Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 31, 2006
BASEBALL: Baseball's Slugging-est Catcher

Guess who?

The results are even more pronounced since May 1.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:52 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

My middle son, now 12, had me promise him 2 years ago to take him to Cooperstown when Mike is inducted. Whenever we talk about the Negro Leagues, I always think that Piazza is the closest analog to Josh Gibson there ever was. And I have no clue who was better. And anyone who tells you they know doesn't.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at July 31, 2006 8:21 PM

No, no, no. Look, I loved Piazza as much as the next guy, but we've got to move on. He's not the defensive catcher that Lo Duca is and he hasn't had enough AB's to qualify for the leaderboard (3.1 AB's per game). As much as I'd love to have him on the team, the Pods pull him at the end of games, which is when we'd most need his bat. Lo Duca has almost 60 fewer at-bats, even though he's played two fewer games. Don't let one-off stats sway you. It's all about how the guy plays all around for a full season. At this point, Piazza can't do that anymore.

Posted by: Tim Peter at July 31, 2006 8:31 PM

I've always liked Mike, and I'm glad he's doing well. But I think that even though he would have been a cost-effective choice for the Mets, it was the right decision to let him go. It's hard to make someone a role player on the same team where he's previously been the face of the franchise. And there aren't necessarily a lot of chances to end a player's tenure with the team on a positive note. Piazza left town with Mets fans feeling pretty good about him, and with him feeling pretty good about the Mets. That's worth something. Lo Duca does bring the intangibles, and more importantly, his tangibles have been solid as well.

Posted by: Jerry at July 31, 2006 9:52 PM

Lo Duca has saved more than the eztra 11 RBI's with his pitch calling and defense. There is no way the Met's pitching staff is as effective with Piazza behind the plate. I am fairly sure I could steal on Mike and I am an old-fat-bald guy.

Posted by: maddirishman at July 31, 2006 10:02 PM

Wow.

Posted by: Mike at August 1, 2006 9:28 AM

Crank:

Where do you rank Piazza among the all time great catchers? Put aside the alleged bad catching skills. Do his numbers as a hitter make up for his defensive liabilities? If you could choose one catcher throughout history for your starting lineup, who'd it be? Have you ever crunched these numbers?

Posted by: steve at August 1, 2006 9:42 AM

Last time I ran the numbers was here. Yogi may have had the best overall career, Bench may have had the best peak, Piazza or Josh Gibson the best bat. Who would I take? Not sure. You'd need to throw out an awful lot of baserunners to make up the distance to Piazza's 1997, for example.

Posted by: The Crank at August 1, 2006 9:48 AM

I would take Bench. He was the most devastating combination hitting, defense and controling the game that I have seen. That been said, Piazza has had a great career and probably should be in the HOF. He has without a doubt been an offensive force for a long time.

Posted by: maddirishman at August 1, 2006 10:16 AM

I think I would take Piazza. I have a hard time with objective evaluations of a catcher's defensive ability when such things as throwing out baserunners and calling a game depend so much on who's occupying the mound. Piazza's O absolutely overcomes any defensive liability he may have brought to the table. And as for offense, wasn't Bench consistently better protected in a stacked line-up with the Big Red Machine? That'd be an interesting comparison between them. Who was better protected.

... and in 1988, I'd have traded them both for Larry Anderson.

Posted by: Lou Gorman at August 1, 2006 11:36 AM

"Piazza has had a great career and probably should be in the HOF"

Probably???

Posted by: Mike at August 1, 2006 1:12 PM

Two things:

1. If you knock the minimum PAs down to 150, Piazza falls to #2... behind his backup, Josh Bard.

2. For all the talk about Piazza's "poor defense," I was expecting to be appalled watching him on a daily basis in San Diego this season. You know what? The only thing he can't do is throw. In every other respect he as at least as good as or better than (blocking the plate) his predecessor, Ramon Hernandez.

Posted by: Geoff Young at August 4, 2006 10:01 AM
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