Analysis: Catchers Affecting Pitching Performances?

CostepitchersI’ve noticed a trend with starting pitchers and Lou Marson: A lot of confusion.

It’s likely a rookie or young catcher will have communication problems with his starting pitchers. They have a gameplan; their gameplan might not fit what the catcher is thinking. A lot of times, confusion becomes problem, and problem becomes issue. Especially on the stat sheet. I thought going through starts for Marson, Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste could better help us understand if, maybe, pitching struggles was more of a backstop problem.

Carlos Ruiz: 4 G, 21 R, 15 K, 6 BB, .404 AVG
Chris Coste: 9 G, 28 R, 38 K, 12 BB, .298 AVG
Lou Marson: 6 G, 22 R, 30 K, 16 BB, .304 AVG

These are short sample sizes, but Ruiz had the first run through the rotation, and it wasn’t good at all. Interesting trends: Marson has not caught Cole Hamels or Jamie Moyer, while Chris Coste has not caught Joe Blanton. Meanwhile, Marson has caught Brett Myers twice despite Coste allegedly being Myers’ personal catcher. Coste’s better numbers might be better explained by being Moyer’s catcher (and not Blanton’s). Then again, could Coste make Blanton better?

There’s no way of telling, at least here, if the receivers aren’t calling good games. But it does seem, however, that Coste is benefiting some how.

Click to comment


  1. Jeffrey

    April 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Fair enough, but a major league pitcher shouldn’t need a catcher to tell him not to hang a breaking ball or leave a fastball out over the middle of the plate. These aren’t cheap home runs they’re giving up out there.

  2. Tim Malcolm

    April 29, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Most of the home runs are completely missed spots. Those seem to be the pitchers’ faults.

  3. Joe G

    April 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Wouldn’t or shouldn’t Dubee be calling pitches from the dugout for Marson?
    I think this is a case of sample size. And catcher ERA is something invented by agents to market their catchers.

  4. Griffin

    April 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Off topic but J.J. Putz just gave up 2 runs in the 8th, 4-3 Marlins.

  5. Justin

    April 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    They said during the telecasts this weekend that theres confusion due to Marson having to look to the bench for pitch signals so its not as if Marson is calling the pitch its the coaches saying what they think so if the pitchers have a problem its with the coaches calls not his. But like everyone else is saying it’s not any of the catchers faults that the pitchers have been hit hard its the pitchers leaving balls up or not locating their pitches which is the reason why they’re getting nailed all over the field.

  6. Brooks

    April 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Quite a few of these hrs have been way jacked.
    I’m curious to see how Eyre will react next time out. He was knocked silly last time he pitched. We may see him possibly tonight, if not on Friday for sure.

  7. Mitch

    April 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Perhaps it is time to move to the next generation of Phillies’ catchers. When Chooch comes marching home, why not split his time with Marson – move Coste back to a pinch hitting role and third string catcher and waive goodbye to Miguel Cairo. I say we’re upgrading the productivity of the catcher spot – and the righthander off the bench.

  8. Chuck P

    April 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Yawn… must be a slow day. In 4 games, pitchers throwing to Ruiz appear to have pitched worse than pitchers throwing to Marson/Coste in 9 and 6 games, respectively. What does that tell me? With ERA’s in the double digits, it tells me absolutely nothing. A catcher is never going to tell his pitcher to throw a meatball or a hanger.

  9. Maverick

    April 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Catchers have nothing to do with the MEAT BALLS phils pitchers have been throwing!. Its not like Marson is giving the signal for Fastball down the middle..with Ryan Braun at the plate!…atleast i hope he isnt.

  10. Evan

    April 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Cairo really isn’t playing a role with the team. With Utley and Feliz both looking good he doesn’t need to be on the roster.

    In his place, I could see the Phils carrying three catchers when Ruiz gets back, but I’d rather see them pull up someone who can hit better than Coste/Marson or else bring up another reliever until the starters actually stay in 6+.

  11. peasant

    April 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    that would be hanging changeup over the middle to braun, that was the same pitch almost every homer he hit

  12. shag beta sigma delta

    April 29, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    One point I think you are all missing, I don’t think he blaming the catchers, but so much of the pitchers game is mental, was Tim McCarver a better catcher then Bob Boone, I would say not, but he caught Lefty every game. And managing a pitching staff is more than calling pitches, I have seen pitchers shaking off Marson more than Coste, if that means anything. But it is handling the pitchers, giving them a target, as we to say in little league, but it stands true for major leaguers also. The pitchers have to be confident in the catcher and IMO they all miss Ruiz behind the plate. and to a lesser extent Myers and Coste. Hopefully Chooch will be back soon, and he can prove Tim and I correct, that SOME, SOME, of the pitching issues maybe do to not having their man behind home plate. also I have to say I thought he was swigging a decent bat before he went down.

  13. Greg B

    April 29, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    QUESTION: What percentage of Runs Scored on the Phils are due to the long ball this year?
    interested to know

  14. Keystone

    April 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Is it too late to convince Mike Lieberthal not to retire?

  15. Steve

    April 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I dont think its the catchers either, but the one thing that does bother me about Marson is that he seems to move around too much behind the plate. Now, Im not and never have been a pitcher but it just seems like it would be a bit distracting to a pitcher, no?

  16. Jeff of NoVa.

    April 29, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    We have to remember in all this, Marson is still learning he is not ready to handle the whole staff as the main catcher, that is why we put up with Ruiz and his inability to hit. Coste on the other hand has been showing a lot of defensive deficiencies such as bad throws pass balls and such.

    I think Marson will get better and when Ruiz is better I think Marson can learn by working with him, and guys like Moyer.

    I don’t blame the poor pitching on the catchers. The lame ducks they have been serving is most of it

  17. J cole

    April 30, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Chris Coste was a great story 2 seasons ago. And the fact they brought him back last season was somewhat surprising to me. But seriously, isn’t it time for him to go back to the minors for the rest of his pro career? He was a great story, has a WS ring, now dump him somewhere.
    They were eager to dump Paulino. I thought it would be Ruiz / Paulino and Marson when needed beginning spring training. I am very over Coste… And his offense BLOWS! He can’t catch the ball either. Isn’t that required for that job? But T-Mac is quick to say how great of a block that was by Coste. Most of them shouldn’t have to be blocked if he used the catcher’s mit to catch the ball.

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