Additional Analysis on Kelly Shoppach

Now for a bit more analysis and a little less overview; although feel free to review the initial post if need be. At this point the PTBNL is obviously unknown (we'll know before the night of December 20th), so the focus is solely on Kelly Shoppach.

As previously mentioned, he is 30-years-old, right-handed, and has a history of walking, hitting for pop, and (small sample size warning) squashing lefties. Cleveland has a cabinet full of able backstops and Shoppach's price was only increasing (he's arbitration eligible for the second year and made $1.9M last season).We also know he's an average to slightly below average defensive catcher based on the things we can measure - i.e. blocking balls and throwing out baserunners. Let's put this all together.­

Over the last three years, Shoppach has hit .245/.336/.467. An .803 OPS which would've put him in a pack with guys like Brian Roberts, Magglio Ordonez, and Nick Markakis last season. One thing: those guys aren't catchers. Minus Roberts, the other two are paid in large part because they can hit the ball. Shoppach has issues with contact and he's going to swing and miss quite a bit. Those people who hate Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, and Pat Burrell because they went down on strikes a lot? Yeah, they're going to detest Shoppach's being on a nightly basis.

CHONE projects Shoppach to hit .229/.322/.422. The average American League catcher hit .254/.321/.396 and that's with Joe Mauer's incredible season taken into account. That projection puts Shoppach essentially equal to his 2009 performance. Which is fine. But he had a .286 BABIP in 2009, and his career BABIP is still at .334. There's a chance that shoots up some, just don't count on it. Interestingly Shoppach has an affinity for being plunked with pitches.

Onto his issues with righties and delights on lefties. With platoon splits you have to regress heavily, as MGL pointed out recently. That OPS versus left-handers looks awfully nice, and I'm not saying he won't hit well against them or poorly against righties, it's just not a given that such a figure is his true talent level and the answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

Taking everything into account, Shoppach projects to be something like a 1.5 < x < 2 WAR player next season depending on playing time.  He's going to walk, strike out, and hit some dingers while catching modestly. The front office can't put their feet up and call it an off-season after this one, but it's a nice enough start if the PTBNL is nothing of relevance.

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