An in-depth look at the “should Jesus Montero catch” question

17 Comments

Over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron takes an extended look at the question I briefly touched on on Saturday: what position should Jesus Montero play now that he’s a Seattle Mariner?

My quick view, based on the roster more than anything else, was that Montero should at least be given a shot to catch to see how he does and see if he can be made serviceable.  Dave’s view: that if Montero can avoid being the worst catcher in baseball, it’s probably worth a shot, citing Mike Napoli as a success story. With success being defined as “no, he’s not great, but his bat at catcher outweighs his defensive shortcomings.”

Of course, there’s an in-depth statistical analysis of all of this which, even if you don’t care about the stats themselves of about Montero or the Mariners, provide a nice walk though all of the ways catchers’ defense matters.  It’s not just about throwing out base stealers.

And while we’re on the subject, let me promote myself by noting that I will be on NBC SportsTalk on the NBC Sports Network tonight at around 6:50 Eastern to discuss the Montero-Michael Pineda trade.  You should totally watch: I’m sneaky-handsome.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
2 Comments

Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.