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Daily Fantasy Baseball: Catchers Who Can’t Throw Out Runners

Yadier Molina, caught stealing, Barbara Moore

For no reason in particular, I haven’t played Daily Fantasy Sports other than a random Sunday/Monday early in the NFL season, so I can’t give my opinion on whether or not I enjoy the format compared to season-long leagues.

However, I looked at how scoring is kept for baseball on a random Daily Fantasy Sports website and I noticed that a disproportionate amount of points are given to players who get stolen bases.

This lends itself to a lot of strategy, and this could be old news to some who play Daily Fantasy Sports, but there is an appreciable amount of inequity present among teams and individual players when it comes to the rate with which they allow opposing players to steal bases.

This table shows all MLB teams and the rate at which they allowed the opposition to steal bases in 2014:

TeamCS%SBSB ATTCS
Rockies16%8510116
Twins18%10012222
Blue Jays20%9411824
Athletics22%10012828
Braves22%10012929
Astros23%10914132
Mets23%8511025
Marlins24%10914334
Rays24%8210826
Cubs25%11415238
White Sox26%9312532
Padres26%11615640
Brewers27%9613135
Angels27%10614539
Red Sox28%8712033
Mariners28%9212735
Orioles28%8411632
Phillies29%11516146
Royals30%699829
Rangers30%8512136
Giants31%10715447
Dodgers31%8612438
Diamondbacks31%7510934
Pirates31%10715649
Tigers31%11116251
Indians32%9513944
Yankees33%7711538
Reds35%7110938
Cardinals35%548329
Nationals38%609636

To put it in a general perspective, the team that prevented stolen bases the most — the Nationals — stopped the opposition from stealing a base at a rate of over two and a quarter times more than the last place team — the Rockies.

These numbers are a fluid situation from year-to-year. For example, the Blue Jays were one of the worst teams against stolen bases in 2014, but that was before they acquired Russell Martin, who will play behind the plate the majority of the time in 2015. Martin was 10th in CS% in 2014.

Catch as Catchers Can’t

To take advantage of this knowledge even further, we can look at individual players that are ineffective when it comes to their ability to throw out runners:

PlayerTeamCS+CS%SBAT
Josmil PintoMIN0%0%2020
Eric FryerMIN21%6%1617
Tomas TelisTEX21%6%1617
John JasoOAK40%11%3236
Yasmani GrandalSDP45%13%4956
Adrian NietoCHW50%14%2529
Nick Hundley- - -51%14%C36
Tony SanchezPIT52%14%1821
Steve ClevengerBAL55%15%1720
John BakerCHC56%15%5059
Josh TholeTOR56%15%2226
Wilin RosarioCOL58%16%3744
Derek NorrisOAK61%17%6072
A.J. Pierzynski- - -66%18%5061
Michael McKenryCOL69%19%3442
Jarrod SaltalamacchiaMIA70%19%7289
Travis d'ArnaudNYM71%19%5872
Evan GattisATL72%20%5366
Dioner NavarroTOR75%21%5873
Ryan HaniganTBR77%21%3038
Carlos CorporanHOU80%22%2532
David RossBOS80%22%3241
Jason CastroHOU80%22%81104
Chris StewartPIT84%23%3039
Curt CasaliTBR86%24%1317
Hank CongerLAA87%24%5775
Kurt SuzukiMIN90%25%6485
A.J. EllisLAD91%25%4864
Tony CruzSTL91%25%1824
Erik Kratz- - -91%25%1824
Francisco CervelliNYY91%25%1824
Jonathan LucroyMIL94%26%83112
Devin MesoracoCIN95%26%5169
Gerald LairdATL98%27%3041
Jose MolinaTBR98%27%3852
Carlos RuizPHI100%27%74102
Mike ZuninoSEA103%28%7199
Miguel MonteroARI105%29%6490
Tyler FlowersCHW108%30%6288
Buster PoseySFG108%30%5984
Bryan HoladayDET108%30%3347
Chris IannettaLAA109%30%4970
Wil NievesPHI110%30%2333
Salvador PerezKCR111%30%5782
Hector SanchezSFG113%31%3145
Martin MaldonadoMIL115%32%1319
Yan GomesCLE116%32%6697
Andrew SusacSFG116%32%1725
Drew ButeraLAD118%32%2334
Jose LobatonWSN118%33%2740
Jeff MathisMIA119%33%3349
Welington CastilloCHC120%33%5785
Christian BethancourtATL121%33%1015
Alex AvilaDET122%34%71107
Rene RiveraSDP132%36%5891
Roberto PerezCLE132%36%1422
Anthony ReckerNYM135%37%1727
Brian McCannNYY135%37%4978
Wilson RamosWSN136%38%3048
Russell MartinPIT140%39%5996
Cameron RuppPHI142%39%1118
Robinson ChirinosTEX145%40%4473
Caleb JosephBAL147%40%3457
Tuffy GosewischARI153%42%1119
Brayan PenaCIN156%43%1628
Geovany Soto- - -158%43%1323
Tim FederowiczLAD158%43%1323
Yadier MolinaSTL174%48%2344
Christian VazquezBOS188%52%1429

This chart shows all catchers who had 15 or more stolen-base attempts against in 2014.

CS+ shows how much better or worse a catcher is than the league average when it comes to the rate at which they throw out runners, where 100 is average. For example, Yasmani Grandal has a CS+ of 45%, which means he is 55% worse than league average at throwing out runners.

This chart provides a number of names that Daily Fantasy  Baseball players can take advantage of.

For one, Nick Hundley is slated to take a lot of at-bats for the Rockies, and he threw out runners at a rate 49% worse than league average in 2014.

The inverse also applies. While Christian Vazquez appears to be out for the year with in arm injury, Daily Fantasy players that consider a speedster as an option against the Cardinals may need to think twice before they do so, as Yadier Molina threw out runners 74% better than league average last year.

Yadier Molina Photo Credit: Barbara Moore

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Devin Jordan

Devin Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading him, follow him on Twitter!
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