The Katzenbogen Case Study

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The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by 7teen » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:26 am

When Madison acquired David Katzenbogen last season from Huntsville in a trade, it created a lot of intrigue around the league as to what might Katzenbogen's impact be at the big league level. The guy with a 15 rating as a catcher (has dropped to 14 at the moment) and a cannon for an arm and great ability made some wonder what sort of player he could be. The reason many wondered is because his bat, well, it frankly sucks. So at a position where there isn't a ton of depth and superstars, the Wolves bit the bullet in 2036 and decided to go all in on the all-worldly glove of Katzenbogen and see what sort of impact he may on a team and what sort of numbers he'd put up individually.

As we approach the midway point in the season, the results are a mixed bag, but probably what most expected to see. David is hitting a cool .229/.294/.346 with a trio of homeruns and 18 runs batted in over 147 at-bats this season. But of course, it isn't the bat people were keeping an eye on. It was his defense and so far, Katzenbogen has lived up to the hype. In 46 games started behind the dish, David has a +3.7 Zone Rating which leads all catchers. Phoenix Andres Martinez comes in a distant second at +2.0. With 15 thrown out in 30 stolen base attempts, his 50% success rate is tops in the league as well. San Fernando's Armando Munoz is the next best among catchers who have seen at least 20 stolen base attempts this season with a 40.9 success rate (9 for 22). Katzenbogen hasn't allowed a passed ball yet and has logged more innings at catcher than anyone in the league who can claim that.

But then there are some areas that David doesn't quite out shine the rest. His 3.98 catcher's ERA is just middle of the pack. I'm fairly certain though that's pretty dependent on the pitching staff so you can't quite blame that ranking all on Katzenbogen.

What stat really seems to jump out at me when you look at Katzenbogen and his catching ability is the number of steals that are even attempted on him at this point. Through 46 starts, Katzenbogen is averaging just .65 steals attempts per game this season. Only three other catchers in the league can lay claim to seeing fewer attempts made against them than games started. Those guys are California's Chip Saunders, Louisville's Shag Hopkins, and Mexico City's Elroy Hinson. The highest such rate belongs to Montreal's Joaquin Camacho who sees 1.66 steal attempts per game.

So to better display the effect David has had at least on the running game, I attached a spread sheet of every catcher with at least 25 starts below. The chart shows their catcher rating, arm, ability, and the SBA and SBTO with percentage.



I'll revisit this later in the season and see how things change.
Attachments
BBA Catchers (1).xlsx
(53.46 KiB) Downloaded 1 time
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Spiccoli » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:13 am

Can you put innings played too? I believe this has been discussed before, but it seems that runners try to steal less on catchers with great arms too.

50% is pretty amazing though... Interesting stuff.

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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by agrudez » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:26 am

A .64 OPS isn't even *that* bad. If he keeps that up - along with the defense, obviously - I might rue letting him go. Very nice article, Chris - thanks for it.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Lane » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:40 am

Been waiting for this! Thanks Chris. Some great stuff. Major props for the embedded excel sheet, I need to figure out how to do that.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Gareth » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:10 am

HOT TAKE: catching is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for if the D is otherworldly. Great piece. Love accessible analytics.

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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by bcslouck » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:28 pm

Gareth wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:10 am
HOT TAKE: catching is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for if the D is otherworldly. Great piece. Love accessible analytics.
I don't think it's that hot. I'd think most agree. Only exception maybe an elite hitting C, but I definitely would rather have someone who can handle a staff.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Lane » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:40 pm

bcslouck wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:28 pm
Gareth wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:10 am
HOT TAKE: catching is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for if the D is otherworldly. Great piece. Love accessible analytics.
I don't think it's that hot. I'd think most agree. Only exception maybe an elite hitting C, but I definitely would rather have someone who can handle a staff.
I was going to say this, but then i realized that maybe the hot take is that C is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by agrudez » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:58 pm

I don't like sacrificing any offensive position for defense, but if I was going to it would be at SS since my pitching staff is very GB-centric. And, as un-luck would have it, that seems to be how things are playing out for me this year with Sullivan's protracted slump.

Analysis like this threatens to convince me that an '8' catcher hitting a .7 OPS is better than a '4' catcher hitting a .8, though. I'd need to see more before I went that "far", but it's at least got the wheels turning in my head.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by bcslouck » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:31 pm

Lane wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:40 pm
I was going to say this, but then i realized that maybe the hot take is that C is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for.
True. So maybe it is. Up the middle, I generally am willing to sacrifice offense for defense, especially if I have offense at other spots.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Lane » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:37 pm

bcslouck wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:31 pm
Lane wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:40 pm
I was going to say this, but then i realized that maybe the hot take is that C is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for.
True. So maybe it is. Up the middle, I generally am willing to sacrifice offense for defense, especially if I have offense at other spots.
Yeah, definitely willing to do it for SS, CF. catcher probably less so, since I'm not as convinced of the impact of catcher defense in this game.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by 7teen » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:38 pm

If WAR is your gauge on whether a guy is worth whatever then Katzenbogens defense is worthless.

Padilla for Omaha is hitting below .200. Has allowed 80 successful SB attempts and has a 1.1 WAR.

Katzenbogen is hitting .220 and is just under 50% now and has a .5 WAR.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Ted » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:34 am

The defensive component of WAR fro catchers in this game is essentially non existent past the positional adjustment. Things like zone rating and defensive efficiency are pretty bogus too within OOTP. The only three defensive stats I have found in game to have any sort of marginal reliability are:

1) CS percentage (although you have to remember that arm strength will determine WHO tries to steal, i.e. higher AS guys have to throw out higher speed/steal guys. The slow guys don't run on them at all)
2) total SB attempts
*3) catcher ERA, but ONLY compared to your backup and ONLY if your backup has 50-60 games and doesn't have some sort of wonky platooning that gives him the crappy pitchers or tougher parks or whatever. Even then the sample size is small enough that it wouldn't be crazy for it to be unreliable.

All in all, OOTP just doesn't give us good catcher metrics to rate defensive impact. On the other hand, Tyler's study from a few years back is a pretty darned good one and does seem to indicate that catcher ability might have a fairly significant impact.

I would guess, that if Katzenbogen can OPS around .600, he's well worth playing and probably a league average catcher at worst and possibly somewhat better than that.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by agrudez » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:59 am

7teen wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:38 pm
If WAR is your gauge on whether a guy is worth whatever then Katzenbogens defense is worthless.

Padilla for Omaha is hitting below .200. Has allowed 80 successful SB attempts and has a 1.1 WAR.

Katzenbogen is hitting .220 and is just under 50% now and has a .5 WAR.
I get you're trying to cherry pick a point, but that was a very disingenuous comparison using average (beyond just it being the least impactful batting metric) since Padilla's OPS+ is 24 points better than Katzenbogen.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Spiccoli » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:10 am

Spiccoli wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:13 am
Can you put innings played too? I believe this has been discussed before, but it seems that runners try to steal less on catchers with great arms too.

50% is pretty amazing though... Interesting stuff.
:banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

lol... I just scrolled right and saw the steal attempts per start. Now I was on my phone previously when checking this out, so there's that.

I love how Katz (and Suanders) are seeing less than half (approximately) steals attempts than the league average. Which means only the best runners are trying against them, but Katz is still throwing out 50% to Saunder's 19%... However, Katz doesn't have to worry about throwing out the best in the BBA History in Raider.

After a few seasons, it might be fun to do analysis on Katz's effect on pitcher ERA, if that's even possible. It might be too hard to analyze accurately due to the plethora of other variables affecting ERA (and other metrics).

I've been wondering about catcher pick off throws. I've watched quite a few sims and don't recall ever seeing one, even ones where the runner is safe.

Yadier Molina's pick off highlight video is one of my favorite baseball videos ever. He's so scary that you can't let your guard for a moment when you're on base. I played catcher for years (youth, high school & some in my 20's) and my arm was below average... so jealous of that kind of ability.

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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by Gareth » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:42 am

Lane wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:40 pm
bcslouck wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:28 pm
Gareth wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:10 am
HOT TAKE: catching is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for if the D is otherworldly. Great piece. Love accessible analytics.
I don't think it's that hot. I'd think most agree. Only exception maybe an elite hitting C, but I definitely would rather have someone who can handle a staff.
I was going to say this, but then i realized that maybe the hot take is that C is the only position worth sacrificing a bat for.
Indeed, the only part is the scalding part. I’m not saying I’ll take a SS with 1B fielding if he is a 40/40 guy, but I have no problem with a barely there glove if he can handle a bat with expertise.

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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by 7teen » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:51 am

FWIW, Katzenbogen's % has declined quite a bit. Down in the low 40s now. Still not many runners attempting on him but he's not exactly throwing them out when they do.

I'll probably wait until the end of the season and do a final show of the numbers.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by udlb58 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:53 pm

I'll say it again....I've tested and pitching staffs with a catcher that has a high 'catcher ability' see a noticeable drop in BB% and increase in K%.
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by agrudez » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:09 am

udlb58 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:53 pm
I'll say it again....I've tested and pitching staffs with a catcher that has a high 'catcher ability' see a noticeable drop in BB% and increase in K%.
No change to HRs given up though?
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Re: The Katzenbogen Case Study

Post by udlb58 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:09 pm

agrudez wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:09 am
udlb58 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:53 pm
I'll say it again....I've tested and pitching staffs with a catcher that has a high 'catcher ability' see a noticeable drop in BB% and increase in K%.
No change to HRs given up though?
Very small. I expect it was due to facing fewer batters overall and just a few less chances to allow a HR, but low enough that it could possibly just be noise too.
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