9 Jason LaRue 1.8 2003
10 Ryan Hanigan 1.6 2011
11 Benito Santiago 1.6 1995
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/15/2017.


Solely on the strength of that tremendous 2014 season, Devin is, so far, the best Reds catcher of his generation:

Generation   Player           WAR
National     Jim Keenan        6.5
American     Heinie Peitz     15.3
Deadball     Bubbles Hargrave 18.5
Liveball     Ernie Lombardi   31.3
G.I.         Ray Mueller      10.1
Silent       Ed Bailey        18.8
Boom         Johnny Bench     75.0
Generation X Jason LaRue       8.9
Millennial   Devin Mesoraco    3.6

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BP to ATL

Brandon Phillips has been traded to the Braves for two minor-league pitchers.

Going by WAR, BP is the third-greatest Reds' second baseman of all time, behind only Joe Morgan and Bid McPhee. He's second only to Morgan since 1901.

Also, he's the 9th-best "old Red" (age 30 and over) position player, and 7th-best since 1901.

Phillips was born in 1981. I place the 1981 cohort at the beginning of the Millennial Generation (as opposed to the end of Generation X, like Strauss & Howe have it).

Since Phillips, who will turn 36 this year, is in the first wave of a generation that is still mid-career, and since he was a starter for 11 years with the Reds, he ranks (for now) in the top 10 among his Millennial peers in a variety of counting stats: 4th in at bats, 5th in games, 5th in PA, 6th in HBP, 7th in hits, 8th (tied) in sac flies, 9th in RBI, 9th in total bases, and 10th in runs scored.

However, he's also 3rd in outs, 5th in GIDP, and 8th in caught stealing.

Many people take WAR's fielding metrics with a huge grain of salt, but for what it's worth, WAR has evaluated BP as a very good (but not spectacular) fielder. He has 9.4 career defensive WAR, which ranks 19th among Millennials.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Once in a Generation Hitters

Players with a career OPS+ of 170 or higher, by generation:

National: none

American: Dan Brouthers (170)

Deadball: Shoeless Joe Jackson (170)

Liveball: Babe Ruth (206), Lou Gehrig (179), Rogers Hornsby (175)

G.I.: Ted Williams (190)

Silent: Mickey Mantle (172)

Boom: none

Generation X: Barry Bonds (182)

Millennial: Mike Trout (170)

Nine players, one per generation. The Liveball Generation was blessed with three such hitters (and two played for the Yankees from 1923 to 1934), while the National and Boom Generations had none.