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Thread: Suzuki!

  1. #1
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    Suzuki!

    Kurt Suzuki made the All-Star team this year. He was supposed to be a one-year stopgap, whose playing time would diminish over the course of the season as Josmil Pinto moved in to take over regular duties.

    Things have changed. Suzuki has been an iron man behind the plate. He's hit very well, better than he ever has, and has been lauded for his receiving on a below-average Twins staff. Pinto has been demoted with no timetable for return and even if he returns, Suzuki figures to be the primary catcher for the rest of the year unless he is dealt.

    There are several questions about Suzuki. How good a receiver is he? Can he sustain his hitting prowess? Should the Twins trade him at high value? Have the Twins' front office gone overboard in praise for the 30-year old veteran?

    Here's my take: Suzuki is hitting great and deserves regular status. He brings durability, consistency, and positivity to the catching position. I have had a difficult time listening to the non-stop praise for his ability to handle the staff. The Twins have a veteran staff, they don't need a babysitter. I don't blame Suzuki much for his low numbers catching base stealers, nor do I think he is costing too many outs from inferior pitch framing. However, the numbers don't show that he makes the staff better. His so-so defense is sustainable, I doubt his outstanding offense is.

    If Suzuki is extended, I won't complain, but I doubt we'll see "All-Star Kurt Suzuki" again. If he were traded, I think it is the right way to go. I don't see him as part of the Twins (winning) future and a prospect acquired for him could be part of that time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Triple-A
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    Well-written, objective take. I also think he should be sold high. However, it would really surprise me to see him dealt instead of extended. I'd put the options at:

    Extended: 50%
    Nothing in-season, re-signed: 10%
    Traded: 25%
    Let become FA: 15%

    So 60% chance they buy high, 1 in 6 chance they don't cash in any of his value, 1 in 4 they sell high.

    Does that sound right?

  3. #3
    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Reading that thead title somehow makes me think of Pee-Wee Herman singing "Tequila."

    Anyway, I'd be for trading Kurt to a contender and making him a better offer in the offseason. In the meantime it would be good if Pinto made it to Brian Harper level as a receiver. As you recall, TK did not enjoy Harper as a catcher but loved his bat.

    There would be room for both on a good team.
    Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay,
    I sleep all night and I work all day.

  4. #4
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    What are you basing your pitch framing on because by the numbers he's bad. As someone posted in another thread, on the teams he was on before this, the pitchers had better numbers with other catchers. As a matter of fact, he is the worst pitch framer in all of baseball:

    http://www.statcorner.com/CatcherReport.php
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/so...hp?cid=1667334
    Lighten up Francis....

  5. #5
    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    I guess I look at the C position from a more standard perspective. I look for a guy who handles the staff, catches the ball and sets up well. You also hope he can throw well, but especially in today's game where the stolen base aspect has been disappearing more and more, it's not as important as it used to be. Further, the pitcher also has something to do with keeping the base runner from going, or being successful.

    I absolutely don't expect Suzuki to hit again as he has done this year. And I don't think Pinto is as bad as some speculate defensively. I actually thought he was pretty solid last season, and a few games I watched this season. I'm also a Herrmann believer, if given half a chance.

    But I can't deny Suzuki has made a positive impact this year overall. I can't deny he seems to be a smart ball player, a solid catcher, and someone who teams have thought enough of to trade for him and sign him.

    Im torn. What I really wasn't is him back, but more as a 50-50 or 40-60 with Pinto. Would he do that? Would the Twins do that?
    "Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."
    --Lou Brown

  6. #6
    While I appreciate the pitch framing stats that have come about in the last few years, there are a few things that trump that stat in common practice.

    With all other factors being equal, what is more important, pitch framing on the handful of border line calls that occur in a game or the catcher being able to throw the ball to second or third on an attempted steal without throwing the ball into the outfield? Pitch framing or stopping a wild pitch / passed ball from getting away? Pitch framing while batting .200 or batting .300?

    The pitch framing stat needs to be looked at differently. Consider pitch framing as the catcher's web gem. It's the same as a first baseman stretching out and scooping a ball out of the dirt, a shortstop performing an acrobatic leap and throw to first, a third baseman's diving stop along the baseline or an outfielder's leaping above the outfield fence robbing a homerun. If a position player does all the routine plays, he is considered a good defensive player. If he can provide the occasional web gem play, he is a great player. A catcher who makes the routine plays is a good defensive player, the ones who are good pitch framers are the great defensive players.

    Kurt Suzuki may not have great pitch framing skills but he is still a good defensive player. He makes the routine plays and doesn't make many errors. This is why many of his pitchers claim he a good player and like pitching to him.

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  8. #7
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    Again, what do you base that on? He doesn't throw guys out well. He is averagish at stopping passed balls.

    "he makes the routine plays".....that's the Jeter defense. "Who would you rather have out there for a ball hit right at him"? I'd rather have the guy that can get to the ball.

    Denying pitch framing seems odd, given the vast data on the subject, much more accurate data than "he handles the staff well". What does that mean?

    It is not true that a player that does the routine well is considered good. Good players make plays other players don't make. A player that makes the routine plays is at best an average player. That's the math behing ranking players. It really isn't subjective at all. If you do what everyone else does, you aren't better than them, and you aren't good.
    Lighten up Francis....

  9. #8
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    In Suzuki's defense, he seems to be quite good at blocking the ball in the dirt. Does that offset his framing stats? Dunno, probably not.

  10. #9
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    Brock, the baseball prospectus link actually shows that.....

    they estimate he's saved 1 run by blocking low balls (8th)
    they estimate he's cost them 8.8 runs with his pitch framing in context (5th from last)
    they estimate he's cost them 13 runs with his framing, using a standard way (last)
    Lighten up Francis....

  11. #10
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    In Suzuki's defense, he seems to be quite good at blocking the ball in the dirt. Does that offset his framing stats? Dunno, probably not.
    This is where I just about throw something at the television listening to Bremer slobbering all over Klutch's jock. "Pretty good" would be accurate, but Bremer talks like Suzuki invented blocking the ball. I recall the game where the Blue Jays walked everybody and threw a bunch of wild pitches. Pinto played that game and blocked a load of Deduno's 58 ft. sliders. Bremer made little mention of it, but it was as impressive to me as any game that Suzuki has played. Suzuki is better and more consistent at blocking pitches than Pinto, but most guys that catch in the big leagues have good technique at that skill.

  12. #11
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Brock, the baseball prospectus link actually shows that.....

    they estimate he's saved 1 run by blocking low balls (8th)
    they estimate he's cost them 8.8 runs with his pitch framing in context (5th from last)
    they estimate he's cost them 13 runs with his framing, using a standard way (last)
    I'm really skeptical of run-based output of catching statistics but it makes sense that Suzuki does more harm with framing than he makes up with pitch-blocking.

  13. #12
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    I don't understand the fascination with every time the Twins finally get a good player on the roster, everyone wants to suddenly trade them (Dozier and Perkins are more recent examples)

    Suzuki is still relatively young, seems to enjoy it here and could likely be had on a team friendly 1-2 year extension. I think you absolutely have to do it, otherwise you go into 2015 with yet another question mark
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald


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  15. #13
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    1. He's not young for a catcher
    2. He's not "good" if you believe in pitch framing being valid at all
    3. His contract is expiring, this is not the case of wanting to trade a guy they have under control
    4. If the catcher market next year is super thin, what is his incentive to sign a team friendly deal?
    Lighten up Francis....

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    I don't understand the fascination with every time the Twins finally get a good player on the roster, everyone wants to suddenly trade them (Dozier and Perkins are more recent examples)

    Suzuki is still relatively young, seems to enjoy it here and could likely be had on a team friendly 1-2 year extension. I think you absolutely have to do it, otherwise you go into 2015 with yet another question mark
    Why does everyone think he will settle for a one or two year extension? He is coming off an All Star year. His value has never been higher and the FA catching class is weak. If I am Suzuki and talking extension I am looking for three years minimum at probably 7 Million per. If he waits until FA he will likely get three years and maybe an option for four to the winning bidder and maybe even higher than 7 Million if a team is desperate enough.

    He would be a fool to extend for one or two years. He would totally have to sell himself short. Unless you are willing to over pay in money and years for an extension, he will hit FA. Personally I think a 1 to 2 year extension is fantasy talk.
    Last edited by Dman; 07-17-2014 at 09:56 AM.

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  18. #15
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    1. He's not young for a catcher
    2. He's not "good" if you believe in pitch framing being valid at all
    3. His contract is expiring, this is not the case of wanting to trade a guy they have under control
    4. If the catcher market next year is super thin, what is his incentive to sign a team friendly deal?
    1. He is only 30, locking him up til 32 is a very low risk. He has proven to be nothing but durable this year.
    2. While I don't totally dismiss that stat, I think it is much much more difficult to prove/track/quantify then what is being put out there. I think Suzuki has been a very good offensive catcher and has been "solid" behind the dish. Any stat that says that Pinto has been a better defensive catcher then Suzuki or whatever just shows that flaw in the stat IMO.
    3. As mentioned that is why I goto him with an extension.
    4. It's piece of mind/safe to sign now. If he suddenly gets injured by a bat to the head/torn knee etc you are looking at a guy playing on a small one year deal next year, if his bat suddenly disappears..ditto. Additionally if he likes playing here/the playing time he can get then it isn't ridiculous to think he wouldn't listen/consider a solid 2 year offer. 12-15 million sounds about right.

    If he turns it down or indicates he absolutely wants to test the FA market, then I think at that point you trade him if you fall out of the race in the next two weeks.
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald


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  20. #16
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    It is a counting stat, as you see it on that screen (if you look at the links I supplied), that's why Pinto is higher on the list. I have not looked at the rate stat side of it.

    it is a pretty simple stat:
    does pitch fx think it was a strike?
    did the pitch get called a strike?

    it is very consisten year to year for catchers, unlike other defensive stats. It has been around for 8 years. Ya'all should really think hard about not trusting it to be at least directional/indicative.....if you don't rate a catcher on pitch framing, throwing out base runners, and blocking pitches....what do you rate him one defensively to say he's been solid or good or whatever?
    Lighten up Francis....

  21. #17
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    I don't understand the fascination with every time the Twins finally get a good player on the roster, everyone wants to suddenly trade them (Dozier and Perkins are more recent examples)
    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest your argument fell apart at the "Compare Suzuki to Dozier and Perkins" portion.

    Suzuki has been a wonderful addition and a credit to the FO, even if he was their third choice. But Suzuki is playing way above his head. I'd still take him back just because our catching options are slim, but let's not pretend we're talking about moving a perennial all-star here either. Yeesh.

  22. #18
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer amjgt's Avatar
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    My two issues with pitch framing are this....

    1. Just because it was a strike, based on pitch f/x, doesn't mean it wasn't called a strike because of Kurt Suzuki. A quick trip to brooksbaseball.net will show you all you need to know about umpire consistency.

    2. Even if you want to attribute every non-strike call to Suzuki, I still don't trust the part where they try to apply a run value to crappy pitch framing. There's so much involved there, that it seems basically impossible to apply an accurate number. It would be interesting to look at the formula they use. If the formula doesn't require a complex matrix of existing situations and possible outcomes then I don't trust it one bit.

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  24. #19
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    The question, imo, isn't "is it really worth 8.8 runs", the question is "if every stat rates him badly at getting extra strikes", is he actually bad at it? I don't know how you can conclude anything other than he's one of the worst catchers at getting extra strikes. You can pretty easily calculate the value of a strike in producing outs, given the billions of data points available to do that. Much easier than UZR or other non-catcher stats.

    And, since the data is highly repeatable from year to year, it can't just be about umpires.
    Lighten up Francis....

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