FMandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Last year’s Toronto Blue Jays were pretty awful in a lot of categories, but their defensive play may have been the toughest pill for Blue Jays fans to swallow. I can watch a losing team if they play good ball; however, watching a losing team that plays poor defensive is really tough to get behind.
This year’s defense will be much improved for the following reasons: Dioner Navarro replacing J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Goins starting in place of Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis, Brett Lawrie not starting the season on the DL, and Melky Cabrera not having a tumor to slow him down.
How much did the poor defensive play at the catching position affect the performance of the Blue Jays starting 5, and how much of a difference will Dioner Navarro make?
We aren’t going to discuss the offensive number because I don’t want to relive J.P. Arencibia’s 2013 offensive showing.
We have been told that Dioner Navarro will be a major upgrade over J.P. Arencibia in all aspect of the game. J.P. Arencibia appeared in twice the games than Dioner Navarro in 2013, so it might be unfair to judge Arencibia’s fielding stats to Navarro’s fielding stats without some extrapolation. I will take an elementary look at how Navarro’s fielding numbers would stack up if he appeared in the same number of games that J.P. Arencibia played in 2013.
Dioner Navarro has a reputation of a catcher that takes charge of the pitching staff and I have noticed he has done a really good job of doing that this spring in a way J.P. was never able to do. This makes me excited to see his ability to call games and if he is better than Arencibia.
J.P. Arencibia got a lot of media scrutiny, sometimes deserved and sometimes undeserved, on his receiving skills,but did you know that he placed 6th among all catchers in his ability to frame pitches? I wasn’t aware of this until after he signed with the Texas Rangers this past off-season. In my option this the only this he did well in 2013 as he led the league with 13 passed balls and had 40 pitcher/catcher wild pitches good for 7th in league. I don’t think that any of Toronto’s pitchers would come out and say it, but I think that this caused them to doubt his ability to receive the ball. This could have caused them to elevate pitches or shake off pitches intended for the dirt….and we all know what happens to elevated pitches.
Dioner Navarro appeared in 55 games last year and J.P. Arencibia appeared in 131 games. I am going to multiply Navarro’s fielding stats by 2.4 and see how they compare to Arencibia’s numbers. I understand that this won’t be a true representation of Dioner Navarro’s season if he actually ended up playing 131 games in 2013. It is designed to provide prospective to this upcoming season and to look back on what we had at last year.
Dioner Navarro stats by multiplying his 2013 fielding stats by 2.4.
J.P. Arencibia fielding stats for 2013.
These numbers don’t really inspire a lot of confidence in our new backstop now does it? I don’t like the number of PB and WP that Dioner could have accumulated, especially when you consider that he never had to catch a knuckballer. Josh Thole will catch all of RA Dickey’s games so that won’t be an issue. When JPA did catch RA Dickey he allowed 3 PB, so if we remove those 3 than JPA has less PB than Dioner over the same number of games. Thankfully there is no statistical significance in projecting stats by simply doubling stats. If there was than we would be in for another long season of watching another poor defensive catcher. One stat that I didn’t include in the tables above, but should be discussed, is fielding percentage. These two catchers had identical fielding percentages with Dioner Navarro holding a .989 over his 55 games and J.P. Arencibia producing a .988 percentage over his 131 games.
I still think that Dioner Navarro will be a better catcher in 2014 than Arencibia was in his three seasons with the Blue Jays. I think this will translate into the pitchers having more confidence to throw any pitch in any situation, knowing that Narravo will block or catch it.
Do you think that we should be concerned with above comparison?